Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report September 2017

Grey faced petrel chicks are thriving in the absence of rodents and mustelids.

I hope you are all well and enjoying the longer daylight hours, I certainly love to utilise the longer days to get out in the garden or enjoy the setting sun and a nice cold beer on the deck after a hard slog up the hill! Well I am happy to report that things are still going very well with our projects throughout the reserve, the rangers and volunteer teams have continued to service the intensive network of bait stations and traps and it appears the recent 1080 operation has really knocked the stuffing out of the rodents. As you can see from the predator control numbers below it has been an exceptionally low capture period in September with only five mice and one rat caught!

1080 Numbers Good but a Stoat on the Loose

As I wrote in the last report our residual tracking index (RTI) for August was 0% for rats, and a lower then average 23.85% for mice and this has been supported by an almost zero uptake of any of the Pindone bait we put back into bait stations after the 1080 pulse in August. On the stoat side of the business we have had no stoats caught since the 1080 pulse in any of our traps but we did have quite a scare when one of the 10 trail cameras at the grey faced petrel site revealed a fast moving, large male stoat cruising through the area. The stoat was only seen once by one camera on the 11th of September and has not been seen since in any of the two rounds of full camera footage checked since that time. Interesting too is that this particular fella left all 11, normally irresistible, grey faced petrel chicks in the burrows without harming any of them and has not been seen since. It is well documented that male stoats cover large territory at this time of year in the pursuit of females to mate with and there is potential that this is what has happened in this instance.

So, things are extremely quiet all through the reserve at present, except for the birds of course, and this is an early but strong indication that the switch to a pulse of 1080 toxin has a very positive effect on reducing predator populations, particularly that low number of potentially residual and toxin/trap wary population. However, we still have a stoat breeding season ahead of us and in this game – anything can happen.

Celebrating our Friends and Supporters

Friends and supporters enjoying a chance to chill out.

With everyone so incredibly busy these days it’s always nice to take a moment, take a breath, grab a drink and sit down with those we share our time with and have a good old catch-up, pat each other on the back, have a laugh or three and just chill out. That was exactly the theme for a recent celebration thrown by the Trust to thank and acknowledge all its supporters including friends and volunteers who make this awesome community project happen. On a reasonably nice September afternoon approximately 30 supporters, Trustees and volunteers gathered at the operational headquarters at the start of Peach Cove Track and enjoyed a nice cold beer, wine or juice and some delicious BBQ snacks prepared again by our chefs Geoff Pike, Sally Prince and Claire Pearson.

The event was also used to thank our amazing volunteers who slogged it out applying the 1080 into bait stations recently, all of them carried some large loads in some not so nice weather so these people can be proud of the recent results we are seeing on the hill.

Read the September 2017 Rangers Report (900kB pdf) for more details on this and other stories.