Just a small report. Was out today after almost a week! The weather was so bad. Even today it was windy and very cold. So I did Waterloo Line. That is where they started to cut down the sycamore trees. It looks so different now. But the workers did not bother to remove my traps. So when I got there three of them were buried beneath the trees!
I managed to get one back up, T41 and re deployed it further up. For the others I will need my chainsaw to cut a way to the traps! What a nuisance. At least the sycamores are gone.
Then on the way back I checked the traps up on lakeside and I got as a bonus a weasel. Not often we have had weasel but this definitely was one. So not much on the possum side. Where are they all. So far we have done only five this month. Last year it was 25 for June! Some days to go yet.
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.
Wonderful day today. Set out rather late after 1! But did only Circle Line and Northern Line. Still took two hours. And only got one possum. Well past use by date. So now all traps on that line have been rebaited and are ready again. It anything to go by we should get well over 20 in June!
Charlie Brown been at it again! He had a great day. Three possies! T11, T16 and TR8. Plus six rats! D3, D9, D69, D56, D54, D43. Plus two mice. D65. Except D3 and D9 these are all new traps! I did not expect so many rats so soon. Normally it takes a while for the rats to get used to the trap. Like my first deployment of these traps took much longer to get first results. Maybe there are really a lot of rats down there.
I did not go out on purpose so that he had a better chance to get something. But I did not expect so much! It is good because it makes him keen to go again! Now have to see whether I go tomorrow or not. It is Queen’s Birthday weekend! If nice day I might go.
Another great day. Sunny, no wind, no cloud, cold. Today I went out onto Waterloo Line. Have not been there for a while. They have started to cut down the Sycamore trees! Looks all different. They are going to disturb some of my traps!
Anyway got to T3 and had a well mangled maggoty possum. Disposed of it and re baited. That is now over 30 possums for that trap. They just keep coming and coming. You would think it is not possible but there it is.
Then further down got to D43 and had a large juicy rat. Again disposed of it and reset. That was the first rat for that trap since August! Now on I go to T42 and another possum! Again has done many possums that area. Then further along I get to T44 and another possum. The last one on the line had nothing.
That was it. Another three possums and one more rat. Good day. Last year in May we had only 15 possums and now going slow methinks we have already 19. Last year in June we had 35! So we have to see whether that is a pattern or not. If possums are more around in June, it is very cold, then we should get over 40 possums because we have a lot more traps out there.
Very good day today. Nice and sunny, a bit windy too and cold. Good for possuming. Started on Northern Line and re baited all the traps. Got to last one TR11 and it had a possum! Then crossed over to Circle Line and T34 had another possum! Made it to lookout point with nothing more.
It was not too late so I decided to go home the other way which is Piccadilly Line. Got to coalmine and T46 down there had yet another possum! Great. Then along the walk I came across D19 and it had a very old many dirty rat in there. Cleaned it all out and made my way. Then up to Central Station and along traps there and got to T10 and another possum! Impossible. But it is true.
Then also I took camera back home. It was for a week near TR6 because there the lure always disappeared and the apple and quince was always eaten. Well now we know why. First there came a cat! Did not eat apple. Then came a hedgehog. Took the apple and disappeared. Then came a rat. Also took some apple and then at last came a possum. It took some quince only a bite and left the rest. Too sharp. You could just see it on its face. So no more quinces for possums. They do not like it. Apple far better choice.
Now I have to deploy a yellow trap there plus a rat and stoat trap. A very targeted approach. There are always lots of birds in those trees. Like the other day there were maybe twenty silvereyes. They need protection.
Not a great report. Set out onto Piccadilly Line and got a possum down by the coalmine, T46. Quite a small one. A youngster. But my real interest today was the new traps we installed last week. Dr. Who and Lady Sue. Anyway the first one had nothing but then to my surprise the second one, D68 had a large rat! Did not expect it because the traps are so new and clean.
Normally rats take a long time to get used to something new in their backyard. So I was hopeful. But that was the only one. A mystery is one trap that had been triggered and all peanut butter gone but no catch. Then another mystery was that some traps had no blue or red marker hanging out. I open one and there it was. Neatly tucked inside. It was Dr Who! He did all the setting of traps and sometimes just left the bottle tops inside.
