Fluttering Shearwater in flight

WOW, what a night!!! - December 2015

16/12/2015 | Projects | 1

I have just returned from spending two nights on the island doing my monthly overnight visit. As I know birds like rough weather, I extended my usual stay by one night to catch the gale force winds on the 12th.


The results;

One very healthy chick was discovered in burrow 15. This is the same burrow (and parents) where a chick was raised and fledged last year.

An adult was still sitting on an egg in burrow 16. This won’t hatch now as it has been incubated way too long to be successful. The other three eggs laid this season have been expelled from their burrows.

I was very surprised to find a kakariki nesting in burrow 76.  It was sitting on 6 eggs.

I also found what appeared to be a natural shearwater burrow in the flax bushes to the west of the Wellington speaker.

On Friday night I caught nine birds which is about the average number captured each visit now. They were all regulars.


It was a different story on Saturday night. Nadine (volunteer ranger) and I went to the colony in very blustery winds arriving just before 10pm. Birds were everywhere, calling from the ground, calling in the air and calling from the flax surrounding the colony. We caught 27 different birds throughout the night and there were others we couldn’t catch as they were on the inaccessible cliffs below the colony while others were on the cliffs to the west of the colony.

The natural burrow was confirmed with a shearwater inside it.

Of the 27 birds, five were first time returned 2012 chicks, eight were first time returned 2013 chicks and one was a 2013 Long Island non-transferred chick!!!

Fourteen 2012 chicks have now returned to the island. These 2013 chicks are the first recorded as returning to Matiu/Somes. The Long Island chick was not transferred from there as it was too big on transfer day.  

The most birds previous caught in a single night was fourteen so capturing twenty-seven is a remarkable night.

Over the two nights 33 different shearwaters were caught and measured. Numbers are certainly building up and everything looks very promising.

Thanks for your on-going support. Have a great Christmas, enjoy spending time with loved ones, and I hope you get a chance to relax.


  • This is sooo exciting!!! I am Audubon member in West Virginia in the USA. How I wish I could go on a trip to see this miracle growing!! What a legacy to be able to have these birds living in this location again. What dedicated bird lovers you are!!!

    Rebecca Absher 02/01/2016 2:14pm (2 years ago)

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