Elizabeth LineRead Now
Today on the 23rd February we officially opened a new trap line called The Elizabeth Line. We had a small celebration with ribbon cutting, plaque revealing and champagne. It had all to be done off site because of bad weather and rain for days. Thank you Jon and Sue again. Also thanks to Marcel and Mike who helped with deployment of traps on a lovely day. Present were Christine, Maureen, her sister and David, husband. Both on holiday from England but avid followers of the fantail trust project.
Mike and Charlie BrownRead Now
Good report today. Went in with Charlie Brown and Mike, his son. They wanted to help put out some new traps. I had seven of them to finish off the Elizabeth Line. So they carry some heavy stuff and I have a little chainsaw plus two traps. They much younger than me.
Off we go down to coalmine and then up onto the new line. We have Baxter with us as well. Spaniel dog. Very excited and all over the place. So we make it to trap A70, trap T52 and trap 100. There is a little cluster where we had the camera a while ago and saw possums, rats and a cat! To my great surprise under the automatic trap 100 for possums there was a possum! Not in the yellow box where I would have expected. Just shows that the automatic traps can and do work! Great beginning.
I have an eye out for the two followers. See how safe they are. A bit slow in places but not too bad. Then we pass the traps A71, A72, A73, A74, A75 and A76. They all connected to my phone and reported kills. Five in all. Very good. Then I thought 76 was the last one we had down there because it was the last one on the map.
So we start measuring the distance to put in a new trap. I go first to investigate where the trees are and suddenly I come across a blue marker and a trap labeled A79! How was that possible. I am the only one putting traps into there. Then I remembered last time the traps we deployed did not connect to phone because of new app thingy. Yes that was it. But it meant that we missed two traps between 76 and 79. So we go back and find them after some search and connect them too to the phone. 77 and 78. Then we pass 79 again and look out for the other two. 80 and 81. Found them without too much trouble. All is well now.
We start measuring and find good trees all the way up and install all seven new traps and all of them connect no problem and are now ready for the rats and stoats.
We make it back by 3 o'clock. Long day. Started just 10.45.
First report for year! Not a bad beginning. Was out nearly five hours. Glorious day. Started with Norther Line, nothing, then Circle Line and trap D85 had a very old rat in it. Ghastly. Job for Taximus once he gets here! Then on to find some lost traps and found them in tall grass. Must put them in better positions. Then D80 had another old rat. You try to get them out of box and the tail just comes off and then you have a slushy mess to take out. And maggots.
Then on I went down to river and along embankment. Someone from the Botanical Society in Christchurch told me of a very rare plant down there. It is a kind of daisy. So I went to investigate and I believe that I might have found it. The same location anyway. So I took picture and they can now evaluate what I found. Very interesting.
Also while down there I removed three old traps A12. Have been no good. So send them back. Such a shame. Then up I come again and nothing. But when I stand near trap A3 suddenly my phone peeps. I thought it was trap A3 but now when I got home it was A61. That trap is right across the gully on the other side! And it connected such a distance. Astonishing. It tells me of six more kills in that trap which is excellent. It is on Route 66 and I have not been down there for a while. Must go soon.
For all these plants I have now a new app. It is called iNaturalist. I take picture of plants put them on the website and someone out there will find it and tell me what it is! Miraculous. Have a look robbiekoller's Profile · iNaturalist NZ
Tomorrow out with Tom. He young boy and is on holiday here. So he comes out with me to deploy the 20 new traps which are still behind the garage. They go around the golf course. I just hope that at least someone from the golfers will have a look at these traps now and then.
Then some new neighbours came today and talked to Christine and they told her that one of them, Andy, had fifty traps at the prison where he works. The boys in the prison made the traps and the person ordering them never came to collect them. They are for free! So of course I say yes I take them all.
Frans and MaykeRead Now
Today last day of year. Thought I better get out and get another possum! Two guests wanted to come. Frans and Mayke from Holland. They are a bit younger than last ones. So why not. Did the same tour as with last ones. They were very interested and just loved the views and the forest, plants and the birds.
Wanted to show them a fantail. But no. They did not show up. But we heard bellbirds. That was all good. They really wanted to see a dead possum but on Piccadilly Line just no possums to be had. So my hope were for the traps further up on Circle Line. T32, T33 and T34 were empty. I thought there goes my last chance.
But then got further up and I saw from distance that trap was overturned. I told them stay back if you do not want to see dead possum. But no. So we all got to the T17 and quite a big possum in it. All dead. I clear it all out and they take pictures! From there to Northern Line and nothing.
So one more possum, 686, fourteen to go. Might just happen when you are here! The number 700!!
I have asked Dr Who and Lady Sue to pencil in the 20th January for the official opening of Elizabeth Line. What are your plans. How long do you stay here before taking off to wherever. Can you let us know please. So we can plan a bit.
Small report today. Did go out on reasonably good day to Waterloo Line. Have not been there for 10 days I think. All is well in the rat traps. Not one had triggered! Also the possie traps were empty all except trap T44! One old possum all eaten up and bones left. Not so bad. Reset everything and fresh apples in all traps.
Wednesday Charlotte and Jack are coming out and they want to see some action. So not going until then to give the possies a chance to get trapped! I must impress them with our catch rate! And the birds!
