Westland petrel chicks are leaving the nest for the first time between November and January and can be disorientated by lights and poor weather at the very start of their long journey to South America.
90% of petrels found downed due to disorientation by lights are fledglings. Tragically, many are disorientated by vehicle or street lights and come down on roads. Black birds on a black road at night are highly likely to be involved in a collision and are often killed. They also need height to launch themselves, so if they come down on the road, they are likely to be stranded.
NZ Transport Agency have recognised this issue and have agreed to trial the switching off of Punakaiki street lights on SH6 for the most critical period, 8th November to 8th January.
You can also help!
If you are on coast roads, particularly around Punakaiki, during November, December and/or January, but also again in March/April, and especially at night, please keep your eyes out for these large black seabirds.
The Department of Conservation has produced some guidance so that you can help.
First of all, if you live in the Punakaiki/Barrytown area, avoid leaving outdoor lights on and close curtains and blinds at night. For the benefit of these and other birds such as penguins, keep dogs secure at home.
Secondly, if you find a stranded petrel:
- If possible, move them away from danger – off the road in particular if safe to do so. Take care as they have a nasty bite, so gently put a towel over them or use gloves – or phone the 0800 DOC Hot line, 0800 362 468 for assistance.
- Place the bird in large cardboard box or similar with air holes and…
- If you’re in the Punakaiki area, take to the petrel drop off boxes at DOC’s Punakaiki Visitor Centre, and call 03 7311 895 if after hours and leave a message noting where and when found etc.
- If further away, phone 0800 DOCHot so that DOC can arrange collection.
- Do not attempt to release the bird yourself. Birds need to be checked by a DOC ranger to ensure they are in good health prior to release.
Thank you for helping these wonderful birds – birds that only breed in this area on the West Coast.
Don’t know how it is with you but spring’s sprung here at Punakaiki. The tui are scrapping over the early kowhai, the neighbour’s daffodils are out and – yippee – the days are getting longer.
Summer’s really just around the corner and that means another epic kiwi holiday season is coming. Here at the Punakaiki Beach Camp we’re already gearing up.
Our regulars are booked in and we’re getting plenty of enquiries about our new Riverside cabins, tent sites and powered sites, especially for Christmas/New Year. No surprise really – who wouldn’t want to spend their holidays at our place?!
We’ve got it all. This summer will be the first full season that the Paparoa Track is open for mountain bikers and hikers between Punakaiki and Blackball. The Great Walk- just across the road from the beach camp – is like no other.
There’s subtropical rainforest, limestone landscapes, views to the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps. Awesome, in the true sense of the word. What’s even better is that if you stay with us we can sort out your track transport, relocate your car etc. Too easy.
If that’s not your thing check out the standup paddle boards for a trip up the Pororari River. Dion from ‘Get Native’ here at the camp offers incredible tours every day.
His two hour trip takes you along the mystical Pororari river and around its lagoon.
If you like the sound of the river but prefer dry land take a stroll up the Pororari Valley. It’s been described as one of the most beautiful half day walks in the country.
The start is a two minute walk from the camp (five mins if you’re slow!). The track winds through the bush along the riverside, surrounded on all sides by dramatic limestone cliffs.
Then there’s the Truman Track, also within walking distance of our place. After taking you through old growth forest the track emerges onto a headland with stunning views up and down the coast.The beach below is accessible at low tide so you can get close to the waterfall which cascades down to the sand. There are rock pools, and caves to explore or simply gaze at the awesome limestone formations.
And let’s not forget the famous Pancake Rocks just a 15 minute walk up the road from the camp. Head up there for high tide and see the blowholes blast off.So if you don’t want to miss out on your epic Kiwi holiday, contact us now and get ready to enjoy our piece of paradise.PS: We’re right beside the beach so bring your surf board.