Forest and Bird Dunedin branch member Graeme Loh inspects
the predator-proof fence above the cliffs between St Clair
and Tunnel Beach. Photo by Linda Robertson.
About 130 pairs of hands and a ''year's worth'' of
weekends have helped complete a predator-proof fence perched
above the cliffs of St Clair.
Constructing the fence about 70m above the rocks between St
Clair and Tunnel Beach has had its challenges, but just over
two years later, it is complete.
The Forest and Bird Dunedin branch project aims to protect a
small population of fairy prions - the only mainland
population of the seabird - and attract other seabirds back
to the city's coast.
Forest and Bird Dunedin branch member Graeme Loh, who looks
after the fairy prions, said the work started in April 2011
after a flying fox-type system was devised to get heavy
material down to the site.
Workers took a break during the summer of 2011-12 and then
got stuck in, with about 130 volunteers giving their time to
help complete the project, which was funded by the Marjorie
Once the final cap was put in place, a team of Otago
Polytechnic students abseiled down the cliffs to retrieve
material that had fallen over the edge during construction.
''We had a few bins blown over the edge, trowels and I think
I lost five measuring tapes.''
Now, the focus was on ridding the enclosure of mice and
monitoring to see if there were any rats inside.
''Instead of a million-dollar mouse project, ours will be
more like a $20 mouse project.''
Fairy prions were already nesting in the holes of the cliff
below the fence and there were plans to build nesting boxes
and dig burrows to attract other seabirds, such as sooty
shearwaters and diving petrels, to the enclosure.
A sound system funded by the Speight's Fund would be used to
''call'' other birds in, and earth with seabird droppings in
it would be scattered to appeal to their sense of smell, Mr
They hoped to record their visitors using automatic cameras.