Report 29, 31 July 2018
Next Working Bees
Sunday 12th August, 2pm and Saturday 25th August 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 September will be Sunday 16th and Saturday 29th (9-11am).
We had two normal working bees this month, with 9 of us on Sunday 22nd (including 2 students) and 20 of us on Saturday 28th (including 5 students). We also had three extra planting days on Saturdays 7th with 3 of us, 14th with 5 of us and 21st with 2 of us. Our work included weeding, mulching, staking and watering seedlings and planting another 170 seedlings for the season, bringing the total to 708. This leaves about 235 to be planted over the next 4 weeks, or 59 per week! We will again hold some extra planting days to make sure we finish by the end of August. Our planting is taking longer than normal because we have to do so much weed clearing as we go. Thanks again to Barb for all the biscuits. (If you noticed that our target has dropped from 1050 to 950, that’s because some seedlings were returned to Council because they were not eco-sourced from the Port Hills.)
Cabbage Tree Moth
This strange looking moth arrived inside our house one night (it seems to have a damaged wing). They usually rest during the day on the underside of hanging dead cabbage tree leaves and the pattern on their wings matches the veins of the leaves for camaflage. Eggs are laid on the leaves and hatch into green loop-caterpillars which chew large holes and notches in the green leaves. They are one of about 10 species of native invertebrates which feed on the cabbage tree. Many bird species as well as lizards also feed on the flower nectar and fruit.
Another plant returned to the Reserve this year is Kaikomako (Pennantia corymbosa), sometimes called Ducksfoot because of the leaf shape. This species is endemic and found throughout NZ in low altitude forests. The juvenile form is a tangled mass of branches (like many other NZ tree species) and small leaves, but emerges into a 4-6m tree with a slender trunk and a rounded crown of large glossy leaves. It has masses of fragrant wax-like white flowers which develop into blue-black berries, devoured by bellbirds (hence the maori name kai(food) and komako(bellbird)).
The tally of animal pests eliminated in July was 2 possums, 1 rat and 3 mice. This is about half the July 2017 tally for pests, which is encouraging. David Cox and I have upgraded and relocated some traps to make them less visible and accessible to kids and dogs, to renew some rusted ones and to add a new DOC stoat trap (supplied by David).
Now is a good time to get those wasp traps out, especially to get the queens and stop them starting new colonies. I have been getting 4 or 5 wasps a week lately, maybe the winter has been too mild?
Good soil moisture has continued this month with about 40mm of rain and only 30mm of evapotranspiration. Seedlings need to get their roots down below the grass roots to avoid being out-competed for moisture over the summer. So far, so good!
We still have 138 supporters (with some new ones and some departures) 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: email@example.com.