April 2019

Wasp Wipe Out Programme

FOR volunteers were busy assisting DOC with wasp control in the RNRP and other areas. The programme was running at the same time as the Nelson fires were keeping firefighters busy.

Common wasps are very efficient at harvesting honeydew and have displaced German wasps from honeydew beech forest. Because the common wasps harvest more quickly they are less susceptible to the inebriating effects of the often fermented honeydew.

The bush areas are surveyed - measuring how many wasps are attracted to protein and the Vespex control is only used once trigger levels are reached.

FOR volunteers put bait out around the St Arnaud village and on the Speargrass, Mt Robert, Travers, Whisky, Lakehead, and Sabine tracks. They then collected any remaining bait three days later. A total of 16 volunteers were involved.

There was a good response - measured by repeating the protein test, to see how many wasps had survived. Numbers of wasps were reduced by nearly 90 %.

The Mountain Bike Trails Trust members also helped - working in the Teetotal area.

 Kiwi Acoustic Recorders

The 20 acoustic recorders that had been put out in the RNRP area 4 weeks previously were bought in at the end of last month. These are used to monitor the great spotted kiwi (GSK) population in a hands-off manner. 

There is now an opportunity to analyse the recordings. Some of you will have done last year, a process that is done on your home computer. 

If you are interested, possible training dates are April 15,16,23,24,25 and 26. Please contact Chris Richards cobhill107@gmail.com

Kiwi Programme Update

As a consequence of the predicted beech mast the plan to relocate great spotted kiwi has been delayed for a year.

Winter Trap Line Rosters

This month sees the end of fortnightly checks of our 5 stoat trap lines with monthly checks starting again in May.

As coordinator of the Tophouse Rd and Mt Robert Rd/Speargrass lines I will be putting out new rosters in the next few weeks. If you are currently on these rosters and wish to continue you do not need to do anything, if you wish to be taken off either of the rosters just drop me an email: pajhale@gmail.com .

New checkers are always welcome.

Tophouse Rd is an easy line of 43 DOC 200 traps which can be checked by vehicle, walking or biking and normally takes about 1.5 hours.

Mt Robert Rd has 17 DOC 200 traps and 5 Sentinel possum traps, Speargrass has 26 DOC 200 traps and 14 possum traps. These 2 lines are normally checked as one using a DOC vehicle for the Mt Robert Rd section and take about 3 to 4 hours combined. They can be split with Mt Robert Rd taking less than an hour (2 hours if walked) and Speargrass taking 2 to 2.5 hours. Speargrass follows a typical tramping track so requires a moderate level of fitness and agility.

If you would like to try these lines please contact me: pajhale@gmail.com.

You may be interested in our other 2 stoat lines:

The Whisky Falls line follows the Lakeside track on the western side of the lake and involves a DOC boat ride to the Coldwater Hut jetty followed by a 2 – 3 hour walk to Mt Robert Rd for a pickup by DOC staff. It is normally checked on a week day and requires a reasonable level of fitness however the track is high grade and very scenic plus the boat ride is an added bonus. It can be checked in the weekend using the Rotoiti water taxi for transport (paid by DOC). It has 82 DOC 200 traps and 39 sentinel traps.

The Rainbow Rd line follows the Rainbow Rd from its junction with Highway 63 to the gate on the ski field road in winter and to above the ski field buildings in summer. It is checked on Saturdays using DOC vehicles, is easy, and the drive up to the ski field is spectacular.It has 229 Doc 200 traps and 27 sentinel traps.

If you are interested in checking the Whisky Falls or Rainbow Rd lines please contact the coordinator, Russell Chilton: russell.chilton@xtra.co.nz .

If you would like to just tag along one day please contact the appropriate coordinator for the new winter roster so you can be included in the check of your choice.

Out on the Trap Lines

Currently volunteers are clearing moderate numbers of trapped rats, possums and hedgehogs.

Julie Robilliard