FOMI work trip – 20-22 March 2020 – bird hide seating, picnic table, flax weevils


At the time of writing this report New Zealand will go into lockdown to minimise the spread of coronavirus, at midnight tonight. This trip is likely to be our last for some time.

Nine people participated in a very productive weekend with all tasks completed. Fewer numbers allowed greater distance between volunteers in the bedrooms.

Our first task was to monitor critter activity in 40 of the trial mature flax plants, on Friday night i.e. the flax weevils. This activity was repeated with the remaining 40 plants Saturday night. Many of the marked weevils were found. We are yet to hear if there has been any movement between plants. Will continued the pitfall trapping of the trial area with Robin C and Richard, Saturday and Sunday.

Jason and Adrian used old wharf materials to construct a replacement picnic table for the one removed from near the Tirohanga/Southern Track (northern one). Jason used the tractor to transport it to the site. Jason, Allan and Dale celebrated its arrival with port, cider and cheese and crackers. Seating for the hide was also made and installed Sunday.

Allan and David placed small wooden blocks at the entrance of the white-faced storm petrel burrows (to restrict the size of birds entering) – Cathy’s idea to prevent flutterers and fairy prions using the burrows. David managed to also do some fernbird tracking.

Surveying the flax planting around the island was carried out by David and Robin C – an important element of Will’s research programme. The Central Track was also pruned back.

Those who finished early were able to remove weeds encroaching on/restricting movement along the wetland track. Dale cleared the caravan ready for removal and the office garage and FOMI storeroom tided up/stored materials.

This was an enjoyable, smaller scale volunteer weekend. A number mentioned how smaller meant a better chance to get to interact with others. Everyone had a chance on Saturday night to introduce and brag about themselves and their connection with the island.

Dale Shirtliff

Crew on the March 2020 FOMI work trip.

New seating in the bird hide.

 

Christening the new picnic table made from old wharf timber.