June 2019

Will Reports: The Problem of Dog Owners: Most dog owners let their dogs run free up the gully and I mean free – running through the bush many metres from them. They are definitely not ‘under control’ and pity any weka that happen to be nearby. They also cut corners along the track, knocking about any plants in their way and scare smaller children no matter what size the dog. Then there is the owner who throw their doggy bag into the bush along the track.

We came across a ‘lady’ trying to call in her wildly running dog and when reminded that there were weka nearby (protected wildlife), she said her dog didn’t chase wekas and he was only a few months old. (??) She then said it didn’t matter as there were plenty of weka about anyway.

The plant puller is at it again! Eight to ten newly planted natives on Grassy Saddle have been pulled out and thrown aside. The same problem we have had a little while ago and is it the same person doing this? We will probably install a camera to try and find out who is doing this stupid act. The drought has been hard enough on the plants without this carryon! And then we found that some druggie has been puffing away and leaving his ‘goods’ behind.

Magpies Heard: To top off this lot of moaning, while re-planting on Grassy Saddle Kevin and I heard a couple of magpies calling higher up in the pines. Crikeydick, what with errant dogs, deranged plant pullers, druggies and now magpies! Should we just give up, stay at home and sulk?

But Now the Good News! Georgina (of Mainly Natives) sent this: Hi Will, I FINALLY got myself on your track this week – I had a fabulous loop walk from Jimmy Lee around and out your gully. A gorgeous day to view all your hard work! It’s looking amazing with some interesting plant communities getting a good foothold. Now that I have discovered this walk I will do it more often :)….I noticed that there was some underplanting in the bush just below Grassy Saddle – looked like matai – that had all died (presumably from the dry). If you’d like to try some more, let me know – I have plenty. Got spare totara too. Cheers, Georgina.

Thank you Georgina, we will be in touch.

The track steps from the creek crossing to The Scullery have been completed (thanks also to KRB’s David) and we are now working on improving the track from here to Grassy Saddle. About 200 under storey plants; dianella, native grasses, tussocks and renga renga, have been planted throughout our earlier plantings. With another 200 odd under storey plants to get out, will have to stop sulking and get planting!

The construction of the Grassy Saddle steps.

Alastair Mackintosh Reports: Hi Will. Two rats for the month is all. Not much sign about locally, but there will be others about. Had an interesting exercise this last week. An elderly friend, resident in the upper Queen Street area, contacted me regarding something that often vandalised his bird feeder. Usually leaving large amounts of droppings that did not look like anything we were familiar with. This made me wonder about what traps to use, and how to go about trapping it. What ever it was. I set up the game camera owned by “Native Bird Recovery Richmond” and after a couple of nights, identified the culprit as a possum. We came to the conclusion it was after the sugared water and prepared to wreck the feeder to get it. Traps set for the loose bowled culprit, but no results so far.

Alison Nicholl Reports: Oh No! it’s happening again. [The plant pulling] I hope you can get to the bottom of it all. Such a lot of work goes into the growing and planting of the Gully.

My report for this month – 1 mouse! One broken trap which I have here and one broken tunnel. – Worn out. I had a lot of possum pee and scat on the trap near the junction of the main walking track and Doug’s Run track. Main birds this month were quail and blackbirds plus the tui.

[Have a replacement tunnel for you Alison]

Mike Oliver Reports: (from the fire lookout ridge): Hi there Will, just a brief note as it is a small total for June – only 1 mouse and 1 rat. I was away in Rotorua for a week, came back and was out of action for 2 weeks with a heavy cold so not able to keep on rebating/resetting traps. The mice/rats are still there though, and I am back in action!

Bryan Riley Reports: Hi Will, Sorry to say nothing in the traps to tally for June. Having said that I suspect I have nailed a few rats but the weka have robbed the traps before I get back to check. The old story with a number of traps moved from their sites with traps set off and rat fur sign in the traps? The new steps look great.

Peter Wilks Reports: (from the private native bush nearby) Two rats caught during June.

Total Catches for June: 10 mice; 8 rats; and 1 possum.

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