Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report February 2018

Our ten grey faced petrel chicks are now fledglings and we’re really very happy about it.

The Big News

BHCT has successfully protected the 10 monitored grey faced petrel chicks through to fledging, one of the only community groups to achieve this without a predator proof fence on the mainland! This is a huge pat on the back to the trustees, the rangers and very much to all the volunteers who help continuously out there on the hill – especially those who slogged it out with the 1080 operation in spring 2017. Other local groups unfortunately were not able to protect their chicks this summer breeding season just passed, with the only difference between our projects being our use of 1080. We also noticed the difference within our own project too, as reported last time that 45% fewer stoats were caught this summer and 66% of those captures were caught on the boundary before they could spread inside the reserve. Most importantly, over the last two summer breeding seasons we have lost GFP eggs and chicks to predation by rats and then stoats, but not this summer – we nailed those predators with intensive predator control and ground based 1080! This positive outcome is potentially huge for the Trust as it proves we have the systems to protect highly vulnerable, sensitive ground breeding birds whilst they breed and raise their chicks to survival. Unlike a Kiwi adult, the GFP adult is also at risk to predation from stoats, making this achievement a new height of success for the Trust. (Kiwi over 1200g in weight have a very high chance of survival with stoats around).

Thanks to Our Volunteers

Well, what do you write after that…you write about the terrific bunch of volunteers that are making this all happen, that’s what you write about. February was a tricky month for predator control due to the extreme humidity for longer than usual periods throughout the month. This caused salted rabbit bait in traps to deteriorate within a couple of days, and for toxin baits to spoil in a month, rather than the four months it usually takes when a toxin bag has not been ripped open by a rat or mouse. It also caused rodents to think it was the big wet before winter, driving them out of the long dry grass into the forest (and buildings) looking for shelter from the damp conditions and more food, far earlier than usual. Therefore, our dedicated volunteer and ranger team hit the slopes hard again in February visiting all 1200 bait stations with new toxin bags, icing the possum traps with blue ferafeed paste lure, and baiting up the 110 DOC200 mustelid and 47 feral cat traps with new pieces of salted rabbit. We had people weeding woolly nightshade trees on the boundary, people pulling thistles in the planting site at Home Bay, new volunteers slogging it out over the top of Bream Head to stock the toxin, others bagging up endless supplies of toxin for the team (thanks Roger Clarke), some putting media releases together, others planning educational visits, talented people adding information to our website and updating it, future planting day planners, and of course those on the Trust driving the next five year operations plan and the associated community consultation meeting – phew!

Read the February 2018 Rangers Report (1.2MB pdf)  to find out about a few of these things in more detail.