Then I went up to Northern Line and got nothing. Still got the camera there but it did not record anything but all the lure is gone. I think the camera was too far away to pick up movement of rats. So moved it much closer and have to see.
Then I went up to lakeside and D150/1 had the marker sucked in. So I knew something must be inside and I expected a mouse, maybe rat but no it was a nice little stoat!! That made my day. You can see it in attached picture. Thought all stoats had been got up there. But no.
Today there was nothing. Gorgeous autumn day but no catches. But good news is that I met a crew of workers down there and I asked them what they were doing. They are going to cut down all the sycamore trees! A job now I do not have to do. So they close the walkway for public for a while. I can still go and do the trapping. I am so pleased not only that they cut them down but that a government department takes an interest in the forest down there. Maybe I can get some more money from them and get more traps!!
The sycamore are a real worry for me. Because they have overtaken a few areas and they just shade out the native trees which then die of course. There are some now trying to grow near the coalmine and I have already cut quite a few down but now I told these guys where I want them to cut down these weeds. Of course I will have to have an eye on it and get rid of any new growth and pull out seedlings. Which I already do. Every day I am down there I do weeding too. It is a huge garden to me. Just beautiful. And now the birds in it makes it an aviary even.
Great achievement. Right on time we were down by river and jet boat there as well. So loaded all twenty traps onto boat and then us and then we took off. Not at great speed but fast enough No twirlies either. Just a plain old jet boat ride for the business of delivering rat traps to some part of the walkway.
Got them all off the boat without getting wet and then Blair the driver left us. He had to land some distance from the beginning of the walk because he needed a deep landing spot. Not to worry. We started immediatley ferrying the traps to walkway and stacked them there. Then Dr Who volunteered to get all the traps to the spot. So Lady Sue and myself started deploying the traps. Started with number D50 right at the bottom, opening it and put peanut butter into it and then closing it. Then numbering it and I had to do the GPS location. Then off to next one.
Once all the traps were there we started lugging the traps all the way up to the proper walkway which is quite some distance and rather steep. I took one after the other. Sue looked tired just after the first one. So she would come up and I come down and take it off her and then go back up again and stack the traps up there.
When that was done we had a nice system going. First I place a trap and Jon and Sue would do the opening, luring and numbering and I do the GPS. Then I would take another trap put it into position, GPS, and leave it there for them to do. Because I was faster than them. But not by much. Because I always had to come back and pick up another trap and take it further up. So that made my job longer each time. The same we did on the walkway proper. First to the left we did six traps and then to the left which was seven traps. It all worked splendidly and by 1.45pm we had them all in position!!
That was great but now we had to walk all the back to the bridge and the car. It got very tiring and on the way I checked more traps which meant climbing up the side and it all took time. It was 4.15 when we got to car. So that is five hours of hard work. They were totally worn out and I made them something to eat when we got back. Then they had to drive back to Christchurch.
No possum today but eight rats! So not bad. And twenty more traps doing a good job and all the time we heard bellbirds and saw fantails!
Weather was much better than forecast. So did go out to do Waterloo Line. And good it was too. First trap down was T4 and it had a possum! That is a first for that trap and it has been there since November! Just go to say again I can never move the traps or at least not for some time. That spot did get a few more possums with another trap but then I stopped it because just no more possies!
Then I got to T10. It had nothing in it. That is the one I baited with quinces and got a possum. Turns out it is a young one as the camera which I had on the spot showed them turning up sometime after midnight. The youngster got done and so we still have the other one to get. I re baited again with quinces as Charlie Brown only used apple. Very interesting now. Whether the quince is better than the apple.
After that I got to T41. Looked down from way up the walkway and saw the trap overturned with possum in it. So had to climb down and move it. On the way I also re baited T40 with quince and then T41 with quinces.
After that only D47 had a hedgehog. But now all traps on the line are baited with quinces. They smell of course more than the apple and also they keep longer because they are much harder. Have to see in two days.