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ATBT Volunteer Newsletter – March 2018
Document added 11th April 2018

Trapping Report for February 2018
Document added 11th April 2018

Trapping Report for December 2017
Document added 7th December 2017

Trapping Report for August 2017
Document added 19th September 2017

ATBT Volunteer Newsletter – August 2017
Document added 17th August 2017

Trapping Report for June 2017
Document added 28th July 2017

Trapping Report for March 2017
Document added 5th April 2017

ATBT Volunteer Newsletter – March 2017
Document added 23rd March 2017

ATBT Trapping Report – December 2016
Document added 26th January 2016

ATBT Volunteer Newsletter – December 2016
Document added 16th December 2016

ATBT Trapping Report – September 2016
Document added 6th October 2016

ATBT Volunteer Newsletter for August 2016
Document added 5th September 2016

Abel Tasman National Park Beech Planting Plan

Working with Project Janszoon and Department of Conservation, the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust plans to re-introduce black beech and hard beech to the eroded ridges near Anchorage and on Adele Island.

Abel Tasman National Park Beech Planting Plan
Document added 23rd March 2017

Robin return to Abel Tasman coastline
Added May 3rd 2016

Read the Stuff article. By clicking here

Robins contemplate their new home on Pitt Head from the cage used to transport them from Adele Is. Credit: Dave Buckton, Photo NZ

34 robin / toutouwai have today been released in the Abel Tasman National Park after a 30 year absence from the mainland coastal track.

The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust (ATBT) translocated the birds from Motuareronui Adele Island to Te Puketea Bay near Anchorage. Robin were re-introduced to Motuareronui Island by the ATBT in 2009 and have flourished in the predator free environment.

Peter Gaze, ornithologist, holds one of the birds to be transported to Pitt Head. Credit: Ruth Bollongino
Peter Gaze, ornithologist, holds one of the birds to be transported to Pitt Head. Credit: Ruth Bollongino

The ATBT Chairman Kim McGlashen says robin are found in the upper regions of the Park and were once common around Anchorage and Torrent Bay but predation has meant they have not been seen around the coast for about 30 years.

“The ATBT have been working towards bringing robin back to the mainland coast for nearly four years. It will be wonderful to see them getting a foothold around the coast so visitors can enjoy seeing the friendly birds up close,” he says.

ATBT member Allan Barker and his team set up a network of around 200 Goodnature A24 resetting rat traps over 130ha from Pitt Head to Watering Cove in 2012. The trapping network was funded by environmental trust Project Janszoon and is maintained and managed by the ATBT.

Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust Volunteers, Trustees and supporters welcome the Robins to their new home on Pitt Head. Credit: Ruth Bollongino
Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust Volunteers, Trustees and supporters welcome the Robins to their new home on Pitt Head. Credit: Ruth Bollongino

“It has taken a couple of years to get the traps working well but we are now confident our trapping network has reduced rat numbers to a level where robin will have every chance to thrive on the mainland,” says Allan Barker.

Hana Park from Te Atiawa was part of the team catching the birds on Motuareronui Adele Island for transfer to the mainland and did a moving karanga to welcome the toutouwai to their new home.

In time the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust hope to extend the rat trapping network through to Falls River so robin / toutouwai will thrive in a much larger area of the Park’s coastline.

For more information contact :
ATBT Chairman Kim McGlashen
Phone : 03 528 7668 or 021 263 4085

Project Janszoon wins international conservation award

Department of Conservation director of partnerships Nelson Jan Hania, left, Pam Holyoake of the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, Project Janszoon Director Devon McLean, Roger Wolens of The Green Organisation and Project Janszoon trustee Geoff Harley at the awards ceremony.
Document added 20th October 2015

Document added 13th August 2015

The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust is witnessing the final stages of wilding pine removal in Abel Tasman National Park. Eleven pine trees were felled on the northern headland at Torrent Bay in the first week of August 2015.

final stages of wilding pine removal in Abel Tasman National Park
Final stages of wilding pine removal in Abel Tasman National Park

The trees were felled by Nelmac arborists, then sectioned and transported to Anchorage Beach using Motueka Concrete & Metals digger and the Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle barge. From Anchorage, the tree sections will be cut into firewood to be used by visitors at Department of Conservation huts at Anchorage and Bark Bay.

These trees are amongst the last mature trees scheduled for removal and had to be felled due to their proximity to the foreshore and visual impact for the many visitors to Torrent Bay during the summer. The cost of the felling work was supported by the Tasman District Council from their Foreshore Reserve Fund.


New Developments for Birdsong Trust Volunteers.
Document added 30th July 2015

This is Tom Horn’s final trap report after 5 years as our volunteer coordinator and operations manager. He says ‘farewell and thank you’ for all the support. Tom’s dedication has been vital for keeping our trap lines cleared and checked, so I’m sure we all say ‘thank you’ to Tom.

