Report 28, 30 June 2018
Next Working Bees
Sunday 15th July, 2pm and Saturday 28th July 2pm. Meet at the (upper) Waterfall Lookout for both working bees. We will be clearing and planting new seedlings.
- 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 August will be Sunday 12th and Saturday 26th (2-4pm).
We had two normal working bees this month, with 13 of us on Sunday 16th (including 6 students) and 11 of us on Saturday 30th (including 1 student). We also had two extra events: Seeding Mistletoe on Sunday 3rd with 11 of us (including 5 students) and an extra planting day on Saturday 23rd with 5 of us. Our work included weeding, mulching, staking and watering seedlings and planting another 161 seedlings for the season, bringing the total to 538. This leaves about 512 to be planted over the next 8 weeks, or 64 per week! We will try and hold some extra planting days to catch up. Thanks to Barb for all the biscuits to sustain us!
This plant (pirita/Ileostylus micranthus) is rare in Christchurch as a whole, but can often be seen in our community. Instead of growing in the soil, the seed is eaten and excreted by birds onto tree branches and the mistletoe “roots” into the branch for moisture and nutrients. The plants grow in the host tree, into evergreen balls about 1-2m wide of lush green leaves and produce small green flowers in summer and small, bright yellow fruit through autumn and winter. The flowers and fruit attract native birds and insects.
Our task was to find good host trees in good locations and squeeze the sticky seeds out of the fruits (supplied by Council), stick them onto small, low branches and record where they are so we can tell the Council later, which ones successfully sprouted.
As you will have noticed, the first half of the year has been very wet. We have had 536mm compared with the average of 303mm. Last year we also had our annual average rainfall by the middle of the year. This was followed by a very early drought in November and we had to put in an extra big watering effort to keep seedlings alive. It paid off because our seedling losses have not been as high as expected for those we were able to water. It seems likely that we might get drought conditions again late this year, so please be prepared for another big watering effort!
The main track from the junction with the track to Drayton Drive, up to Craigieburn Lane has been closed again because it is muddy, slippery and dangerous with excessive mud and silt washing into the stream.
I have sent photos and a list of erosion issues in the Reserve (including under-runners, slumps and mud and silt flows) to the Council asking what they can do to rectify them. Our stream will continue to carry excessive silt and be devoid of aquatic organisms until the water quality is improved. I have also made inquires about monitoring the water quality in the stream which may become a project for school children.
We thank the Redcliffs Residents Association for paying the renewal of the domain name and hosting costs ($138.58). These were paid for last year by a private donor.
The tally of animal pests eliminated in June was 2 possums, 1 rabbit, 2 rats and 7 mice. This is similar to the June 2017 tally for all pests, except there was a weasel rather than a rabbit.
You may not want to look below….maybe a record catch?? Two possums at once!! One is a juvenile and may have been piggy-backing (they were shot in the morning after trapping).
We now have 138 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.