Friday, December 24, 2010

Users Pays - Why don't the commies understand this model?

In "our" swamp, we've suffered little in the way of interference by govt forces over the years. I say little because our user group governance body (Upper Piako Wetland Management Assn) have a pretty solid governance strategy, policy and a management plan that is approved by DOC.  So when I got an email from dad that DOC were upset with our most recent spraying effort, I was a little less than amused. Need approval to spray poa aquatica (Glyceria aquatica)? God almighty, these idiots straight out of uni need to get a grip. Who asked us before mass chopper boom-spraying the willows that protected bird-life and created habitat? DOC? No way. Neat crop of blackberry and other wandering herbal pests that created for US, the USERS to fix up. Stupid hippies, living off the public purse. So dad gave them a barrel and they came creeping back all apologetic like, guv. Stupid slimey belly-creeping hippies with their dumb apologies. Next we'll need RMA approval to slash a blackberry. This is Helen Clark's legacy you see. We all need to be saved from ourselves and closeted in little pigeon holes. God help free thought.

We use, we pay, we manage. And somehow due to years of doing that we know what we're doing. I really hate Johnny-come-lately slimeballs that come with a "we know it all" attitude.

Merry Xmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hopeful signs

Paul Stenning, noted waterfowler and Southland F&G Councilor is a worried man. His worry stems from the lack of research into NZ's Greylard/Mallard population, and how little we know of the population dynamics. His immediate concern (refreshingly) is not for his region's birds right now; but should the population markedly decline as is inferred it has done in other regions - what would an adequate management response be? How would we know what to do - is there an emergency plan? Here's where I digress....(again! Yay!) In our business we plan for a range of business outages from widespread mass interuptions (earthquake, acts of God) to global events such as break out of various strains of influenza derivatives to localised events such as power blackouts. Techinically everyone in the business (yeah there's always a dumbass) knows what the appropriate response should be in order to allow business continuity depending on the scale and severity of the event or outage. We know how to do this because in our knowledge banks we have the information gathered from when we've suffered power blackouts, had staff down in droves with various illnesses and even had terrorist threats on our building (given we're housed in one of Auckland's transport hubs, that's not too surprising). The point is that we know what to do. And it sort of works. A bit closer to home, that whole PSA gig in the kiwifruit industry exposed a clear lack of continuity planning... ok so resources were brought to bear but it took so long, and was so disjointed...

So, back to waterfowl, what happens if in Eastern there's a mass botulism outbreak in say Tauranga Harbour (unlikely example), or if some egg denaturing disease takes hold in Northern and wipes out all the nesting effort; or.. the list could go on. How would we know what's happening? How do we know our breeding success rates? Or the effect of crippling? Or whether our birds are nesting more than once? Or where?

Paul is worried, so he's pushing for a nationalised approach to researching our waterfowl populations. Its not a new idea, but its one that has merit. It needs to be nationalised and coordinated and run scientifically in order that planning can be put in place to allow for population management that has a fact base. Paul's taliking with councilors from various reagions, as it is expected that Southland F&G will put forward a remit to national; and if it isn't to die an agonising death it will need support from all regions. It will need buy-in, funding, coordination, but we have the staff power and appropriate job titles to do this! I can't see a single negative to be found. Someone may of course, that's the nature of committees.

Paul's been on the phone to a few people, Tim Allen, Guy, Craig, me.. to name a few shady dudes. Or leading lights. Naturally he wants our support, which will be granted and the support of our managers, which will take some work.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Well well lookie here. This batch augments the number of full body goose field dekes that have been hidden under my desk at work, or snuck out to the wood shed. These dekes look primo, can't wait to line them up against the GHG pro grades and see which look best.... hahhaahaaaaa, let the sledging begin!

People at work save I'm obsessive, so does SWMBO but to my absolute rapture, Justin Bieber Fan Club told me "I want to drive your dirty 4 wheel drive and kill geese". All this without prompting. The old heart is gladdened, warmed even by this. What a fine obsession to have!

