Sunday, December 11, 2011

An update from North Island bittern researcher- Emma Williams

Last year we found that our recording devices compared favourably with observers listening for bittern in the field. As a result of this, we are now looking at how they can be used to monitor bittern populations on a national scale.

Our objectives this season are:

At Whangamarino wetland

To repeat the baseline Whangamarino bittern survey with the automatic recorders. This should
• provide a firm baseline for future monitoring
• give us an idea of the feasibility and issues associated with deploying a large number of recorders at one time
• test our revised field protocol for monitoring
A low density wetlands nationally

To sample bittern calls from sites with lower densities of bittern to try and see if the monitoring protocols work in such areas. This work is taking place mainly in the Waikato, Manawatu and the East Coast, at wetlands with <8 bitterns.

If anyone is interested in getting involved or knows of a good spot worth investigating for bitterns, feel free to get in touch with either of us.

In the meantime, we will keep you posted with how it all goes and look forward to hearing about everyone’s bittern sightings and booming reports.

Contact: Emma Williams ( or Colin O Donnell (


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