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Drayton Reserve Volunteers

Drayton Reserve

Report 26, 30 April 2018

Next Working Bees

Saturday 5th May, 2pm (rescheduled from postponed 28th April). Sunday 13th may, 2pm and Saturday 26th May 2pm. Meet at the (upper) Waterfall Lookout for all working bees. We will be clearing and planting and watering new seedlings.

Working Bees for June will be Sunday 17th and Saturday 30th (2-4pm).

Recent Work

We had one normal working bee this month, with 6 of us on Sunday 15th. We had two extra working bees, with 5 of us on 31st March (Easter Saturday)  and 13 of us, including 4 children, on Anzac Day. The normal Saturday bee has been postponed to the 5th of May. Our work included weeding, mulching and watering seedlings, clearing for new seedlings and planting another 100 seedlings for the season, bringing the total to 163.

Council

The tracks, which should have been cut in February, are expected to be cut in the next few days. I had a site meeting with Council officers and contractors regarding the firebreak cutting and these have now been cut again using better guidelines which avoid damage to seedlings. Cutting will also only be done adjoining occupied properties.

Boardwalks

No, the cutting of all the boardwalk posts was not done by us or Council officers, but by vandals. Not much more one can say about such people. We will clear up the mess and Council officers are investigating.

Seedlings

Our first batch of seedlings arrived from Council on the 19th April, enabling us to plant 56 on Anzac Day. This year Council will be able to supply all the plants we need, so we won’t have to ask for donations. We may however still do some transplanting of existing seedlings within the Reserve (which would otherwise not survive).

People sometimes ask if we want their self sown seedlings to plant in the Reserve. While these offers are appreciated, both the Council and ourselves want the plants in the Reserve to be “eco-sourced”, which means propagated from seed which Council or DoC have collected from old original species on the Port Hills. This means the plants will be genetically the same as those species which have evolved here for millions of years (making them the most likely to thrive and be compatible with the thousands of micro organisms in our soils). With local self sown seedlings, we can’t be sure which plants they have come from. For example, there are two varieties of Ngaio around here and the most common one is a Tasmanian one which has been introduced by nurseries. We have only the native one in the Reserve. Also, there are different NI & SI Kowhai, which also can hybridise. We have only the SI microphylla in the Reserve. By sticking to eco-sourced seedlings the Reserve will become the community “hotspot” for native biodiversity and lots of seed will be spread into the local community by wind, lizards or birds visiting the Reserve.

Website

Our first update adds our general guide on when we will have working bees and what to wear and bring and updates the programme.

Pests

The tally of Animal Pests eliminated in April was 5 possums, 1 rabbit, 2 rats and 10 mice. This is 2 more possums, but 25 fewer mice compared with the same time last year. Please cut off weed seed heads if you are out walking and pop them in a bag and then the rubbish bin, to reduce further seeding.

Bird Count

We did our 6 monthly bird count on Friday 20th April, thanks to our expert member Di Cowan. We recorded 76 natives (3 bellbirds, 4 fantails, 8 grey warblers, 1 harrier, 55 silvereyes and 5 black-backed gulls) and 41 introduced (11 blackbirds, 7 chaffinches, 5 dunnocks, 6 goldfinches, 1 greenfinch, 4 house sparrows, 4 magpies and 3 starlings). The proportion of natives has increased from 51% this time last year, to 65% and this is the reverse of the 33% proportion for our first survey in November 2016. This gives us great encouragement for more trapping and planting.

Volunteers

We now have 134 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: ecosolutions@xtra.co.nz.