And on we go with two more possies. 9 to go for 400. Today I started down at the bridge to do District line. Christine drove me down there. The first possum was in trap 38 right at the beginning. So I thought maybe there will be a few along the line. Nothing. Checked all traps and re baited along District and Waterloo line. Got to Central Station where Christine walked from the top right on at 3.15 which was the time I said when starting the walk.
She walks up the hill with me and I check those traps along there. Second one had second possum. Number T11. Nothing any more. So all in all not a very busy day. The numbers must be coming down I am sure. And for sure the bellbirds are more and more.
Tomorrow it is Piccadilly and all the rat traps.
What a day today. Was only a short check up because Christine went to Christchurch. One possum yet again plus as you can see one more rat and a stoat to my great surprise. That was right down by the coalmine. That is my favourite area for birds. Must make all effort to get rats and stoats and possums and cats out of there.
I will also put the other bird feeder down there as soon as I can. Good location near the stream among some trees. Maybe it will work down there as my other feeder further up in the field does not attract birds.
The possum was in trap T9 if you want to look and the rat in trap D22. The stoat in trap D27. That is so good. As you can see in the photo it is a rather large one. Also I reclocated trap T7 further down and T6 to another site near A3. On the A3 I lost the cap with the electronics in it. Now have to buy a new one.
Also heard many bellbirds all over. Definitely more than last year. It is just coming up for a year since we started trapping down there. It was in August my first walk down there after the hip operation.
Stoat and Rat
Nice day today. Sunday. So only did a few traps. The ones by the lakeside and D10. For some reason one trap has disappeared. Stolen? So I had not been to these traps for quite a while. Two of them, DOC250/1 and DOC250/2 had a hedgehog in it. Not sure why. They seem to have been there a while. Would be very early for hedgehogs to be around this time of middle winter.
I cleaned all the traps and re baited them with egg and peanut butter.
Then I did some research into Tui food. To my astonishment we do have all the plants they like. The seven preferred foods of Tuis are: Kowhai, mountain flax, NZ flax, cabbage tree, fivefinger, ngaio, fuchsia. Now kowhai we have plenty, some mountain flax and quite a bit NZ flax, cabbage trees there are lots, fivefinger also, no ngaio (I have not seen it and it is not on my list of plants growing down there), fuchsia there are a few.
These plants cover every month of the year. Kowhai July to November. Fuchsia September to December, Sevenfinger from Januray to March. These are the nectar feeding plants. But then for the months in between we have Broadleaf, March to May. Fivefinger, May to July. Mikimiki, January to April. Wineberry, January to March. Korokio, January to May. The problem is that we have not enough of them. And the possums like them too and eat all the new shoots. But not much longer!
You can find all the plants on NZ Flora. www.nzflora.info
It was a beautiful day today. No wind, lots of sun and quite warm in the end. Frost in the morning and in the gorge places with frost still. Very interesting trapping day.
One possum. It was in trap 11 near bush but in grass on the big tree paddock. Then I went onto Piccadilly line and checked most traps but nothing. But then I got to trap A3, the automatic one, and it showed three kills of rats. Great. And then I get to trap D19, the wooden box, and I see my little marker pulled in which shows me that the trigger had been activated and either something is in it or somebody triggered it.
Ha one big fat juicy rat was right in there. Have to clean it all out and reset trap. Then onto trap D20. Nothing. Then onto D21. Again the marker had been pulled in. Surely I thought somebody triggered it. I open and hey another big rat. Same cleaning and resetting. Next was D22, nothing. Onto to D23. To my astonishment the marker was pulled in also. I open and yet again another rat. Then onto D24, D25, D26 all nothing. Then last one on the line D27, down by the coalmines, again the marker was pulled in! Could not believe it. I open and a really dead rat was in there. All rotten and wasted. Must have been like that for some time.
What has happened?! I know two weeks ago or so I re baited all those boxes with peanut butter. That must be the reason. So I have to go now and re bait them all again with fresh peanut butter. Funny thing is yesterday on the walk I saw my neighbour and she told me that she saw all the traps and nothing in it. So I really did not expect anything. But what was she looking at? Certainly the one in D27 would have been there for some time. Rats are go!
But wait. Then I walk up Circle line to trap A4 and it shows 2 rat kills. Then next one was A5. Again message is 3 kills of rats. Finally we get rats! 11 today!
Now the really exciting thing was that I heard one Kereru and saw a few fantails as well. And even more exciting was further along Circle line I hear bellbirds. When I get closer I see a Kowhai tree in flower and among the flowers at least 10 bellbirds having a frenzy on the nectar. Never seen that before. A bit early for the tree to flower but just see how important they are in feeding the birdies.
So all in all an excellent day. Tomorrow I will not go down there. Sunday. But Christine will come with me and we will re bait the local traps we have around the golf course. Should be nice.
It is three more possums. Again it was T2 right at the beginning of my walk which was successful. And what a mess it was. Not sure what happened to it. Maybe it was a hawk who had a go at it. All the guts hanging all over and trap way down because the rope it was attached to broke. Cleaned it all up. Any volunteers?!!
