Report 33, 30 November 2018
Next Working Bees
Saturday 1st December, 9am and Sunday 9th December 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 January will be Sunday 13th and Saturday 26th (9-11am).
On Saturday 15th December, Colin Meurk will help us discover native plants and creatures we don’t realise are in the Reserve and we can also admire the progress we have made over the last (almost) three years we have been working. Meet at the Waterfall Lookout at 2:00PM.
We had one normal working bee this month, with 9 of us (including 3 students) on Sunday 11th and one extra bee with 10 of us (including 6 students) on Wednesday 14th (teacher’s strike). Our work included weeding, mulching and watering new seedlings. It was very satisfying knowing that we were saving plants from dying from lack of water and from being smothered by weeds. Thanks to those who have helped and to Barb for biscuits!
Mt Pleasant School Visit
On Friday 2nd we had a visit from 100 students and some teachers and parents (organised by our volunteer and teacher Lisa Chubb). I gave them a talk on native birds and the bugs and trees they feed on and they walked from Basil Place up to Drayton Drive and back to School. They must have stretched for 200m along the track! It was great exposure for the Reserve and we all had a good time.
Yet again our rain, despite being regular, has been insufficient to stop the ground from drying 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.
Thanks to all those doing watering and please keep it up, especially as we move into Summer.
Some of you may have seen or heard birds in the Reserve which we haven’t yet recorded in our bird surveys. Ones to look out for or listen for are: Tui, Kereru, Falcon and Shining Cuckoo. Let me know if you see or hear them.
The tally of animal pests eliminated in November was 1 weasel, 1 rat and 1 mouse. Interestingly we have heard in the last few days about a family of 4 or more weasels feeding on road kill, well up Moncks Spur. Maybe they’ve been through the Reserve? However, the bait in our rat traps continues to be taken, probably by mice. Weasels will kill mice and rats, but when those get scarce, will turn to other things including lizards and birds, so we need to get the weasels! We also seem to have Asian Paper Wasps in the Reserve now. One nest has got yellow “caution” tape around it, awaiting ID confirmation. Keep clear!
A related matter is the profuse flowering of cabbage trees and flaxes this Spring, which happens when there is an increase in average summer temperatures for the previous two years. This creates a mast year with increased food for lizards, birds and pests!
Please keep cutting these, especially Boneseed (saltbush), non-native Broom (yellow flowers), Fennel and Blackberry. Spur Valerian (see this document about Spur Valerian for more information) is also now flowering throughout our community (especially on roadsides) and will soon turn to fluffy seed and get wind-blown to a wider area. It is hard to pull out, so concentrate now on cutting off the flowers, containing in a bag and putting in your Red rubbish bin.
We have 147 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.