Work Day Reminder, November 19 2022
The next monthly work day will be from 9.00am – noon this coming Saturday.
This month we’ll be weeding along the Wetland Walk on the southern side of the main pond. If you arrive late there will be a notice on the Education Centre door indicating where we have gone.
All tools provided. It may be wet underfoot, so gumboots are advised. If you don’t own any we do have some for loan. Please bring your own gloves if you can.
Report on Last Month’s Work Day, 15 October
A fine morning with an easterly breeze greeted about 20 keen volunteers for a varied morning of tasks.
Ranger Kenny kicked off the day by taking us to the new gravel and rock area close to the car park. Our job was to plant more Muehlenbeckia sp. to host winter copper butterflies and larvae. Gravel and soil had to be carefully removed to dig holes for the new plants and then replaced in the right order. This was a good way to work up a sweat and provide favourable habitat for the butterflies this summer.
Next stop was a brief foray into a recently planted area near the Beach Road footpath. Here we planted a few climbers in suitable spots to grow up into the trees. We were lucky to see 2 species of clematis flowering nearby.
Our third stop was at the Inwoods Road entrance footpath where we got busy weeding around young plants. Weed species included grasses, periwinkle, hemlock and mallow. Some of these were about to flower, so our efforts reduced further weed spread. Mulch in this area has slowly broken down to improve the soil. Improved growth of older kōwhai trees, as well as recently planted natives, has resulted.
As usual the morning ended with refreshments and chatter back at the visitor centre. Thanks to all who helped.
Article: Sue Britain, Image: Dave Evans
Honshu white admiral butterfly, Limenitis glorifica
In early November 2022 the Honshu white admiral butterfly, Limenitis glorifica was released at Travis Wetland for the first time. (Click on the images for a closer look.)
Honshu butterflies are endemic to the island of Honshu, Japan and are used to help control Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
Japanese honeysuckle has the potential to become a serious pest weed in New Zealand.
Short fact sheets on Japanese honeysuckle from DOC and Landcare can be found here and here.
Japanese honeysuckle is difficult to control, we hope with the help of the Honshu butterfly we will be able to reduce the amount of herbicide used.
Honshu butterflies were first approved for use in NZ in August 2013, but the project had hit a few stumbling blocks along the way including the 2011 Japanese tsunami.
Eventually the problems were solved and they were first released in The Waikato and Auckland in 2014.
There is always a risk when introducing bio control agents that they will change host species and choose one of our natives.
Landcare Research has thoroughly tested this species and hasn’t found it to be a threat.
In fact it is pretty much a Japanese honeysuckle specialist, though they could be reared on Himalayan honeysuckle, which is another NZ invasive weed.
They were found to not be a threat to the common garden ornamental Lonicera nitida.
The Honshu butterfly is quite distinctive, with no other butterflies in NZ resembling it.
It has a wingspan of around 60mm.
Blackish brown colouring with multiple white spots on the upper side, with silver and brown stripes with black spots on the underside of the wing.
Males and females are similar.
An adult female is capable of laying up 200 pale yellow eggs on honeysuckle leaves over 2 – 4 weeks.
The eggs can hatch in a week with the egg to adult period being as short as 8 weeks and involving 5 instars.
Like most species of insect, temperature plays an important part in development speed.
Adults can live for a month and multiple generations per season is possible if conditions are right.
Larvae are capable of overwintering.
We would like to thank Landcare Research for their generosity in supplying us with the brood stock of this butterfly.
While Travis doesn’t currently have a major problem with Japanese honeysuckle, it is well established in a couple of areas.
Hopefully our new friends will be able to help with the effective management of this invasive weed.
Keep a lookout for these butterflies on your wanders around Travis as they have already dispersed from their release site and have been seen on the track margins.
The Biological Control Of Weeds Book – Te Whakapau Taru: A New Zealand Guide, Landcare Research
(well worth a read) and various other publications.
Article: Grahame, Images: John Skilton, Kenny Rose, Grahame
Waitākiri School Plantings
Over two days in the middle of October, eleven groups of 50 to 60 students from Waitākiri School came to Travis to plant trees near Clarevale Park. Students from the school have been coming to Travis to plant for decades and some have even returned as parents to help their own children with planting. Some kids are horrified by the dirt and the worms while others are right into it. All of them go away having had an experience of helping to restore the natural environment over the back of their school.
Rangers John and Kenny kept everything running as smoothly as is possible with a large group of excited and enthusiastic children. Trust volunteers Wayne, Shona and Dave helped the teachers and parents guide the children to get the diverse plants into the ground.
Fortunately this year the weather was great and all the groups got to do the planting at their scheduled time. While conditions were good I’m sure several kids went home with muddy shoes and clothes as well as a greater appreciation of environmental restoration.
Article and images: Dave Evans
Chairperson’s Report to AGM
The red zone and its future still continues to loom large for Travis, as I have said for quite a few years now. This year though there is actually some continued traction and the construction is now underway for some of the stormwater facilities to occupy land in the red zone. Council is also now responsible for land management and has employed a ranger team specifically for the red zone. You’ll have seen bridges and landing sites being developed and finished and more is to follow. Look out for changes coming.
Planting has again, as always, been a feature of the years’ work at Travis – the areas at the mataī tōtara forest and the back dune area adjacent to the Beach Road car park are continuing to establish, there is even self-generative activity from some of our noble tree species in both the bird hide planting area (millennium forest) and around the information centre building and track.
This is in no small part due to efforts at public plantings and trust workdays in terms of planting and establishment maintenance, of course also heavily supplemented by the Rangers and contractors.
This year we have also had major planting offsite between the QE2 drive expressway and the red zone. There was a great turnout on the day and it was great to be out there with a wide range of participants in the T4C sponsored planting day in September.
A very happy birthday to both the Trust and to the Park itself was celebrated with a substantial cake on the day.
The day was again very ably managed by our rangers (thanks John, Kenny and Yvette and special guest ranger Jason) and the T4C team, and really had a positive feeling to it.
Need for volunteers
As always the Trust needs volunteers both at physical events like plantings and workdays, and also to stand for and sit on the board. At present we do have the minimum compliment of 10 board members, there is however a potential vacancy for one more should anyone be interested in stepping forward. We would be happy to have additional members and the input and perspective they bring. Additional members can be co-opted during the year.
Lastly and most definitely not least some thanks are again due to various parties
- To our wonderful rangers John and Kenny and Yvette – fabulous work and always a friendly and positive approach. The park is fortunate to have such great stewards as the park ranger team.
- Denise and Dave – for the substantial work that goes on behind the scenes organizing and directing the secretarial and financial functions of the trust. Once again I think we are extremely fortunate to have you both.
- Workday attendees – thank you very much – as above your input is very much valued, and needed to ensure positive outcomes in the wetland.
- The Mānuka Group and Waynes workers– thanks to all members for ongoing work with rare and vulnerable species here in the botanical realm and for enthusiasm and dedication to the wetland.
Lastly a thanks to donors for their generosity of both time and money to a range of projects at Travis.