Albert and MarionRead Now
Reports keep coming in! and we have people staying. Took our guests out today. First time I have done it. They from Holland so I was a bit apprehensive to take two townies down there. I thought better not take them where we went yesterday.
But anyway got to start of track and soon realised that she was not the best walker. Very slow downhill. But then we got to stile and over and down on walkway proper and whenever it was a bit steep she froze and I had to guide her over and down. Made it all a bit slower. But once she saw that I was always there waiting for her when I thought it was a bit tricky she got more confident.
Towards coalmine we heard lots of birds again. Not quite like yesterday and we did not see the fantails. I heard them in the bush but they did not come out. On the way I showed them the traps and how they work. Very interesting for them. No catches.
Then we got to Northern Line and nothing again until trap T16. I saw it overturned and soon saw that we had a possum. Same trap as yesterday! So it was easy to remove and throw in the bush. They took pictures.
So now we finally reached 680! Took a long time these last ten. Twenty to go for 700. And then we can envisage a 1000!
Despite having people in I took Rob out for a look at the lines. He is the one who stayed with me when I had my accident in Fiordland back in March and he stayed behind with me to wait for the helicopter. I invited him to stay here for a night to thank him. Of course I have to show off our traps.
We start with Piccadilly Line and nothing in all the traps. Disappointing. But on the way just before the coalmine there is a bunch of Bellbirds in a tree and singing loudly above us. Very impressive that was. Eat that buddy!! Then on we went onto Circle Line up to top and over stile and down the trapline along the edge of bush.
Nothing until we got to T22. From afar I see it overturned and something must be in it. Getting closer we can smell the thing and then there is a possum very mangled and done. I get it out of trap and want to throw it over the fence holding it by the tail. But it is so rotten that the tail comes off! What a mess that is. So I have to pick it up on the fur and gently throw it over. I did not want it to splash all over me. Maggots and all.
Then on we go and nothing until T31. I look at the trap and oddly something is in it. I thought a small possum but then looking closer it is a rat! Another vegan rat. They go for the apple. Not often we get that. Anyway I dispose of it.
Then on we travel up to lookout point and onto Northern Line. Nothing in the trees and I expect nothing more really. But then we get to T16 and a nice large possum quite fresh so not messy is in it. Get it out and throw it over fence. No problem with this one. So my friend is quite impressed. Two possies and one rat!
On the way I also show him more Maori Onions and the NZ Jasmine flowers. He is very pleased.
So now we have reached 679 possums! Do not think we will make 700 by end of year. Maybe by the time you come. Tomorrow I promised to take our other guests, from Holland, out on the same walk. They want to see trapping. Should really charge them for it. Maybe I can tell them to buy one of the fantails. Hopefully we see one or two down there. So will be a memory for them.
Not much today. Was a great day and very hot in the end. Got one possum only! In trap T17 the reliable trap is back on again. Number 16 now in six months. That is good. A good spot. This one was a youngster. Not sure lately it has been a lot of juveniles. Maybe they are moving in from other regions? Like next to T17 is a large piece of forest and I have not been trapping in there at all. Much be teeming with possums. One day I get in there.
Maori OnionsRead Now
Did have an outing today too. Six now in a row! Nothing. Got nothing. But I found the Maori Onions again! Remember last year I saw them first time and then farmer let his sheep in and all flowers gone! I thought the worst. But today I found a bunch of them again. Not telling anybody where. They are mines. Made my day.
Good report today. I would call it a massacre. Christine gone into town so I go quite early 9.30 or so. Down Northern Line first which had nothing. Then onto Circle Line and first trap T17 had a possum. Long time coming. It killed so many possums over the last few months and then nothing for quite a long time. Back in business again.
Then onto next trap T34 and I could not see the trap because all the grass has grown so high. But when I get to it another possum! Nice large one. My day is already made. Then next two traps have nothing and then I go over stile and down into gorge and first new D trap, D89, had a rat! From there all the way to the river and passed D60 and it had the stoat you see in picture. Pretty ripe.
Then along further D65 had two mice, next one D66 had one mouse and a bit furhter D69 had another rat. And then further still I checked T48 which has not done much over the time there and it had a possum! How about that.
And all along the automatic traps connected to the phone with the kill records. In the end it was 27 kills! Whatever they killed it must be good. Probably a cat ate them all. So that cat will not go for birds so much.
I also went up our new Elisabeth Line to check the possum trap we installed up there and I wondered how long it would take to get there from the walkway and it was only 10 minutes. No possum there. Very disappointing because that is where we saw two possums at least on the camera. That line is still not finished! I am waiting for the replacement trap tops which did not work last time. Once they are here I will go in and really finish it. Then I might have an opening. I am going to put blue ribbon across and take some people, maybe Charlotte and Jack in there and she can cut the ribbon! But maybe I should wait until Dr Who and Lady Sue are back. Would not be fair to open the line without them. They have helped and got wounded even. Maybe we could have them here when you are here and we all go down and have bottle of champagne! We make it as a surprise. We go first and Christine can delay them for a while and we put the ribbon up and then when they come Lady Sue can cut the ribbon. So much fun!
Did you get last link with cat movie and did it work?
Plus I identified a new line down by the river and it will be an extension of the Embankment. All automatic traps are going in there. It is mainly flat land and quite easy to get to. Maybe Taximus Maximus will cut a path with the chainsaw? And we install the traps!