Report 8, 31 October 2016
TWO WORKING BEES NEXT MONTH-- AGAIN!!
We need to cut out as much broom, saltbush/boneseed, fennel, tree lucerne, gorse and pigs ear as we can before they seed and spread further. We will focus on an area suitable for planting natives next year. For those preferring lighter work our new seedlings can be weeded and mulched. Meet at the waterfall lookout half way up the valley at 2pm on Saturday 12th and Saturday 26th November.
---Some Council equipment will be available but you may prefer to bring your own.
---Wear sturdy shoes or boots, suitable clothes and sunhat.
---If weather is bad, the alternative dates will be Sat 19th Nov and Sat 3rd Dec.
---Cake and hot tea will be provided! Bring your water bottle and a cup for tea.
David and Dan Cox have continued clearing blackberry above the footbridge and Council have weeded the tracks. We had 8 of us planting and clearing on the 15th and 6 of us weed clearing on the 29th when the weather looked like it would be lousy but cleared up just before we started! We planted the final 112 seedlings bringing the total for the year to 660, a great effort considering all the associated weed clearing. It is encouraging to see that several people have been adopting seedlings and giving them extra water. Working bees have also been a great opportunity to meet and chat with other people and the cakes and hot tea have been most welcome. Well done all and hopefully more volunteers will join in next month.
A few more name markers have been put in to help tree identification…totara, wineberry and marble leaf and others will follow.
From now until about February is the time to water seedlings at 1-2 week intervals to keep soil moist down in their rooting zone (after this period, it will be very difficult to get water to penetrate the soil). We hope people walking in the Reserve will “adopt a tree” (or several trees!) and water it/them from their drink bottles as they pass. Tie your own cotton tag on it/them to let others know it/those are being taken care of. The trees and all of us will appreciate it!
We have set out and retrieved 12 pest detector cards which indicated significant presence of rats and possums. Council have provided us with 8 sentinel possum traps and we have had encouraging discussions with a potential sponsor for 25 rat traps. We are waiting for trap warning signs from Council and will be sending a note to the 30+ neighbours inviting them to join in by operating their own traps. We have registered our group with Predator Free NZ and added it to the national map. We have no proposals for controlling cats, we just ask owners to keep their moggies well fed and indoors as much as possible, especially at nights.
We have just carried out our first bird count thanks mainly to Di Cowan who clearly has much experience and skill in this work. It is much more difficult than you might think! Di will prepare a spreadsheet for our records but in summary there were: 37 natives (2 bellbirds, 5 fantails, 2 grey warblers, 2 harriers, 1 kingfisher, 20 silver eyes, 3 swallows and 2 black-backed gulls), and 75 introduced (12 blackbirds, 5 quails, 19 chaffinches, 3 dunnocks, 14 goldfinches, 4 greenfinches, 8 sparrows, 4 thrushes and 6 starlings). The survey was done using the “5 minute counts every 200m” method. The results are indicative only but will give us trends from year to year.
This bird wasn’t in the count but instead banged into a window of a local house! It soon recovered and was sent on its way. Shining cuckoos are Pacific migratory birds which appear here in the spring. They don’t build their own nests, nor do they look after their off-spring. They just lay a single egg in some other bird’s nest, usually the smaller Fantails and Grey Warblers, and leave the feeding and caring to them. They all head back to the Pacific Islands for the winter. They are more often heard than seen, their call described as usually a repetitive, up-slurred whistle of 5-8 notes, followed by 2-3 down-slurred notes.
You deserve one easy day a year, so we are planning a “Reserve Ramble” with Colin Meurk the ecologist as our guide, who will show us many native species in the Reserve (which we haven’t realised are there!), to be followed by a bit of a picnic at the waterfall lookout. This will be held on our scheduled “work” day 17th December. Meet at the lookout at 2pm. If you want to volunteer any time or resources to this long-term community project, contact Dave Bryce 021363498 or email: email@example.com.