Today was such a fun day. Jon came out with his three grandkids and daughter in law. The day looked reasonably good and we decided to go for a look at some traps. We did Waterloo Line as Charlie Brown is busy on the other side.
Off we go and the little one, seven years old I think, first running down towards Central Station and the stile followed by the second one, nine years and the third, eleven years. He was the oldest. Do not ask me about their names. They all have Gaelic names. Like the boy is spelt Ruadhrí, Aoife one girl and Méabh the other.
I tell them to wait and then we cross stile and I tell them to walk behind me just for safety. It works for a while but then they suddenly are first. Well we get to first possum trap and I look down and there is a possum in it! I call out and we all look down and they all say can we go down. Jon volunteers to go down with them and remove the possum. Only the head left really. But all very excited!
Then I let them run first. I explained that the wooden boxes are for rats and that when the ribbon and bottel top is hanging out then there is nothing in it but when it is close to the lid then most likely there is something in it. So then they go off and not long I hear screaming and shouts: there is something in it! and then a rat, a rat.
I give Ruadhri the key to open the box and nice large rat in it. They all ask can I touch it. No I say and Jon removes the rat and resets the trap. Then all of them have a close look at the rat and Jon throws it into the bush. Off they go and another scream and another we got something. Well it was another rat just in the next trap. We do the same but one of the girls wants to open the box. Why not.
All done and dusted and they off again. And scream again. We got a possum! And true enough the next possum trap had a possum. I go down to remove the possum and they want to come and look. Can I see its face? So I have to lift it up and turn it around so they can see the eyes! Then I throw it into the bush.
Then we make our way to the end of line and nothing more. Back to stile and it is only two o’clock and I suggest to go down Piccadilly Line for a bit and they want to. Off we go and in the second box they discover another rat! This time the smallest girl wants to open the box. Again we remove rat and reset.
Then I go off with the two oldest ones and just around the corner they spot the next trap with the ribbon sucked in and of course scream again. Another rat! Then we go some more and again trap looks activated but when we get there nothing in it. By now we have gone quite far along line and we call it a day. It started raining as well by now.
So two possums and four rats!
Very cold day. While sitting in dining room it started to snow! But then it cleared a bit and I thought why not. Do Waterloo Line. Have not done it for a while. And I did re lure all traps with fresh peanut butter not long ago. So good time to check.
When I get down to Central Station and check T3 it had a possum! Number 33 for that trap!! Then on I go over stile and get to D41. It was triggered and it had a rat! The first rat for that one since deployment in August last year. Then I go to D42. Triggered again and had another rat! Then I get to D43 and yet again triggered and another rat. What a good day this was going to be. Alas it was all down to T45 where I turned back.
Then I go back over stile and check other traps on Central Station and T5 had another possum! So good day.
In between I had to re deploy two traps that the lumberjacks had moved. They were just by the walkway. So one I put a bit further down into bush, T41 and the other I moved further this way also in the bush a bit. T40. So have to see what happens now. Maybe good places.
Tomorrow heavy snow forecast. Have Dr Who scheduled to come out and deploy traps. But I do not think it is going to happen.
One more huge possum. Really big. Almost like a sheep! Then we got also three rats. Possum was in TR6! On Northern Line. The rats were in D61, D12 and A26. Good numbers.
Was reluctant to go out. Windy and cold. No rain though. Christine dropped me off down by gates and went shopping in Methven. To pick me up again at 1.30.
That possum was quite a shock. Did not see it until I was just there and saw it hanging in the trap. Poor thing. Took it out and threw it over the fence into the bush. Maybe a hawk will get it. After that there was nothing. My new three traps had nothing. And I was so hopeful to get the tally up a bit. But not sure. Maybe possum have gone. Now it is only 12 possums for the month of June. Last year it was 35!
Then first new wooden trap had the rat. D61. Then I came across the boys again. They were walking all the way around to find sycamore trees. Then I got to birdfeeder and again nothing. All that sugar water still in bottle. They will find it one day.
Then I got to near end and D12 had another rat. Very pleasing to get the rats because they do lots of damage to the birds. Also heard a lot of bellbirds and saw some fantails plus never seen before two yellow hammer. They are lovely birds with a yellow head would you believe it. Very nice. Then across stile and back up to gate. Christine was there and it was spot on 1.30.
Not a big report. I set out to do Waterloo Line. Have not been there for a while. All the D traps, the wooden boxes, need attention. Fresh peanut butter and a bit of cleaning. When I open the first box, D36, to my surprise it had a nice rat in it despite the bottle top and blue ribbon not sucked in! When I checked it all the ribbon had been torn just inside the box! Anyway that was a good beginning.
Next trap had been triggered but nothing in it. I think it was the boys cutting down the trees. So I continued all the way and put peanut butter into them. When I got to T42 I got a bonus in the form of a possum! What a good location that is too.
I also checked the other trap T36 which had two possums in three days. But today nothing. Then made my way to T45 at the end of the line but nothing more. Returned home via Central Station and nothing either. So one possum and one rat which is not too bad.
Now for June we have 11 possums only. Last year it was 35! I was also out a lot more last year. Almost every day. The weather must have been better. I cannot remember. Maybe July will be better again.
