The Shoal Bay ‘Rat Pack’

Well, not quite the ‘Rat Pack’, but it was great to meet up with a small group of volunteers at Shoal Bay last month including Amy, Anne-Elise and Bill, along with Joel, the Council contractor from HighPoint. Our plan ‘B’ if the weather was bad was to meet at the Hauraki Store café near the end of Jutland Road.

The weather was wet, in fact very wet, so we lingered over a coffee while Joel ran through the procedures and outlined the plan and requirements for installing these very safe and secure predator bait stations in the Jutland Reserve overlooking Shoal Bay.

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Café meet-up as Joel from HighPoint explains the plan

We were soon out walking the reserve, laying the bait stations approximately every 50 metres. The going was slippery but we took it in turns to tag a branch nearby with tape and then strap the bait station to the bottom of a tree while being careful to label each with a number while Joel took a GPS reading.

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Anne-Elise locates the bait station
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Bill and Amy locate another bait station

This project is part of the North-West Wildlink assistance programme to protect the birds around the coastal forest edge of Shoal and Ngataringa Bays and act as a safe corridor  for birds moving between the Hauraki Gulf islands and the Waitākere Ranges on the West coast.

Hopefully this will also benefit the shore birds, including NZ dotterel, variable oystercatcher, Caspian tern, and pied stilt, that regularly nest and attempt to nest on the shell banks in the estuary below. Banded rail should also benefit too.

There are other keen groups working on other sections around these estuaries and with more volunteers we can fill in the gaps so that all the bait stations that have been laid will be regularly monitored and recorded.

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Joel from HighPoint, contracted by Auckland Council
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Anne-Elise prepares another bait station
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Amy ties tapes the location of the bait station for our next visit

In a month’s time the Jutland ‘Rat pack’ will be back to see how much bait has been taken from our bait stations. We will record this and top up with more bait.

Very soon we will be rewarded with more bird life singing along with the ‘Rat pack’ in these precious coastal bush fringes.

If you are interested in hearing more about the birds of Shoal Bay then please come along to my talk at the next F&B North Shore branch meeting on Monday 1st August.

Philip Moll
25th June 2016

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Joel and Philip with a bait station
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