Bells’ Track – June 2014 Update

landn2Tena koutou katoa

Sunday June 15th turned out to be a good day for planting and we now have over 100 plants in the ground for this year.  There were about a dozen of us including our younger helpers Ruby ,Luca, Adam and Noah.  It’s good that younger people are showing an interest in nature.  With Luca Ruby and Adam having planted their first trees at the bottom of the track some years ago now they are planting at the top where we reach our limit.

With 17.5 hectares to reforest it is now, after 11 years, really looking in parts like an established bush reserve.  It is quite a milestone to reach the top with planting on both sides of the track so a celebration in September to mark this would be in order. The next planting day will be Sunday June 29th followed by Saturday July 5th, Sunday July 6h (our usual monthly working bee)and Sunday July 20th.  Meet at the bottom of the track at 10.30 am or if running late we will be planting in the area of the second  seat up the track. The trees that are more tolerant to wind near the top are Manuka, griisilinia littoralis and oleria solandrii.  The latter we have planted for the first time this year.   The flora this month are the above mentioned grisilinia and the oleria.  The fauna are our native freshwater fish.

The predator control team report for the first time that not all the bait was taken when doing their monthly top up of the bait stations.   This seems a good sign for we may be getting on top of the predators.   Hand weading around previously planted trees is still needed plus muclching.  In September I would like to try and organise a couple of truck loads of mulch to be moved up the track.   This could be quite an exercise as we no longer have a good dumping spot at the bottom of the track.

Jerome and Rory continue to do a good job on Darwin’s barberry eradication.  If you have totara, kahikatea, rata, matai  or miro on your spot remember they like to have some light so it pays to cut away from them.  It does seem odd that we now have to trim  back native plants but it is important to establish these trees to create bio-diversity.

The Tuesday group has been held back by rain over the last two weeks.  I potted up some nikau palms two years ago for the track to Cummings Park and these are now ready to plant out.  We meet each Tuesday morning in the vicinity of Awarua St station at 11am and work for a couple of hours.  If you know of anyone interested in joining us it would be most appreciated.

Ka kite ano 


Griselinia_littoralis_flowers___Broadleaf___Kapuka__Grisilinia  Littoralis ( Broadleaf) (Papauma)

We have two grisilinia species endemic to NZ – lucida and littoralis.  Both can be terrestrial and epiphytical but littoralis is more likely to be terrestrial.  Male and fem,ale flowers occur on differnet plants.   Leaves are shiny on the upper surface and pale on the underside.   Flowers in spring followed by green fruits ripening in autumn.   Is incredibly wind tolerant and undoubtedly  a great benefit for establishing our forest.

Oleraria solandrii

Grows mostly as a shrub but in sheltered sites can become a small tree up t0 4m or more.  Found throughout the North Island (Ika a Maui) and the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu)  to southern Marlborough.   It can reach 500m above sea level so is well suited to the top of the track.  Olerias are part of the tree daisies and there are 32 species in NZ, all endemic.  Adult leaves are small and narrow with hairs on many parts giving a yellow/green colour.   Flowering occurs late summer to autumn and the flowers and foliage have a strong vanilla scent.

kokopuBanded620 (1)FISH

There are five native fish species – all threatened.  They are very secretive and most people don’t know they exist.   Not only are polluted waterways a threat but also the frying pan   Our delicacy of whitebait atr e the young of five native species.  They are:

Redfin bullies –grow to about 12cms

Inanga – make up most of the whitebait catch.   Adults grow to around 10cms and can be easily distinguished by their silver bellies and forked tails.

Banded kokopu

Giant koko[pu sometimes know as the native trout.  Can grow to 40cms

Koaro – spectacular climbers.   They use their flattened fins to scramble up waterfalls to reach shady boulders in forest streams.  Grow 16 – 18cms

banded kokopu

How to help our native fish

Join a community stream care group

Pick up any litter you see on the street

Pick up dog droppings, they boost bacteria levels in streams and rivers

If possible clean your car on the lawn using a bucket rather than a hose.

Sweep up grass clippings and leaves and put them in your garden rather than hosing them into drains ( I generally clean the gutters out after rain and put the debris around trees planted on council land)

Clean paint brushes in the laundry sink or bucket you can tip into the garden

Take household chemicals to your local landfill