Author Archives: bru

Climbing Asparagus Control

This nasty creeper is a real threat to our precious bush remnants and has taken off in some areas; probably helped by the wet weather. It tends to creep in from the edges of the bush blocks so is not always visible on formed tracks. Once again, we have been focusing on hand control. While this method is much slower, it does reduce the risk of collateral damage.

Moth plant control

Three volunteers spent several hours on the 3rd of April and 10th of April clearing an infestation of moth plant bordering the bush on Tenetahi Rd. The vines were massive and had obviously been there for a while but had somehow been missed by our team of volunteers. There are large patches of moth plant around Leigh and we are keen to control the various seed sources.

Tenetahi Rd – Blue Morning Glory control

Our first official working bee for 2023 was held on 2 April when 8 enthusiastic volunteers worked for two hours on clearing weeds along the coastal end of Tenetahi Rd. While the plan was to continue attacking Jasmine which is strangling the bush, most of the time was spent on clearing a large area of blue morning glory. A contractor has sprayed the area twice and we plan to hold several follow-up working bees within the next few months.

We are midway through phase 3 of the pulse baiting programme. There has been a recent spike in rat numbers, apparently due to the wet summer which delayed the breeding season. Our trapping efforts were somewhat thwarted by the rain and slippery conditions, along with the slips caused by Cyclone Gabrielle which blocked a number of the tracks. All rather soul destroying but, on a positive note, one of the large slips above the Harbour took down a massive infestation of moth plant and other weeds which we had been unable to access.

Thanks to our volunteers Neil and Cheryl Sutherland, Kate McConnell, Martin Turner, Jan Sinclair and Margaret and James Young.

Working Bee – Tenetahi Rd, Sunday, 4 December

Our last working bee for 2022 was held on Ashleigh Lee’s property at the bottom of Tenetahi Rd. 6 volunteers spent 3 hours clearing and bagging weeds stream-side. We identified two new weeds which aren’t so evident in other areas we have been restoring, including Hanging Sedge (Carex Pendula) and Indian Shot (Canna Indica). There is much more work to be done in this area and this will be one of the main projects for 2023.

Before

Weeds

Lunch

After

Climbing Asparagus Control

On Saturday, 12 November, Jan Sinclair was joined by friends, family and members of the LHVS to target climbing asparagus. A big dent was made in this problem weed on the border of the kauri forest. The next day Chris and Keith spent another 3 hours targeting this weed.
We have a battle ahead but we are gradually getting there.

Jasmine Control – Auckland Council land

On 28 August, 3 volunteers worked on clearing jasmine which is strangling native plants along Tenetahi Rd. This is a massive job and we are investigating employing contractors to continue with this particular project. We also hope to work in conjunction with Auckland Council as most of the affected area is on Council land.

Jasmine

Targeting More Nasty Weeds

3 volunteers have been making weekly (Saturday or Sunday) visits to Leigh since January, attacking weeds in the valley and surrounding bush remnants. The main target plants have been tradescantia, African Club Moss, climbing asparagus and banana passionfruit vine.

On Saturday 17 September, we had a successful weeding session at the top of the valley. A team of 7 volunteers cleared climbing asparagus which was waist deep in places. We also removed large clumps of stinking iris and huge passionfruit vines – some 4 metres tall. Large areas of Lantana and Jasmine were sprayed. Clearly the wet winter has provided ideal growing conditions for these weeds. We will need to revisit these areas and spot spay the climbing asparagus.

Phase one of our pulse baiting programme has been completed and we will commence phase 2 in early November.

We are already seeing the positive effects of our pest control baiting and trapping programme.

Zip found scat

Had a very interesting and entertaining afternoon, on Sunday 26 June, with Kerryn and the stoat detection trainee, Zip. It was hilarious watching him follow his nose and indicate several areas where stoats might be located.

There was great excitement when Zip located the scat (stoat poo) planted by Kerryn at the top of the valley the day before. He also followed the scent to the stoats in traps along Cape Rodney Road as he had done previously.

The scat was obtained from stoats in captivity at Landcare Research and Kerryn said the next challenge is to get Zip to locate wild stoat scat, as the scent will be different.

Kerryn demonstrated how easy it is to open the DoC200’s using the safety straps. We will aim to have these attached to all the DoC200’s.

Environmentally Friendly Weeding

We are continuing to make good progress following Chris Wadsworth’s environmentally friendly weeding programme. Chris and Keith have travelled to Leigh every weekend over the past 16 weeks. Approximately 250 hours of volunteer labour has been carried out during this period and 30 x 3 cubic metre weed bags have been filled.

Nik, Kerryn and Darren have been working on the track so we can commence our halo of control. This work was started several years ago but postponed due to Covid.

Here are some of Chris’s observations at our working bee on Saturday 23 April when we worked from the top of the valley downwards.

  • Lovely spot but loads of crasula, some tradescantia and moth vine. Also, some household rubbish!
  • Spider orchids abundant on a tree brought down by a slip
  • Discovered a White Maire (Nestegis Lanceolata).
  • Lunch was delicious. Sandwiches with avocado, tomato, ham, egg followed by date scones ! (best ever?)
  • Saw fresh water crayfish (koura) while clearing tradescantia at the very top of the creek. This area looked better afterwards.

I discovered 75 black sacks of garden waste (probably bagged tradescantia). They had clearly been there a long time as the bags had partly disintegrated.

Brought back several unidentified weeds. Identified ladder fern, AKA Boston Fern (Japanese variety with bulbs which aren’t present in the native variety.)

Miro Miro Spotted in Valley

During the Easter break I saw a Miro Miro (Tomtit) while weeding and it returned the following day. John Harvey, managed to capture the attached photos on his cellphone a week later.

While this sighting and the bellbird sighting were only of individual birds, residents near the valley have heard bellbirds and seen Miro Miro previously. Kakariki have also been observed. Piwakakwaka numbers have noticeably increased and, rather than just seeing 3 or 4, we are being followed by up to 10.

Invertebrate numbers also appear to be increasing and we are seeing many more native seedlings popping up all over the valley.