Well, I do hope you all had a very pleasant summer break, or you might be reading this whilst still on a break (if the latter applies then lucky you). The Christmas and New Year period was certainly beautiful, with the odd small rain event coming through but it was not enough to ease the drought like conditions out on the reserve. December through to mid-February was crazy dry out there with exceptionally large cracks in the ground. It is however, pleasing to report despite the dry conditions our five minute bird counts have picked up good abundance of bird call counts for this time of year for most species, so they must have the ability to carry on even in these dry times. Our dedicated team of wonderful volunteers were given the option of taking the month of January off after a busy year and most did just that. Some volunteers however decided to keep calm and carry on with predator control line checks and pest plant control (even in the heat!).
December saw a large spike in stoat catches in our traps and several sightings around the reserve, a high proportion of the stoats caught were adults who were highly likely to be new incursions of non-trap shy animals to the reserve during the breeding season. Thankfully, the stoat catches dropped off just as dramatically in January with only four caught which is similar to the last few January totals and as I write this report (15 February) we have not had any stoats caught since 13 January. The Trust is working really hard right now on some exciting new techniques to deal with these incursions, we want to have actions in place to dramatically reduce the chance of re-invasions before the seabird breeding cycle starts this winter – it’s our top priority!
Our super trio of part time rangers (Simon and Claire Braithwaite and Keith Townsend) worked hard and really well as a team to meet all our objectives for the two month period, putting in some big days at times to keep the project humming. Probably the best operational goal achieved was the install of the Vespula wasp toxin known as Vespex, aimed at controlling introduced Vespula wasps (Common and German Wasps) throughout the reserve, just as we did successfully in 2017.
Other awesome activities and tasks that the Trust has achieved this month include more invasive weed control, Christmas BBQ for the Whangarei Heads volunteers and rangers, continued track and hut maintenance, the first visit by Whangarei Boys High School to BHCT’s educational experience and new ranger Claire Braithwaite joined the team after months volunteering with the Trust.Read the full report (1.5MB pdf) for other news and more about Claire.
It is with great pride and happiness that I can announce our 2021/22 grey faced petrel (gfp) protection and monitoring a complete and wonderful success!
We’ve been installing cameras alongside our automated lure dispensers. We’ve seen good things (robins and kiwis) as well as bad (possums and stoats).
We have had such a busy, productive month this September, there has hardly been time to take a breath!
Our local seabird champion Cathy Mitchell spent a full day clambering around the steep terrain at the eastern tip of the reserve checking each of the burrows
Remote reporting of set and sprung traps on the north bounday of our reserve.
Our volunteers are hearing the latest methods and technology to remove predators from large landscape areas and then protect those gains.