FoMM Newsletter February 2023

Birdwalk 26 February 8am – 10am

Mount Majura is home to more than one hundred species of birds, some of them rare or vulnerable like the Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) and Gang-Gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum); a few of them pests, like the Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis).

If you’d love to see and learn more about Canberra’s fascinating birds, join bird enthusiast Peter Miller to meander through the woods on the lower slopes of Mt Majura. Meet 8am sharp at the MacKenzie Street nature park entrance, near Grayson St Hackett.

Wear sturdy shoes, bring water, binoculars, Bird ID app or handbook. Gold coin donation. More information and a map here

Black-faced cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae) Courtesy Canberra Nature Map.

Third Sunday working party 19 February 9am to noon

We will work at the drainage line close to the Hackett reservoir, dismantling protective guards which have been outgrown by the native shrubs planted earlier, removing introduced grasses that smoother the plantings and mulching to suppress new weed growth.

Meet at the drainage line close to the nature park entrance near the Rivett and French Streets intersection; see this map.

Bring sun protection, drinking water and garden gloves, if you have them; wear sturdy shoes and clothes which cover your limbs. We provide hand sanitiser, tools, gloves, and a delicious cake for morning tea. Give what time you can spare.

More information about the working party and the work done at the drainage line can be found here.

The fragrant flowers of Australian Blackthorn, Bursaria spinosa subsp. lasiophylla are rich in nectar and attract many insects.

Rosenberg’s Goanna mapping project: volunteers needed

Recent FoMM newsletters have shared news of a citizen science project by the National Parks Association to estimate the population of these creatures resident on Mounts Ainslie and Majura. The latest Project newsletter provides fascinating information about the extensive movements of two of the Goannas, nicknamed Rambo and Rex, who roam the full extent of the Nature Park. They are aptly named since Rosenberg’s Goanna (Varanus rosenbergi) can grow to 1.5 metres.

The survey is counting the population using hidden baited cameras. More volunteers are needed to walk to the cameras, change batteries, memory cards and bait. This work will be done on some Sundays up to 15 March; meeting at the Kellaway Street Hackett entrance to the nature park. You need to be able to navigate with a smartphone or GPS. For more information or to express interest email

Jochen’s Rosenberg’s Goanna.

St John’s Wort

For the past few months FoMM volunteers have been concentrating on hand-weeding St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) where it is growing amid dense patches of wildflowers. Native to Europe, SJW is highly invasive, with each plant setting thousands of seeds and also producing new plants which shoot from underground stems (rhizomes). We pull up some of these stems as we take out the plants and we bag the flowerheads for destruction to stop any seeds setting. While it’s tedious work removing the weed, it’s pleasant to work among wildflowers like these beautiful Blue Devils (Eryngium ovinum).

Blue Devils photographed by twilight weeder, Jenni Marsh.

Mondays at the Fair

Every week a group of FoMM volunteers works at The Fair site in North Watson. Meet us any Monday at 9.30am at the nature park entrance near Tay & Ian Nicol Streets. No experience necessary – you will learn from others who will happily share their knowledge.

We are currently concentrating on hand-pulling St John’s Wort – not a difficult task, while the soil is moist. The time goes quickly when the tedious weeding task is accomplished in good company.

St John’s Wort growing profusely on Mount Majura. Photo Max Pouwer.

Our delicious home-made cakes

We always enjoy a good cake at the Third Sunday working parties and here we are taking break at the January working party where we enjoyed Plum, blackberry and hazelnut shortcake, a delicious recipe from Melbourne chef Karen Martini, the chief ingredients bought from the EPIC farmers’ market.

Photo Waltraud Pix.

ACT Biodiversity Network launch

The ACT, like the rest of Australia, is battling an extinction crisis. Approximately 6.2% of Canberra’s mature trees have been removed in the past five years; our beloved faunal emblem, the Gang-gang Cockatoo is endangered; and our natural areas are at increasing risk of development and degradation.

To combat biodiversity loss across the Territory, the Conservation Council’s Biodiversity Working Group and Friends of Grasslands have co-authored a paper that outlines a key part of the solution to protecting and enhancing the ACT’s remaining natural places: The Biodiversity Network. You can read the full paper here.

A collage of Mount Majura’s spring wildflowers. Photo Jessica van Groningen.
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