Animals – Friends of Mount Majura
Oct 252017
 

Striated Thornbill, Acanthiza lineata (Image Credit: Tobias Hayashi)

On an overcast and coolish Sunday morning of October 22nd, Ornithologist Peter Miller led a group of 19 Bird enthusiasts (including three children & a sleeping baby!) on a leisurely stroll through the Fair Mt Majura Grassy Woodlands.

Peter’s friendly storytelling style interspersed with questions and lively discussion kept us all in a positive mood to find out more about our local, very diverse birdlife (around 112 species have been recorded in Mount Majura).
Peter shared lots of tips and examples for spotting and identifying birds, including their characteristics songs and flight styles. Several mobile Apps now include the calls and songs for a number of species which can assist in identification. However, Peter did caution us not to over (ab)use these App calls to ‘lure’ birds to put in an appearance just for us, as this can stress and confuse birds trying to find these virtual rivals and/or partners.

Catching a glimpse of Majura’s feathered inhabitants (Image credit: Max Power)

Peter related an interesting anecdote from a research article which illustrates just how smart, adaptive and innovative birds really are: Some urban birds have learned to incorporate cigarette filter butts into their nests containing nicotine (which can act as an insecticide), to help reduce the number of ticks in their nest! The cigarette butt article it is available on line at https://www.newscientist.com/article/2138655-birds-use-cigarette-butts-for-chemical-warfare-against-ticks/

Additionally, some of our keen-eyed observers today spotted a pair of  (tiny) Buff-rumped Thornbills using the cracks between a large Gum tree’s bark as their Nesting site, perfectly camouflaged and protected from the weather.
Today we were lucky enough to hear and catch glimpses of the following bird species during our two and a half hour stroll (8-10.30am) :
Collared Sparrowhawk, Galah, Crimson Rosella, Magpie, Australian Raven, Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike, Brown Thornbill, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Striated Thornbill, Magpie Lark (peewit), Crested pigeon, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Superb Blue Fairy Wren, Striated Pardalote, Western Gerygone, Golden Whistler, Leaden Flycatcher, Grey Fantail, White-winged Chough,  Mistletoebird, Olive- backed Oriole, Pied  Currawong, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo …….. that’s some 20 odd species of different BIRDS in just a couple of hours (of which about half I (personally) have not seen before). So a Big ” Thank You ” Peter for sharing your expertise.
How lucky we are to live in this Ngunnawal / Canberra region of Australia.
Max Pouwer, FoMM.
Any errors or omissions are mine.
May 212017
 

Male Gang-gang Cockatoo (P. Fullagar)

Mother’s Day Bird walk 8-10am 14th May 2017

Sixteen of us met at the Mackenzie St car park entrance where we shared our names and recent bird sightings and observations. We reported on flocks of gang gangs and other parrots feasting on autumn fruits on street trees and in gardens, invading rainbow lorikeets, owls on backyard fences, and a discussion about the aggressive noisy miners.

The cloudy-bright autumn morning was calm, mild, and noisy. A cacophony of birdsong filled the air:  screeching sulphur crested cockatoos, calling currawongs, annoying noisy miners, whistling king parrots and crimson rosellas, all jostling for tree space and their slice of sky. By 9am everything was quietly back to normal, and most of the birds had disappeared into the bush or spread out into Hackett.

Laughing Kookaburra at Mount Majura (A. Clausen, CNM)

We watched a lone white faced heron hunting amongst rocks at the first dam. A mixed feeding flock of small birds swept through the dense woodland near the upper dam. Further up the hill in the Bursaria shrubbery was a thriving twittering colony of blue wrens. A couple of Kookaburras sat watchfully in the bright white scribbly gums.

Peter Miller was a brilliant walk leader. He can spot and name birds that we would never have seen on our own. He can describe the difference between one little brown bird and another, then name each one and describe their different calls. He also showed us how to attract birds by ‘phishing’- a sound which imitates an alarm call. Birds tend to move closer to stickybeak and find out what dangers they need to deal with.

Superb Fairy-wren at Mount Majura (Dusty, CNM)

The bird walk was enjoyable and informative with an interesting mix of people who had a wide range of knowledge to share. We were lucky with the weather as usual – rain bucketed down after the walk.

Report by Jenni Marsh

May 022017
 

A male Scarlet Robin, Petroica boodang. The species is at risk of extinction and declared vulnerable in the ACT and NSW. Photo Canberra Nature Map, taken on Mt Majura.

Walk through the woodlands with bird enthusiast Peter Miller to spot, observe, listen to, identify and learn about the amazing variety of birds on Mount Majura.

Sunday, 14 May, 8am (sharp) to 10am

Meet at nature reserve entrance Mackenzie Street, roughly opposite Grayson Street, Hackett; view this map.

Please bring: Binoculars,, a camera if you have one, walking boots and a Gold Coin donation for a bird list.

