Volunteer Bulletin 11th April

We wish you all a safe and happy weekend and hope to see you back, full of oomph after Easter to carry on our newly started baiting round!

Hi all,

This email contains:

1. Latest and forthcoming sessions & welcome to our new student Alessa!

2. Rat monitoring results

3. Trap catch data

4. Biosecurity alert: myrtle rust

5. Upcoming miscellaneous events

6. Ark session calendar

Happy reading!


ARK IN THE PARK Volunteer Co-Ordinator

Physical address: Cascades Ranger Station

Falls Road, Waitākere

09 810 7014

Web site Facebook Flickr

1. Latest and forthcoming sessions & welcome to our new student Alessa!

We started our autumn baiting round last Thursday. This week, there will be a volunteer session on Thursday, the 13th of April only, meeting 8:30am at the ranger station. It is time for our bimonthly seed collection again.

Seed collection is a nationwide project. The Department of Conservation, in partnership with Landcare Research and the University of Canterbury, are monitoring the production of fruit and seed by New Zealand forest species in a wide range of sites and forest types across the country. The Ark is one of 57 sites in the national seedfall monitoring network.

A key objective of the monitoring is to improve our understanding of the relationship between climate, mast seeding and pest population densities (more...).

Seed collection is not as physically challenging as baiting and can be done in small groups of people. Training will be provided on the day if you are not experienced.

For those of you who would rather bait a line instead, please specify your preference when you let me know that you are coming.

Bad weather forecast: Metservice has issued a severe weather warning for Auckland for tomorrow (Wednesday). If it is renewed for Thursday, we may have to cancel the session. So it is important that you let me know that you are coming so that I can contact you on Wednesday night or Thursday morning to confirm if the session is going ahead.

There won't be a session this Saturday as it is Easter weekend.

Welcome to Alessa Janecki our new overseas student. Alessa is from Germany and will stay with us until July on a part-time basis. She will mainly spend her time doing field work with volunteers.

2. Rat monitoring results

Rat monitoring inside the Ark: 19% (last monitoring in February gave a result of 6.4%)

Rat monitoring outside the Ark: 90% (last monitoring in February gave a result of 65%)

The rat presence outside the Ark is very high at the moment and we can hope that the double bagging at the periphery is helping to limit the rat re-invasion.

3. Trap catch data

Monthly rat catch graphs

Thank you to the trappers for sending in your catch reports and to Maurice Colgan for making these graphs.

Pondering on predators:

As shown above the recent rat monitoring result was quite high, while trap catches for rats remain comparatively low. This could be due to the abundance of natural food sources (fruiting trees) available at the moment making trap bait less attractive, in particular kahikatea is fruiting heavily at the moment.

March stoat numbers are significantly higher than in recent years, possibly related to the availability of rats as a food source. It is also possible that the March result is a late peak, usually seen in early summer, due to the cool, wet summer weather.

Reported March stoat catches:

2017 March stoats: 11

2016 March stoats: 2

2015 March stoats: 5

Other predator catches in March: 4 weasels, 1 ferret, 5 hedgehogs.

Musing on mice

Our rat monitoring revealed a presence of 19% mice (the same percentage as for rats) within the Ark whereas there were no mouse footprints on the cards/papers outside the Ark where rat numbers are much higher.

4. Biosecurity alert: myrtle rust

A press release from DOC on Tuesday confirmed that myrtle rust (also known as guava or eucalyptus rust) has been found on pohutukawa on Raoul Island.

This pathogen affects a wide range of plants in the Myrtaceae family. Pohutukawa, rata, manuka and kanuka could be at risk as well as some commercially-grown introduced species such as feijoa and eucalyptus. It is present in Australia and this recent news confirms it is getting closer to mainland New Zealand.

If you encounter anything you suspect may be myrtle rust, it is important not to interfere with the host plant but to photograph it, identify and mark the location (with flagging tape or using a GPS) and report the sighting to the Ministry for Primary Industries on 0800 80 99 66.

5. Upcoming miscellaneous events

Forest & Bird annual Auckland and Northland Regional meeting:

Saturday, 29th April 2017, Grey Lynn Community Centre, 510 Richmond Rd

For all Forest & Bird members, volunteers and anyone interested in protecting nature in Auckland. Come along and hear about the main issues facing Auckland’s wildlife and what we can do to protect it.

Presenters include Forest & Bird President Mark Hanger talking about upcoming Forest & Bird national campaigns and Dr Margaret Stanley from Auckland University who will give an informative and entertaining presentation on wildlife links and connections. Find the agenda here.

To attend RSVP to Nick Beveridge - DD 09 302 3901. M 021 216 2920 by the 13th April.

Waitākere Ranges Conservation Network seminar:

Sunday, 30th April 2017 at Arataki Centre

All volunteers and interested conservationists are welcome. There is no charge and lunch is provided. Click here to see the agenda.

Please RSVP before 21st April to brutrix021@gmail.com.

Landcare Research Biosecurity Bonanza 2017:

Tuesday, 23rd May 2017 in Whangarei

Find out about the latest biosecurity research being undertaken at Landcare Research:


6. Ark session calendar

Thursday 13th April, volunteer session 8:30am, seed collection & baiting

Saturday 15th April, no volunteer session: Easter weekend

Thursday 20th April, limited volunteer session for experienced volunteers only, 8:30am baiting (and seed collection if needed)

Saturday 22nd April, volunteer session 8:45am, baiting

Thursday 27th April, volunteer session 8:30am, baiting

Saturday 29th April, volunteer session 8:45am, baiting

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. Ark in the Park Project Website. All rights reserved.