In late April the Department of Conservation dog surveillance team came out to check for pests. The team included Brian Shield with the Argentine ant dog Bobby, Hannah Johnston with plague skink dog Harper, Adeline Bosman with rodent dog Prudence, and Carol Nanning with rodent dog Piri.

The dog teams searched most of the coastline with a higher focus on the flats in the southwest and likely landing sites like Orau Cove and Pōhutukawa Flat, and also some inland areas, with no pests detected. This was the annual autumn check when rodents are most likely on the move. The ant and skink dog team focussed mostly on the cleared areas and around the buildings as they are the most likely sites for ant or skink incursions.

“While I was dropping the dog teams by boat, I made the most of the opportunity to check the sentry stations on the beaches. The new sentry stations – the wooden tunnels built by John Cambridge – are out in the field now. They work well and are easy to use.”

We had 4 general maintenance volunteers out from the 15th to 26th of March. They installed the Reno mattress below the ford. This is a kind of thinner gabion basket that can be shaped and curved to achieve better water flow and less erosion in the stream bed. They also helped with painting, staining, and weeds – they were a great team and got a lot of good work done.

Chippy and I have done some other small maintenance tasks, including work on the generator and sorting out the sewerage system. We scooped out the bunkhouse system by hand and added more worms. Solids were transferred to the rangers’ house system that was working well. There was a pipe block between the toilet and tank, so the plumber came out and cleared the blockage and the system is running well again now.

We have also been tapping away at weed control – a couple of hundred pampas were killed between East Cape and Rocky Point.

Meanwhile Leigh has been helping to plan the response to the stoat incursion on Motutapu Island – several highly endangered tūturuatu or shore plover have been killed, and in May, stoat footprints were found on one of the island’s beaches.

We have noticed a number of New Zealand storm petrels coming and going from artificial burrow 19. A few weeks ago, a bird was sitting in the box incubating and left undisturbed after lifting the lid. The bird was not in the box recently and we found two infertile eggs in the box.


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