Yesterday a pair of NZ Pipits came up our drive and almost in the front door! They were accompanied by a pair of Californian Quail.
We have a number of quail around the garden at present and just a couple of days ago Dougal spotted a family with about 12 chicks in tow. He described then as being like bumble-bees – they are about that small.
Stay with us while on the Cycle Trail
As a few keen cyclists will be aware the Rimutaka Cycle Trail is now up and running and to keep everyone on track there is some new signage including blue marker pegs along the Western Lake Road. We have also seen quite a few more bikers heading past which means the marketing has been effective so hopefully they are all enjoying the experience.
Te Rakau Cabins are still open for accommodation for those wanting to break the journey and all going well the third cabin should be ready in the near future. It has been shifted into position with the sliding door and windows due to be put in just before Xmas. Effectively a “bunk house” to offer additional sleeping for 5 extra people, who will use the facilities at the existing cabins, thereby providing for slightly larger groups. A deck area will be put out the front and at this stage there is some feeling to leave it in its original railway red colours – let us know what you think.
Latest News from Friends of Onoke Spit
The fifteen signatures for the Incorporated Society of Friends of Onoke Spit (FOOS) have been obtained and will be sent away shortly with the other paper work required. This will allow the FOOS to apply for funds from various organizations, as well as receive donations, for the work to be carried out on the Spit over the coming years with weed and pest eradication being the main requirements for funds.
Caspian Terns at Onoke Spit
The Caspian Terns have decided to relocate for the third time this season and are now closer to the wreck of the Addenda so hopefully they will be able to settle and produce some healthy offspring before it is to late. After a discussion with local resident Joe Houghton the only reason we can come up with for the shift is a few days of heavy rain and strong winds earlier in the month. Thanks to those 4 wheel drive and ATV owners for respecting the “Temporary Closed” signs which give some chance to not only the Caspian Terns but also the Banded Dotterels and Variable Oystercatchers nesting sites all along the Spit.
The Greytown Lions recently gave the FOOS group $350.00 towards work on the Spit and we were able to show some of their members what it is all about when they visited the site in late November and they were able to see for themselves how hard it is to see a Banded Dotterel nest with three eggs lying in a small hollow on the gravel!
Joe Houghton and Dougal continue to monitor a series of traps along the Spit and were successful recently with 2 rats, 2 hedgehogs and a small cat caught in the traps. This was on top of 4 other hedgehogs and 1 ferret already caught this season.
Recent Bird Sightings Around Te Rakau
We have sighted a pair of Black Fronted Dotterels on the southern end of the Pounui Lagoons over the last month and although they had their first attempt at nesting thwarted in that they laid a nest in the middle of the very busy Paul’s Bank track they have hopefully found a better sight to nest. They were also chased by a weasel one evening while we were observing them but an appropriately placed trap soon alleviated that problem!
Another amusing incident recently involved the overnight rest and recuperation of a Shining Bronze-cuckoo. Suffice to say we found the bird at home in a dazed state and thinking it was a juvenile bird that had had a clash with window a the house put it in a container overnight only to be welcomed in the morning with a very much alive bird and a small egg as well! Upon release it was very happy to scramble up into the tree tops to be heard later in the day whistling its tune of thanks.
Local School Helps Out With Planting
Since May 2011, the Friends of Onoke Spit have had a yearly planting in a gorse infested area at the beginning of the scenic Onoke Spit. Multiple plots are cleared of the pest plant to make way for native plants that should eventually out compete the gorse.
Children from the local Kahutara Primary School, and others from the area, attend each year and make a major contribution to getting the plants in the ground. The young plants also get protective matting and covers to help them survive in the wild climate of the Palliser coast.