January 2020

Will Reports: Thanks to Shirl for attending to 11 – 12 rat traps for three traplines and for over many years. Mike Oliver is now looking after these plus the DOC150’s, DOC200’s and the Possum Masters. Alison Nicoll looks after the remaining rat traps on a couple of traplines. 

Some rat traps have been stolen. Two young boys were interrupted throwing rocks at the large sign nearby the Fossils Steps, explaining the bird life in the gully. (photo below showing one of the damaged birds).  Unfortunately I didn’t notice the damage until later and didn’t have my camera  to record the little sods.   

Part of the damaged sign.

A walker told me: “A lady in a newest Jeep dropped them off at the Harts Road end off Hill street at 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon when I was heading up. Remembered because she parked on the footpath to drop 2 boys and a pup off, if the same one.” This will be them and I wonder if they might have been the same who damaged some rat traps, set of others and threw some gear around, some time ago?

During January we installed some netting here and there mainly to stop dogs or kids cutting track corners and killing some of our plantings. Ross Cullen joined us in cutting and stumping weeds (vines, barberry and hawthorn) in the South Western corner of the reserve. We had started clearing gorse and such in 2006 then KRB gave us some natives and they were planted 2007 – 2011 years. Ross cleaned up around the surviving natives then Kevin and I joined him in tackling the large barberry etc., pretty hard work with the chainsaw on such a steep slope! Due to the fire risk we have stopped using any machines (thankfully! Kevin, I’m sure, feels like me, being quite happy to walk on level ground again).  Although there are still some barberry down there. Thanks for your help Ross. 

Catches in the Gully for 2019 were 82 mice, 62 rats, 1 stoat, 8 possums, 8 hedgehogs, and 27 Asian waspnests. 

For the 2019 planting season, we planted 1040 native plants. 

The early bird gets the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese. 

Bryan Riley Reports: December report! Only one rat caught. I think we might be on top of the rat population in my small neck of the woods as a lot of the baits have not been touched this time round.I had the resident weka follow me for a while picking up the old discarded baits.It was even picking away at the peanut butter lid while I was re setting the traps – cheeky! Everything is starting to dry out with all these terrible sou west winds. I think things were dryer earlier last year so cross fingers we don’t have another very dry summer. Thanks to Will, Kevin and Peg for the helping hand on the 27th January (shifting traps down from Grassy Saddle).  Had a good walk around the Wilks block track and set a good spread of traps. Sorry but the stoat seen is still on the run! JANUARY CATCH ONE RAT (Grassy Saddle).

Alastair Mackintosh Reports: Hi Will. Not a lot to report regarding these past two months. One rat and two hedgehogs. Have located the suspected source of a rise in local rat numbers. Because of difficulty in trapping hat particular area have distributed a heap of poison. Weka proof I might add. Another very interesting thing from the holiday period is that from our deck, we noticed the comings and goings of a Tui to a Rhododendron bush.  A closer examination revealed she had a nest within two arms length of where we sat. There seemed to be 2 or possibly 3 chicks, though  hard to tell being well camouflaged and in a dense part. The mother Tui would fly back & forth every 3 – 4 minutes with insects to feed them. My bird feeder was on her flight path, but had been halted over the summer months. Feeling sorry for her and her efforts I started re-filling it. She would then feed the chicks and halt for a drink before flying away again on another search.The young have now flown the coop with one amusing me at the moment learning to talk. Or what ever it is they do. As a matter of interest, once I saw her arrive back with what looked very like a skink in her beak. Apart from that, plenty of quail about and being fed are gettingpretty tame. Especially their young. Pigeons about with a suspected nest in a conifer tree on the property. Which I do not approach and risk them abandoning. Wekas heard now and then, but few sightings. All for now,  Alastair.  Kevin working on a netting barrier and a couple of pigeons keep watch on us working nearby. 

A couple of Pigeons keep watch.

Mike Oliver Reports: Lookout traps: December – 2 rats; January – 1 possum. 

Total Gully Catchesfor December 2019:  6 mice, 1 rat, plus 6 Asian wasp nest. 
January 2020 Gully Catches:  1 mouse, 4 rats, 2 hedgehogs & 3 possums. 

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