August Report

Will Reports: Not a great deal going on up the gully this month – or next month too I guess, but we have done something! In preparation for the logging we shifted the table on Grassy Saddle plus the track sign posts up higher and we will put them back once the logging has finished. Not sure about the table though as many have said it’s better where it is now.

All closed. From Grassy Saddle looking up to the cellphone tower.

A lot of small plantings though; long grasses and renga renga (maybe a hundred or so of each); 16 beech, one tanekaha a couple of totara from Janice Gibbs, plus Bryan gave me 5 good sized fivefinger plants. The beech were mostly black beech as they are the best for growing up there but also included were silver and red beech too.

Some of the Kawakawa trees are suffering some sort of virus (well, that’s the fashionable name at the moment) which has killed a number in the gully. The disease was in Jimmy Lee Creek some years ago but now it has spread into the Wills Gully kawakawa. Some plants seem to recover though. I’m not sure but I’ve noticed that the caterpillar that makes the holes in kawakawa seems to have been affected as a number of leafs have less holes. Maybe a poison of the disease in the plant leaf deters them? The photos shows a dying plant.

A cross section of a stump of a kawakawa. It’s about 100mm across but no age rings like a ‘proper’ tree?
A dying Kawakawa.

A fair bit of weed spraying done before the ‘lockout’ too. Thanks to Gary of Olsen’s for his assistance regarding the logging.

Kevin Reports: Hi Will, This is in response to your question about lack of growth rings in Kawakawa stems (as per the post on the gully Facebook page):
If you follow this link to an article published in 1911 it probably explains why a Kawakawa trunk? stem? looks like it is.  I found it hard going, but I think it says that the woody cells (Xylem) develop from the inner side of the Cambrian layer (just under the bark) in bundles that vary in cell density, and tend to give a radial appearance to the woody stem.  The article says that growth rings can be seen, but they are not very pronounced.

If you can get more from the article please let me know.  Sometimes life is too short to get too involved with esoteric scientific research…. I found also that there has been investigation going on in the North Island into the Kawakawa dieback but so far I have not found any results from the research.

Bruce Harvey Reports: Hi Will, Just 1 mouse caught this month before the traps were disabled (because of the logging nearby). Cheers Bruce

Bryan Riley Reports: Hi Will, I hope you managed to get those trees planted. Sorry I could not help but had an appointment I had to keep.

Total for August-   Rats   Mice
Wilks line  —            3        5
Water fall line —    3        3
           Totals          6          8       

 Alastair Mackintosh Reports: Hi Will. Trapping rather slow again. Nothing until the cold rainy snap a week or so ago. Then two rats the same night in traps set outside, two metres apart. Set up trail camera as curious to see how many people still used the walk way after closing. A few still do, not a lot but surprisingly all were older people. Their problem. Camera photographed a possum that I have set a trap for. No luck as yet.

An early morning spider.

Plenty of tuis about and quite often see kereru that seem to be flying just for the joy of it. Not much sign of wekas but something carted the two dead rats away that I had not disposed of due to heavy rain at the time of checking. May have been cats, more probably wekas. About all for now. Back to the greenhouse and new plants. Regards, Alastair.

Mike Oliver Reports: Gully Lines: 4 mice and 2 rats.
While up around the Fire Lookout: Catches for August were 1 rat and 1 other.

August 2020 Total Gully Catches: 13 mice, 10 rats.

Something to ponder?

An article from the Guardian Weekly: Destruction of nature leads to hike in zoonotic disease: The human destruction of natural ecosystems increases the numbers of rats, bats and other animals that harbour diseases that can lead to pandemics such as Corvid-19, a comprehensive analysis has found.

The research accessed nearly 7,000 animal communities on six continents and found that the conversion of wild places into farmland or settlements often wipes out larger species. The damage benefits smaller, more adaptable creatures that also carry the most pathogens that can pass to humans. The assessment found that the populations of animals hosting what are known as zoonotic diseases were up to 2.5 times bigger in degraded places, and that the proportion of species that carry these pathogens increased by up to 70% compared with in undamaged ecosystems.

Isn’t it a bit strange that there is no talk about human population control though? Anyone heard of human traps being made?

The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe,
for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that
because it’s handle was made of wood, it was one of them.

Thanks to all the Gully Volunteer team: plus thanks to; Tasman Holdings Ltd; PF Olsen, TDC, Ewing’s Poultry; & Sarah & Rick Griffin.

And of course Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter!

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