Getting up at ‘ridiculous-o-clock’ around 4.30 am on Saturday morning might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but last week we had a full contingent of volunteers and two Auckland Zoo staff rearing to go and do some surveying! Our aim was to hear puweto, or spotless crakes, and figuring out how many we have at Matuku Link and neighbouring Habitat te Henga. Some on kayaks, others on foot, started at dawn to register puweto calls responding to playback, at pre-selected sites. Coming back a couple of hours later, everyone was very excited to learn there are at least 11 puweto in this area, plus we saw a family of pateke, a family of shovellers, heard several matuku (bittern) and fernbirds.

It seemed that quite a number of other birds also responded to the puweto calls: we had tui mimicking the calls (not very helpful during a survey!), pukeko trying to chase us/the virtual puweto away and fantails checking out what we were up to.

Even though I love the warmth of my Saturday morning bed, this exercise was totally worth it: not only from a scientific and bird survey point of view, but also for the enjoyment of seeing the wetland at this time of day, hearing it come to life in the morning and feeling a part of it. And the spotless cake at the end was appreciated as well!

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and our newsletter if you’d like to be part of this next year. I guarantee it will be worth getting out of bed for!