Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report July 2019

The Trust joins with AUT to advance research and development in terrestrial and marine environmental/conservation restoration.

Tena Koutou katoa,

Memorandum of Understanding with AUT

I do hope you are all very well my friends, winter seems to have finally arrived, but this has not slowed things down at Bream Head one bit, as it has been yet another busy month in all facets of the operation. The most exciting news is all around the fantastic visit to our project by the Hon. Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation and Associate Environment Minister!! The minister came all the way up north to visit the Trust after our amazing Trustees invited her to witness the signing of our memorandum of understanding with AUT, and to look around and gain a greater appreciation of what we do to restore the full ecology of Bream Head. (More detail in the full report.)

ripley dean and eugenie sage

Ripley Dean and Eugenie Sage

More Petrels!

The other stunning bit of news for July was my discovery of more grey faced petrel adults in burrows and on eggs for the first time for a site west of Peach Cove Hut. This area was known to us for old, unused burrows in which neither former ranger Pete Mitchell nor I had been able to find any birds nesting since the start of the intensive management of the reserve by BHCT back in late 2011. More about this in the full report too. Holy moly, that’s an incredible level of recognition, wonderful extension of our ecological results, as well as some very exciting future developments going on in our rohe (area)!! It truly is an exciting time to be involved in conservation/restoration in Northland and New Zealand and I for one am super stoked about this part of our future and look forward to the ride.

Back Down to Earth

Okay, back down to earth now – predator uptake of toxin and the number of those being caught in traps has now dropped off dramatically with the cooler weather, even the boundary system is recording very low trap catches. I have been extremely proud and impressed with the very high quality of bait presentation and trap maintenance by the ranger and volunteer crew. On a wet but enjoyable day mid-July I went along/crossed over five different volunteer lines and everything was in near perfect condition. No wonder our predator control system is returning consistently low numbers, even in a mast year. Volunteers have also been busy recording the condition of the sentinel possum traps on their lines as part of a possum trap upgrade to a mixture of the best condition sentinels with a Steve Allan SA2 trap in between. This upgrade is expected to continue for several more months but will provide the Trusts’ predator control network with more tools for controlling possums and the introduction of the very effective yet simple to use SA2 trap.

Around the Project

The following is a summary of what else has been going on around the project in July: more upgrades to our operational facility with new office furniture, plans and quotes for the roofing, deck timber due to arrive soon and windows for each container being made as this report is written. I have started the long but important process of listening to the kiwi acoustic recordings from Peach Cove and initial results show a lower than normal kiwi call count trend thus far, similar to the results for the rest of the heads due to the very long dry period from the start of this year right through July also. We had Northport loan us their health and safety manager Joe Cowan for a day with the focus on our systems and processes for all our safety on the reserve and a full report is due in August. We were fortunate enough to have Tutukaka Land Cares’ awesome ranger Cam McInnes join us for a day also and check out what we do to restore Bream Head/Te Whara as well as chat about latest issues/techniques in ecological restoration. Finally, Ripley and I were able to present the draft pest plant management plan to the Trust’s ranger committee for review and hopeful approval by the wider Trust group. This will be a great driving document that aims to significantly suppress weeds (and even eradicate a few weed species) in the Bream Head Scenic Reserve, utilising financial support from DOC, existing ranger time and volunteer working bees and teams.

If this all sounds good to you, then read on for more detail and some cool photos!