Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report August 2017

Farewell to two trustees and hello to ten grey faced petrels in the Reserve!

The Grey Faced Petrels are Back

With the expert advice and assistance of local Ocean Beach resident, NZ seabird expert and BHCT volunteer Cathy Mitchell, we have been able to survey the three known Grey Faced Petrel (GFP) sites and have found 10 adult birds sitting in the burrows, most likely each incubating an egg. This is exactly the same number discovered in the 2016 breeding season, which all survived to chick stage before becoming victim to what appears to be predation by stoats(s). We have added two more DOC200 mustelid traps, six tracking tunnels, and 10 infra-red trail cameras at the burrow sites. All burrows have been sign posted, GPS’d and safety ropes installed (it’s very steep, cliff face country out there). I will be revisiting the sites every two weeks to replace the SD cards from the trail cameras, refresh the bait in the traps and tracking tunnels. We will then be able to analyse the data back at base.

cathy mitchell

Cathy Mitchell carries traps to the grey Faced Petrel site.

Big Win for Kiwi Coast

There is a lot going on again at Bream Head and around our region. Great to hear the fantastic news of the recent partnership agreement between Northland Regional Council and the community-led “Kiwi Coast” project, that’s going to be a great long-term win for our Kiwi and other species for Northland. I recommend you check out Kiwi Coast’s website to see what this leading initiative is achieving for our species in Northland. Bream Head Conservation Trust have been part of this hands-on community drive to increase Kiwi numbers and other species since its inception several years ago. Great work NRC, a very positive way to work with your community!

Big Loss for Trap Shy Stoats

Back at Bream Head, initial results coming in are indicating positive response to the 1080 operation thus far. In early August, the 1080 was applied into the 1160 bait stations in plastic bags after two weeks of nontoxic pre-feeding. Results just in from our 150 Tracking Tunnels reveal a Rat residual tracking rate at 0% (was 6.67% – only just back in June!) Weta numbers have jumped back up from 8% in June to 19.23% and Mice more than halved in the same period from 50% in June to 23.85%.  This is great news showing that we have been able to manage the removal of Pindone toxin to allow Rats and Mice to temporarily increase and act as a vector to deliver the 1080 to Stoats, then bring the rodents back under control smartly. It will be sometime before we can gather all the evidence to show that the 1080 operation has been successful in removing the trap shy Stoat threat.

Generally, observations of pests such as possums are still very low indeed. The reserve is very alive with great variety of birdsong, including Whiteheads, and the Robins just seem to be everywhere (I actually found two fledglings just above Peach Cove Hut where we had only previously recorded one from last year’s breeding season).

Haere Ra (Farewell), to Two Long Serving BHCT Trustees

At the August Trust meeting we sadly said a formal farewell to two long serving Trustees who resigned from their positions. The event was a nice affair with a delicious afternoon tea, some good memories and a few funny stories about the journey over the years. Don Hewitt was a founding trustee who worked very hard to help setup the foundation of the Trust, in a time where environmental causes were not so common place, well supported and many hurdles were thrown in the way of these pioneering people. Kim Tito has been the Trusts very important link to local iwi and hapu, guiding the Trust on conservation issues and protocols according to a Maori perspective.

Read the August 2017 Rangers Report (1.6MB pdf) for more details on this and other stories.