Friends of Freycinet

A TRIUMVIRATE OF TASKS Schouten Island 3-17 January 2017
Campground Caring
Periwinkle Poisoning
Gorse Gnashing
A Friends of Freycinet team were all packed and ready to go to Schouten in December for our usual working bee but strong winds and lumpy seas put paid to that. Luckily a vacancy in the Campground host program came up at short notice and Christine and I grabbed it. This meant 2 weeks on the island during which time we could not only undertake the hosting tasks but the working bee jobs as well.
In addition Christine could do her usual survey of the birds and add to the records she has compiled over some years now.
The weather was glorious. Sunny and very warm every day, a little rain one morning for a short while only.
The Blue Periwinkle was as expected, some growth mainly in the open patches, other areas that had been heavily infested were clear, and some regrowth in the middle of and under native shrubs. The amount of herbicide needed has been reducing each time which is pleasing. I anticipate another one major spraying session and then hopefully it can be kept under control by small hand sprayers for the difficult to get at areas, with hand pulling and bagging for the rest. Thistles have taken advantage of the spare room offered and they were sprayed as well.
Gorse continues to poke its head up above the sags and bracken and natives generally but in the areas in proximity to the cottages it has, amazingly, almost gone. There were some areas with plenty of very small ones and we were able to pull (mainly) or cut and paste 5338 plants, and in addition a few hundred more large ones were sprayed with Garlon 600. This kills woody plants and not grasses etc. It is a far easier method and obviates the need to get down and dirty. We will see how effective this is and it can certainly be utilised in addition to cut and pasting.
Areas such as Sarah Ann Bay, along the old road towards Sandstone bluff, and above the bluff beach were not checked and will be a priority next time. There is a thistle problem in the latter area as well.
We were also able to do a considerable amount of track clearing and rubbish collection making this a most productive 2 weeks.
Dave and Christine Harris