Recently we had another Open Day. A total of 45 people came from the Picton, Blenheim and even Nelson regions.
The weather played along, it was a perfect day. We started out by the cabins where everyone had their lunch. Together with Liam we took our dogs, that are in training to become predator control dogs, to meet everyone. After that we left for a walk with half the group.
My father took the other half for a bush tour.
Tui Nature Reserve’s main features would be the improved flora and fauna, recovering bird species and our vast trapping scheme set up to protect the wildlife and new undergrowth. All of these aspects were explained and shown on the Open Day. Liam and I demonstrated the monitor tunnels, walked past the recovered Kohe Kohe trees and went to the breeding enclosures, where we showed Forest Gecko’s and one of the new Kakariki chicks.
It was a full day, organized by Robin Cox from the Department of Conservation.
But perhaps the most unexpected moment for us, was when a number of visitors pitched in, after a speech from a Kaipupu Point member, and two hundred and fifty dollars was raised in just moments for our pig fence fund. Together with our neighbours we are planning to build this 1 km fence this year. It will protect the peninsula from pigs, goats and run-away dogs which could harm the flightless Weka and the Little Blue Penguin.
Leona demonstrates the tracking tunnels on the Open Day.
We’ve also started our volunteer programme. People can come out for a week and participate in all areas of our conservation work, such as: trapping with victor, ka mate, stoat and timms traps, looking after the animals in the enclosures, monitoring for rat and mouse prints, checking penguin boxes and so on. (more information on our website) It’s always helpful having someone to help out with these important jobs. There are already signs that rat numbers are down, we noticed an increased number of tree and ground Weta, and Tawa and Kohe Kohe fruit, lying untouched on the forest floor.
Not long ago we went out in the bush, gecko-spotting with Dennis Keall, a well-known lizard breeder who works with DoC and breeds many geckos and skinks. Armed with torches and head lamps we scanned the trees and shrubs for eye-shine. We didn’t find any lizards, but plenty of weta, bush spiders and many insects.
All signs of a recovering eco-system.
With our days getting shorter, we are getting treated to beautiful sunrises.