Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter – June 2022

Friends have not been deterred by recent cold and wet wintry conditions. Monday at The Fair people have rugged up and continued weeding and the weather deities have smiled on our efforts. We haven’t yet been rained out – the company is warm, even if the weather isn’t!

Third Sunday working party 19 June

In winter we start work at 1pm when the sun has hopefully emerged. This time we are tackling woody weeds on the northern slope of Mount Majura. We ask you to be punctual and join us at the nature park entrance at Tay & Ian Nicol Streets, north Watson, at 1pm as there is a walk to the site.

This will be a ‘Search and Destroy’ activity in one of our best grassy woodland areas. We will remove woody weeds such as Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana) and non-local Grevilleas which have escaped from gardens and plantings along the Federal Highway. The work involves cutting stems and immediately treating them with herbicide applied from a small spray bottle or dauber. We work in pairs – if you don’t wish to apply herbicide you can cut the weeds. We provide impervious nitrile gloves as well as gardening gloves. Also a delicious home-made cake for afternoon tea.

Wear sturdy shoes, clothes which cover your limbs and BYO garden gloves, if you have them. More information and a map here

The Knife-leaved Wattle, Acacia cultriformis, is one of the non-local Australian species that invades Mt Majura’s northern slopes from the Federal Highway plantings (W.Pix)

Bird Walk

Twenty-one people, young and old, turned up for the walk on 15 May, despite the rain. A highlight was observing a large flock of Striated pardalotes (Pardalotus striatus) with others seen perching on dead trees. These migratory birds are often difficult to see because of their small size and being the least colourful of the Pardalotes. Thank you to Peter Miller for leading the walk.

Striated pardalote in a tree hollow. Photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map.

Mondays at The Fair

Every week a group of committed regular volunteers meets at this site in north Watson. Recently we’ve concentrated on removing Blackberry nightshade (Solanum nigrum) commonly spread by birds which have eaten the berries and Sticky weed (Galium aparine) also known as Cleavers which, unchecked, drapes over trees and smothers native groundcovers. The Fair site is rich in native flowers and plants; removing weeds assists them to spread and flourish.

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.

Sticky weed is often found in gardens. It is easily removed but be sure to get its slender roots and tackle it before it flowers and sets seeds.

Canberra Nature Map and Weeds of National Significance

One of the Mondays@The Fair volunteers recently spotted a Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis), took photos and uploaded them to the Canberra Nature Map (CNM). Fireweed looks like an innocent daisy but is a Weed of National Significance. Each plant produces large numbers of light fluffy seeds which are easily dispersed by wind. Her report triggered the Parks Service rapid response team to remove this highly invasive weed and search the area for other instances.

Another WoNS, the Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) also recently spotted by the Monday crew, was removed and reported. CNM is a fantastic tool to share in and learn from; anyone with a camera or phone with a GPS function can contribute photos.

These are two examples of how volunteering activities on the ground in our local nature reserve contribute to significant biosecurity efforts.

Fireweed photographed at the Fair and contributed to the CNM by Waltraud Pix.
The climbing Bridal creeper is highly invasive and can smother native plants. Photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map.

Visitor experience survey

The ACT Parks & Conservation Service is currently surveying visitors to parks, forests and reserves to understand who is visiting, how they are being used and what could improve the experience. The survey is open until 6 July.,-reserves-and-forests

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