Report 23, 31 January 2018
Next Working Bees
Sunday 11th Feb 2018, 9am and Saturday 24th Feb 9am at the (upper) Waterfall Lookout. We will weed and water seedlings and clear an area for this year's plantings.
- Wear suitable clothes, footwear, gloves and hat and bring your own tools if you prefer.
- Bring a full water bottle and biscuits will be supplied.
Working Bees for March will be Sunday 11th and Saturday 24th.
We had two formal and one casual working bee this month, with 3 of us on 2nd, 2 on 14th and 8 on the 27th. There have also been many walkers and others helping with the watering. While we have had many seedlings die in the unexpected heat, we have also saved many and will need to continue with our watering efforts.
You may have noticed more fantails (piwakawaka, Rhipidura fuliginosa) while walking in the Reserve this summer. I saw six in one tree at our place adjoining the Reserve just recently. They are prolific breeders (a pair could have several broods in a season with three or four chicks in each brood) and a reduction in predators would enable them to increase their population quickly. The normal colouring of our South Island subspecies is grey upper and orange-cream underparts, with white markings on the head and throat. Up to 25% of this subspecies can however be completely black (black morph). Fantails are agile fliers and their large fan shaped tails enable them to quickly change direction to catch insects on the wing. They often follow you as you walk along tracks so they can catch the insects which you disturb. I’m hoping they are keeping our mosquito numbers down!
Our water bins and plastic milk bottles (set out to supplement the Adopt a Tree scheme) are being well used. The bins will be topped up with water from Avery Place (thanks to Andrew Stark) and we have also left bottles at the grey willow waterhole above the waterfall lookout and where the main track comes down to the stream below the waterfall (although the waterhole here is sometimes dry!).
Adopt a Tree scheme
Could you please adopt about 6 plants each, tie your own cotton ribbons on their stakes so you can easily find them, try to water them once a week, carefully pull out their stakes and pour water down the stake hole (this will get the water deeper and reduce waste to evaporation), replace the stakes. Most of the needy plants are already staked and some have old ribbons which we will gradually remove. You can use bottles from the water stations and return them or leave them at another water station.
The tally of Animal Pests eliminated in January was 1 weasel, 2 rabbits, 4 rats, 6 hedgehogs and 9 mice. This is little higher due partly to some late reporting by a neighbour. Plant pests are still a concern with lots of fennel, saltbush, blackberry, broom, giant hogweed (wild parsnip), succulents and gorse in flower or seed. Please at least try to cut off flower heads if you are out walking, to reduce further seeding.
Progress on loading data has been intermittent, but completion is much closer now!
We now have 124 supporters on our email list and look forward to having more volunteers join us for a chat and helping hand on our future working bees. You are sure to find it very satisfying planting and caring for native trees and wildlife and restoring the Reserve to its former glory, especially for the local community.
If you want to volunteer any time or resources to this long-term community project, contact Dave Bryce 021363498 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.