Then I went out to check new traps. To my disappointment all three had nothing. Why?!! They are in good places. Really all possums gone? Cannot believe it. Then I decide to check other traps and climb over fence to get to the island traps. And as I climb over I look uphill and there it was. A possum caught in trap T29. Actually it was two possums, one was a baby. Both dead. Now this trap is not far away from the other three and has never had a possum for six months! So now it got one. Just shows that we should not move traps at least not yet.
Then from there I went along fence and checked all traps and nothing. Then I got to near coalmine and trap D34 had another rat. Very pleased with that one. Then I got to the birdfeeder and no birds. The water level in the bottle is still the same. And when I checked the camera nothing. So left it all for another few days. The birds will find it some day. There is cold weather forecast and snow. So maybe that brings the birdies down to that area.
Then on I went along Piccadilly Line and then D9 had another rat. Very good too. From there further along I am curious as to my other trap which was lost for a few days and then found with a possum in it. So I look up and cannot believe it there is another possum in it. Piccadily Line!! Maybe just a good spot. Because this trap was not far away for a long time and never had a possum.
After that I went over stile and onto Central Station and checked all traps but nothing. That area seems to be clear. But when I walked up from there on the track there was fresh evidence of at least one possum. So keep those traps lured with fresh apple!
Another day. A bit cloudy but cold and some sun. Big day it was too. Did the Grand Tour plus deploying five more traps, plus put cap on A21 and install camera on birdfeeder and looking for the missing trap T36! Well all is accomplished. From ten thirty to three thirty!
Loaded rucksack with all the gear. Traps, saw, secateurs, camera, cap, hammer, signs, nails, rope. The rope is for measuring the distance between traps. It is twelve metres long so I attach it to some stick and go my way until I used it twice. About 25 metres. Then I look for tree and attach trap. You can see it between trap A59 and A60.
But first I had three new yellow boxes in the rucksack. Jack and Charlotte gave me those. They do not like to use them. I think they are the best. So make my way to lookout point and from there over stile onto walkway. When I get to the first bend in the walkway that is where I put my first trap. Have been looking at that spot for a long time. It looks like another walkway but it is done by the possies. They come out of the bush and walk up there into the grass to feed on clover. That is what they do. So now trap T49 is right in their way and they will put head in. And dead!
Then the next one I put further down where another track is so obvious. But I have to go in at a different spot and then cut a path through bush to get to their little highway. Again I deploy trap, T50. Then not too much further down I deploy trap T51. Another good spot. Check it out on the map.
Now at least I have got rid of these yellow boxes and they can set to work. Now I make my way with a lighter load all the way up to Piccadilly Line. There I have to replace the cap of A21 and all is good. A little bit further down I cut my way through to trap 28 which is an old automatic possum trap. Has not done too many but some. Still there. Now below that one I install A59. It is among nice forest and right above the stream below. From there I use the rope to measure my distance and cut with the saw some branches off. There is a nice ledge above the stream which I follow.
Many large trees in there and quite dense bush. And always a bellbird or two above. Just beautiful. So after two rope lenghts I find nice tree and attach yet another trap, A60! From there I investigate the terrain a bit more and I can make a nice track further down and get some more traps in there. It will be next week. On way back it was good that I left the rope because I could just follow it back to trap A59 and back to walkway. This time I put blue ribbons all along so it is easy to find again. Normally the rope business is done by Dr Who and Lady Sue. He holds the one end and she walks along until all done and then he catches up and she walks again. But by myself I have to put in little sticks and attach the rope and then when at the end I yank the rope off the stick and continue again. So much more time involved.
Anyway back on walkway I get to stream crossing and watch the birdfeeder. But no birds on it. Make my way to it and install the camera in a nice spot so now we can see whether any birds actually use the feeder. Will take a while I think but once they find it they will be there often. Just hope that no other walkers muck around with it. It is hidden but someone might just see a bit of blue.
So only one task left which is to find the missing trap T36. I get to the spot and climb up again where I thought the trap would be. Check everything under bush and ferns. And nothing. I am puzzled. So walk along and then for some reason I look up to my left up a little gully and there is my trap! And guess what. As a bonus it even has a possum in it. Dead. Large. Female. I just wonder how can there be another possum there. It is Piccadilly Line and we have been trapping there for almost two years! Where has this one been? Where did it live? Has it come from somewhere else. I just wonder. What is it doing at night. Where does it sleep? Was it looking for a mate. Or going up to the paddock to feed on grass? Poor thing. I say a short prayer.
Nothing. Zilch. Beautiful day again so I went out with task of installing the bird feeder down by the coalmine. Passed that mystery location where I put a trap, yellow, and still could not find it. The lumberjacks were all about and I asked them but they did not see it either. Have to go and investigate even more. When more time. Maybe I send Dr Who up there next time!
So I get to the coalmine sign and just behind it I find a nice tree suitable for attaching the bird feeder. It is a bottle filled with sugar water and the birds go onto a platform and then there is a nozzle and when they touch it a bit of sugar water comes out. Delish. Look it up on the website.
