Walks and talks – 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.
Sep 252017
 

Spotted Pardalote, Pardalotus punctatus (Harvey Perkins, COG).

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

When: Sunday, 22 October 8am (sharp) – 10 am

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

Enquiries: secretary@majura.org

Wear appropriate clothing for the weather, sturdy shoes, sun protection; 

Bring Gold Coin donation for a Mt Majura bird species list.

Recommended: Binoculars, a bird guide or app* if you have them. *See for instance Michael Morcombe & David Stewart apps for Android and Apple.

Bird walk poster for upload.

With over two hundred recorded species, Canberra and the surrounding region has the richest bird life of any Australian capital city. Roughly half – 112 species – have been recorded on Mt Majura.

If you have an interest in our feathered friends (and some foes) check out the website of the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) which has heaps of information on the distribution, seasonal occurrence and breeding of birds, brilliant photographs taken by COG members and even records of calls of several bird species.

 

 

 

Wildflower Walk (15/10/2017)

 Events, News, Plants, Walks and talks  Comments Off on Wildflower Walk (15/10/2017)
Sep 252017
 

Scrambled Eggs, Goodenia pinnatifida  (W. Pix)

Explore the wildflowers that are blooming this season on a stroll with local ecologist Michael Doherty. Enjoy the beauty of the Mount Majura reserve, its grasses, trees, and views whilst you go and learn about the different species found in the grassy woodlands and open forest of Mt Majura.
When: Sunday, 15th October 2017, 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
Where:
Meet at the Antill Street Nature Park entrance opposite Carotel, south of The Fair in North Watson, click on this map to view the meeting point.

Wear suitable clothing for the expected weather, and comfortable and appropriate footwear.
Bring sun protection, a camera and magnifying glass if you have them.

An updated plant species list of Mount Majura / Mount Ainslie will be available for a gold coin donation.

Enquiries:secretary@majura.org
Download this poster for promotion of the event.

Endangered Hoary Sunray, Leucochrysum albicans, northwest slope of Mt Majura (Photo W. Pix).

View Mount Majura’s Floriade. Visit FoMM Flickr galleries with pictures of flowering orchids, forbs, shrubs

Sep 242017
 

Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie (left and centre) are significant places to the Ngunawal people (Photo: S. Bittinger).

Mt Ainslie Ngunawal Women’s cultural awareness walk led by Ngunawal custodian Karen Denny

This walk and talk will take place on Mt Ainslie and is aimed at providing cultural awareness training to women Parkcarers and Landcarers who care for Canberra Nature Park areas including Mt Majura, Mt Ainslie, Mt Painter, the Pinnacle, Red Hill, Black Mountain, Aranda/O’Connor Ridge, Stirling Park, and Capital Hill

When: Sunday 8 October, 1pm-3.30 pm

Where: Mt Ainslie; meet at Canning Street access to Mt Ainslie.

RSVP: Josie Barens 0402 913 131

Karen will discuss Ngunawal cultural sensitivities associated with a women’s cultural place and what to be aware and watch for when conducting Landcare and Parkcare activities.

Aboriginal people have lived in the Canberra region for at least 25.000 years. Numerous known sites indicate intensive occupation of the region including Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie and surrounding valleys and plains.

Mt Ainslie is part of the Ngunawal pathway that follows the watersheds and valleys associated with the Molonglo River, Ginninderra Creek, Sullivan’s Creek, Woolshed Creek, crossing the Molonglo River (Lake Burley Griffin) to link to the ridges and valleys associated with Yarralumla Creek and other minor creeks draining Red Hill and present-day Capital Hill.

 

Aug 152017
 

Aboriginal Axehead found on Mt Majura (W. Pix). Further info here

CHANGE: Unfortunately Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell will not be able to attend. The working party will go ahead. Sorry for this late notice. There will be a Mt Ainslie Ngunawal Women’s cultural awareness training led by Ngunawal custodian Karen Denny on Sunday 8 October;  further details and RSVP see below. 12. September 2017

Come along to a special working party at the National Tree Day planting area east of The Fair. Hear about the importance of Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie to the local Aboriginal people from Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell who will be joining our working party to demonstrate working with the environment in a culturally aware way, and will talk about the significance of the area for Aboriginals for thousands of years.

When: Sunday 17 September 2017, from 1pm to 4pm; Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell will be joining us at 2.30pm

Where: Meet nature park entrance intersection Tay Street and Ian Nicol Street, The Fair, North Watson; view this map

Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes, long sleeve and pants and garden gloves if you have them.Tools and afternoon tea will be provided.

Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie (left and centre) are significant places to the Ngunawal people (S. Bittinger).

 

Yam Daisy, Microseris lanceolata on Mt Majura (W. Pix). The tubers were stable food for Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal people have lived in the Canberra region for at least 25.000 years. Numerous known sites indicate intensive occupation of the region including  Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie and surrounding valleys and plains.

