Monday, January 29, 2007

Dead Possums and Nice Views

One of the fantastic things about the Roskill area is the interesting and varied natural environment. Not many people know it, but snaking along the Manukau Harbour foreshore is the largest area of native bush on the Auckland Isthmus.

This bushy strip starts out where SH20 winds down towards Onehunga, continues along the coast around Hillsborough, nestles around a number of bays and beaches at Waikowhai (my local patch) and Blockhouse Bay, before continuing on towards Green Bay and beyond. There is an impressive array of native bush, historic tracks and buildings, and native birdlife within the area.

In amongst the Punga, Puriri, and Pohutakawa, are signs of the areas colonial heritage. A cobbled road that once carried log laden wagons from the Waitakere’s can still be spotted at some points, and there is an old abandoned stone building in the Waikowhai reserve that presumably serviced this trade.

This urban oasis is however under threat from filthy, dim-witted, aggressive, venereal disease infected Australian ex-pats. Possums (along with assorted other pests of the rodent-kind), loads of the buggers, make their syphilitic homes high in the trees along the foreshore where they alternate between breeding and gorging on the native flora. Once the trees and berries are stripped by possums, there is precious little room or food for our unique (but pretty helpless) native birdlife.

This is where Auckland City’s volunteer programme comes into play. The programme is co-ordinated by a Council Officer who organises groups of local people to run pest control programmes, plant trees, maintain tracks, clear rubbish from waterways, and a range of other activities at some of the major parklands across Auckland. The programme at Waikowhai has been running since 2004, and has focussed on pest eradication – this being the first step needed to create a wild-life sanctuary right on the Auckland isthmus that could potentially be fenced off as a predator-free zone for the introduction of a wider variety of native birds.

I became involved in the programme in 2005, and have over recent months gone out a couple of times per week to check and clear traps. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get some exercise, enjoy the local scenery, and contribute something locally. Anyone in Auckland interested in volunteering in a similar way should just follow the link above.

I’ve attached a few photos of the reserve from around Lynfield where I have been active recently. If anyone wants any more information about the various tracks along the Manukau, then feel free to e-mail me.

* Photo's aren't uploading at the moment but I'll add these later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

simply stopping by to say hey