Thursday, June 7, 2012

Weta Homes

double clip to enlarge

On the Coromandel, on two occasions a tap at a filleting bench has been home to a weta. One had also taken up residence in the watering can hung up in a Ngaio alongside the bench.
Last year the Forest and Bird magazine had an article on wetas. It covered artificial homes advising they be made from minimum 20mm diameter bamboo stem.
3 homes were created using 15mm stem as this was the only bamboo available. One stem was hung in the Ngaio while another in a Kanuka nearby, and a third in another Kanuka at a different location within the section. Two weeks later upon inspection one of the homes was occupied and after a further two weeks, all had a resident weta.
Back in Hamilton, the Mangaiti Gully group removed a fallen Kanuka and found two naturally occurring weta homes in the trunk. The trunk that contained one of these homes was secured on an existing Kanuka tree. The other trunk was split length wise to expose the weta home, hinged for viewing then secured to another Kanuka.
10 bamboo homes have now been installed amongst the Kanuka where the initial discovery was made (alongside the walk bridge). A 15mm and a 30 mm stem have been paired and attached to the Kanuka (see photo) in five locations that do not appear to have naturally occurring homes. The length of the bamboo stem varies up to 220mm. After two weeks 2 have been occupied.  Both 15mm  diam stems and the 2 longest ones, 220 and 180mm.

A Shade house

This project has been on the boil for some time. We have finally started the construction on council land down by the foot bridge (see photo). With HCC under financial constraint no one knows what the future plant supply is likely to be so it is important that we become more independent. We have had excellent support with donations from a number of people. This includes the supply of the base sleepers, the deer netting for security, wire, the shade cloth, weed mat and an irrigation system.

Summary to date of pest control

Possums caught since December now totals 19. There has been nothing in the traps for over two weeks now so it looks as though we may have cleared out the resident possums.

Rat bait pellets eaten from our bait stations since we started now totals 274. We were trialing one bait station which has been in place since November last year and that had 48 eaten by March when we started putting the other bait stations into the reserve. The last of the 13 were installed by 20th April. The bait stations are serviced weekly. We are a bit surprised that the uptake of baits has not had any noticeable reduction yet. There must be a lot of rats out there or the bait pellets (Ditrac) is not having any effect and we are just feeding them!! We are sure it is the former. 

Funding success

This year we have been successful in obtaining funding from three sources.
1/ Trust Waikato supported us again with $350 for potting mix. This enables us to grow native trees and shrub at considerably less than if we had to purchase them. This is the second year we have had this important funding.
2/ We applied for and were successful in obtaining $2,000 from the HCC Envirofund to purchase materials to complete the track and board walk from Sexton Road to the foot bridge. This is an important infrastructure project and, when complete, will give us easy access to the length of the restoration area.
3/ HCC made available to us about 100 old farm posts of miscellaneous types to sell on Trademe for funding. We were successful in netting $452 in the sale. This has been set aside for plant purchasing.