November 2018

Will Reports: This month some time spent going over the rat traps and tunnels doing a major cleanup. Most have now been done but the DOC150’s and DOC200’s still to do.

Planting update: Still some late planting of kakabeak (seed from Mike Oliver), a couple of flax, Kevin’s 19; of coprosma & hebe which brings the total planted for this season to 1049 – the most ever that we have planted in one year. More weed spraying (45 litres) along the tracks and over the boundary fence and with Simon Rayward’s efforts doing the same (on his side though!) we are pretty well up to-date with this. This recent Spring rain will certainly hurry the weeds along though.

The Bottoms Track Sign: Now and then some of our track signs get interfered with and recently The Bottoms track signs have had the S’s blacked out! A funny name? Well, the story behind it (didn’t intend that) is that when we were clearing the weeds and the area being very steep in many places, I ended up sliding down quite a number of times on – well, you guessed it… So leaving out the adjectives on the way down, we were left with The Bottoms!

The Scullery? Nothing dramatic here except in the clearing of weeds we used this spot for morning tea and such. And then I found a couple of sheep skulls so I hid them nearby. Later when taking my grandkids for a wander we played the game of hot and cold – to find the ‘treasure’. When that game cooled I tied the skulls to the tree above where we stopped for our tea breaks. Later it just so happened that we made the Top Track pass directly under the tree with the skulls. It seemed right to name the place The Scullery! I was given some more skulls and fixed these to the tree too but unfortunately someone stole them! When working away in the bush and hearing children voices coming along the track, I can always tell when they have reached The Scullery!

Alastair Mackintosh Reports: Hi Will. Finally caught the rat I had been aware of and had been after for a couple of weeks. I also caught 5 hedge hogs with a different type of trap, with out deplacing it, and with the same bait (a chicken neck) That I was able to do this begs the question: with such a concentration of predators, what chance would there be of any eggs of a ground nesting bird ever hatching ? Very slim I imagine. I will have to target these more often. Regards to all, Alastair.

Bryan Riley Reports:  have not had any catches this month in the Grassy Saddle area. None of the baits were touched this last round so reset with new baits and will recheck them next week.
Cheers, Bryan.

John Wilson: has some problems so I’ve checked his traplines this last month but no catches at all. Hope you are improving John.

Alison Nicholl Reports: I have heard both several Grey Warblers and more than one Shining Cuckoo! It has been too wet to do the traps a couple of times.

Mike Oliver has given me some photos of a couple of traps on the top ridge. The first photo is of a weka scrambling up a gorse bush to reach a conibear trap. On top is a rat caught too but the weka kept jumping up and hitting the orange lid and dislodging it along with the bait. The trap is 1.6m above the ground. It managed to get the bait but not the rat.

The photo of the table with another trap on top is 950mm above ground level. This weka has just managed to jump/fly, scramble up onto the top of the table! Mike had already extended the table legs but he figures that the weka managed to get some ‘leverage’ by jumping off a rock to the right of the picture and as the ground gently slopes upwards, the bird managed to get itself airborne enough to reach the top of the table – and steal any bait!  Fortunately the trap wasn’t set.

Thanks to Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter, Ewing’s Poultry & Sarah & Rick Griffin

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