Calendar of Events at Baring Head August – December 2014
- Ongoing - Trapping of animal pests by the trapping teams
- 9th and 10th . Small Mammal Monitor 2 days. Plus beach working bee. How much we do will depend on how many volunteers we get. We may be installing temporary fencing around the banded dotterel nesting area, planting at the carpark, and cleaning up the beach. The third day of monitoring isn’t needed in winter, so day 2 of the monitoring will be just getting cards out of the tunnels, but we will also do some maintenance work along the tracking lines – clearing weeds from the ends of tunnels that are getting hard to access, putting logs or rocks next to tunnels that sheep are constantly sitting on, clearing gorse and other impediments along the walking routes, and re-marking with tape.
- 4th September – BNZ "Stop for Good" day. To walk over to Fitzroy Bay and remove horned poppy and also collect rubbish. Other volunteers welcome to join them.
- 6th September – Khyber Pass planting. Plant approximately 100 natives along the steep banks to help stabilize them. Back up date of the 7^th if needed. We will also do some more turfing of grass and scattering of seed to see if that will result in some regeneration.
- 12th September - Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, approximately 60 people to come and remove horned poppy and remove rubbish from the beaches. Back up date of the 19^th September.
- 11th October – working bee centred on the pumphouse. Wash down the pumphouse, clear build-up of rock around the base of pumphouse, clean up picnic table area. Control tradescantia around this area. Back up date of the 12th .
- Small Mammal Monitor 2 or 3 days - dates to be advised
- 8th November, 9th backup. Working bee centred on the coast (horned poppies, karo, etc)
- Lizard monitoring – Organised by E-Science (Owen Spearpoint).
- 6th December – Lighthouse working bee and beach exploration. Bring the family. We’ll walk along some of Fitzroy Bay beach, talk about the natural features of the beach, do some beach combing, and then walk up to the lighthouse. Kids can eat lunch, explore, and generally have fun, while adults help out with some maintenance jobs around the complex. Activities associated with the lighthouse will be undertaken. Back-up date of the 7^th , or possibly a later date, depending on the long range forecast (aiming for a really nice day).
Paul Hughes for the Friends Of Baring Head Trustees http://www.baringhead.org.nz
Tree planting this Saturday – 28 June, 10am – about midday
We have another 500 plants to get into the Khyber Pass site. So we need lots of help, even if you can only stop off for a short period as part of a family outing.
The last planting went really well, with lots of shrubs put into the main area near the endangered Muehlenbeckia (who need a wind break). This time we will finish filling in that area, and also plant more of the river bank to reduce erosion and restore whitebait spawning habitat.
The weather forecast is for fine weather and moderate winds. But Khyber Pass funnels the wind, so don’t forget the woolly hat and jacket.
There’ll be tea, coffee and snacks available.
It would be great if you could tell us whether you are coming – email Paula - email@example.com <pwarren [snail] doc [period] govt [period] nz> – so we can plan the day. And if you are happy to offer a ride or need a ride, let us know.
The weather looks to be reasonably fine with northerlies and no rain forecast
Paul Hughes for Friends Of Baring Head Trustees
Planting Event on Saturday 31st May 2014
- Baring Head – Khyber Pass - Wainuiomata Coast Road (approximately 1km south of the bridge car park)
- Meeting Time - 10am at the site
- Please join Friends of Baring Head and Greater Wellington in planting up Khyber Pass. Please dress for the weather as it can get very cold, wet and windy there on a bad day.
- Another reminder will be sent to you the week of the event.
Small mammal monitoring
It’s time to do the May monitoring. If we can get enough volunteers and the weather is suitable, we’ll do it next weekend – 10, 11 and 14 May. If the weather is bad, or we have insufficient people (given the late notice), we’ll do it weekend of 24 May, with another fallback option the following weekend in case this wet weather becomes a constant feature of autumn.
We would be leaving Wellington around 9am, out at Baring Head by 10am, finishing around 1pm and back in Wellington by about 2pm). Or if you want to arrange a large group (e.g. using this as a fun outing for a walking group)and can do all the lines on one day, we can adjust the times to suit you.
