January 2021

Will Reports: January has been sort of catching up with things like weed spraying (quite a lot) releasing around the new plants and looking out for pest vines that have crept up here and there through our plantings. The trappers on their traplines haven’t caught too many pests, maybe because of the dryness or perhaps with all the pine trees gone nearby, we haven’t had much infiltration? Earlier, there were many fantails about, a number of weka, tui and bellbird but they have gone quiet. A number of Californian  quail have had good broods – because of the lack of weka? Their young scatter like large bumblebees when disturbed. Thanks to Ross for helping with cutting out a number of hawthorn trees on the Jimmy Lee side of Grassy Saddle. We have lost the odd plant due to the dryness but Brian Hirst’s ribbonwoods are going well.

With all the pines gone, a number of people have been remarking about the lack of shade these hot days and also the state of the forestry roads. It sounds like sections of the roads have been left in a rough condition. It will take several summers before they have any shade up there though! 

2016 March: Henry Road tower towards Grassy Saddle.
2021 January: Henry Road before Grassy Saddle.

We haven’t come across any asian wasps nesting in the green sleeves this year yet. Last year we destroyed only 6 but in 2019 we destroyed 27. In the home garden the swan plants have no monarch caterpillars or even eggs (I’ve watched wasps take both caterpillars & eggs away) so maybe the wasps have found it too risky to nest up the hill?    

Kevin Reports: Much of I have been involved in is the same as Will; vine weed hunting, weeding and releasing plants.  There has been good growth earlier on with the heat and occasional rain, but the ground is drying out now and more rain would be great.  We planted out about 8 Nikau in the wetland area near Lone Fern Corner, and noted the total absence of Weka, with the Kereru being the most common bird around at the moment.

Kevin has a spell after tracking down pest vines.

Bryan Riley Reports: Hi Will, January trap catches.

Waterfall line — 1 Rat, 1 Mouse

Wilks line  — 1 Rat,  2 Mice

I have been back up the hill today (4th) checking the traps. Quite a number of wood pigeons about gorging themselves. Also some tui song which was nice to hear. Still some flow in the upper Hart Creek but drying out quite quickly. I guess we can’t complain as we were a lot dryer this time last year!

Bruce Harvey Reports: Hi Will, There was no little critters caught this month. Cheers Bruce. 

Alastair Mackintosh Reports: Hi Will, Slightly better score with regards to trapping to start of the year. Two rats and three hedgehogs. 

One lonely Weka about, plenty of Fantails and quite a few Pigeons and Tuis. Half tame Quail still around, though was disappointed to see that one pair ended up with a single chick two 2 weeks later. Another pair, however, still have 8 after the same period. Suspect cats, of which there plenty. All for now, Alastair.

Mike Oliver Reports:  Just one rat in the gully.  At the Lookout:  1 rat; 3 possums; 2 other. 

This months total Gully Catches:  3 mice; 5 rats;  3 hedgehogs. 

Thanks to all the Gully Volunteer team: 

plus thanks to; 

TDC; Ewing’s Poultry; & Sarah & Rick Griffin.         

And of course Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter! 

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