Welcome to the July 2014 edition of the FoMM newsletter. A big thank you to all those who volunteered at the June working bee, it was an enormous success after being delayed by rain the week before. The she-oak planting went ahead in brilliant weather conditions, and with 16 planters and the holes prepared prior to the event, the planting was done in no time. Encouragingly, long-time FoMM member Noel Birchall heard the calls of Glossy Black Cockatoos when he was up at Majura Ridge on the morning of the planting day.
As mentioned in the previous newsletter, many of us were heartened recently by the sighting of the first Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans var. tricolor), an endangered daisy, to naturally germinate at The Fair rehabilitation site. See a photo of it below. We are also starting to see other species self seeding in the area such as Clustered Everlasting Daisies (Chrysocephalum semipapposum) and Blue Heron Bill (Erodium crinitum). They are only germinating in amongst the planted seedlings where mulch and woody debris has been spread. This is protecting them from grazing and erosion as well as providing some extra nutrients to the soil. Nice to know we are doing something right!
See you on the mountain.
FoMM activities and news:
Working Party @ The Fair – Sunday 20 July, 1pm – 4pm
Give the native plants a head start! Come and help prepare the site for National Tree Day 2014 and replace outgrown tree guards. No previous experience required, just an interest in making a difference! Give as little or as much time as you would like.
Where: Meet at The Fair, nature park access Tay St, North Watson.
Bring and wear: Sun protection, long sleeves and pants; garden gloves if you have them. Tools and hot drinks will be provided.
Inquiries: Ph. 6247 7515 or email email@example.com
National Tree Day 2014- Sunday 27 July 1pm – 3.30pm
Come and celebrate National Tree Day with a planting party in the Mt Majura nature park. Get your hands dirty and plant local trees, shrubs and flowers. This year’s event will be the third stage of a community re-vegetation project that started in Winter 2012 at The Fair. We aim to replace weeds with local native plants, provide habitat for little woodland birds and improve the overall condition of the degraded endangered grassy woodland in the area. Volunteer registration opens at 12.45pm. The day will start with a fun demonstration on ‘how to plant’ by TAMS Minister Shane Rattenbury.
Where: Mount Majura nature park behind (east of) The Fair in North Watson.
Bring and wear: Bucket, trowel or small mattock if you have one (please label items with your phone number so that we can reunite any left-behinds with the owner), garden gloves, appropriate clothing and foot wear, wrap up warmly.
Enquiries: Ph. 6247 7515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
FoMM Bird Walk report – by FoMM walks coordinator Jenni Marsh.
At 8am on Mother’s Day (11th May 2014) 11 people joined local bird expert Peter Miller for an informative and enjoyable 2 hour bird walk on Mount Majura. The walk started with Sulphur-crested Cockatoos calling raucously from the tops of yellow box and red gums while Galahs and Crested Pigeons quietly perched side by side on a power line. A pair of Australian Wood ducks floated across a dam and King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas flew towards the suburbs. A flock of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were at the tail end of their winter migration to the coast. High up in the gum trees, they briefly joined a mixed feeding group of small birds which included Grey Fantails, Grey Shrike-Thrushes, Rufous Whistlers, and Spotted Pardalotes. Superb Fairy-Wrens flitted amongst shrubs and a Scarlet Robin perched on a stump, while a White-throated Treecreeper foraged up tree trunks. In the Scribbly gum grassland, we spotted a Kookaburra, and heard Striated Pardalots. Heading down the Casuarina trail we saw more Rufous Whistlers and several White-eared Honeyeaters.
COG Bird Survey results – by Kathy Walter and John Goldie
Mt Majura woodland annual bird surveys were conducted during June at nine sites. Some of these sites produced excellent mixed flocks – one flock had 22 species including: around 50 Striated Pardalote, 20 Spotted Pardalote, Silvereyes, Speckled Warbler, Buff and Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Superb Fairy-wrens, Golden Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Scarlet Robin and Grey Fantail. A Rose Robin and five different honeyeaters, including Fuscous, White-naped and Brown-headed, made up part of another mixed flock. Of interest, a Brown Goshawk and Hobby were seen in separate sites. Unfortunately, two foxes were also seen in one of the Brittle Gum sites.
Save the Date – 17/18 October 2014.
A forum will be held called Reflect, Explore and Inspire: Celebrating 25 years of ParkCare and Landcare in the ACT. Stay tuned for further information.
Other items of interest:
Public Forum: Landscapes for Birds – conserving and enhancing their habitats – at the ACT Legislative Assembly, Reception Room, 5 July 1.30pm – 4.30pm. This is a free public forum in celebration of COG’s 50th Anniversary year. It will focus on the importance of landscape scale conservation and restoration/enhancement of habitats for birds, including citizen science studies, research, community/landholder engagement and on the ground work in the ACT and nearby NSW. Contemporary issues impacting on habitat conservation such as loss of connectivity, offsets policies and loss of mature trees will also be discussed. Speakers include: Dr Adrian Manning, ANU; Dr Veronica Doerr, CSIRO; Rainer Rehwinkel, NSW Office of Environment & Heritage; Nicki Taws, Greening Australia ACT; Chris Davey, Canberra Ornithologists Group. Click here for more information and to register.
Forum on the state of native plants in the ACT – at University House (ANU), Wednesday 20th August. Organised by the ACT Division of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, this one-day forum will provide an opportunity for environmental scientists to share their knowledge and increase the level of awareness of environmental practitioners [biodiversity researchers, urban planners, land managers, policy advisors, landscape architects, engineering designers & consulting ecologists] about the state of native plants in the ACT. $100 for non-EIANZ members, free for EIANZ members. Refreshments including lunch will be provided. Further details about this event and how to register will be available soon from the EIANZ events homepage.
Online Local Native Plant Guide. The Land Development Agency (LDA) and Greening Australia ACT have collaborated to create the Molonglo Valley Local Native Plant Guide to assist residents in selecting plants for their gardens. It includes information on 30+ native species suitable for Canberra gardens that will attract wildlife and look beautiful too. It is available online here.
Feedback invited on new dog exercise area maps. The ACT Government is currently reviewing the Territory’s dog exercise area maps. The community is invited to provide feedback on the maps to ensure we achieve the best possible balance in providing spaces for dogs to be exercised on and off-leash, while also protecting the natural environment and the ability of others to enjoy recreational spaces. Drop-in information sessions will be held across the ACT between now and the end of July. You can also complete an online survey at www.timetotalk.act.gov.au or pick up a hard copy survey from the local public library. To view the maps and access more information about the project, including a question and answer sheet, visit www.timetotalk.act.gov.au. Consultation closes 5 pm Friday 1 August 2014.