Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report August 2018

Bucket loads of good work has been conducted throughout another busy month at Bream Head, with lots of positive results for our species, and not such good news for pests and predators trying to enter the reserve.

Tracking tunnels have been monitored, traps and toxin checked and maintained to high standard and manuka slash laden with seeds have been laid at the Home Bay planting site. We have also been busy with intensive mice control and monitoring of threatened species, bush craft with school children, a volunteer celebration ‘Million Dollar Mouse’ event, building retaining walls, developing architectural plans, discussing sign plans, surveying flax snails, replacing worn out traps, checking in with volunteer trappers, judging the regional science fair, monitoring grey faced petrel and the planning/preparation of the whitehead/popokatea bird survey. And of course, there isn’t a month that goes by without the many, many hours of behind-the-scene meetings, research, applications and planning by our continuously busy trustees and committee members. The awesome news is we have had another 0% residual tracking index (RTI) for rats this month, that translates to 0% chance of trapping a rat in the reserve in one trap, over one night. Of course, there are a few rats still around, however the chance of getting one rat in a trap in one night is very slim indeed. The official results of the Bream Head tracking tunnel survey for August 2018 are: Residual Tracking Index (RTI) Rat: 0% (+/- 0%). Mice: 30.67% (+/-5%). Weta: 34.00% (+/- 4%).

Predator Control

In terms of predator control we continue to see a very quiet interior and a relatively active boundary which has been busy catching possible invaders. Twenty six of the 30 predators/pests caught in August 2018 were caught in the buffer zone or on the boundary line before they even had a chance to slink their way into the reserve. The extra 140 traps added to the boundary in 2018 are really cleaning up new possible intruders to the reserve, but this greater number of traps is also making our 2018 trap capture rates look far higher when compared to 2017. Possum captures are a little higher on the boundary than for the same period in 2017 with two mother and back riders (young possums) caught as well as a couple of individuals, this is again not a fair comparison as there are now double the number of possum traps on the boundary than in 2017. Three of the four possums caught were in the newly added Steve Allen SA2 cat traps which have the added benefit of being able to catch possums also. Its great to have another possum trap type to catch those possums possibly shy to our existing Sentinel traps, which are wearing out in the trying elements of a coastal reserve.

Species Monitoring

Species monitoring and outcomes in August have provided some really great results too, with new grey faced petrel burrows discovered, a fantastic population survey result of the Placostylus hongi (flax snails) at Peach Cove and many great sightings of more North Island robin fledglings spread even further throughout the reserve than ever before.

If you would like to know more about some of these cool items read the full report (3MB pdf) and enjoy!

Flax Snails

Flax snails (placostylus hongii) being counted at Bream head Reserve.