Two reports really. One of 30th January. As I said I was not going out. Needed a break. But Charlie Brown was around and he did a round and got a possum in TR10 on Northern Line. He keen as mustard. His wife told me that he is so happy to have something to do. He is still working full time as doctor but is going to retire soon. So he was worried about what he could do. And now he found his calling. Might not be only our project but maybe he finds one for himself. In the meantime he does good work for the fantail trust. Like yesterday he took three of the new traps to deploy on Circle Line. Good job he did Charlie Brown because today I check them all and one of his traps got a possum and one a hedgehog. They are on the map: T34, T33, T32. Have a look.
Then today 31st January. I went out with four new traps. Yes it is all go now. Heavy pack. Started on Northern Line. But nothing. Then got to T17 and huge possum. Very good spot that. In two weeks four possums! Then from there along fence to see Charlie Browns’s traps and first one T34 has a possum! Then T32 a hedgehog.
Then I deploy the first trap down by TR1 where I had the camera and always shows possum but they do not go in. There is also an automatic trap 56 but also never got a possum. Now we have to see whether this new trap, a yellow box, will do any better.
Then from there I got a hedgehog in T26 but nothing in the other traps. After T28 I deploy my other three traps. T29, T30, T31 all along a fenceline and the bush. It just looks like there might be a lot of possums still lurking in there. Have to see. Slowly catch the monkey.
Then I check the traps by the lake and got another hedgehog. So not too bad a day with two more possums and three more hedgehogs.
Was a lovely day. So went out. Was a bit tired from yesterdays six hour marathon. But I wanted to do Piccadilly Line and make it easier to find traps. Because when we installed those 25 new rat traps I did not have blue marker triangles. All trapping outfits use these markers and on it you write number of trap, date of installation and what line. Then also I wanted the blue tape in some places. That is for orientation.
It is all good to have the traps on the phone and on the map but sometimes it is just not accurate enough. The satellites give different positions. Maybe I should get a military kind of location finder. I could pinpoint then all traps within 50 cm radius. That would be easy.
So now today I did Piccadilly Line and managed to do almost all. It just satisfies my Swiss sense of order. It also looks professional just in case some day somebody from the Department of Conservation takes an interest. Plus of course all the sponsors will be able to see that all is done properly. Great responsibility. After yesterday today now 3 ½ hours!
Today we have two more rats. One in A8 and the other in D31. Slowly catch the monkey. Plus around the coalmine I was offered a little concert by about three or four bellbirds! I just had to stand there and listen. Amazing.
Did go onto Northern Line. Put all the yellow boxes into the field again because they sort were inactive because of cows in the field. So all baited and ready. Then when I come back from Circle Line I see the farmer is putting cows into the field! Bugger. I tell Katie, she is the farmer, about the traps and she said she is going to put them over the fence again. So all for nothing.
On Circle Line I got nothing. Put camera back down there to see what is going on. But then when I checked T2 which is just at the beginning of the trapping lines there was a possum there. Mind you not much of it was left. Only bones, a leg and the head still in the trap. A cat must have had a good feed.
I said before it is amazing after so many possies still more are coming up that way. Just shows how many can live in a small area. Look at the map. T2. So now tally is at 508! Also got a hedgehog up by the lake.
Tomorrow I get Geoff to come and give me a hand with some repairs to wooden box traps. They have been badly manufactured and I complained and now he offered to come and sort it all out. Very nice of him.
Today most beautiful day. Set out onto Piccadilly Line to do all D traps. The wooden boxes. Have not been there for a while as concentrated on Circle Line to get the 500. Work my way slowly along the line trap after trap. Have to open them. Clean them. Check them. Put bait in. Egg in all and peanut butter. Then reset them and close the lid. Very slow progress.
I find one which has been neglected for a while. Charlie Brown did not pick it up either. Number 18 was all overgrown with grass and a bit hidden anyway and it had an old rat in there. At least something all day. Plus a hedgehog in trap T3.
All that took five hours! But now everything is fine and ready for rats and stoats. A few of these traps need further attention because they are faulty. Never catch anything in them. So have to go again some time and basically dismantle the things and put it all together again. Poor quality workmanship. I have complained to manufacturer and sent picture. But is he going to come down and put them right? Of course not. Frustrating sometimes.
Charlie Brown is going out tomorrow again. He wants to take some friends to show them. He goes down Waterloo Line. Best walking for novices. Hopefully they get a rat or a possum. Will let you know.
Here are the pictures of number 500! Gruesome indeed. But we are now already on 502! Charlie Brown has been down there yesterday. I was going to go with him but it was raining all night and still in the morning. So I said sorry too wet. But he went later on when wheather was better.
So he got a possum in trap 2 and his dog killed a possum down by the river. That dog now has a taste for possums and will probably kill a few more. Good on him. Trap 2 is a surprise. It is a few months since we got a possum in there. It is an automatic trap and often not to be trusted but then suddenly they kill another possum.
I am off now to service all the rat trap boxes. Lot of work.
Today at last we did it. 500 possies all dead. What a number. It was trap T27 that did it. Not a trap that has done many possums over the last few weeks. So a bit unexpected. But of course very good. All other traps were empty. I was determined today to get number 500 and would have gone on and done more traps but as it was I only did Circle Line. Would you like to see a photo of number 500?!
It is very hot at moment to be out there and bashing through the bush and mostly open country on Circle Line. And it is very steep too. Luckily it got a bit cloudy and cooler later on. It was wet too from rain last night. So we have been lucky to get that one possum. Maybe today is a bit drier again so they come out to feed on grass and hey there are lots of traps!
Two of the automatic traps annoyed me too today because they did not work. One might be out of gas and the other had new gas put in but did not fire properly. Have to send it back. I am also expecting 14 new ones of those. They were all malfunctioning and I sent them back and they said they would send us new ones. Not sure where I am going to put them. I could just use the old mounts on the trees or choose new ones. Have to see.
So now we have a new target: 1000! Yes one thousand possums! I am quite sure there are that many still left out there. Just today I saw some possum poo not far from the first trap and then some more further down. So they are there and of course on many traps the lure is always gone. Licked off. But possum does not go into trap to get more. On some traps like the yellow boxes the apple is now sometimes still there. Which means there are no possums there. On others it is all gone outside but no possum put its head in. Frustrating. But slowly catch the monkey.