Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter November 2020


For more information on any of the below events, please visit our website at Please sign-in on the Friends of Mt Majura activity sheet at the volunteer registration point, and follow the Covid19 practice.

Sticky Weeds Rampage (Saturday, 14/11/2020)

Please come and help remove the rampant Cleavers (Sticky weeds) at a lovely site with old-growth Yellow Box trees.

When: Saturday, 14th November from 4pm to 6pm.

Where: Yellow Box grove northeast of The Fair project site outlined yellow on this map.

Bring: Body covering clothing, sun protection, drinking water and your own garden gloves if you have them – we provide disposable gloves, some leather gloves and tools.

Working party at the drainage ditch (Sunday, 15/11/2020)

Weeds have such a good run this season. Cleavers or Sticky weeds, in particular, are taking over and smothering native plants.

When: Sunday 15 November 2020, 9am to 12pm, give as much time as you like

Where: Meet at the drainage line close to the ParkCare notice board opposite of the water reservoir off Rivett Street and French Street intersection, view this map.

Bring and wear: Sun protection, body covering garden clothing and sturdy shoes or gum boots.

Curse Bash & Bag (November 2020)

One of our target weeds, Paterson’s Curse, keeps germinating from a large seed bank in the soil due to conditions that are favourable for this pesky purple pest.

How can you help?

Anytime in November, walk along the track between the Antill Street nature park entry and the entry at the Fair / Tay Street which is lined pink on this map. Pull & bag any of the flourishing Paterson’s Curse that you spot. Bring your own bag, or use one of the bags provided at the park entry at The Fair. Deposit the bag with weeds at the Fair park entry or leave it along the track for pick up.

Paterson’s Curse will be visible for about two more weeks before they lose the colourful petals.

Give as little or as much time as you want: Every plant pulled makes a difference!


A huge thank you to all the volunteers who have lent a hand the last two weeks. Together, we have pulled enough weeds to fill a whopping 30 bags, including 3 large wool bale bags, and the very large piles of sticky weeds!

Fireweed Alert

Article by Waltraud P

During a recent pleasant weeding session at The Fair project site I spotted a flowering plant that I haven’t seen before. I took photographs and uploaded them on Canberra Nature Map; see this sighting.

The ACT Weed Officer Steve Taylor confirmed the species to be Fireweed, Senecio madagascariensis, a highly invasive and toxic pest plant which is declared a Weed of National Significance.

The species is a prohibited and notifiable pest plant in the ACT.

I removed and disposed of the single plant and searched the surrounds however I could not find more flowering specimens.

Please keep your eyes open for fireweeds on your walks, particularly on the northwest slope of Mt Majura. If you spot a plant that looks like the fireweed take photos of the flower heads and leaves and upload the photos on Canberra Nature Map* for identification.

Bird Walk with Peter Miller, 25 October 2020

Article by Jenni M

An enthusiastic crowd of just over 20 budding bird watchers, one from as far away as Queanbeyan, gathered at the Mackenzie St park entrance. Armed with binoculars, they braved a cool grey morning and the occasional shower, with high expectations of learning about our local woodland birds. They were not disappointed as Peter quickly pointed out a few common birds (Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Crimson and Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Ravens and Currawongs, Noisy Miners), and how to recognise their flights and calls. Peter used a bird app to demonstrate a few local bird calls.

As we walked up Blue Metal road, we watched a young Magpie with parent near their nest of sticks, saw a nesting hollow used annually by Sulphur Crested cockatoos, and a White-winged Chough sitting on its clay pot-like nest. At the second dam we observed a pair of Sacred Kingfishers, (uncommonly seen on Mt Majura), and a pair of Magpie-Larks. Above us, Striated and Spotted Pardalots zipped between tree-tops. Lower down in shrubs and tree trunks were a small feeding flock of Buff-rumped Thornbills. We heard, then saw a Noisy Friar bird, and watched a Leaden Flycatcher and a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, which have recently returned from their seasonal migration.

Not only did we see and hear a lot of birds, but we also walked through a field of newly opened Tiger Orchids (Diuris sulphuria), fading Wax Lipped orchids (Glossodia major) and Yam daisies (Microseris lanceolata), in beautiful Scribbly gum (E. rossii) / Brittle gum (E. mannifera) woodland / Red-anther wallaby grass-land. This was a particularly rich and rewarding walk, thanks to Peter Miller and walk participants.

Recent volunteer activity

Article by Margy B and Waltraud P

FoMM has recently enjoyed working with three community groups of volunteers at The Fair site, 6 members of the Australian Conservation Foundation, 16 staff from Lendlease, and 29 Cubs and their parents from Mount Majura Cub Scouts.

The Australian Conservation Foundation assisted to clear two-thirds of the Sticky Weed, as well many Slender thistles, Sowthistles, Indian Hedge Mustard and other herbaceous weeds.

The Lendlease volunteers enjoyed being out of their workplace on a lovely sunny Monday. They filled 30 bags of weed, including 3 large wool sacks, mainly with Paterson’s Curse and Capeweed and did some direct seeding of Acacia genistifolia. Lendlease supplied a marquee and a bbq.

The scouts were enthusiastic and efficient weeders and also filled many bags of weeds on the two afternoons they worked. The plentiful sun and rain is encouraging new weeds and these large volunteer groups manage to exterminate many of the little seedlings, as they spread out in a long line, crime scene style!

We welcome interest from other community groups.

Seeding Node at the Fair site: Some observations

Article by Max P

For the last 2 months or so, I have been monitoring one of the three fenced seeding nodes installed at the fair project site. This node was deep ploughed like the others, but was not planted with any (additional) forbs as the other two sites were. I have been monitoring natural recruitment of plant species in this node. The results have been quite interesting, encouraging and perhaps even surprising.

With the help of Waltraud and botanist Isobel Crawford to identify the species present, currently (13 November 2020) I have recorded 24 endemic Australian species and 17 exotic/weed species. To give the endemic species a better chance of success, I have actively weeded and removed some the more troublesome, invasive weeds such as: Patterson’s Curse, St John’s Wort, Cape Daisy, Flatweed Dandelion (the most troublesome species in this node), Ribwort Plantain, and Yellow Hawkweed.

The endemic self recruited species are quite a variable mix for such a relatively small fenced area of around 200 square meters, which supports and emphasises the significant biodiversity of species, naturally occurring at this site and mount majura generally. They include : Bluebells, Lomandra, Vittadinia Daisies, Everlasting Daisies, Rock Fern, Rumex (Sorrel), Early Nancy, Bulbine Lily, Hibbertia, Blue Storkbill, Sheep’s Burr, Native “Carrot”, Pygmy Daisy, Slender Speargrass, Short Wallaby Grass, mosses, lichens, and one rare threatened species (confidential status)!

Although these results are only provisional and indicative (for just a few months so far), I believe we may be leading the way with this project to provide supporting evidence for land managers, policymakers and government agencies to sit up and take notice. Much more can and needs to be done to conserve Mount Majura’s biodiversity and control overgrazing by rabbits and kangaroos.

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