January 2019

Will Reports:  Throughout December, besides the trapping, we have mostly been attending to releasing plants and lot of spraying plus work with the weedeater, trying to keep the weeds at bay.

In January 2019 Kevin & I have finished repairing the steps rising from the Hart Creek crossing, combining with Keep Richmond Beautiful’s David Burt. See the end result on the Facebook page.  Kevin had a good idea regarding the transport (lugging) all the timber up to the creek by posting a sign at the start of the track asking anyone passing to carry up pieces of timber to the creek. It worked! A number of people did so and some even going backwards and forwards. All the timber was up within a half an hour! Space was fairly tight plus with the numbers of walkers passing; so we only had a small working team.

Kevin’s sign.

Some days later we trudged up the track with our working tools and started on the steps. David came a little later with some women folk who were helping him carry up his tools. Kevin asked what did David have that he and I didn’t. He only received some laughter from the women before they carried on with their walk.  – So we still don’t know!

The recent strong winds have blown over a number of plants and also a couple of previously ringbarked hawthorn trees across the walking track. Shirl & I have cleared the hawthorns from the tracks. (You can check out our progress on Facebook).

Diseased Kawakawa below Grassy Saddle.

The photo is of a Kawakawa just below Grassy Saddle so it looks as if the disease is spreading. This is a great pity as there are some very good old specimens growing there and it will be a shame to see them die.

Alastair Mackintosh Reports:  Hi Will. Another slow month December. Two hedgehogs & one rat. A very large male. Do not seem to be any wekas about at the moment. Hope they have just moved elsewhere in function of what is around in the way of food.  February: Nothing much to report with regards to trapping this past month. Traps all still set, but no signs of much activity. Tuis, as always, still present, bell birds less so. Quite a bit of activity regarding Kereru and I am pretty sure a couple have nested again in a conifer down my drive way.  For the third consecutive season. Large numbers of fantails about and by the sounds of increased calling, the wekas seem to be moving back. Cock pheasants have stopped calling and I presume that either they have found their mate, given up, or moved on to greener pastures. Quail still around in reasonable numbers with one family of Mum, Dad, a couple of their first born, and their new brood. All reasonably tame (for quail) who seem to be very happy with the various dishes of water I leave about. Cheers to all, Alastair.

Bees cooling down.

Alison Nicholl Reports:  Hello Will, Sooo dry, sooo hot…… No mice no rats. The leaf litter gets deeper every week up the Gully and no sign of rain in the near future. Heard the first cicadas on the 11th Jan but noted that I heard them 2 weeks earlier at Mapua! Some trees and shrubs here are wilting and a Kanuka tree has died. I have a water saving regime here – buckets in the shower, the laundry and the kitchen.  Our newly installed tanks are helpful but none of these efforts are enough, as the evaporation rate seems very high and despite my best efforts plants are wilting.   However great new steps!!

I met Allan Hart up the hill this morning on his way up to inspect the steps as well, He was looking fit and well and does well to walk from below the Richmond business district.  Yes I agree about the less cicada’s but sometimes they do not get full voice until Feb and I can hear a few more this morning, but I wonder if the ground is too hard for them to emerge? Bees have been at my bird feeder so I moved it on to the deck. Last evening we were sitting out there in the evening and a couple of Tui came in, right in front of us, and one was a young bird with the yellow baby bird throat begging from the adult, it did not have developed wattles yet either, so that was good to see and let’s hope it survives to maturity.  Happy Daze.

I spotted a native orchid beside the track – miccrotis unifolia. It is a very small and insignificant one.

Mike Olive Reports: No catches during December but 1 rat and 1 possum for January.

Bryan Riley Reports:  No catches to report for December. Have reset all traps. Checked traps and reset on 16/1/19.  Caught a rat in a tunnel trap set in a tree! Very dry and not much rain on the horizon. I guess we will not be able to check the traps until the tracks open? Good work on the steps.

John Wilson Reports: That he might be able to continue checking the traps. See how things go John?

Total Catches for December 2018: 5 rats & 2 hedgehogs. Catches for January 2019: 3 rats.

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