Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report July 2016

Like the temperature, predator numbers have taken a real dive in the last couple of weeks with only five pests caught in traps.

Trapping News

Nice to have some colder weather up the hill, enjoyable to move around the reserve without sweating as excessively as in the summer months (I am probably the only person who enjoys winter lol). Like the temperature, predator numbers have taken a real dive in the last couple of weeks with only five pests caught in traps! This year’s July figures, compared to July 2015, are a bit distorted due to the fact that we had just installed the new network of bait stations and traps in the final area at the eastern tip of the reserve. Therefore, in comparison trap catches in July 2015 were high for pests such as Possums as we removed these predators from this area.

Robin Monitoring

BHCT Robin monitoring volunteers

BHCT Robin monitoring volunteers (from left) Alan Willis, Tony Climie, John Green, Nathan Arcus, Darren and Alphonse Patel.

July’s operational programme was mainly focused on the routine checking of bait stations and traps as well as the first formal monitoring of our North Island Robin and their distribution pattern since the releases back in April and May. Bait take for July was very low compared to the few previous months so a decision was made to shift onto our bi-monthly (every two months) bait check starting from August. The Robin monitoring project saw teams of two volunteers walk the Trust’s trap/bait lines using a consistent monitoring protocol to search for birds not yet seen since release. Several birds were discovered and seemed in good health, still displaying early mating patterns.

Other operational activities included the induction of two new volunteers who I hope to profile a bit more in the August report. One of these chaps is the very kind Russell who has morphed nicely into the role that Roger Clarke usually does with pride, that being the very important job of bagging up our toxin so that the ranger and volunteer team can head straight out on the hill with all the gear ready to go! Russell is also hoping to get out on one of the lines to help with the trapping and bait checks. Russell is joined by Ocean Beach local Chris Prentice who has already been out training to check traps. It’s such as pleasure to now have a great team on the main part of the reserve helping with the operational maintenance of our intensive predator control programme. Of course our long term volunteers in other groups such as Busby Trappers are still putting in the hard yards too and enjoying their predator and weed control work and the social rewards of this group!

Local School Goes Bush

Rescue stretchers made from sticks and flax.

Rescue stretchers made from sticks and flax.

During the second school term I had the fortunate opportunity to be able to spend an afternoon each Friday being involved at Whanagrei Heads School’s ‘passion’ time where the children were able to choose an activity of their passion. Each week I took approximately 15 children for bush craft, where the children learnt about some basic bush survival skills, bush health and safety and rescue, basic plant and animal identification and all about predator control. The group was successfully able to make a new track along the small stream that runs from the top carpark down parallel to the west of the school buildings in the native bush. In my own time I hope to setup a full network of traps, bait stations and species monitoring facilities (weta hotels, tracking tunnels etc) in this area with the help of the children, parents and teachers. My aim is that the children will have a small version of a restoration project like BHCT’s that they can learn all about ecological restoration and enjoy for school outdoor education too. We had a great lot of fun getting really dirty (sorry parents and teachers) and I really enjoyed the tough outdoor spirit of these kids and their passion for the outdoors, nature and getting stuck in.

Read the July 2016 Rangers Report (680kB pdf) for more details on this and other stories.