Mohunga Report
by Brian Reed


We continue to observe increased numbers of birds, lizards and insects and lower rat numbers across the peninsula this summer, but rat numbers have been high this autumn and continue to be higher than expected. Rat control has been extended by some landowners to the ridge line and bait stations have been placed into the mature native bush by the group. This area has the highest biodiversity value on the peninsular and is under threat by predatory mammals; for example, a small number of ground nesting sea birds occur here including Black and Cooks petrels, and there is suitable habitat for significantly more but it is likely that the rat and/or pig population has been preventing this. Rat control that occurs in the mature bush will enhance biodiversity work on the rest of the peninsula by providing protection to a seed source for regeneration of natives and the potential expansion of populations of existing species from this area to other parts of the peninsula (and GBI). We have also extended this network of bait stations over the ridgeline to Orama and through to the ridgeline running along the western side of Owhiti Bay. At the moment the several kilometers of bait lines are being checked every 2 weeks.

Tracking Tunnels at Glenfern Sanctuary
by Maree Limpus

 

Wandering bush clad hills under a summer sky with views over sparkling blue bays – does life get any better? I have just finished three weeks work laying out tracking tunnels at Glenfern Sanctuary in preparation for the upcoming bait drop to eradicate mammal pests. Often steep and slippery it was not always fun or easy but it certainly had its rewards. Fantails and kaka were frequent friends along the way and on two occasions I had the pleasure of being visited by a robin. While the bush was often silent, it was seeing these beautiful, inquisitive and vulnerable birds that really brought home the importance of the work being done at the Sanctuary. The thought of being a part of providing a safe, rat free environment for these creatures kept me enthused on the days when things were going less than great! I also saw my first ever Chevron Skink which I thought would be hard to see, but this one was very distinctive – just sitting at the base of a silver fern. It is funny to think that I will be one of only a handful of people ever to have seen one.

Sean Kelly, the Irish singer from the band that played at the Mussel Fest came out and volunteered for a day before heading home. He described his day as ‘very special’ and I must admit, standing on rocky outcrops looking out on crystal seas (with the occasional bar of Irish song floating on the air!), it was hard to imagine anywhere better to be.

That the work at the Sanctuary will never be finished can be a daunting thought at times. However it does mean that many more people will get the chance to share in this beautiful place and make a difference for our protected wildlife.