With new trap lines being introduced, Rebecca Martin takes over from Tom in August and will be introducing new methods of operations along our trap lines.

A new Birdsong Trust depot is being set up behind Abel Tasman Kayaks base in Marahau.

Trapping Report July 2015

Bird Sightings:
Repeat sightings of the Banded Rail off the Marahau causeway.
A weka at C10, (above Observation Beach )
Little blue penguin noise around A7

Sentinel possum traps
Tree-mounted possum traps from A26 to A 80 have been unused for several months due to zero possum catch. In July, chew cards will be attached to trees that have sentinel traps mounted. Traps will be reactivated if there is evidence of possum bites on chew cards.

Trapping Report July 2015
Catch rates of around 15% have been consistent over the past 3 months, slightly higher than catches in April and May. We should reach a total of 2,000 rats by the end of July.

The following members of our volunteer team were responsible for the May/June/July checks: Peter and Moppy, Claire, Aurora, Eric and Esther, Paul, Dave, Elise, Georgina, Allan and his Pitt Head crew. Thanks you for giving so much of your time especially in the cold and wet conditions we have experienced lately.

Thanks to Aquataxi, Seashuttle and the Doc boat for taking crew into the Park.

Adele Island
Checked once a month. Mice are still present on the island. All birdsong traps are rebaited.

Allan's Pitt Head Report
May: A24 traps checked on May 18th
27 empty gas cylinders replaced, 16 had been in service for 5 months or longer.
21 counters recorded 39 kills
1 possum caught

June: A24 traps checked in two parts, June 14th and 21st
44 empty gas cylinders replaced, 31 had been in service for 5 months or longer.
23 counters recorded 27 kills. This indicates a high activity rate on a historical basis.
No Possums

Trap check  May 30 
M line 1-11: not checked
T line 1-8, nil Catch rate 0%,
A line 1 – 83: 10 rats, 1 stoat Catch rate 13 %,
A line 84 – 127: 9 rats Catch rate 21 %,
B line 1 -28: not checked 
C line 1- 23:  not checked
Total catch rate across all lines: 19 rats, 1 stoats = 15%

Trap check June 16
M 1-11: 1 rat Catch rate 9%
T 1-11: nil Catch rate 0%,   
Aline 1 – 83: 12 rats, 1 stoat Catch rate 14%,
A line 84 – 127: 4 rats Catch rate 9%,
B 1-28: 10 rats Catch rate 17%
C 1-23: 4 rats    Catch rate 17%  
Total catch rate across all checked lines: 31 rats, 1 stoat = 16% 
Observations: 35% of all traps had missing bait and 16 traps had been sprung. This suggests traps have been tampered with.

Trap check July 7
M 1-11: 1 rat Catch rate 9%
T 1-8: 4 rats Catch rate 50%,   
A 1 – 83: 12 rats, 1 stoat Catch rate 17%,
A line 84 – 127: 5 rats Catch rate 11%,
B 1-28: 4 rats Catch rate 14%
C 1-23: 2 rats    Catch rate 9%   
Total catch rate across all checked lines: 27 rats, 1 stoat = 14% 
Observations: 25% of all traps had bait missing.

Running totals since October 2010 : 1977 rats, 154 stoats, 7 weasels, 104 possums, 23 mice, 6 hedgehogs, 1 quail
NB: this does not include Pitt Head traps

Trapping Report July 2015 (.docx file)
Trapping Report July 2015 (.pdf file)
Documents added 30th July 2015


June 2015
Document added 10th June 2015

2015 Blue Ribbon Awards at the Beehive

Pam Holyoake from the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, Devon McLean and Robyn Janes from Project Janszoon, and Martin Rodd from Dept. of Conservation with the trophy for the Supreme Award.

The work of the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust was recognised when Project Janszoon won the Supreme Award at the 25th Green Ribbon Awards, held at The Beehive in Wellington, 4 June 2015. Also winning their category for Philanthropy and Partnership, Project Janszoon Director, Devon McLean, ensured that representatives from the birdsong trust and Dept. or Conservation accepted the award with him.

Trustee Pam Holyoake says, “The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust is delighted to be involved in this successful partnership between the Project Janszoon philanthropic trust, the Department of Conservation and our local community. Janszoon’s recognition of the value of its partners, demonstrates how such co-operative ventures can make a significant impact on environmental restoration.”

Trapping Report May 2015

Again, we are losing a lot of bait to mice and our catch rate is low, however we keep catching stoats and weasels consistently.

A big thank you to Aquataxi for taking us in to the Park and to Bill and Jamal on the Doc boat.

Our volunteer team involved in May was Anthea and Brian, Georgina, Paul, Elise, Krissy, Claire, Moppy and Peter, Al, Aurora, Esther and Eric,Tom, Mike and Lorraine.

