December & Review of 2022

Kevin Piper Reports: Much is being said about there having been a wet spring, but the Gully has dried out rapidly and more rain would be a real benefit. When some rain was predicted mid-December I (with family help) planted 10 home-grown trees around the slip by the Twin Gums, but the rain didn’t come to much and I don’t like their chances. Also planted were a dozen Teucridium. If they survive, they may help create an understory and give the bush more ‘substance’. Overall, the Gully is looking good in spite of too much (August 12th) or too little rainfall, and we can only hope for a more even spread of precipitation in 2023.

Bryan Riley Reports: December trap totals — Wilks line — 2 mice 1 weasel
Waterfall line — Zero. Cheers, Bryan.

Alastair Mackintosh Reports: Hi Will. First of all : Happy New Year to you, the family and all the team. Score for this past month is 4 rats. A first for me was two live trapped in the same trap at the same time. Looked like a couple of adolescents out for their first walk around. Quail still about but there seems to be an increasing problem with predators. One mum had several chicks, but a few days later she hopped past with a broken leg and no chicks. Not being able to scratch around, she would not survive for long. Another had 9 at first count, 4 a week later, 3 the next day and 1 the day after. I suspect cats but do not exclude other predators. All for now, Alastair.

Bruce Harvey Reports: Hi Will, Happy New Year to all. During December the rat population around Grassy saddle decreased by 2. Cheers Bruce

Mike Oliver Reports: Mike’s Gully Lines: 5 rats and 1 stoat. Mike says there might have been some mice caught as some traps were dragged to the tunnel entrance – maybe weka’s having a meal?

Will Reports: Well, it started off all right and from January to March it was mostly clearing weeds, with planting starting in May through to June but interrupted with the big downpour in August. This was quite bad with two slips taking out several of our forest trees which had been planted about 7 to 9 years ago and had reached a height of up to 8 to 9 feet – totara, kahikatea and beech trees.

Some Sad News: Janice Gibbs has died. She has given me many plants for Will’s Gully over recent years and I still have some growing at home because they are too small to plant out yet. They are totara and I’ll plant
one in Will’s Gully, nearby the seat on Memory Corner in her memory. Janice spent a lot of time trapping at St Anaud and also worked in Snowden Bush in Brightwater.

Rainfall at my place (downhill from Grassy Saddle & Hill Street) rainfall for 2022 was 1527.5mm for the year. The yearly average here is 1354.5mm. Up the Gully on Grassy Saddle, the rainfall is always more than my place. So the year ended up with a 173mm more than the average yearly rainfall. But, but, – we had three months with well above the monthly average with the remaining months, a lot less. So much for averages to give a clear picture! Still, it worked out; a little often, which helped our plantings along nicely although the weather interrupted the actual planting.

Monthly Rainfall for the Year at my Place

Traplines: Thank you to our trappers; Mike Harvey, Bryan Riley, Alastair Mackintosh, and Mike Oliver for their regular monthly catches reports and for helping with the planting and clearing too. We have got rid of 2318 pests since the trapping started in 2008. Not to forget a special thanks to Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter for some of our bait supply.

MiceRatsStoatWeaselPossumH/HogWasp NestFerrel CatFerret

Planting & Thanks: Total plants planted for the 2022 year are approx. 947 not counting the last TDC/KRB planting (on the south side of the Top Table).

Thanks to Kevin and Peg Piper, David Burt and Ross Cullen for sorting out the flood damaged tracks and stairs plus some replanting. Thanks to my Shirley and daughter Karla for their help with the planting from time to time.

Thanks to TDC and Keep Richmond Beautiful for their help with two areas of planting nearby the Top Table, Grassy Saddle. Thanks to Tasman Environment Trust (TET and Elaine Asquith) for arranging some ply to make some replacement tunnels. Thanks to Peter Wilks for his help.

Thanks to John Slaney, Jeana Packer and Dawn Chalmers, all busy working lives but able to spend some time up the gully attending to the maintenance of the plantings.

Thanks to our native plant suppliers; Brian Hirst, Ross MacDonald, Sue, Janice Gibbs, Maureen Schmidt, Paul Peychers, and of course Kevin Piper, who also helped with the ‘co-governance’ of the group. And to Don Sullivan for passing on about 34 native plants. I even grew and planted some native plants too!

Progress! Overall, we have practically ‘redeveloped’ the gully and up to Grassy Saddle except for the odd corner or pocket. A good coverage of the ‘second growth’ or the fastest growing native plants with many inserts of the forest species (totara, beech, etc) coming on. The same with the lower undergrowth species too. Over the twenty plus years we have been working in the gully, we have planted well over 14000 native trees.

Unfortunately, most of us won’t see the forest species growing above the lower trees but at least we have started something. On Grassy Saddle the Kowhai and tree fuchsia are growing well, with some up to 8 to 10 feet high. Maybe a good flowering coming up in the Spring? It would be good to see some drunk tui and bellbirds wobbling about on the branches!

December total Gully Catches: 2 mice, 11 rats, 1 weasel & 1 stoat.

Some Progress Photos

On Grassy Saddle looking up hill towards the Top Table, January 2022.
On Grassy Saddle looking up hill towards the Top Table, June 2022.
August 2022 – The Floods, The track at the Hart Creek crossing. All repaired.

From the Bottoms Track – On Henry Road by the locked gate, June 2020.
From the Bottoms Track – On Henry Road by the locked gate, January 2023.

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