2015 January to December Report

The first half of 2015 was spent restoring forest and monitoring bird populations in Nakula Natural Area Reserve.

January to March, we had four planting trips with eager volunteers helping to monitor restoration plots, control invasive predators, plant native seedlings, collect seeds, and install bird monitoring transects. Bob Taylor and Heather Mackey were our restoration assistants. We were also joined by volunteers Allison Borell, Bob and Bettina Arrigoni, Paula Periera, Che Frausto, Ben Davis, Jamie Tanino, Jenna Bogen, Kurt Adams, Ken Lickout, Stacey Speers, Dustin Paulos, Scott Ritchie, Katie Traversparadiso, and Hali Davis-Sherwood.

April to June, MFBRP focused on monitoring bird populations in Nakula in order to understand the current bird community and to monitor changes throughout restoration. Three Variable Circular Plot (VCP) point count transects were performed six times. Mist nets were also erected and birds banded for future survival, range, and disease analysis. Mosquito larval transects and adult traps were also done to survey for invasive mosquitoes in the area. MFBRP staff was joined by banding assistants, Chalese Carlson and Heidi VanVliet as well as banding volunteers: Michelle Hall, Rebecca Geelhood, Liza Olson, Keith Burnett, and Claudia Wierzbicki.

Over 2200 field hours were put in by volunteers and MFBRP crew. Almost 20,000 seedlings have been planted since 2013 and overall survival is high at the 18-month monitoring period (87% survival). Nineteen bird species were detected during VCP counts and nine species were caught during mist netting, representing 247 individuals.  Only 5 out of the 20 species found were native: ‘Apapane, Hawai’i ‘Amakihi, Pueo, Kōlea, and Nēnē. Over time, with forest restoration in addition to reintroductions of native birds, we predict the forest bird community will change.

In addition to our fieldwork on Maui, we aided our sister organization, Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, on the Big Island by assisting them with their annual Palila forest bird counts.  We also helped Maui nui Seabird Recovery Project with banding and recapturing Wedge-tailed Shearwaters on Maui.

We continue to work in The Nature Conservancy’s Waikamoi Preserve by leading outreach hikes and collecting seeds for plant propagation.

We appreciate the hard work and talents of all of our staff and volunteers to enable this research and management. MFBRP will continue working on restoration efforts in the Nakula Natural Area Reserve for the rest of the year in addition to attending conferences and publishing manuscripts.

MFBRP was in Nakula once a month from July-December 2015. The summer was spent preparing sites for fall planting, collecting seeds, monitoring plots, and planting. To prepare for the fall, sites were marked with flags and were controlled for non-native grasses. Additionally, MFBRP began monitoring for mosquitoes in the spring of this year. Monitoring is done twice in each season: spring, summer, and fall. Adult mosquitoes are captured with traps that are set overnight. Stagnant pools of water in gulches are inspected for mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes are identified by genus and later sent to a lab for disease testing. We hope to learn more about the mosquito distribution and disease occurrence in Nakula.

Over 6,000 seedlings were planted between October 2015 and January 2016. Our final restoration trail monitoring was also done this fall. Thanks to the volunteers who helped the last 6 months of the year: Ian Volgel, German Gordo, Barry Borell, Carmen Antaky, Sloan Hill-Lindsay, Lawrence Warnock, Russell Reinertson, Maria Costantini, Diana Sciambi, John Meckel, Ben Davis, Sarah Anderson, Lindsay Veazey, and Michelle Smith.

In December, MFBRP brought one female Kiwikiu into captivity from The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) Waikamoi Preserve on East Maui. This is the first time that a bird from this area has been taken into the captive breeding facility program run by San Diego Zoo Global. This will increase genetic diversity in the captive populations and add an additional breeding pair to the facility, as there were unpaired males.