I also wanted to install the camera nearby to see what happens. Unfortunately the camera had run out of power. Batteries all gone. So have to go there again tomorrow to finish the job. Then I also wanted to place a new top onto a trap but that one I forgot at home! Never mind. Tomorrow is supposed to be a good day too.
On way home all along Northern Line there was nothing.
Birdfeeder made by Pekapeka in Dunedin!
Yes new report after not such a long time. Last one was on 16th June! But weather has been so bad. Rain and drizzle and wind and cold. Today not a clowd, very big frost and some wind further down. Very cold. Did the Grand Tour. Had to walk right from here because Christine shopping in town.
Get to Northern Line first and now interesting is that the lure I put on the trees where the traps are is still there! It was only gone from two trees. That is very good. Means no possum around and no rat! I did sneak some poison into the traps a while ago for the rats and it is all gone. So are probably also the rats. Of course we have to continue trapping. There might just be some stragglers out there.
Then onto Circle Line and first five traps nothing. Even here the lure, the apple, is still outside the traps. We put a bit of apple outside the trap so the possum gets the taste and smell and then there is more apple inside. And bang. Dead. But not now.
Only when I got to T21 did I get a possum. It was eaten by a cat. I know there is a cat there somewhere. But how to get it? Difficult. Must take some salmon next time.
Then other traps had nothing and I take shortcut to walkway. Have to climb over fence but it cuts a good hour from normal walk which goes up the hill and then all the way down again. Must do that more often. Maybe I have to make a stile somehow.
From there I check all the traps down to river and nothing. Further along all nothing. Then I get to the coalmine and the boys are there again cutting the sycamore trees. What a mess. Hopefully they will clean it up a bit. Now I have the idea to re plant these areas with natives. Have to get a grant and the trees first. You can help when you are here and I select a nice little place and we plant heaps of trees and then call it the magic forest of Maureen and Taximus.
The boys only cut down trees about two tree length on either side of the track. I ask them what about the ones further up or down. He says hopefully they come back next year and then cut the rest down. So I do not have to worry too much about cutting them myself. Big job taken care of. They get the money from Ecan, government department and each year there is only so much in the budget.
Then I am on my way home along Piccadilly Line and finally D21 had a big rat in it. Clean it and set it again. Good spot to get a rat because around there are always many birds.
So one rat and one possum. Not huge numbers but slowly catch the monkey. Did you realise something?! Today is the 21st June. Winter solstice. And then the possum was in trap T21 and the rat was in trap D21. What a coincidence that is!
Tomorrow should be good day too. Have to deploy more traps! And get that bird feeder down there. And also I saw more kowhai trees today in bloom. All yellow flowers. Beautifuls. It was even in the paper on Saturday that kowhai trees are blooming already. Should be in August! Climate change! Plus I saw a pigeon today too and two quails!
Again weather not so good. What can I do. I need to go trapping. The new breeding season is not far away! The birdies need to be safe! So I go out along Northern Line. Nothing. Then I do the island traps. Nothing. Then I am up at lookout point and it is only 12.30.
So I decide to go down to Circle Line and Piccadilly Line and go home that way. A bit longer. But I was not going home empty handed. Not after such a long time of not having been there. So all the way down to the river access spot. Nothing. Frustrating.
Then from river access sign up to Piccadilly. Finally D63, one of the new traps had a big rat. At least something now. Then D65 had a mouse. Something more. Then I got to the coalmine and met the boys cutting down the trees. Had a chat with them and told them not to disturb my traps. Down to coalmine. Nothing again. Then along Piccadilly and D12 had another large rat.
Then I go and check T38 which is down a bit in the bush and blimey no trap there! Gone! Look around in the bush and nothing. Surely must be there somewhere. So I have to climb down a bit and through bush and ferns twice and finally I found it among thick undergrowth. A possum!! All eaten. So I presume it was a cat that moved the trap all the way down there. What a relief. One more possum.
Then further along D4 had another rat. Then I came to T37 and it was moved by the boys. They were felling trees and deposited the trap right beside the track. So I had to find another place for it. A bit safer. And found one to the other side of track up a bit and behind a tree.
From there on there was nothing. I am sure there are still more possums to be had. I saw some evidence so have to be patient and just keep on re luring the traps with fresh apple at least once a week. Luckily it is cold enough now so that the apple keep fresh for quite a while.
Heard many birds today especially bellbirds. And to my surprise the first kowhai tree is already in flower. Did not expect that until August. Strange. Maybe just a fluke. But the tree was already used by the bellbirds for food. They like the honey in the yellow flowers. That is of course really good. They will not go hungry and from now on maybe until September the kowhai will flower along the walkway.
Only a little report. Weather has been atrocious. Lots of snow now on top. Cold and windy it was. But there was a window so I went out along Northern Line and got a rat in a possum trap! First ever a rat in one of those. I knew rats went into it and stole all the lure. Now we got one and proof. It was a very large rat!
Then further along at T33 I did get a hedgehog. What is a hedgehog doing there? In the middle of winter. Should be hibernating! On the way there I had to cross a new obstacle. A little stream which normally is not there. But because of all the rain last night it was full and there was a nice little waterfall too