For those who haven’t done this before, the details are below. There are lines to suit all levels of fitness, and the work itself is not difficult. Saturday and Sunday are not suitable for people with strong peanut allergies. Sunday and Wednesday are particularly good for children, as they get to see cards with footprints on them. This is a great chance to explore parts of Baring Head that you might not have seen before.
We ideally need 8-10 volunteers on each of the three days, particularly on Sunday when cards are being put out and collected in, so working in pairs is even more important.
If you can help on any of those days, please email Susan – smshand [snail] gmail [period] com and let her know:
1. Which days you can come (and how many people if there are more than one). If you are a bit tentative about being able to go (for example families with small children may wish to specify that they will only come if the weather is reasonable), please say so and we will take that into account in our planning.
2. If you have done it before and could confidently do a line without training. If you have done it before, and have a strong preference for lines you would like to do or don’t want to do, you can tell us now or on the day.
3. Which of the following transport options applies:
We’ll confirm by Thursday next week as to which weekend we have chosen (once we have looked at the weather forecast). Once the dates have been picked, Susan will send out the transport details and other information. We have access to a Baring Head-specific forecast, so we’ll be able to give fairly accurate information about likely weather.
We meet at the main carpark. This is to the right of the road, about a kilometre or so before the coast. There is a large park sign, toilet and carpark next to the bridge across the river.
What is small mammal monitoring
Greater Wellington Regional Council needs to gather data on the nature and numbers of rodents and things like stoats, ferrets and so on, to determine what control should be undertaken and what effect control is having. Control of some pests has now started, and we have a separate volunteer team that is doing regular trap setting and bait station filling. The work we do is just to work out how many of these animals are there.
How the tracking tunnels work
Long plastic tunnels have been attached to the ground. Occasionally they disappear, and are replaced, but they ideally have been in place for some weeks before monitoring for animals to be fully accustomed to them. Monitoring is done using inked cards. The cards are the same size as the bottom of the tunnel, and have an inky patch in the middle. A bait (peanut butter for rodents and meat for predators like stoats) is put in the middle of the ink. When the animal enters and goes to the bait, it gets inky feet, and then deposits footprints on the clean part of the card as it leaves.
Rodent cards are put in on day one, left overnight, collected the next day. As we replace them, we put mustelid cards in every second tunnel (mustelids walk further each night). Then those are collected three days later. We are also collecting some related information, such as presence of animal scats (poos), whether the cards have been disturbed (e.g. pulled out of the tunnel), or if the bait has been taken but no footprints left.
Greater Wellington has put in eight lines, each with ten tunnels, two in each of the main habitats (beach, terrace pasture, river flats and escarpment grey scrub). We do the monitoring under the supervision of the GW monitoring specialist 4 times a year. We can combine the lines in various ways, but usually there is an easy pair of lines near the lighthouse for someone who wants a nice walk with a view and doesn’t want to cope with scrub and hills; a hard but fun and sheltered line for someone in training for a tramp, that sidles along the escarpment in grey scrub; an option that involves a fairly long walk along the coast; and an option that has a steep climb and then a sidle along a grassy ridge. We can also offer a very short walk near the carpark, which has been opted for by a volunteer nursing a knee injury in the past.
The job of the volunteers is to walk along the line, find each tunnel (they are 50m apart), and put in or take out cards and bait (depending on which day). The tricky bit is always finding the tunnels rather than handling the cards. We’ll provide laminated sheets describing where they are on each line, and give you information on where to go and how they are marked.
How the day will work
Pick-ups are generally at the Wellington station (9am) or Woburn station (9.30), unless the car driver makes other arrangements. Volunteers drive out and meet at the carpark at about 10am.
Sara from GW meets us there. We sort out things like health and safety arrangements, and then assign lines to pairs or small groups. And there’s normally some cake or chocolates to get you in the mood. Normally a pair will do two lines. They are given the necessary equipment in a bag. If the pair doesn’t include someone who has been trained, a trained person will go with them to the nearest tunnel or the beginning of their line and explain and demonstrate the procedure. The pair then does the line at their own pace, after which they return to the carpark. Once they have handed in their cards (or left them at a drop-off point) they can either enjoy other parts of the park or leave. Sara and a Friend will stay until all the teams are in.
