Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report January 2018

Happy New Year!! Kiaora ano everybody, we hope you have had a stunning summer and really enjoyed time off with friends and family. I also hope you were able to get out and about on Bream Head and our other awesome natural jewels around the Whangarei Heads. Although our three children suffered from chicken pox for a good part of the summer break, we did manage to get away to Whananaki for the last week of the school holidays – isn’t that a special place too?! I’m feeling really amped for 2018, especially after the great past couple of years’ successes at Bream Head.

The volunteer teams and the rangers continued to be on high alert for any possible predators throughout the hot summer days, especially our mustelid and feral cat trapping team who checked all traps with vigilance every fortnight. I say with vigilance because I asked them to give 110% when checking the traps as the months of December and January are sensitive times with many young native species foraging for the first time, coinciding with the arrival of mustelid kits (recently born stoat/weasels). As you can see from the results in the full Rangers Report, there has been a dramatic decrease in stoat catches compared to the previous few summers (40% less than 2015/16 and 45.5% less than 2016/17 summers). Of particular note is the switch this summer of the highest percentage of stoats caught from traps within the reserve to traps on the reserve boundary. This suggests a possible reduction in residual stoats within the reserve producing kits, which is potentially related to the ground-delivered 1080 operation in winter 2017.

It is also pleasing to see a similar trend with weasels. Three out of four weasels trapped this summer were caught on the reserve boundary, therefore only one weasel was caught inside the reserve. Even further support for the effectiveness of the toxin and trapping control employed by the Trust over the past few years has been the successful survival of monitored Grey-faced petrel (GFP) chicks to the pre-flight exercise stage in late December/early January.
During the 2016 breeding season, the 10 monitored chicks did not even make it to this stage and were predated prior to fledging. This season it looks like we might have successfully fledged monitored chicks, but I am awaiting confirmation of the data collected before claiming this possible victory!

Joint Whanagrei Heads volunteer xmas party, a great success

xmas gathering 2017

The combined Whangarei Heads volunteer Xmas thank-you.

The Volunteer Christmas/thank you function for 2017 was held this year at Tamaterau beach side reserve and was a joint Whangarei Heads/volunteer community group event. People from Weed Action, Backyard Kiwi, BHCT, Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum, and other groups from our beautiful region attended a fantastic barbeque and salads dinner on a stunning summer’s afternoon. The importance and recognition of this community’s outstanding volunteer culture and commitment was the main theme of the celebration, with small speeches given by each group’s representative. All agreed that a combined event made for a far greater outcome and better efficiencies in terms of people’s time at this busy part of the year, just prior to Christmas. It is hoped that this event will become an annual celebration for our special community volunteers and their families. A huge thank you to Jo Barr for being the main organiser and coming up with the idea of a combined event – legend!

Read the January 2018 Rangers Report (1.1MB pdf) for more details on this and other stories.