Extending the Sanctuary, Part III
In my previous blogs I told you about my cat catching a waxeye (and the distress it caused me) and then the cat bib I bought her as a response. It’s now time for Cat Tales Part 3, since quite a lot has happened since then.
For the record, the cat bib appears to be working well for birds, as she hasn’t caught any since then. Skinks though, are still being hit, so that’s a problem still to be solved.
With the Halo project for motivation, and because there are lots of weeds here, I started doing some tidying up and planting near the street. It was pretty hard work, (and there is quite a lot of mess) so, I thought I would ask if any neighbours were interested in joining in.
We live on a natural rocky ‘island’ bounded by roads, which seemed a natural area to work with. It’s classic Wellington – steep hillsides, some nice trees, and lots of weeds – but there is a remarkable variety of birds here too. We’ve seen grey warbler, bellbirds, kaka, morepork, bellbirds, tui and even a karearea recently.
So I did a letterbox drop to all the houses on the ‘island’ (about 30 houses) and invited everyone to come around for a cuppa one evening. I had no idea what to expect – would even one person turn up? – so was surprised and delighted when five people came and another couple got in touch by email with their apologies. Several weeks later, we have a keen group of 10 households involved.
We’ve had three gardening sessions (fortnightly on a Saturday, 2-3.30 pm) in the different zones of our island. People just come if they can, but we’ve cleared a lot of ground and planted natives such as rengarengas and flaxes, split off from our garden plantings. It’s not being fancy about eco-sourcing species native to the area, but simply about taking away weeds and replacing them with natives that will encourage the birds.
Pest trapping and poisoning is encouraged too, and we were delighted to catch our first, and rather large, rat in a trap last weekend. Yuck! But what a great feeling to see it dead!
Teaming up with the locals has been fabulous, and a lot less work too – a group of five people can achieve so much more in an hour than just me on my own. And a wonderful spin-off is getting to know our wonderful neighbours (and then seeing them around town) – what a great bunch of people they are.