Georgina and Paul have been out there on several missions.

Adele Island:
We are back to once a month monitoring the baited Birdsong Loop. There was one sighting of a Tomtit. More wilding pines have been found and dealt with and the eradication of Montpellier Broom in Stream Cove continues.

Sadly another Saddleback was caught in one of the unbaited walk-through traps. The same type of trap used on Kapiti Island is not caused any losses but all walk-through traps have been disabled on Adele Is. They will be modified before being reactivated in October.

Pitt Head report:
A recent tracking tunnel exercise by Dept of Conservation revealed that the Pitt Head Project has by far the lowest rat density compared with rest of the coast up to Bark Bay. From March, when 22% of tunnels showed rat footprints, the current result was down to 10%. The presence of mice is still very high with 70% of tunnels showing prints.

Holyoake Line:
Apologies for misreporting that the line is ready to be baited. All 62 sites are marked and the first 10 traps are on site thanks to Motueka High School in conjunction with Project Janszoon.

Extra bird sightings:
Weka above Anchorage (A 113 )
Tomtit on Adele Island and on the mainland above Stilwell Bay.
NZ Falcon between Tinline and Marahau.
Multiple sightings of Banded Rail from the Marahau causeway and - very exiting- a Marsh Crake from Marahau causeway.

Trap check May 2
M line 1-11: 1 rat Catch rate 9%
T line 1-8, nil
A line 1 – 83: 5 rats, 3 weasels Catch rate 10 %,
A line 84 – 127: 3 rats Catch rate 7 %,
B line 1 -28: 1 stoat Catch rate 6%,
C line 1- 23: 7 rats, 1 stoat Catch rate 34 %,
Total catch rate across all lines: 17 rats, 3 weasels, 2 stoats, overall catch rate : 11%

Trap check May 16
M 1-11, not checked
T line 1-8: 1 rat Catch rate 9%,
Aline 1 – 83: 12 rats, 1 mouse Catch rate 14 %,
A line 84 – 127: 5 rats Catch rate 11%,
B 1-28: 4 rats Catch rate 14%
C 1-23: 2 rats, 1 stoat Catch rate 13%
Total catch rate across all checked lines: 13%, 24 rats, 1 stoat , 1 mouse

Running totals since October 2010 : 1908 rats, 151 stoats, 7 weasels, 104 possums, 23 mice, 6 hedgehogs, 1 quail

Trapping Report May 2015 (.docx file)
Trapping Report May 2015 (.pdf file)
Documents added 10th June 2015


May 2015
Document added 26th May 2015

Control of Wilding Pines.
The sky line of Abel Tasman National Park is showing a marked change following completion of Stage 1 in the control of wilding pines, carried out by volunteers and contractors, R&D Environmental.

Ridge behind Anchorage Beach - before and after

Shag Harbour - before and after

Weed Control is ongoing throughout the Park. Kaitiaki o Ngahere contractor Rawhiti Waiti spraying Tradescantia at Awaroa

Spraying a pampas on an old slip at Waiharakeke Beach, amongst thick gorse.

Nelmac contractor Ben Pavitt cutting a hawthorn in thick scrub at Awaroa.


Trapping Report March 2015

March was a difficult month for predator control, and has affected groups like Friends of Flora and Rotoiti similarly. Mice have swept through our trapping lines, taking a third and more of the bait and quite likely causing a drop in our catch rates.

Adele Island was re invaded by mice to a point where we have to give up controlling mice by traps. Dept of Conservation decided two weeks ago to apply toxins at some point to restore the zero level status for predators on the Island.

The end of summer did bring along some challenging weather and some of our crews were hit quite badly. About 50 hrs of volunteer time hasn't wasted. The brief rat incursion on Adele Is has been controlled quickly. All traps will stay active and be checked every two weeks.

The Pitt Head Project has not escaped the mouse invasion either and while the A24 good nature traps working more reliably than ever, the tunnel track rat and mouse count is too high to release South Island Robins as yet.

Great News Despite the Mouse Plaque.
Birdsong Trust volunteer, Georgina, reports from Adele Island during one of the trap checks:

"I definitely saw a juvenile saddleback with no bands not far from the creek in the southern inner side of the island (around B9). We “communed” for several minutes at close quarters (about 8 feet) It was totally chocolatey colour but for the upper tail coverts which were rusty. It was feeding on coprosma berries, then used the beak to prise Hakea? seeds further open by placing the beak in the split and opening the beak to stretch the opening. An interesting technique. After a bit of preening it they then ripped bark off a rotting branch looking for insects. Fantastic news!

We all saw a pair of Moreporks that had flown down to watch Eric and Esther as if they were TV. They sat around for a number of minutes too."

