Aug 172012

Just a reminder to call at 49 Bryson Road, Wednesday afternoons 3-6pm or Saturdays, 10 am to 12.30 pm to top up your bait buckets or get new bait stations, traps etc so that you can keep the pests at bay and help the native birds have a good breeding season this year.

There are definitely more bellbirds, tuis and kereru [wood pigeon] around this year and we are hoping they all get to raise their young safe from predators such as rats, possums and mustelids.  A pity about the hawks, there are always a few of them around.

Aug 112012

A meeting was held at the Otatara Community Church in Oreti Road, on Wednesday, 8 August where 36 people were entertained by Peter McClelland from DoC Southland with slides of off-shore pest eradication and ideas on how we can all help our local birdlife. Spring is almost here and the birds are showing nesting signs so now is the time to check your traps and renew bait stations.

The meeting was chaired by Brian Rance, with Tim Riding from Environment South and other committee speakers detailing advice about poisons, traps and access to these.  Results were also shared from locals who have been trapping on their properties, and the Bluff, Riverton, Invercargill Estuary and Bushy Point  projects.  

A vigorous discussion was held about pests including cats in Otatara where many wild cats abound due to being dropped off by irresponsible people to fend for themselves. We believe that most domestic cats if kept in at night and well fed will not be too damaging to our birdlife although obviously they will still get a few. Cats can be caught in cage traps and otherwise disposed of once ownership is established, but Pestbusters do not target domestic cats in traps provided.

Although the turnout was quite good, there are still many people in Otatara who we believe are protecting their properties from pests, and we encourage you to get in touch with us so that your name can be included on our list and your property can be ‘flagged’ on our map. 

There are also many people who seem to have the opinion that they have no rats, therefore do not seem to care about getting rid of pests to the advantage of our breeding birds.  We encourage everyone to speak to neighbours and increase the number of pestbusters, and we hope native birds in Otatara.

Jul 242012

Otatara Pestbusters Meeting


Where: Otatara Community Church, Oreti Road

When: Wednesday 8 August 2012 7.00 pm

Who: Otatara Pestbusters & others

Please join us to hear the latest from Otatara Pestbusters and others on pest control in their patch.  The special guest speaker is Peter McClelland who is world-renowned for his involvement in pest eradications from islands. 

 Bring your neighbours and find out how you can help the birds in Otatara this Spring.


Jul 132012

Peter Simpson of 433 Oreti Road has made contact with Pestbusters.  Since mid-January he has been trapping various pests on his, and his neighbour’s large properties and these are his results up till now.

92 Rabbits

7 Possums

3 Magpies

4 Cats

Peter now has a ‘Pestbusters’ letterbox sign to show that he is definitely doing his part for the birdlife at Otatara.  Well done Peter and thanks for making contact.

I’m sure there are many more residents who have been either poisoning or trapping pests – we want to put a flag at your property on our website so please get in touch with us and let us know what you are doing.

Although we are not generally targetting cats as there are many pets out there it is well known that many cats are dropped off in Otatara from town and these turn wild so should be eliminated.

Jul 122012

A wax tag monitor for possums and rats was conducted in the last weeks of June, involving placing 40 wax tags out in several of the reserves – Otatara, John Street, Raeburn and Matua.

The results are good!  Only one possum bite mark was found over the seven day deployment, and one rat, leaving a BMI [bite mark index] of 2.5%, which means both of these animals are in really low numbers in these locations.  That’s really good!

For a rough comparison, the Bushy Point block was last monitored in 2009 using wax tags, and at that time they had a BMI of 23% for possums, and 17% for rats.

Bottom line – what the Otatara Pestbusters are doing in the reserves and on their properties is working. We are reducing the numbers of pests that are in our bush, so for all your hardworking volunteers, and keen back-yarders, keep up the good work – it’s paying off!

Jun 122012

We often hear local people say they can’t have rats as they have only a small section, with no bush and all the section is nicely laid out in lawns, gardens etc.

Well think again!  This photo is of a rat in a compost bin on a quarter-acre section in Watt Road.  It gave the owner quite a fright but luckily he was using some of our poison bait and the rat as you can see is dead. 

Poison from the trap had been disappearing so it was good to see this result.

Please talk to your neighbours and encourage them to come on board with Pestbusters – it doesn’t cost anything to join, just for the product and the birds will certainly thank you this Spring when they have chicks in nests.

Mar 192012
Kereru in plum tree

Just a note from May and Russell to say that we have two young kereru in care at Bush Haven, from the Marama Avenue South area – they are not injured but may have come out of their nests early due to the strong winds a while back.

We also have reports of more tuis around other properties.  It is good to find that there are more young birds, both kereru and tui at least in the area and some of this must be due to people controlling pests –


Mar 192012

People on our list of Pestbusters now total 107!  If you are visiting this website and live in Otatara, and if you are trapping or poisoning rats, possums or stoats on your property, we need your names!

It doesn’t cost you anything to be on the list but we want to show a flag on your property so that we have an accurate and up to date picture of properties in Otatara under some form of pest control.

We know there are many people who have been trapping or poisoning rats or possums for many years but we really want your property marked on the plan, so please contact May on 2130530 or email bush.haven@kinect.co.nz with your details. 

In exchange we will drop off a letterbox sign for you to affix to your letterbox, either on the front of older style, or on the side of modern plastic types.  This will let your friends and neighbours know you care for the birdlife in Otatara.

Also we can sell you poison baits for your rat bait stations, subsidised by Environment Southland – a much cheaper rate than buying locally.

Feb 252012

Click here for the flyer

Help protect this community asset from being smothered by Chilean flame creeper

Where :                   Bowmans Bush (Otatara) Spence Avenue entrance

 When:                    Monday, 5th March 2012, 7-8.30 pm (if you’re that keen)

What to bring:     Gardening gloves can be useful

 Want more information?

 Please call Randall Milne – Environment Southland on 211-5115

Feb 192012

Forest & Bird have launched a nationwide ‘kereru count’ from 19 to 27 February.  Please see the website, www.kererucount.org.nz to add any kereru seen in your area.  It would be great to have an accurate count of the birds in Southland, especially Otatara as we know our own ‘Bubs’ who regularly breeds and comes to us  for food, has had several chicks every year since 2005 when she was released.

Russell and May at Bush Haven would appreciate you reporting any sightings of kereru with a coloured ‘jess’ on its leg, this year red, but from other years with pink, yellow or orange as these are birds which have been released after rehabilitation.  You could report these to us at bush.haven@kinect.co.nz thanks.