Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report May 2015

tracking tunnel with rat prints

tracking tunnel with rat prints

The warm dry days of late summer and autumn have well and truly left us and as I write this that winter pattern of cool, wet west to southwest weather has set in. This is great for the majority of our native flora and fauna who really do enjoy a moist environment, hence why we plant in June. It’s also the time of year that pest species are feeding up large in order to store energy required to get through the winter, putting increased pressure on our predator control programme.

We have been busy fencing around the new headquarter facility being developed by the start of Peach Cove Track, presenting the work and results of the Trust to a group of interested participants from the national Kiwi hui, continuing to establish those last difficult tracks out in the Eastern part of Area by the ‘Old Woman’ and completing the May round of rodent monitoring using our tracking tunnel network. The acoustic recording devices have been getting a good workout recording Kiwi and seabird calls as part of our annual surveys and results will come out in June/July.

As has been seen regularly at this time of year, Bream Head Conservation Trusts’ Residual Tracking Index (RTI) results indicate a pre-winter spike in the number of rodents feeding up throughout the reserve. RTI is an index attained through placing an ink card into tracking tunnels which are strategically spaced throughout the reserve. Rodents are lured into the tunnel and the number of cards with rodent footprints is then entered into a calculation spreadsheet which provides an index percentage. The May 2015 RTI for the main reserve (excluding Busby Head) is 4.17% Rat, 14.17% Mice and 29.19% Weta. The rat figure is not unusual for this time of year, the mice figure is surprisingly low compared to the bait take evidence we have been seeing and the Weta seem to be constantly on the increase year to year. We will hopefully see the usual drop in the RTI for rats in August.

Read the May 2015 Rangers Report (832kB pdf) for more details on this and other stories.