 

Sites containing  materials such as artefact scatters, ground axe heads and ceremonial stone arrangements indicate the importance of the mountains as a source of food, water and shelter to the Ngunawal peoples as well as cultural and spritual connections to the land.

 

Mt Ainslie Ngunawal Women’s cultural awareness training led by Ngunawal custodian Karen Denny.

The walk is aimed at providing cultural awareness training to women Parkcarers and Landcarers who care for areas along the ridges of Mt Painter and the Pinnacle; Aranda/O’Connor Ridge and Black Mountain; Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie; and Stirling Park, Capital Hill and Red Hill Ridge.

Date: Sunday 8 October

Time: 1pm-3.30 pm

Location: This walk and talk takes place on Mt Ainslie and will discuss Ngunawal cultural sensitivities associated with a women’s cultural place and what to be aware and watch for when conducting Landcare and Parkcare activities.

Meet at Canning Street access to Mt Ainslie.

Mt Ainslie is part of the Ngunawal pathway that follows the watersheds and valleys associated with the Molonglo River, Ginninderra Creek, Sullivan’s Creek, Woolshed Creek, crossing the Molonglo River (Lake Burley Griffin) to link to the ridges and valleys associated with Yarralumla Creek and other minor creeks draining Red Hill and present-day Capital Hill.

RSVP: Josie Barens 0402 913 131

 

Jun 212017
 

Michael Doherty will be leading an information-packed tree walk.

Join ecologist Michael Doherty for an information-packed walk on the slopes of Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie on Sunday 25 June. Learn how to identify local woodland trees, see where they occur and hear how they survive fire and drought.

When: Sunday 25th June, from 2pm to 4pm.

Where: Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie nature reserves; meet at the Kellaway Street entrance near the end of Phillip Avenue, view this map

Bring: Sun protection and wear sturdy foot wear and appropriate clothes for the weather.

Bundy, Eucalyptus goniocalyx, flowers and buds (W. Pix)

Tree guides will be available at the walk.

Gold coin donations are welcome to support Friends of Mt Majura conservation work.

No booking required.

Enquiries: secretary@majura.org

Download this Tree Walk Poster for promotion

Read about The Eucalypts and Wattles (Michael Doherty, August 2012)

View some features of eucalypts and other trees in this Picture Gallery.

The walk is hosted by the Friends of Mount Majura ParkCare group.

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

Feb 232017
 
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 carry prey and a sting to defend themselves and their nest (Photo A. Narendra).

Ants are fascinating, beautiful and fun to watch. Join expert Ravindra “Ravi” Palavalli-Nettimi on Sunday, 5th March on this nature walk to discover the ants that live of Mt Majura. Some ants are coloured, or scented, or hairy; some have a painful sting and others bite; some pretend to be spiders, some have excellent eyesight, and one species can jump!

2010_02_28 Ant Walk rs DSCN5256

Ants are fascinating, beautiful and fun to watch (Photo W. Pix)

When: Sunday, 5th March 2017, 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm.
Where: Meet at Helms Place close to Rivett St and Richard St intersection, Hackett; car parking available at the Hackett shops (5-minutes walk to Helms place); view this map.
Bring: Sun protection, sturdy boots and a magnifying glass if you have one.
Ant field guides are available for a gold coin donation.
Kids accompanied by adults are especially welcome. Please tell us if you are allergic to bee and wasp stings.
Enquiries: secretary@majura.org or Mob 0435 357 172 on Sunday 5th March

Photo N. Abdul

Ravindra Palavalli-Nettimi is a PhD student in Ecological Neuroscience group at the Macquarie University, Sydney and is interested in anything related to ecology, evolution, brain, behavior, visual media and insects. For his PhD, he is studies the behavioral implications of miniaturization in ants. How does being tiny affect the ants’ ability to find their way around?

Ravi is passionate about science communication and outreach, and has been awarded last year’s Outstanding Outreach Award by the Ecological Society of Australia  /NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Here is the link to his website: http://rvndrpn.wixsite.com/ravindra

Enjoy this video clip of the ant walk in 2016 – great fun to watch and yes, the ant world is female, almost…

 

 

 

 

Sep 302016
 
Glossodia major at Mount Majura - 24 Sep 2014

Wax lip orchid, Glossodia major (W.Pix)

Enjoy Mount Majura’s Spring Floriade at this delightful walk on Sunday, 23 October with local plant ecologist Michael Doherty and learn about the different species found in the grassy woodlands and open forests of the nature reserve.

When: Sunday 23 October 2016, 2 – 4 pm
Where: meet at the nature park entrance Mackenzie Street roughly opposite Grayson Street, Hackett (click on this map)

Please bring good walking shoes, water, sun protection, a camera and a hand lens / magnifying glass if you have one.

A new flora list will be available for a donation.

Enquiries: secretary@majura.org

Poster