Sara has a key to the gate, so teams doing lines well to the south (e.g. near the climbing rocks) will be ferried down there so that they can finish on time.
What to bring
Baring Head is exposed and this is starting to be winter. So you will need to bring raincoat and warm clothes. A warm hat is essential in a southerly.
The tracks are rough and grassy slopes can be slippery. So you need sturdy footwear.
If you are willing to do the lines on the steeper parts of the area, boots and trousers are recommended (trousers to fend off the scratchy shrubs). For lines in the paddocks and on the beach, these aren’t essential, but boots do make the day easier if you have them.
- Bring water and/or thermos with hot drink, and a snack and/or lunch.
- There is a toilet at the carpark.
- And of course bring your camera so you can capture the great views.
Paul Hughes for Friends Of Baring Head www.baringhead.org.nz
Working Bee this Saturday - March 29th
Greater Wellington are holding a working bee at Baring Head this Saturday to focus on beach clean up and horned poppy removal.
Meet at Baring Head bridge car park at 10am for about 2-3 hrs of work if you would like to help.'''
Paul Hughes for Friends of Baring Head Trust www.baringhead.org.nz
New Year Update - 23rd January
There are several planned events that you can participate in:
- Sunday 26th January - volunteering at the beach
We will meet at the main carpark at 2pm, and walk over to the Fitzroy Bay coast. Depending on how many volunteers and what they want to do, we’ll do a beach clean-up, and remove some more horned poppy before they spread their seeds. Past work days have cleared most of them as far south as the edge of the private land block. Our hope this weekend is to get as far as the climbing rocks. So if you’ve been looking for an excuse to explore the coastline, this is a great chance to do that and help the coastal environment at the same time. It may be possible to arrange a ride out if you don’t have a car. Text Paula on 021 101 4824 or send her an email – firstname.lastname@example.org <pwarren [snail] doc [period] govt [period] nz> – before Saturday if you need a ride or can offer a seat to someone else.
- 29th January – evening ecology walk (6.30pm)
This is part of the Greater Wellington summer walks series, so you’ll need to book. See http://www.gw.govt.nz/events/ for more details.
- February 8, 9, 12 – small mammal monitoring
Three half days - choose which day suits you, or come every day. We generally leave Wellington at 9am and get back around 2pm. We have lines to suit any level of fitness. Sunday is the best day for kids, as they get to take cards out of the tunnels and see the footprints, as well as putting cards in. Wednesday is the fastest day, as it only involves taking cards from half the tunnels. If you are allergic to peanut butter, then Saturday and Sunday aren’t suitable. If you are available, send an email to <pwarren [snail] doc [period] govt>pwarren [snail] doc [period] govt [period] nz <pwarren [snail] doc [period] govt [period] nz>. Paula will pass your details to the person who will be coordinating transport. Let her know:
- Which day you would like to do
- if you have your own transport, if you need a ride, or if you can offer a seat to someone else.
- If you need or are offering a ride, indicate whether you prefer pick up in Wellington (railway station) or the Hutt (Woburn railway station or Wainuiomata).
- Give her a cellphone number if possible.
Baring Head - Lighthouse Pumphouse reopening - Saturday 14 December
- You are invited to the reopening of the historic lighthouse pumphouse and launching of the seats and picnic tables on Saturday 14 December 2013 on site at Baring Head
We meet at the Baring Head Bridge carpark, Coast Road, Wainuiomata at 10.15am to walk to the pumphouse site, where the ceremony will be held at 11am. Please note the drive from Lower Hutt is about 45mins and the walk from the bridge carpark to the pumphouse takes about 15 min. Suitable outdoor gear and shoes essential.
- After the opening, tea, coffee, cold drinks and bikkies will be provided.
The event should be completed by 12.30pm and you are welcome to stay on and explore Baring Head or join in the checking of the trap-lines if you wish. Alternately, you may like to drive along to Khyber Pass to see the planting done by the Friends of Baring Head last year, or down to the coast to see the new car park built by Greater Wellington and the planting done jointly with the Friends.