Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report November 2017

We celebrate a wonderful year with better than ever trapping and weed control leading to regenerating foliage in the forest canopy and grey faced petrels emerging from their burrows.

Wow what a year huh?! As this is my last rangers report for 2017 it is a celebration of a wonderful year at Bream Head by the Bream Head Conservation Trust and all its supporters. I will put out a report in early February 2018 covering the period from December 2017 to the end of January 2018. We achieved so many wonderful outcomes this year and its been so enjoyable to share the successes with you all, I hope you have enjoyed it all too. We have had North Island robin fledglings spring up all over the show, the translocation back to Bream Head of the whitehead/popokatea, a very successful predator control operation using 1080 into bait stations, and so far the Grey Faced Petrel chicks are still safe and two have even started to come out and spread their wings ready to fly away. We have seen the development and successful running of the Ocean Beach Landcare group who are doing a sterling effort controlling pest animals and weeds in their area. Our volunteer and supporters level is fantastic and keeps on climbing too. We did sadly lose the skills and services of Evan Davies who had been working for the Trust for just over five years when he withdrew his contractual services and headed of to work for DOC just a month ago. However, fortunately for the Trust we were able to increase Bruce Cole Baker’s contract hours to cover the shortfall and Bruce has made a very positive impact already. So, let’s hope all our GFP chicks get to fledge over the summer, the predator numbers stay very low and you all have a very safe, fun, relaxing holiday season. Words cannot express how thankful the Trust is to you all, our awesome community who supports us every step of the journey…it’s truly an honour to live, work and play in a place where nature has a voice and the community works together to achieve many fantastic outcomes! Wishing you all a merry xmas and happy new year!

Grey Faced Petrels Emerge

As mentioned earlier it is with great excitement that I can confirm as at the time of writing this report our infrared cameras have returned some really great footage of the grey faced petrel chicks emerging from their burrows for the first time to spread their wings, exercising them each night for approximately 10 days before leaving the reserve. The young birds come just outside the burrow entrance, covered in a mixture of chick down and flight feathers, and flap their long wings vigorously until resting themselves down on their bellies to take a breather. The first chick emerged on the 27th November and a visit to the burrows on Monday December 11 revealed no chick in that burrow and no predators on the cameras in the area. It is yet to be fully confirmed but this may have been our first monitored GFP chick to make it successfully right through breeding. That is something quite special to me as we have come along way from the first discovery in 2015 of a few eggs, which were predated upon by rats, then the first chicks hatched in 2016 but were destroyed by stoat(s). A lot of time and effort has gone into protecting and monitoring the breeding in 2017 and we have had 11 chicks hatch and three have now been caught on camera to emerge for their pre-flight exercises. More monitoring will be carried out over December to determine how many successfully make it through to independent fledgling stage.

regenerating canopy foliage

Canopy foliage is regenerating after 19 possums were destroyed.

The Restorative Power of a Great Community

I have been walking past this tree on the ridge walk up from Ocean Beach to the radar station for three years now, and in the early
days it stood out as one of the only trees missing its canopy foliage. There was not even a single leaf from half way up. However, in the last six months or so I have noticed for the first time the canopy is regenerating with new lush leaves. This area is the boundary to the last area of the reserve to attain predator control, and it was an area especially high in possum numbers for its given size. Shortly after we added the traps and bait stations in July 2015 we caught 19 Possums in approximately two weeks. No wonder the trees were suffering! How cool is it to have such strong evidence of the great effect some good community work and spirit can do for our special places, plants,
animals and people?