The Longbush Ecosanctuary is a haven for rare and endangered species of native birds, plants and animals. It is reached by a winding gravel road up an inland valley, just 9 kilometres from Gisborne city on the Tai Rawhiti / East Coast of New Zealand.
From high hill ridges to the west, three streams tumble down steep valleys and across a plain, entering the Waimata River to the east. A rare surviving strip of lowland bush (Longbush Reserve) runs beside the Waimata River. The bush is alive with the sound of birds, including tui, bellbirds, fantails, kingfishers, whiteheads and many kereru or native pigeons.
The Longbush Ecosanctuary serves as an ‘ark’ for native plants and animals. It is a fine example of ecological restoration in the Tai Rawhiti district, whose biodiversity is at extreme risk from land clearance, erosion and introduced plants and animals.
Our robin couple, whose courtship is described below, have produced two chicks. Dog Gully Guy now has a family! sFor the first time in 150 years, robin chicks are living in Turanga. Many thanks to the Williams Trust and the Eastern and Central Trust for making this possible.
Another flock of 10 titi took off from Longbush on their journey across the Pacific this Christmas. They are attracted by bright lights, but luckily, decided to ignore the Rhythm and Vines festival. Patsy Matthews did a brilliant job of looking after the chicks, and we're hoping that they will return to Longbush in three years' time, to establish an inland colony.
Sarosh Mulla, a PhD student in Architecture at the University of Auckland and a brilliant, award-winning young designer, is designing a Welcome Shelter / Workers' Shed for Longbush. Here he is with his first stash of models.
Christmas at Longbush this year was special, with long, hot blue days and bursts of rain - the plantings seemed to grow before our eyes! Ten titi chicks fledged, stretched their wings, and flew off across the Pacific. Kereru sat around in pairs, looking contented. The robins are thriving, and we hope to see babies in the bush before long. Many thanks to the Williams Trusts and the Eastern and Central Community Trust for their support of the robin project - they're endearing little birds.
Plans are afoot to introduce kiwi and weka to Longbush - watch this space.
Patsy Matthews from Ecoworks has been forwarding reports from the front line at Longbush, where a female native robin has just been released and teamed up with 'Dog Gully Guy,' a male robin who's been on his own since last season. Read all about it!
26 May 2012
A few nights ago, Patsy confirmed the presence of long-tailed bats in Longbush Reserve. As they flew around chasing moths, they clicked, using sonar to try and find their dinner. Have a listen!
4 May 2012
Recent flooding of the Waimata River caused the banks to collapse, and the river turned to liquid mud. As a result, our Chairperson Dame Anne wrote a plea to take care of the rivers in the Turanga district. This was published in the Gisborne Herald and attracted widespread support.
The amazing Ecoworks team have created a world first by establishing and successfully rearing the first inland colony of Titi (grey Petrels). These were translocated to burrows in the Petrel station erected by the team on the Longbush hills and 3 birds successfully fledged and took off for foreign parts. We look forward to seeing them back in about three years.
1 September 2011
Megan Wraight, one of New Zealand’s leading landscape architects, visited Longbush last weekend. She is going to prepare an ecological landscape plan for the Ecosanctuary, with the aim of making it one of the most beautiful havens for endangered species in the world.
3 July 2011
We had an excellent meeting with Andy Bassett, head of the DOC office in Gisborne, to discuss Donner’s Bush, the DOC Scenic Reserve south of Longbush. Donner’s Bush is in bad shape, grazed by wandering stock and infested with weeds. The Trust is keen to restore it to its original beauty.
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