Unfortunately our first planned weeding/planting day had to be cancelled due to cyclone Pam. On 29 March we continued work on the Gundy’s property; clearing weeds on the borders of the stream. Thanks to our volunteers Jo and Sue Evans, Richard Taylor, Arthur and Trish Gundy and John Harvey 3.5 hours were spent clearing areas which had previously been worked on. Clearing Tradescantia does appear to be a rather sole-destroying task but we are determined to win the battle!
We have a contest underway. Jo Evans has managed to catch 3 more stoats in the past two weeks; almost matching our count for the whole year.
More traps have been purchased and with the help of Ditch, from Coastal Pest Solutions, we plan to set up a stoat line which will be monitored regularly.
4 hours were spent clearing cotoneaster as well as other weeds and spraying periwinkle on the Carlyon’s property in preparation for planting this area at the end of May.
Due to an extremely hot summer, we have made very little progress in the valley although we managed to pull out a bit of moth plant. The rabbit population has increased and pest control expert, Ditch Keeling, will be targeting the area within the next few weeks.
A big thanks to Jo Evans and Sue Gibbings who have been carrying out pest control along Tenetahi Rd. Their recent catch includes four rats and one stoat, dispelling the theory that all the stoats are located on the Mt Pleasant side of the valley!
Sunday 26 October
It seems to be a matter of one step forward and two backwards when it comes to clearing this nasty weed. We revisited areas where we had previously cleared tradescantia to find that it was at least ankle deep over the top of the weed mat we had put in place. Nik and I made an early start and spent 5 hours working on the Harvey’s wetland area. We were joined by Richard Taylor who helped Nik to empty out one of the weed bags which was full of great compost. With Richard’s help we filled about 6 garden rubbish bags and plan to purchase more large weed bags which can remain in situ. Richard Taylor spotted a large centrepede under one of the weed bags which was cradling some eggs. By the time I had my camera ready it had let go of the eggs and retreated into a hole.
Sunday 2 November
Spent 4 hours spraying pampas and clearing Japanese honeysuckle covering trees at the bottom of Mt Pleasant Drive.
Richard Taylor, Jo and Sue Evans spent two hours weeding around the plants on the Harvey’s property.
The Tradescantia has become established again and we plan to meet during Labour Weekend to carry out further weeding in this area.
Stoat in trap
Chris and I spent Sunday morning, 12/10/14, checking the stoat traps and refilling the bait stations.
We were amazed to find all the bait had been taken in 3 weeks and were delighted to add two more stoats to our tally – a total of 4 this year on our property.
Chris dealing with dead stoat
It is hard to know whether this is a credit to our stoat-catching skills or an indication of how many stoats exist in the valley. However, we have increased our efforts in recent months and feel sure the bird chorus is louder.
The afternoon was spent weeding; in particular removing a large amount of asparagus fern which was becoming established along one section of the BNZ Track. Cotoneaster was also targeted at the bottom of Mt Pleasant Drive, along with other weeds including pampas and wilding pines.
Nik and I met with Dave Galloway and Rebecca Kemp0 from Auckland Council who provided us with advice regarding weed and pest control and provided us with a variety of traps, including the temporary loan of a myna trap. The preferred bait is apparently popcorn. We had no success with our first attempt at trapping mynas but hope to be more successful with future trapping efforts.
In the afternoon we eco-sourced sedges and planted them along the stream edges along with some split flaxes.
We have added one more stoat to our tally (rather hard to identify in this photograph).
The wetland area behind the Brown Cottage had been sprayed in preparation for planting earlier on in the year. Due to limited rain, planting was postponed and then our attentions were focused on other pr0jects. Nik and I set to work clearing the area by hand/spade, splitting sedges and flaxes and eco-sourcing plants from our property.
The main established weeds were Deadly Nightshade and Queen of the Night and follow-up work will be needed. Jasmine is also starting to re-sprout along the concrete driveway.
Nik met with Dave Wilson from DoC and took him on a walk through the valley. Dave was able to provide some helpful information regarding pest plants.
Despite a stormy start to the day, 8 volunteers braved the elements and ventured down the muddy paddocks towards the border of the TFS planting site on Mike and Fiona Francis’ property. The first hour was spent digging and splitting flaxes; not an easy task with such well established plants. Anita spotted a large number of cabbage tree seedlings under one of the apple trees in the orchard and some of them were dug up and transplanted. By 1.00pm we had filled most of the gaps. Mike will be keeping a close eye on the local pukeko population in the hope they won’t pull up any more plants. It was a most enjoyable morning with lots of laughter and very changeable weather – including sunshine and a brief hail storm! Mike’s special hamburgers went down a treat after the morning’s efforts.
Thanks to our volunteers Neil and Cheryl Sutherland, Richard Taylor, Niklas, Anita and to Mike and Fiona for a most enjoyable working bee.
That afternoon, Nik and I planned to plant an area at the bottom of Mt Pleasant Drive but unfortunately our spraying efforts three weeks earlier had been unsuccessful and the area will need to be resprayed. We met with members of the Auckland Council to discuss the best plan of action. 6 large cabbage trees and 8 flaxes were transplanted.
Sunday’s weeding and planting day at the top of the valley was a huge success. It was a gorgeous day and thanks to 18 volunteers (including members of the Leigh Coastal Care group) we made considerable progress clearing weeds, eco-sourcing and replanting alongside the stream. Many thanks to Trish and Arthur Gundy for a delicious BBQ lunch. Thanks also to Nola and John Harvey for the bottles of ‘Black Stilt’ Riesling, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from their vineyard in North Otago. These excellent wines went down a treat with all the volunteers.
Nik dug up a small fish from the soil (over a metre from the stream). For a moment with thought he had unearthed the threatened Mudfish but it turned out to be a Banded Kokopu, which probably made its way into the soil after being dragged out of the stream with some tradescantia. Nik had initially mistaken it for a slug so it was lucky to survive. Cheryl also located a kauri snail.
The next planting day will be held on Sunday, 21 September on Mike and Fiona Francis’s property, Cape Rodney Rd (previously Mrs Wainwright’s). Unfortunately we have lost a number of plants which failed the ‘Pukeko test’ and a few more were lost due to the drought so we need to fill in the gaps and continue planting further downstream.
Muddy Banded Kokopu just after being dug out of soil
Banded Kokopu after a wash in the stream
The Leigh Harbour Valley Society is delighted to be included in the publication, Paradise Saved, due for release on Friday, 15 August.
Thanks to Jo Evans who recently carried out 5 hours of weeding and planting along the concrete driveway.
Our next working bee is on Sunday 24 August. We will be meeting at 214 Pakiri Rd, Leigh at 9.30am.
A BBQ lunch will be provided.