April 2020

A poem written especially for Will’s Gully by Ken Taylor ~

Loving Nature

Going up the gully

For bush clean air

Makes you feel jolly

As you wander there

To listen for bird-song

Do not make haste

As you stroll along

Never fast your pace

In Richmond’s bush surround

Hear natures purest tone

Clear cascading waters sound

When dashing over stones


Bush of Nature

ALL so very pure

For love of nature

Is your only cure…

… Ken Taylor (April 2020)

Will Reports: Great News ~ According to the new meaning of the word Eliminate, it seems like the PredatorfreeNZ will be able to claim, that by 2050 all pests in New Zealand WILL be eliminated!

Guess what, if this is the case we have completely eliminated all the pests up the gully several years ago! I’m wondering if we should sell all our traps; at least get something for them before others realise that their traps have become useless? Any cash raised to go towards buying more native trees. The pests that we are catching now? We will have to make some signs informing them, as they just don’t realise that they have been eliminated.

Someone keeps vandalising our Bottoms Track signs. “The Bottoms” is the correct name and it has a meaning! It is very steep above and during the clearing of weeds, a number of times I ended up on the track in a certain position! More worried about where the chainsaw or slasher had gone than anything else. So it would be good if the disfigurer would leave the signs alone and to remember, it was only by the hard work and sweat of the past that they can walk along this track now.

With the extended dry period with very little rainfall, a number of plants have succumbed especially the large forest trees, however, a couple of regulars who wander the gully tracks, Brent Beloe & Bud, sent this email: “Hi there Will. Notice some of our plants not looking too good. Have been giving a drink each time we go up but maybe to late. If they don’t pick up over winter I will pay for replacements as like them around the “Memory Corner. ” Take care and stay safe. Brent and Bud.” We have people like Brent & Bud who appreciate our work and then there are others!

There seem to be more silvereyes around so let’s hope they are on the increase again. At home I have one of those mouse traps that has four entrances. Early April I caught 3 mice at one time – so now trying for four at once.

Kevin Piper Reports: Tracks on the gully have been well used in recent weeks. I would expect the counters to show record numbers. Great to see the number of family groups enjoying the exercise. Many comment on how much they enjoy the hill walks. Women usually say ‘thankyou’ for the work that we do, men rarely do so, but appear to appreciate the tracks and bush/plantings anyway.

Will and I have been working independently in the gully, and I managed to get over 50 plants in the ground before the weekend rain – 20 Nikaus, assorted Marlborough Daisies, Haloragus, Pokaka, Kowhai, Putaputaweta. Next week I hope to get some Blue Tussocks, Epilobium and Bulbinella around on Grassy Saddle, and this should pretty much clear out my stock to make way for plants (hopefully) coming along.

The damaged sign has been replaced at the Fossil Steps with before and after photos. Thanks to Kevin for the acrylic clear sheet.

A lot of Piwakwaka (Fantails) around at the moment, and several Kereru flying around in the bush. Good to hear the Karearea overhead, and hope that their habitat is not destroyed with the logging due to start soon.

Bruce Harvey Reports: Hi Will, Not sure if there is an April return expected, but I have checked the traps a couple of times on the way passed, and have caught 5 rats.

Hopefully the virus is almost controlled and we can return to ‘new normal’ whatever that may be. Keep well, Cheers Bruce

Alastair Mackintosh Reports: Hi Will. The acquisition of a new Moultrie Game camera has allowed me to identify different places of rat activity without leaving my “bubble”. The results were six this past month, plus a mouse and one hedgehog. Incidentally, the neighbour caught another 5 rats. Plenty of tuis and several bellbirds at the feeder. No sign nor sound of wekas, but several kereru about feeding on puriri berries and resting in a nearby oak tree. Notice a few grey warblers and hear a couple of moreporks most nights. Plenty of fan tails, one rabbit (a friend), quail mostly moved on but cock pheasants quite vocal. Huge numbers of track walkers passing of which 15 – 20% are accompanied by dogs. All for now. Must check game camera. Alastair.

Mike Oliver Reports: Heard the odd weka but not a lot around it seems. Catches at the Fire Lookout: 7 mice, 3 rats, 1 possum and 1 other. (These are not included with the gully catches)

Ross Cullen Reports: Piwakawaka seem very numerous near the track. The track sees quite a steady stream of walkers and runners, and we have noticed a large increase in numbers of people walking, biking, running on the south end of Hill St.

April 2020 Gully Catches: 3 mice, 15 rats, 1 hedgehog.

Thanks to the Gully Volunteer team: Kevin, Alison, Bryan, Bruce, Mike, Alistair, Ross and Peter. Plus thanks to; KRB, PF Olsen, & Sarah & Rick Griffin.

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