Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report May 2020

After long lock down weeks where we couldn’t get out on the reserve, and a month where we skipped the Rangers Report, it feels great to be back!

It is good to be back!!

I am really stoked and proud to be part of the team of 5 million who have worked together to remove the Covid19 virus threat to our lives, it is so great to know that we can get back to our new ‘normal’ lives feeling safe again – that’s a great freedom! It has been particularly wonderful to return to our mahi kaitiaki on the reserve, enjoying the vitality that the forest and its indigenous habitants provide.

Drought and Resilience

The drought over the last 12-18 months really has taken its toll on some aspects of the northern ridges and to the mature tarairei over on the south eastern side too. However, our recent observations of many bellbird, tui, kaka, North Island tomtit, North Island robin, silvereye, morepork and kereru flocking throughout the reserve and spilling out into local gardens is very pleasing and gives one hope about their resilience.

Canopy Loss due to Drought

Canopy loss due to drought near the ‘Old Woman’, Bream Head Reserve.

Positive Predator Results

The predator catch data reveals a very positive result when compared to the month of May 2019. In May 2020 we caught only seven rats and five possums, compared to May 2019 with 32 rats and 10 possums respectively! This perhaps is a very good reflection of the effectiveness of the extra predator control now occurring in the buffer between Urquhart Bay and Ocean Beach by the Trust and the local land care groups. Total predator catches were well under half that of May 2019 too, with 68 predators caught in 2019 and only 27 in May 2020!

After coming out of level three, the team at Palmer Canvas Whangarei were able to return to our operational facility at the start of Ocean Beach and finish our new, stylish, and very functional canopy roof over the structure. We have had some awesome results for our grey-faced petrel (GFP) from our acoustic recording devices during our annual kiwi listening recently. We also achieved excellent monitoring results in our highly intensive placostylus hongii and Bream Head skink protection sites, with no rats and only two mice tracked – and only one of those two mice were actually in the protection sites.

Fifty Two Volunteers

Local legend volunteer Rupert Newbold has been tending to the nursery manuka plants on his property that we will share and these are coming along nicely since the drought but might require more time to grow in their planting trays due to the dry we experienced. We now have 52 volunteers working on the reserve throughout the year and more are joining the team! Our rodent toxin has been removed from the bait stations to allow rodent numbers to lift in ahead of our 1080 operation in spring. Another local environmental legend, Paul Cornille has spent many hours scouring the reserve controlling large wilding pines. Those who have been out to Ocean Beach recently may have noticed the pines dying on the northern faces and this is the result of Paul’s very hard work over the summer months ring barking the trees.

Please Help Us Cover Our Funding Shortfall

The unfortunate news is that the Trust is looking at a reduction in funding to the tune of $45,000 in the coming year due to the impact of Covid19. This is going to impact our ranger capacity with the loss of half a position in hours for our restoration project. The Trust is working tirelessly with its current partners and looking at new funding initiatives to recover this loss so we can maintain the gains we have made over the past 10 years. One way you can help is by becoming a friend and kindly giving a $10 donation every month, this type of donation gives the Trust more certainty in uncertain times. The real beauty is that you know this will be spent directly on the reserve and turned into tangible outputs, rather than tied up in red tape. Please visit our website if you can contribute, and sharing the link with your friends will help

Read the full Rangers Report (1.5MB pdf) and enjoy!