Our recently purchased camera traps were deployed at various locations throughout the Tothill property this year. This included the cameras being used to monitor bait uptake by foxes during the fox baiting program. 34,413 pictures were taken of which 1388 were of use. To keep the images manageable Andrew kept a photo of each species captured during a survey period, the rest were deleted although multiple images of foxes were kept. A total of 36 species were identified made up of 16 mammal species, 13 bird species and 7 reptiles. Images of insects were also captured. Videos were programmed to activate on occasions, some of which have been retained (and were available at the AGM).
Once again sour sob control was undertaken , various other weeds were controlled when found such as bridal creeper, (a single plant near Klingberg’s old pig-stys) artichokes and horehound.
A cull of 40 Western grey Kangaroos was approved and is being undertaken. Rough Kangaroo counts, undertaken whilst checking the fox baits is available from Andrew. Time lapse photos , taken of an area where Kangaroos graze at Niblet gap indicate the grazing pressure by Kangaroos over a small area which can severely impact endangered species of plants.
The possum boxes were checked three times but no residents were found.
Fox baiting was undertaken from 21st January to 7th May . Baits were checked at least weekly, sometimes more depending on the weather conditions, Over the 11 sites, 89 baits were taken. Five camera traps were set at various sites to monitor the uptake of baits by foxes. An unforeseen consequence of the cameras was that they had an adverse effect on bait consumption by foxes. (analysis available) We applied for a grant but were unsuccessful for next years fox baiting.
Branches across out boundary fence were removed regularly and it was discovered that the fence on the ridge south of our southern boundary was in a bad state of repair, posing a risk of sheep entering from farms to the south. Although unlikely sheep would enter due to the rough terrain we thought it prudent to advise the neighbours of the issue and we believe it has been resolved. 35 sheep did spend time on our property and took a while to remove whilst we located the owner and due to our inability to muster them. Eventually the owner was able to get them out.
At a feral deer seminar that some of the management committee attended we learnt that feral deer are on the increase and that legislation has changed , now requiring landholders to attempt to control these damaging animals. We are aware that deer are present in low numbers on our property with the camera traps confirming this and we need to consider what steps should be taken to control them.