Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report March 2019

Bream Head ranger Ripley Dean and volunteer extraordinaire Marc Lawrence tackle a steep bank covered in moth plant.

Late Summer Days

Wow, what another awesome month at Bream Head Scenic Reserve, with some beautiful late summer days and the very welcome relief of some rain at last. I am sure all the native species are much happier now with some moisture in the forest floor producing much needed nourishment to invertebrates, which in turn are vital food sources to those higher up the food chain. The long, dry, hot summer days this year have allowed all plant and animal species either native, endemic or introduced to breed/seed very well indeed. The introduced vespula wasps species (German and common wasp) have really enjoyed the dry winter/spring and summer past, breeding up into very high numbers and now feeding on invertebrate protein to feed their pupae. Our awesome volunteer/ranger team have reacted very quickly to this threat and installed a robust grid wasp bait station network, laced with a clever vespula wasp specific toxin to try and suppress this nasty pest/predator. More about this in the full report.

Pests and Predators Breeding

Other pests/predators have fared well from the ideal breeding weather, in particular and of note, the possums and stoats. As you can see in the trap data statistics, we have had five possums and three stoats caught in March 2019, whereas we caught none of either in March 2018. The good news is that the stoats were only caught on the intensively trapped boundary and evidence through our toxin uptake is that we have caught most of the possums before they have become resident in the reserve (if we don’t catch possums in traps, they will eat the toxin from the rat toxin stations – which we have not seen evidence of in March). Even though observationally we have seen some rat and mice catches in the field, the data reveals that we have caught far fewer of these critters in comparison to March 2018.

March Mahi

Other awesome mahi and results have been achieved through the month of March such as an argentine ant monitoring and specific control throughout Ocean Beach residential area, progress is coming along well with our relationship with Northport to upgrade/develop our fantastic operational headquarters, seabird expert Chris Gaskin visited the reserve to conduct a site suitability survey for a possible gannet reintroduction/breeding location, DOC confirmed an additional $5000 per annum toward the install and servicing of the intensive placostylus and Bream Head skink site protection project (protection down to mouse level – THANKS DOC!), a large moth plant infestation above Dead Horse Bay has been treated, the Busby Head Trappers and Smugglers maintenance teams have continued their impressive trapping, toxin and track maintenance, rabbits have been processed and salted for lure baits and we also had an awesome pre Northpower Wild Kiwi corporate event held on a stunning afternoon around Busby Head. I told you guys March was going to be another full on month – actually they all are amazingly busy months in this fantastic, intensive community project!

Read the full report for the control and monitoring statistics as well as a more in-depth look into some of the key items listed above.