Back to the 'plague of mice ', shifting  the stoat bait towards the roof of the stoat box did not have the desired effect. The trial of protecting the bait with little wire cages in Tinline and A17/18 has been inconclusive. In hindsight we should have switched to eggs at the beginning of the crisis.

So here is a big thank you to all volunteers involved on the lines, on the island and at Pitt Head. We did reach the limit of our volunteer force. With mouse numbers dropping and less effort required on Adele we will 'tack back into calmer waters'. Speaking of which we must extend a big thank you to  Aquataxi, Wilsons Abel Tasman, Seashuttle and Kahu Kayaks. Without their support our work would not be possible.

Trap check  March 8th 
M line 1-11 catch rate 9%, 1 rat
T line 1-8, nil
A line 1 - 83 catch rate  8 %, 6 rats , 1 stoat
A line 84 – 127, catch rate 7 %, 3 rats
B line 1 -28 catch rate 4%,  1 rat
C line 1- 23 catch rate 17 %, 4 rats
Total catch rate across all lines 8%: 15 rats 1 stoat.
Observations: bait gone from 83 traps which is 42%. Nibbled in about another 30 traps.

Trap check March 23rd.
M 1-11,  nil
T line 1-8, catch rate 13%, 1 rat,
A 1 - A 83 catch rate 14 %, 8 rats
(A21 to A 50 not checked),
A 83 - A127 catch rate  9%, 4 rats ( 84, 85, 86 not checked )
C 1-23 catch rate 26%, 5 rats, 1 stoat
B 1-28: nil
Total catch rate combined (less traps not checked) 11 %:18 rats, 1 stoat
Observations : bait gone from 62 traps which is 38% of all traps checked. Bait nibbled in about 20 others,

Running totals since october 2010 : 1828 rats, 147 stoats, 104 possums, 20 mice, 6 hedgehogs, 1 quail

First kakariki breeding programme at Natureland
Nelson Mail Article (including video).
Released April 23 2015

Kakariki released into Abel Tasman National Park
Friday, 13 March 2015, 2:13 pm
Press Release: Department of Conservation

Volunteer’s Trapping Report for February 2015
Document added 27th April 2015

Trap lines are barely coping with a mouse plague. We are losing about 30 to 40% of bait to mice, leaving those traps useless for catching stoats. We have modified all stoat traps and are now trialling to protect bait with little cages which looks encouraging.

Rat discovered on Adele Island.

We are dealing with a rat incursion on Adele with one rat caught and no signs of any others. Mice have been trapped and or 'footprinted' on tracking cards in three separate locations on the Island.

Pitt Head Trap Lines

Despite improvements in the efficiency of new resetting A24 traps on Pitt Head, recent tracking tunnel monitoring reveals an increase in rat footprints to 23% (up from 20%) and a whopping 90% of mouse prints (up from 50% ) DoC and the Birdsong Trust are meeting to discuss the Pitt Head Project, line extension up to Holyoakes clearing, and the latest situation on Adele Island.

Volunteers are putting in extra effort on the Mainland and on Adele Island. Many thanks to Tom Horn and his trapping team: Malou, Paul, Hermann and Christa, Robert, Robyn and Allan, Georgina, Tom, sally, Don and Beryce, Elaine and Andrew.

We are grateful for all water taxi operators and the Doc boat for providing transport.

Trap results first week February 2015:
M line 1-11 Catch rate 18%, 1 stoat, 1 rat
T line 1-8 Catch rate 25%, 2 rat
A line 1- 83 Catch rate 12 %, 1 stoat, 10 rats
A line 84- 127 Catch rate: 31%, 14 rats
B line 1-28 Catch rate 14 %, 4 rats
C line 1- 23 Catch rate 13 %, 1 weasel, 2 rats
Total : 2 stoats, 1 weasel, 31 rats, average catch rate: 17 %
Bait lost from approx 65 traps. Loss rate 32 %

Trap results end February 2015:
M line 1-11 Catch rate 18%, 1 stoat, 1 rat
T line 1-8 Catch rate 25%, 3 rats. Rechecked after 8 days of rebait and fitted with new mouse proof bait cages. All bait had gone except T2. Rats caught in 3 traps. Two more mouse-proof bait cages placed in A 17 & A 18.
A line 1- 83 Catch rate 37%, 1 stoat, 19 rats
A line 84 - 127 Catch rate 2%, 1 rat
B line 1 - 28 Catch rate 6%, 1 rat. Rechecked after 4 days of rebait. B 12 caught one rat, B 20 sprung. Bait condition: 4 bait ok, 12 bait 20-50% gone, 12 bait completely gone.
C line 1- 23 Catch rate 30%, 7 rats
Total: 2 stoats, 33 rats. Average catch rate 20%

Running total for the Birdsong Trust volunteers: 1795 rats, 145 stoats, 104 possums, 20 mice, 6 hedgehogs, 3 weasels, 1 quail



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