Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report March 2021

We took a few moments to reflect and enjoy our progress, before getting straight back into the mahi.

Kia ora mai koutou

Near the end of March, I enjoyed a walk up to the peak of Te Whara, along the main track checking mustelid traps for any catches and just so happened to meet up with our very own ‘lizard king’, local herpetologist and all-round nice guy Ben Barr. During this walk Ben and I crossed each other’s path and every time we did, we shared what we had just seen or heard in the last few minutes; four Toutouwai/North Island robins, multiple kaka, multiple kereru/kukupa, a rotting log loaded with mating giraffe weevil, flocks of touhou/silver eye, korimako/bellbirds at every bend in the track, hoheria in flower, Northern rata in flower, tui up the wazoo, a gecko skin, Bream Head/Te Whara skink, miromiro/North Island tomtit everywhere and a Popokatea/whitehead. Ben also saw a kakariki on his way to the summit a few days earlier, which was a real buzz!

So Awesome

This experience was so awesome, it was the pick me up I really needed, it was good for motivation and it filled my wellbeing tank right up! It refreshed my belief that we are indeed making a huge difference to the ecological restoration of Bream Head/Te Whara. When you are so heavily immersed with your head down as project manager of a project like this you sometimes feel like things are a bit flat, are we achieving our vision, what else could we do – a lot of self-analysis. We have a way to go to eradicate the threat of the last predators in the reserve, but we have already come so very far, seven years ago when I started with this wonderful project I would not have seen or heard quite a few of those species or in such abundance and breeding at the reserve. If it were not for this project I would have not met and got to become friends with so many wonderful people involved too. The ultimate learning I took from all this is that nature is one of our greatest healers, motivator, provider of mauri ora/wellbeing, it also allows one to simplify things when times are perhaps stressful and see clearly that things are really going well – how lucky we are in Aotearoa to have these wild spaces for this solace.

Lush Forest

So, you can see that the majority of our species outcomes are doing well at this time of year and with the ngahere/forest looking lush again there seems to be good life in the reserve. Predator trap catches are still extremely low, even in places where we have added extra traps and detection tools. Our switch out to the new rodent toxin known as double tap is going well and should all be in by the end of April. We are seeing a raised uptake with this change up in toxin, but then it settles down again quickly too, hopefully this all means we are removing rodents that were not attracted to our Pindone toxin. The other great thing about the double tap toxin is that it can quickly remove any possums, just 1.5 pellets required to kill a mature adult. In conjunction with this toxin switch out we are lowering our bait stations to just above ground level (they were at a raised height as best practice for 1080 delivery) in order to target any ground dwelling Norway rats who are not capable of climbing to a raised bait station.

Super Busy

The volunteer and ranger teams have been busy as usual in and around the reserve with plenty of weed control action, trap and bait station checks, kauri die back station refills, track and hut maintenance, school visits, poisoning wilding pines, installing electronic nodes and automated lure dispensers to traps as well as intensifying and adding more traps at strategic sites. The Trust was successful with a new habitat restoration fund and the Trustees have been super busy with strategic planning and fund applications to keep the project ticking. Read the full report for some of the key highlights of the month including reports from our three other rangers.  Kia pai to ra (have a great day)!