Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter May 2014

Welcome to the May 2014 edition of the FoMM newsletter. The cool and sunny days of Autumn are perfect for bushwalking on Mount Majura, so don’t forget to get out and about and enjoy the bush on our doorstep. The days are perfect for walking your dog too. However, just a friendly reminder that all Canberra Nature Park reserves are dog on-lead only. This is for the safety of our native wildlife, as well as both your dog and other bushwalkers. Kangaroos can cause serious injury to dogs if they are surprised in close quarters, and many people, especially children, do not like strange dogs running up to them (no matter how friendly they might be!). And don’t forget the plastic bags – the bush doesn’t need the extra nutrients! Your cooperation is much appreciated.
Best regards,
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

FoMM activities and news:

Wombats on Mt Majura!
One of our volunteers who lives opposite Hackett Oval was woken at 3am a few weeks ago by a wombat in her backyard, trying to raid her vegie patch! She managed to get these two (blurry) photos. As far as we are aware, this is the first wombat sighting around Mt Majura in living memory! If you see any wombat scats (uniquely cube shaped) on your walks in the reserve, please let us know!

Grant success!
The Molonglo Catchment Group recently approved the following FoMM small grants: 1/ Rehabilitation of degraded endangered Box-Gum Grassy Woodland on the eastern foot slope of Mt Majura, for the hire of a Conservation Volunteers Australia team. 2/ Woody weed removal in Box-Gum Woodland at the north-west slope of Mt Majura, for the purchase of brand new tools, which we are already using and appreciating. A big THANK YOU to Waltraud Pix for submitting the grant applications.

Working Bee – Sunday 18 May, 9am – 1pm
Come and help us tackle the pesky weeds at the National Tree Day planting site behind The Fair in North Watson. Come for an hour or more – you will make a difference! It is most pleasing to see that the herbaceous weeds at the southern end of the site are receding thanks to volunteer efforts over the past two years. However, at the northern end, Paterson’s Curse has gone ballistic following the rain in recent months. Close to the plantings, Paterson’s Curse is best controlled manually, but further away we have been spraying selective herbicide with low pressure knapsacks. If you can help, please come along to the working party or join us at our Fridays at the Fair sessions. We need many hands to get on to top of this very competitive weed.
Where:  Meet at the nature park access end of Ian Nicol Street
Bring:  Sun protection, sturdy shoes, and old clothing with long sleeves and pants.
Contact: FoMM 6247 7515 or
Click here for more information

FoMM volunteer Jo Lynch spraying Paterson’s Curse at The Fair National Tree Day planting site (Photo: W.Pix)

Bird Walk – Sunday 11 May, 8am – 10am
Walk through the woodlands with bird enthusiast Peter Miller to watch, listen to and learn about the amazing variety of birds on Mt Majura. Please bring binoculars if you have them.
Where:  Meet at the Mackenzie Street nature park entrance in Hackett.
Contact: Jenni Ph. 6248 8955
Click here for more information

The Silvereye is a common bird in our local woodlands.

Spotlight Walk proves popular
In the early evening of 16 April, 25 people and 6 leaders walked in the light of a glowing red sunset from The Fair in North Watson. They meandered up Clancy’s track, through yellow box-red gum grassy woodland, past an old stock yard, to a small dam where several frogs were heard. Torches held at eye level were perfect for spotting glowing eyes. Beside the fire trail a Tawny Frogmouth on a grey log was only visible in the spotlight when it moved. A small pair of silvery eyes in a she-oak belonged to a Sugar Glider. Three more Sugar Gliders were found in low trees, and at least 4 sets of large glowing orange eyes with black furry tails belonged to Brush-tailed Possums. A large hare, many rabbits, numerous kangaroos, and quite a few wolf spiders were also spotted. With the help of an Anabat (bat detector), many micro bats were seen and heard as they whizzed past. Organised by FoMM and the ACT Conservation Council as part of Heritage week, the walk was booked out with a long waiting list, so a second walk has been organised for 9 May which is already full. As a result, FoMM is planning to hold more of these popular walks in the future!

Sugar Glider (Photo: D. Cook)

Fungi galore and another new plant added to the list!
After all the rain this year, the fungi on Mt Majura have been stunningly prolific recently. Go to the FoMM Flickr Group Ferns, Fungi, Mosses and Lichen of Mount Majura to see some of Steve Bittinger’s fungi photographs, as well as Waltraud’s recent photograph of Sickle Fern Pellaea falcata, which she and a volunteer found whilst removing woody weeds recently. The Sickle Fern is a new addition to the Mt Majura flora list. It is amazing how many new species are found each year! Since the last update on 29 October 2013, 3 ferns, 3 orchids, 1 forb and 2 grasses have been added to the list. You never know what’s around the corner!

Other items of interest:

Gang-gang Survey – May Muster Count 21-18 May
The Gang-gang holds special significance for the Canberra Ornithologist Group (COG) and the ACT. It is the logo of COG and of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service. Despite this, little is known about the ecology of the Gang-gang within the ACT region, about its abundance, movements or what affects movement patterns, about its food preferences or seasonal distribution, or the frequency or success of breeding events. As part of celebrating 50 years of activity in the ACT and region,  COG is running a citizen science project to learn more about Gang-gangs within the COG Area of Interest which stretches from Goulburn to Adaminaby and Burrinjuck Dam to Lake Bathurst. The purpose of the Muster count is to obtain a better understanding of the presence or absence of Gang-gangs across the ACT region.  For this people are needed to look out for Gang-gangs from many locations across the region, all in the same week. Visit the COG website for more information and links to the survey forms.

World Environment Day Dinner at the National Arboretum Saturday 31 May 2014, 7pm
Imagine a spectacular setting, sipping a glass of champagne overlooking a sunset panoramic view of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin and beyond, enjoying a delicious gourmet meal while calming strings play in the background.The dinner will be held at the beautifully scenic Arboretum with magnificent views looking out over Canberra. It will start with champagne and canapés and continue with a delicious three course meal made with seasonal and local produce, prepared by regional food hero Janet Jeffs and her team from Ginger Catering. The evening celebrations will include inspirational guest speaker Professor David Lindenmayer. David is a highly-awarded Professor of Ecology at the Australian National University who has been a passionate advocate for landscape ecology and conservation science for over 30 years. You will be entertained by the laugh-a-minute satirical music group Shortis and Simpson who are well known for their action-packed and always timely political satire by music. Book here.

‘Nature Photography in the Digital Age’ – University House, ANU, Sunday 18 May 2014 8.30am-­5pm
Wildlife and Botanical Artists Inc. (WABA) presents a unique one-day seminarwith award-winning Australian photographer Steve Parish. No camera equipment is required to participate in the seminar, but photography and recording is permitted. The seminar will suits wildlife artsts, students and hobbyists. Bookings essential. Click here for more information and to book.

Discover Wildlife: Art and Science – at the CSIRO Discovery Centre 14th – 18th May
This symposium is a multidisciplinary celebration of the art, science and conservation of Australian wildlife. It includes a program of free presentations, children’s activities, wildlife films, CSIRO collection tours, and a showcase of original Australian wildlife artwork. Click here for more information.

Environmental Humanities Conference: Affective Habitus: New Environmental Histories of Botany, Zoology and Emotions – at the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra 19-21 June 2014
Fifth Biennial Conference of The Association for the Study of Literature, Environment and Culture, Australia and New Zealand (ASLEC-ANZ) – and an Environmental Humanities collaboratory with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, and Minding Animals International. Click here for more information.

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