Project News

Rangers Report January 2024

Rangers Report January 2024

Ocean Beach Trap Line

The ranger team put in a big effort during January to place 45 DOC200 double set traps into the Ocean Beach Reserve. Placed at 100-150m spacing, these traps are primarily there to target mustelids moving through the dune land. This area contains species such as shore skinks, dotterels and oyster-catchers. If this network lowers mustelids numbers, there is a high chance these species will benefit.

We are also hoping the increased mustelid control done in the Ocean Beach Reserve will reduce future incursions into Te Whara and that the line will complement the mustelid control done in the wider area by our neighboring groups.

This work is only possible due to the DOC community fund and the generous donation of traps from Predator Free Whangārei. Thank you to all the landowners we worked with to get this done. It made the job go a lot smoother. The servicing of this line will now be done fortnightly by one of the rangers.

New Ranger Kees McMahon

New ranger Kees McMahon who hails from the northern Kaipara, has hit the ground running after a handover period from ranger David Lawrence-Solomon, who unfortunately plans to leave us in February. Kees had previously been working on the predator control projects in the Waipoua, Waimā and Mataraua forests, so has come to us with great skills and fitness.

Predator Control

Ratabate (diphacinone) uptake remained low across the reserve from November to December 2023. However, high numbers of mustelid sightings and activity (predation of ōi/GFP chicks/eggs by stoats) continue to occur.

It's clear to us that the reserve is in need of an effective 1080 operation in 2024. For the best results, we need high rodent uptake of 1080 bait for it to effectively pass on to stoats which prey on these rodents. For this to happen, we need a few rodents running around. This is why we will be pulling out our current rodent bait in February and leaving our bait stations empty for a few months leading up to the 1080 operation.

Over two days in December rangers and volunteers completed a tracking tunnel survey of the rodent population. Results showed 3% rat tracking and 1% mouse tracking which is a positive result. BHCT aims for low numbers (below 5%) of rodents to effectively protect a wide range of species predated by rodents (e.g. Placostylus hongii). It’s encouraging to know that our efforts throughout the year ended with low numbers of rodents by December 2023.

Weed Control

Over November and December 2023, our shared weed control work with Aki Tai Here continued. We headed into a few patches of moth plant that hadn’t been controlled for a while. Moth plant is just one species of invasive plant that has flourished even more than usual after the wet weather in 2023. Our work together had paused over January 2024, but will continue from February onwards.

Read the full report for more on these stories, including detailed trapping numbers for three whole months, a cracking photo of Te Whara by our new ranger Kees, an at-risk gecko that we sighted in the reserve, nursery, education, volunteer updates and much more.

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