Report 32, 31 October 2018
Next Working Bees
Sunday 11th November, 9am and Saturday 24th November 9am. Meet at the (upper) Waterfall Lookout for both working bees. We will be clearing and watering 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 December will be Saturday 1st and Sunday 9th (9-11am). These are close together to get enough watering done and have the rest of the month off. We will also have our Day-Off event on Saturday 15th (9-11am) to admire our progress and discover new things. All our supporters are welcome to come.
We had two normal working bees this month, with 4 of us on Sunday 14th and 8 of us on Saturday 27th. Our work included weeding, mulching and watering new seedlings. The low numbers could indicate that seedling clearing is not as popular as planting? In reality it is just as important and satisfying especially when you save plants from dying when they are being smothered by weeds. Grass is about maximum height now so clearing is as urgent as watering. Thanks to those who have helped and to Barb for biscuits!
Bird of the Month: Bellbird (Korimako) Anthornis melanura
Thanks to one of our volunteers Di Cowan for this photo of a male. Females are more brownish in colouring and smaller, with a distinctive white stripe of feathers from the base of the beak to below the eye. Bellbirds are well known for their loud and melodious song. They are nesting at this time of the year and will be feeding on nectar from flax flowers (the orange colouring on their heads is pollen from flax flowers). They also eat insects however for protein and can be seen catching flies on the wing and even hovering like fantails. They also get insects in tree foliage and in the bark of tree trunks. The noise of their flight is a distinctive purring sound.
We have 19 plant name stakes out now and two of them are Tauhinu (Cottonwood) and Korokio (Corokia). These two plants comprise the Maori name for Mt Pleasant (Tauhinu-Korokio). You will find these in the rocky area halfway up the track to Avery Place.
Yet again the occasional rain has been insufficient to stop the ground from drying out and our “Adopt a Tree” watering scheme is in full swing.
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 and try to give them about 500ml of water each week. There will be several 3L milk bottles at water tubs, the stream pond above the Waterfall Lookout and where the track meets the stream below the waterfall. Leave your empty bottles at any of these places.
Di Cowan and I did our six-monthly bird count on Friday 19th (using the DOC 5 minute count method at 5 recording stations). We recorded 58 natives (5 bellbirds, 16 black-backed gulls, 2 fantails, 13 grey warblers, 20 silvereyes and 2 pied shags) and 59 introduced (8 blackbirds, 3 quails, 9 chaffinches, 1 dunnock, 14 goldfinches, 2 greenfinches, 7 house sparrows, 2 magpies, 6 thrushes, 6 starlings and 1 yellow hammer). This 50/50 split between natives and introduced is a reduced proportion of natives compared with the April survey, but a small improvement on the October survey last year(although there were twice as many (41) silvereyes then, so hopefully that is not a trend!).
The tally of animal pests eliminated in October was 2 rats and 2 mice. That is one less rat and 2 more mice than the low tally for this month last year and back to our recent trend of decreases.
We have 143 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.