This newsletter is for forest neighbours in Work Road and Wright Road.
Nothing stands still in the forest, nor does it in the digital world. Thanks to the efforts of a couple of web-savvy volunteers, plus the talents of Jamie Bell at Paulownia Design, the AFP website has just been completely refreshed and updated. We’re really thrilled with the new look, take a moment to check it out!
Feracol and dogs
On the 22nd February we’ll be putting Feracol in our bait stations, to deal with possums and rats. This is much earlier than usual to attempt to knock rodents and possums back before the typical spike experienced in March/April and also to avoid doing this work during the roar, for the safety of our volunteers. The active ingredient in Feracol is Cholecalciferol/Vitamin D3.
Dogs and cats must be excluded from the area of use as they are very susceptible to cholecalciferol.
If you take dogs into the Forest, they MUST ALWAYS have a DOC permit and they should be kept on a leash. If you have concerns about our pest control methods, please contact us and we will answer any questions you might have: 09 808 0792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hot Dry Weather
The hot dry weather we’re all experiencing is browning off pastures, which are being grazed right down. Theoretically this is going to lead to an upsurge in rabbits, which in turn will lead to a surge in stoats, ferrets and feral cats.
Any pest control work done on neighbouring properties is good for the forest. We encourage you to hunt, trap and poison these animals, so that our precious native species have a safe space to live and food to thrive on. If you want advice from us or you would like to borrow traps please do not hesitate to get in touch: 09 808 0792 or email email@example.com
You might recall the excitement in November 2018 when two of the 15 nesting boxes that Trustee Barry Pethybridge had installed were observed to be hosting wee rifleman (titipounamu) families. The same exercise has been repeated this season, with even more boxes deployed.
It appeared early in the season that our efforts were in vain, but now we have birds nesting in some of the boxes again. Rifleman families have been spotted in the far east of the forest as well as nearer the Lodge and short loop.
Aongatete Forest Project has a new Chairperson: James Denyer stepped up from being one of our trustees last August. James was also elected late last year to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
Our previous Chair, Barbara McGillivray, stood down after 5 very successful years in which AFP made significant progress on many fronts. Barbara remains a Trustee and will continue to drive AFP’s signature event – Breakfast with the Birds – which was one of her pet projects and has now become a highly valued part of our annual calendar of events.
Hurt or Deceased Native Animals
Just a reminder – if you come across a dead or hurt native animal, you must notify DOC on their emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468). If the animal is hurt, they may direct you to ARRC (Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre) Wildlife Trust in Tauranga [(07) 579 9115, email firstname.lastname@example.org].
Picnic by the River
Two of our volunteers recently took a break by the Aongatete River on a very hot day after servicing some of our monitoring lines.
They were poking about in the shallows when out leaped a fish! It actually jumped into deeper water and as it swam away to hide they saw it was plump, greeny-brown, all spotty and about 15 cm long. It was a koaro! From the way it jumped it was easy to see how this member of the whitebait galaxiid family can get so far upstream.
As they sat they watched a gorgeous big dragonfly resting on a nearby rock. A couple of wasps were flying above the stream and suddenly the dragonfly zoomed up very fast, grabbed the wasp and flew off to eat it. Wow!
They looked under a few rocks and found lots of mayfly larvae, a toe-biter (grows up into a stone fly) several species of caddis larvae in cases (they grow up into moth-like adults), a tiny koura and a large water spider hiding under the water and looking all silvery with the air trapped around its body.
This wealth of species shows how healthy the stream is. They were careful to turn back the rocks after their investigations, although floods are not so considerate!
Forest Playgroup @ Matahui School
On the 1st Friday of each month the playgroup comes to Aongatete and uses the AFP kohanga as their base. If you’re interested in being involved, contact coordinator Kelli Hutchison on 027 232 0909