Now, for that boat......

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh Rats!!!

Waitemata Harbour is a great fishery, cheap, accesible and close to home. The harbour is filling up with spawning snapper at the moment, but yesterday's mission was about kingfish and fly rods. We wanted to at least get out and about after the aborted Waikaremoana trip, so the loose plan was to meet up at TT's, load the boat and get down to Okahu Bay and meet with Garth Planck who would join us. Garth's a well known competition angler who is trying to make the NZ team for the world champs. He reckons its his lake fishing that he needs to touch up on. I have my own thoughts about fishing competitions. Somehow sitting on the bank of a stream, smoking a ciggie and watching a fish feed seems to me to be a bit more 'in tune' than covering every mm of water with methodical no second wasted time bound precision of the top guys. Each to their own. One thing I do know about fishing around obstacles for kings is that presentation of the fly has to be accurate - it doesn't really matter how you get the fly just deep enough just upstream of the obstacle - only that you get it there. Waitemata is known for afternoon breezes, which tend to be steady and make casting tricky, so any manipulation of back-hand, over head, or roll cast to drop the fly in the zone will do. It will have to do. T-14 isn't exactly designed for pretty casting anyhow. Its designed to sink like a half brick. We headed out to a well known rock between 2 islands, got in postition which was tricky and after a couple of casts I was on. With the current and wind TT was having a hell of a job keeping the boat in place and we drifted across the buoy chain... fish 1 angler nil. After a few minutes we decided to anchor and dropped the pick. The position wasn't great but it was manageable and a few minutes and a couple of pack attacks later I was on again. But as I was standing on the line that fight didn't last long.... Garth meantime didn't have any action.

After a few more minutes TT wanted to reposition, but in doing so we hooked the pick on the buoy chain and had to jettison it after a bit of toing and froing. Bye bye $200. We decided to move back into Rangi Channel and check out the action there. First up the marker pole. Nothing doing. So we began to buoy hop and began to find fish. At almost every buoy at least one and sometimes up to half a dozen rats would chase the fly out. The Megamushy got eaten a few times and it was nice to get on the board; Garth meantime began to suffer from the dreaded mal de mer and his efforts flagged. I gave him a fly that would get bitten; his flies were a bit too bulky. The fish were all rats, nothing I saw would have exceeded 4 kilos or so.

We ended the day at Rough Rock - a new buoy is attached there and its pretty 'clean' -no barnacles or weed growth on it yet. One small king came out and made a half arsed pass at the fly. Then we wound in. Inumerable casts, 4 hookups, 2 landed, heaps seen. Sweet.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Late spring

Well the trip didn't eventuate due to sickness in the household. TT's dad is near the end of his innings so TT was looking forward to some solitude, but the never-ending bug in our household just keeps taking its toll. JB Fan Club still up every hour on the hour coughing all night; I'll not miss this bug when it passes. TT and me are going to hit the harbour buoys for kingis tomorrow, so better make sure the gear is all ready.

Anyway, Shanks made a video of our little charges, this morning he let them out on the grass in the pen extension:
Our little charges are looking great!

Shane from Taupo took this photo the other day on a back country stream:

So the geese are getting around as well. Late spring and bird life is looking good. The looming problem appears to be drought, already Northland is in a perilous state. The daily clouds are just rolling over and not dumping, yet dada told me that the tanks at our duck hut are full, something like 200+ lites of water have been collected. Good news for the swamp, because at my place we'd have been lucky to get any rain in the past 3 weeks - significant rain, that is. So we're facing another Waikato drought summer. How long can the central Waikato duck shooters weather this before they start to give the game away? Its almost predictable now that their ponds are dry from Jan - mid June. License sales are actually up year on year which is some good news, so maybe just maybe folks will hang in there. As for the ducks, they may struggle for food all too soon.