This week at the station
This week at Macquarie Island: 13 June 2014
World Environment Day at Macca
World Environment Day (June 5th) was commemorated on Macca this year with a series of small activities being coordinated across the island. The small station team means that only a handful of people at a time are able to leave the station at any one time.
TasPaWS wildlife ranger Mike Fawcett coordinated the first task at Green Gorge, working alongside a small group of willing volunteers to start to remove some of the old wire netting associated with the rabbit grazing exclosures. These wire netting exclosures were erected around ten years ago in order to protect a large number of small vegetation plots around the island from being grazed by rabbits. Benny (station chef), Evelyn (BOM weather observer) and Meg (station doctor) all took time out of their normal day to do a bit for World Environment Day. The rate of vegetation regeneration occurring on the island now means that some sites and plots are disappearing under the tussock grass. The rusted wire netting and steel pickets hidden in the grass has potential to harm wildlife. Now that the rabbits are gone, the plot fences have become obsolete. Many of the plots are located in grassy slopes and areas that are potential habitat for burrowing sea birds known to breed on the island. Those plots close to the beach are also potentially hazardous to elephant seals.
The wire and pickets removed in the Green Gorge area were carried back to the hut and will be retrieved from the caches by helicopter during next resupply. Special thanks to Evelyn and Dr Meg for taking the photos of the team working at Green Gorge. Not to be outdone, TasPaWS ranger in charge Chris and station leader Ivor worked on a similar task closer to the station and were able to remove three plots in that area – every bit helps.
There are approximately 40-45 of these type of plots recorded on Macca. Plots were erected for a range of different ecological monitoring projects on island, but primary focus of all fenced enclosures was to prevent damage to sites by rabbit grazing.
Plots contain potentially valuable vegetation data so once steel pickets and netting have been removed, plots are being marked with PVC conduit, allowing scientists to easily identify plot boundaries into the future.
Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger in Charge, Chris
Boating induction day
Jobs on and off station
TasPaWS ranger in charge Chris is undertaking the important task of storing and conserving the valuable historic artefacts on the island for later display purposes to the tourists who visit Macca. These artefacts include a number of large try pots, which were used in the 1860-1890 period to extract oil from elephant seal blubber. These had been stored for many years out in the open at station, and were deteriorating. Last week Chris recovered them to an indoor museum/display area under development, with assistance from Pete. Chris will now be conserving them to prevent further deterioration.
Supervising communications technician Scotty has been engaged with maintenance and repair tasks on the scientific tide gauges near station, while chef Benny has been producing his accustomed spectacular dishes. Last Saturday night this was a "turducken", which comprises three quail inside a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey! Keon celebrated by scoring a triple bull at our after-dinner darts match.