The iconic Blockhouse Bay Boat Club (BBBC) building that juts into the sea at Blockhouse Bay’s Te Whau point is a favourite resting place for sea birds. Lots of sea birds! The resulting mess and corrosion damage on the roof led to the club taking a different approach to bird proofing by installing nets to prevent birds resting there.
Blockhouse Bay local, Janice Adamson, says that two months ago concerns were raised about the potential to trap birds when the netting went up on the roof of the BBBC building.
Then, when an oystercatcher became trapped in the nets, it triggered a chain reaction against the club's bird proofing solution. A rescue was launched, and Janice reported that a small team had rescued the oystercatcher from the netting. “It's now in the safe care of BirdCare Aotearoa”, she said. “They pointed out these are a heavily protected species. DOC have been informed. Council have been informed. SPCA have been informed. The netting needs to come down urgently." It was soon revealed that this could be at least the second bird that had been caught in the nets.
Fortunately, the trapped oystercatcher was not seriously injured. Dr Lynne Miller, BirdCare Aotearoa stated "They are such a high-stress bird and don't like being handled at all. Having them in the hospital can result in secondary damage to the bird just through stress, so unless the bird is at death's door, we treat them fast and release them as soon as possible. We can and do use physiotherapy, including cold laser treatment that really speeds up healing. Add Meloxicam - a great NSAID for birds - and they turn corners fast! In this case the bird had a wing strain, so after treating it we made sure it was underway to recovery and pain free before releasing it, and now we just keep our fingers crossed that it makes a full recovery in the wild."
Ironically, BBBC trades on peoples love of birds on its website, which says:
Blockhouse Bay Boat Club is located at the end of Endeavour St, at the southwest (seaward) arm of Blockhouse Bay Beach Reserve, over the tide.
Fraser Bruce is the only person who appears publicly in relation to the BBBC and on its website it does not seem to be a club that one can join. In recent years there have been no boating activities at the club and many hirers are spiritual organisations.
After a social media backlash regarding the nets harming endangered species, Whau Local Board member Jessica Rose worked on a solution with the Department of Conservation. Harming any protected species is an offence under the Wildlife Act.
Hopes for a quick resolution were fading as Beacon went to print. When BBBC was contacted, Fraser said that the issue was "in process" before he ended the call.