Project News

Rangers Report March 2022

Rangers Report March 2022

Tena koutou katoa

The warm, humid La Nina weather pattern continued during February and March and has strongly influenced the natural activity in and around the reserve. The excellent growth season has had several implications for pests, predators, weeds and our native species too. Mid to late summer food sources (such as seeds and fruits) have been far higher than average and pest animals have responded by breeding at higher than average rates to match the food source. As a result, we have very recently seen an increased influx of rodents into Bream Head Scenic Reserve and the surrounding properties too, where they were previously well suppressed by our local efforts. The Trust’s network of rodent toxin stations has taken a pounding from all these extra hungry rodents as they make their way back into the reserve habitat. In order to do our best to mitigate this increase, our dedicated rangers and volunteers have stepped up the toxin checks, especially on the north side of the reserve where we have seen the highest uptake of the Pindone toxin. We will continue to monitor this part of the programme closely over the coming months.

The dreaded vine

Pest plants such as moth plant have really enjoyed the conditions, growing at alarming rates every day. Moth plant areas we had previously suppressed to a contained status have exploded with growth and our limited budget and resources are just not able to keep up with the reinfestation of mature plants in these sites. The forest restoration team of volunteers have done their part and we have had contractors targeting mature plants in the worst areas, however more funds and boots on the ground are really needed in this space.

Native abundance

But it's not all bad news, the climatic conditions are excellent for our native species too, with food sources abundant for them to enjoy. Last season's juveniles are being seen everywhere in great numbers and Bellbird/korimako can be heard throughout a day's walk through the ngahere (forest) which is so heartening and uplifting! Kiwi chicks will be loving the large invertebrate biomass on offer for their palate as the recent mouse control site tracking tunnel survey showed invertebrate numbers at the highest abundance in Trust records (see the March monitoring table in the full report). I highly recommend a walk over the reserve ridge at this time of year, taking your time to stop and look and listen for some of these manu singing away to their prospective mates.

A message from Keith

If any of you are interested in joining our Forest Restoration Team (FoRT) to tackle the easier to reach weeds in and around the reserve, and enjoy the social side of meeting like-minded people please Contact ranger Keith Townsend if you would like to join the mailing list. Email: keithhtownsend@gmail.com

And plenty more

There’s been plenty more activity on and off the reserve throughout February and March such as the biennial lizard survey (results still being analysed), a lot of tree, drain and vegetation clearance along the public tracks with the wet weather and heavy deadfall, extensive work on the new fresh-look, modern BHCT website by the communications committee, predator free camera checks and data analysis, continued development of the native plant nursery shade house, many hours on fundraising bids and reports and and all those highly critical meetings at the governance level too. Read the full report for more data and detail about the project over late summer 2022.