2013 Pest Control Results

Just finished compiling our results for last year, and once again we’ve got some impressive totals thanks to everyone’s’ hard work.

The 2013 summary is:

Possums 2176, Rats 74, Ferrets 0, Stoats 15, Weasels 0, Feral cats 2, Rabbits 5, Pigs 3, Hedgehogs 9

Our time spent doing this: 1420 hours (x $15/hour = $21,300 worth of labour)

Of course we also did a possum and rat knockdown over late winter, so will have taken out a lot more possums and rats than this in reality. Steve Henderson at NRC helped me to monitor the knockdown, and our official result was a reduction in possums from a 28% BMI (Bite Mark Index) to just 11%. This means we started with a moderate number of possums in the forest, and reduced them to a low level. The target to be strived for is a BMI between 10 – 15% so we well achieved this.

Total results since we began in 2009:

Possums 7966, Rats 484, Ferrets 2, Stoats 41, Weasels 1, Feral cats 17, Rabbits 91, Pigs 11, Hedgehogs 30.

As if all the birds singing away to us in our forests weren’t proof enough, then we only need to look to these results to know that together, we are making a huge difference.


Owhiwa ‘Meet a Kiwi’ Event

Read the Northern Advocate article about this event…


Photo of Goldie the kiwi, held by Todd Hamilton, project manager of the Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum.


I’m excited to let you know that a very special opportunity has come the way of the Kiwi Coast. A kiwi ready to graduate from the crèche on Matakohe/Limestone Island is unable to be released locally due to its genetics. Instead it will be transported south (to either the Brynderwyn or Kaipara kiwi project). This kiwi will be coming to Owhiwa for a couple of hours so that the local communities can see a real live kiwi up close before it heads south.


Lets make the most of this opportunity to bring people together from the Owhiwa, Mt Tiger, Whareora, Taheke, Waikaraka and Pataua areas.  This is a chance for our locals to meet a kiwi, find out all about them, and what we need to do so that our kiwi can thrive and live safely amongst us. As they say, seeing is believing, and this is one of the most powerful ways we know of engaging everyday people in taking simple steps to care for kiwi around them.

As people who coordinate a Landcare group, manage forestry, or have connections with landowners in the area I’m hoping you’re keen to make the most of this opportunity. Attached is a flyer that you may wish to email out. I have also printed some copies for those who wish to do a mailbox drop – just let me know how many you need.

Forest News from Whareora Rd

Two more huge possums to remove this morning , one the largest fattest one I have ever collected.I have reset the traps and checked the others.
Rat numbers.…….well we have seen six dead ships rats , they have been taking the bait so they are very much present in large numbers. They must have a secret burial spot.
Possums…..150 their numbers are decreasing and our property is a bit of a motorway from Ian Franks bush.
Regeneration of native fauna is ongoing and this is a positive sign.
Hawks eating the new fluffy quail  chicks seems sad, though the diving of the Kereru daily lifts your spirits.
Tuis  supping the juice and pith from grapefruits in this hot weather, and we are regularly changing the bowls of drinking water to keep them cool.
A large Tui and her son were bathing in the water remaining in the tank lid above the cottage path, splashing and wallowing while being a little vocal
No signs of new bird life, although we have two noisy and uninvited paradise ducks who hurtle down on to the lawn mid evening, the female is nesting under the cottage.
They appear like low flying jets, and I am sure they are not native.
The pohutakawa behind the bedroom window is a grand central station for the tui clan, wish we had more of these special trees.
The bush and its challenges brings lots of joy.
Merry xmas to everyone
Rhondda and John.

Forest News from Mt Tiger

Photograph by Wade DoakYou’ve probably noticed that many plants are flowering really well this year. At the moment you can smell the spicy smell of the very small mahoe flowers in the forest, and a lot of us have got tui going mad in the flax/harakeke as they squabble over the nectar. Our birdlife is also doing well, with the NZ wood pigeon/kukupa sitting on twiggy nests in treeferns and tomtits continuing to squeak its two alarm tweets when we pass by.
amborhytida dunniae awakeThe monitoring of our endangered snails – Amborhytida dunniae was completed in October and numbers were slightly up. Unfortunately there was still a lot of pig  rooting through a number of the monitoring plots. The snails do seem to like using the yellow Timms traps as storm shelters, and 9 were found in one Timms trap in the Mt Tiger forest after a particularly heavy storm!

Kiwi discovered in the NRC pine forest on Mt Tiger Road

The NRC biosecurity officers Steve Henderson and Kane McElrea filled over 300 bait stations with rat and possum poison in the 520ha NRC pine block on Mt Tiger Road in spring.
Ngaire gave them a hand one of the days and got a bit distracted by finding a possible partial kiwi footprint on the side of a muddy pool. Once again the Kiwi Coast project supported Pete Graham to investigate with Rua the trained dog, and a kiwi listening device was deployed at the site. This time the device recorded a single call on the last night! The next step will be to work in with NRC to establish predator trapping over the entire block to protect the kiwi.
So Whareora Road landowners – the kiwi are getting closer to YOU!