And then I go again onto Waterloo line because that is where my new three traps are. Lucky now with trap 51, first kill for that one. Thought I had to move the trap to other tree but now seems to work. Just takes a few days for possies to turn up. There is a massive track right there coming out of the bush. Must put a second trap there. A yellow box maybe.
Then the next new trap had nothing but the last one trap 53 had another possum. From there I did go a bit further to check Taximus but yet again nothing. Not sure what is going on there.
And then back up and along Northern Line. There is now only one trap still in contention because the others we had to move because the bulls are grazing the field. They are friendly but not trustworthy. I walk all along the fence just in case. I might have to jump over it. We do not use the traps there because when a dead possum is in it the bulls might come and lick the possum. And they carry TB so better be safe than sorry. But it is so muddy! The last trap on there is T18. Nothing. And the other new traps all along had nothing also. The camera has not picked up any possum activity so maybe there are really none in that pine tree line. A cat was there but it might be a domestic one. Have sent picture to neighbour to look. Not that I go out there and kill their pet!! I think by now they would soon find out who was the one.
Then it was home and glorious day came to an end. Tomorrow another trip. Maybe I do Piccadilly this time.
Re the Kereru they like tree lucerne. Jack has lots of tree lucerne and when we walked past there were about 10 Kereru in there. So I will go and get some myself even though it is not a native but if it gives the Kereru winter food then so be it. Lucky it is not a very invasive weed so should be ok. But must make sure that no possums there cause they like it too!
And for the Tui, which we saw at Jack and Charlotte feeding on their feeder, they have to wait a bit. Because we need plants for them to feed on. They are mainly nectar feeder so we need tree fuschia and other nectar plants like Kowhai of which there is lots. But they flower in spring and we need something later on.
So on the way home we go to the tree nursery in Motukarara you might have been there too. But they have no trees whatsoever for sale. All bought by people who want native trees in their gardens. She said that probably all nursery have sold out especially of fuschia. So what to do?
Obstacles and more obstacles.
What a gorgeous day again today. Full sun and frost in all shady places. No possums today. But I deployed three more traps. All automatic ones the A12. They are on Waterloo Line. An area which has not been trapped much. I had to cut a path through the wood first with my chainsaw. I did that a while ago.
But carrying a chainsaw plus three traps and an electric screwdriver is just too much weight. So I did it in two days. I believe these to be excellent spots as I found possum evidence in all locations. In fact around trap 51 there were two dead possums. One in perfect mummified condition. Gave me quite a fright. Nearly stepped onto it. There was a poison station nearby, defunct now, but maybe that’s how those possums got there.
Then I went a bit further to Taximus but nothing. Checked most other traps on Waterloo but nothing. Met two families both French. Both four children. One living in Auckland, the other from Melbourne but going back to London. How they all just travel I do not know. So I chatted with both of them for quite a bit. One of the girls was called Madeleine. She was maybe four. I asked her name and she cutely said ‘Madeleine’. I showed them two traps and how they work.
And when I was in the field with the big tree they were walking not too far away back to the bridges and I called out loud: ‘Madeleine, au revoir’ and they all waved. And then off they went, wherever, leaving trapper Robbie behind in his woodland paradise. Maybe I should call it ‘melancholy encounters’ in the Rakaia Gorge. Just wonder what will become of them all.
One more possum today. Also one big fat rat. Orrible! But anyway a rat is a rat and they are very bad too for the birdies.
Now we have 50 possums, 5 stoats, 10 mice, 2 rats.
For some reason not many rats. That is a bit of a mystery to me. Are there not so many here? It might be our altitude and the cold weather which kills them off during winter. What you reckon?!
One more today on a glorious calm and very cold day. Trap T14 again, now the third in this location. Christine came too. Went down to Central Station as well but no more possums. But near trap T3 we saw a pigeon, a Kereru, the first one for a long time. It flew off onto a pine tree and just sat there in the sun.
Then we moved the bird feeder further into the paddock where I saw lots of silvereyes feeding on the grass seeds. It is near the big tree in that paddock.
We also moved trap T12 because it had not caught anything in a month. It is now further down the Northern Line to the left of the gate underneath some pine trees.
One more yet again! In trap T14. Second one now for this trap in one month. Gorgeous day. Also checked all other Timms traps but nothing. Rebaited all of them. The birdfeeder seems to be doing nothing. All food still untouched but opposite in the grass were quite a few silvereyes. Maybe I move it tomorrow into the paddock.
Two more today plus one rat. Was hard day today. Started out beautiful and then suddenly it was drizzling. But I continued.
Today I put the bird feeder near the walkway. Near Central Station. So when people come passed they can sit down there and watch. That is if there are birds. But I saw the other day a bunch of waxeyes or silvereyes feeding in the grass. So I guess they work it out soon. Picture attached.
Then I rebaited and cleared all D traps. The wooden boxes. D9 had a rat in it. I put peanut butter into all of them. So we have to see if that makes a difference. So far these traps have not yielded too many predators. I had hoped for a lot more.
The two possums today were in trap T16 and again, amazing, in trap T2. In that location we must have got more than 40 possums over the last 10 months! They just keep on coming and coming. Where do they live all?
So not a bad day altogether. 26 to go for 400!!
Birdfeeder near Central Station