What's Going on up the Hill?
Pest control over a widening area is bringing results.
by Judy Gilbert
 

This year has seen the completion of the 150 plus hectare Rosalie Bay project area expansion to the Windy Hill Rosalie Bay Trust Sanctuary and brings the total area managed for pests to over 620 hectares – bigger than Texas! The field team of Kevin Parsons, Rachel Wakefield, Mick Butterworth, and Mallory Thompson have worked hard-out over the winter to deploy equipment over 18 kilometers of tracks and in the spring laid the first lot of bait and traps to commence the knockdown of rats and feral cats. We now have over 80 kilometers of tracks and 5000 bait stations and will need to maintain a field team of at least three full timers to manage this area.
This year has seen some great voluntary input to the project – Dave Harland works one day a week managing part of the Sanctuary area for both cats and rats. Regular pig hunts have also been carried out by locals to keep the pigs at low densities.
Our North Island robins have re-built to five and a half pairs following the release of 25 more birds in March. The breeding season has started very successfully and we have banded 14 young birds to date with all pairs now on their second nest. One busy male has two females and 6 young to feed – he is helped along by the team with daily supplements of meal worms which we grow on site.
Recently we had a visit from Doctorate student Liz Parlato who is monitoring our robins outcomes as part of her thesis “Predicting outcomes of passerine reintroductions to New Zealand mainland reserves (including two Gt. Barrier reserves)”.
We will feature her report in a future Environmental News item.