Report 34, 31 December 2018
Next Working Bees
Sunday 13th January 9am and Saturday 26th January 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 February will be Sunday 10th and Saturday 23rd (9-11am).
12 of us (including 4 students) met at the Waterfall Lookout where Colin Meurk explained the inaturalist.nz website and the cellphone app he has set up for Drayton Reserve. This enables you to record or get identification of any species you photograph. We also had a ramble and discovered many plants we hadn’t noticed before including orchids and unknown ferns. Colin will get the ferns identified for us. It was great to see almost all seedlings we have planted over the last three seasons showing lots of new growth.
Discovery of the year! Banded Kokopu in our Stream. This fish was recently found by a local ecologist, dispelling the previously held view that this species did not exist in streams on the north side of the Port Hills. Banded Kokopu are a tiny proportion of the annual “whitebait run”, which is about 90% comprised of the short lived Inunga species. The young Banded Kokopu can climb steep rock faces (unlike the Inunga), can grow to about 200mm long and mainly eat terrestrial insects which land on the water. They also dislike streams with suspended sediment and we will need to improve the water quality in our stream to ensure they remain and thrive here.
We had two normal working bees this month, with 8 of us (including 1 student) on Saturday 1st and 3 of us on Sunday 9th. 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!
We have had about 80mm of rain this month (26mm last year) and 102mm evapotranspiration (139mm last year). While the moisture loss is only 22mm (113mm last year) it is still enough to kill some seedlings, so please continue with extra watering.
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.
The tally of animal pests eliminated in December was 1 rat and 3 mice (similar to last December but no weasel, rabbits or hedgehogs). The bait in our rat traps continues to be taken, probably by mice. Colin provided confirmation that we do indeed have Asian Paper Wasps in the Reserve now. These were thought to have not spread below Marlborough but have now been found as far south as Otago. They are solitary wasps and the queens build nests low to the ground on small shrub twigs in dry sunny areas. They are slimmer than the common wasp and have broad black colour bands and narrow yellow ones and the wings are a reddish colour. The nests are a small “honeycomb” connected by a stalk to a plant twig. One nest near the bottom of the Avery track has got yellow “caution” tape around it. It now seems to be abandoned (maybe due to the cool weather), but shows what to look out for. These wasps give a painful sting so keep clear! We will eliminate them where we can.
Please keep cutting these, especially Boneseed (saltbush), non-native Broom (yellow flowers), Fennel and Blackberry. Spur Valerian (red, white or pink clustered flowers; 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 at least cut off the flowers, contain in a bag and put in your red rubbish bin.
We have 148 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.