Enquiries: 6248 8955 or secretary@majura.org

We are particularly interested in Scarlet Robins. If you spot a Scarlet Robin please take a picture and register on Canberra Nature Map. Scarlet Robin, Petroica boodang is declared a vulnerable species in the ACT and NSW; read this Canberra Times article.

Learn more about Scarlet Robin: read this Profile

A female Scarlet Robin. Photo: Geoffrey Dabb

Aug 302016
 
Spotted pardalote : from Canberrabirds.org.au

Spotted pardalote : from Canberrabirds.org.au

Sunday 11 September 8-10am,

Meet at Mount Majura Nature Reserve entrance off Mackenzie St, near Grayson St, Hackett.

Walk through the woodlands in early spring with bird enthusiast Peter Miller to spot, observe, listen to, identify and learn about birds of Mount Majura Expect to see a variety of early spring migrants, possibly even early breeders-cuckoos, gerygones, honeyeaters.

Bring binoculars, walking boots, water, and a Gold Coin donation for a bird list.

Feb 012016
 
Jack Jumpers use their impressive jaws to catch and hold prey and a sting to defend themselves and their nest (Photo A. Narendra).

Jack Jumpers use their impressive jaws to catch and hold prey and a sting to defend themselves and their nest (Photo A. Narendra).

Join ant specialist Ajay Narendra to learn amazing things about jack-jumpers and other ants that live on Mount Majura.

Ants are fascinating, beautiful and fun to watch. Some ants have a painful sting, and others only bite. Some ants are coloured, or scented, or hairy. Some pretend to be spiders, a few have excellent eyesight, and one species can jump!

Kids accompanied by adults are especially welcome.

When: Sunday 14th February 2016 4pm – 5:30pm

Where: Helms Place Mt Majura nature park entrance (near junction of Rivett and Richards Streets)

Information: 0408 429 214 or secretary@majura.org

Bring a magnifying lens, wear sun protection and covered shoes. Please bring a gold coin donation.

It is important to notify us if you are allergic to ants or bee stings.

Dec 262015
 

spiderThis fascinating evening spider walk is with Ian Gordon, a knowledgeable macro photographer with infectious enthusiasm.
Ian has lead two very successful walks recently, and is able to lead another nocturnal spider walk in early January.

Where: Mt Majura nature reserve in Hackett

When: Friday 8th January at 8:30pm.  The walk will last about 2 hours.

Bring: Hand torches or a head torch, ideally a torch that can be focused is more effective at locating spiders. Wear enclosed shoes (not sandals) so that creepy crawlies don’t get too close to you, and a gold coin donation to help with conservation work

Bookings essential – please book by the evening of Thursday 7th January. Contact secretary@majura.org or ph. 0408 429 214

Nov 172015
 

spiderEnjoy an informative evening spider walk in Mt Majura nature reserve, Hackett. Join Ian Gordon, a macro-photography enthusiast with a sharp eye and keen interest in small creatures. Many fascinating spiders are active at night in warm weather. Use your torch to spot their eye-shine – how many will you find?

When: Friday 4th December

Bring: a good torch, wear enclosed shoes (not sandals), and a gold coin donation to help with conservation work

Bookings & details:
secretary@majura.org or ph. 6248 8955

Sep 292015
 
moth

A tiny white camouflaged moth by Ian Gordon

Join Ian Gordon a macro-photography enthusiast with a sharp eye and keen interest in tiny creatures. Try to decode camouflage and train your eyes to locate small creatures – orb weaving spiders, lady bugs, parasitic wasps, caterpillars, plant hoppers…… What will you spot?

It is wonderful to be aware of the diverse range of creatures, large and small which live in a healthy Yellow Box woodland. Ian’s interest stems from Macro photography. When he finds an unusual bug he goes online to identify and research it.  He says that he is not an ‘expert’ but that he does have a keen interest. Recently he has noticed activity in the insect world and that the bugs are starting to stir. He spotted a lot of small orb weaving spiders, a few lady beetles and small parasitic wasps, and even a couple of caterpillars and a plant hopper.

Any age welcome – it really boils down to interest in looking for and finding miniature and often disguised and camouflaged arthropods.

Magnifying glasses/hand lenses, not necessary but really depends on the individual’s eye sight.

When: Sunday 11 October 10am – 12 noon

Where:  Majura Paddock. Exact meeting point to be given to registered participants.

Numbers limited bookings essential: 6248 8955 or secretary@majura.org
Wear sun protection and covered shoes.

Link to the Bug walk poster

Aug 192015
 
robin

Scarlet Robin, male (David Cook)

Walk through the woodlands with bird enthusiast Peter Miller to spot, observe, listen to, and learn about the amazing variety of birds on Mt Majura.

When: Sunday 13 September 8 – 10 am

Where: Meet at nature reserve entrance Tay St / Ian Nicol St, in The Fair, Watson (volunteer registration point on this map)

Enquiries: 6248 8955 or secretary@majura.org

Bring sun protection and wear appropriate clothing for the weather.
Recommended: Binoculars and a Gold Coin donation for a bird list.

Birdwalk poster for upload