May Report 2020

Will Reports: Due to the harvesting of the pine trees above Grassy Saddle, David Burt, Kevin and I removed a number of signposts and then the picnic table itself on Grassy Saddle to a more ‘secure’ spot out of the way of any possible damage. We will restore the signage once we are given the all clear.

A few days ago I received an email:

“Hi Will,

You may not remember me, but last spring I was walking up on your hills with a friend and you told me about Helio Hebes. I now have in my garden. I mentioned to you I was growing some Totaras from small seedlings and would supply some to you. I now have these and there about 30- 40 of various sizes between 500mm to 1000mm ready to plant. I can deliver to you but equally happy to help you plant them, or plant them where you think they may do best on the foothills. There are also about 50 reasonable size ribbonwoods (about 700mm) that are ready to plant if you can use them. I just like natives and now sort of retired quite like the nursery aspect, not to sell but to make people happy.”

How could we possibly refuse an offer like this? And besides that he has even offered to plant them! “You point and we plant” he says. Yes, we have stakes and covers, but any spare holes you might have would be handy. Many thanks indeed, Brian Hirst.

The old table in a new spot. Kevin and David have a break after the shifting.

Kevin Piper Reports: Recent bouts of rain have been good for the plants, and many have perked up from looking rather parched and static from the dry spell. Soil on the hill is still very dry, however. I have been planting out some smaller natives as ground cover around the bigger shrubs and trees. Recently planted were some Bulbinella (Maori Onion), Jointed rush (Oioi), several species of tussocks (blue red, etc), Pachystegia (Marlborough daisy) and some Epilobium (Willow weed). Hopefully these will join the Hibiscus, Rengarenga, Dianella and Heliohebe to replace the gorse and weeds that we have removed.

Bruce Harvey Reports: Grassy Saddle catches: 4 mice and 5 rats.

Bryan Riley Reports: Wilks Block catches: 1 mouse, 2 rats and 1 weasel.

Alastair Mackintosh Reports: Hi Will. Total of 3 rats this past month. Not a lot of sign about even with the game camera. Heading towards that “Predator free NZ by 2050” ? Yeah right! Quite a few Tuis about and several Bell birds. Several Wekas can be heard calling near by but rarely seen. Fantails common and friendly. Rabbit still around. All for now.

Mike Oliver Reported (of the Gully boundary traplines) that when he was taking the two possums out of the Possum Master traps he had a fantail flitting about him. And then he noticed that, due to the possums state of maggot containment, the fantail was catching any falling maggot! Mike placed some of them onto the ground but the fantail ignored those but continued on the ‘moving targets’. It will be interesting to see if there might be some fat fantails about after this – or maybe some with a wriggle instead of a flit?

May 2020 Gully Catches: 5 mice, 12 rats, 2 possums, 1 weasel and 1 other.

Catches at the Fire Lookout: 3 mice. (These are not included with the gully catches)

And if you are on Facebook have a look now and then as we add little bits and pieces along with some photos and observations of life in the gully – Wills Gully Conservation Group.

Thanks to the Gully Volunteer team: Kevin, Alison, Bryan, Bruce, Mike, Alastair, Ross and Peter.

Plus thanks to; KRB, PF Olsen, Ewing’s Poultry, & Sarah & Rick Griffin.

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