On this trip we were checking & rebaiting the usual DOC200’s (Stoats/Hedgehogs etc) and Sentinels/Trapinators (Possums) but also deployed Vespex wasp bait. This goes into the little yellow bait stations frequently seen attached to trees in the NZ bush and is pretty simple to deploy. Vespex is a protein bait, wasps take the bait back to their nests to feed their young, wiping out the nest. It needs to be deployed while wasps are seeking protein and fortunately it looks like we picked the right time as many of the bait stations were empty when we checked on the way out of the valley We put out over 2.5kg; mostly into existing bait stations (replaced quite a few that were broken and deployed a few new ones).
Leaving Christchurch at the crack of 8am, we arrived at the Glenhope gate just before 11am. From there it took around an hour, mostly along the farm track, to reach the first trap. At this point we split into two groups, George and Ron checking/re-baiting traps along the track to the hut, while Juliet and myself checked the Lunch Hill Loop. The loop has been improving with each visit and is now relatively easy to follow (some additional work is needed where it drops to the stream) and fairly well cut, but still a lot rougher than the main track. Along the way we scared a deer which ran out of the bush a couple of metres from us.
After completing the loop we caught up with the others near the hut, arriving there just after 5pm. Following a quick dip in the stream and some dinner we were free to relax with most of us managing to stay awake past 8pm.
Sunday was another beautiful sunny day. At 8.15 we headed upstream, starting on the true right because we had a limited amount of bait left and there were existing wasp bait stations on that side. There was a lot of bird life in this area, with plenty of fantails fluttering around and bellbird song. Upon reaching the last wasp bait station we crossed the river and headed back down the other side. While rougher, this track is still relatively easy to follow and the GPS makes it easy to find the traps; unfortunately we also found wasps (and got a few stings, so a supply of anti-histamine is a must).
My GPS reports that I walked 32km over the weekend with just under 10hrs moving time. Please note that there are options for shorter trips (e.g. just checking the traps below the hut) so if you are keen to help but unsure if you are fit enough please let us know!
Thanks to Juliet, George and Ron for joining me on this trip (and providing a few good yarns!) – Matt
Hedgehog – 6
Possum – 16
Rat – 5
Stoat – 3