Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter – November 2022

Third Sunday Working Party from 9am

Many people enjoy walking or running up the Casuarina Track and the panoramic views which can be viewed from the saddle before the track splits to reach the summit of Mt Majura. Near this point is an old sheep camp. Fifteen years ago this was a treeless expanse dominated by Horehound. One of FoMM’s early projects was to remove the weeds and plant a variety of natives which are now thriving. Come and help remove weeds, including Horehound and Verbascum, which are creeping back, an easy task in the soft soil.

There are several points where you can access the site from the Casuarina Track. We will meet at the Antill Street, Hackett entrance, point 1 on this map. Or join us at the site by walking from the other marked locations. It’s about a 35-minute walk to the site.

Bring: Sun protection, drinking water, and garden gloves if you have them; wear sturdy shoes and clothes which cover your limbs. We provide sanitiser, tools, gloves, and delicious home-made cake for morning tea. More information here

Verbascum thapsus Photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map

Can You Help Our Vulnerable Ainslie-Majura Goannas?

Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie are home to a small number of the Rosenberg’s Goanna (Varanus rosenbergi). The reptiles can grow to 1.5 metres and shelter in hollow logs and rock crevices, laying their eggs in termite mounds. The National Parks Association is surveying the local population to learn more about numbers, their habitats and distribution.

The survey will count the population using hidden baited cameras. Volunteers are needed to walk to the cameras, change batteries, memory cards and bait. This work will be done on some Sundays between 27 November and 15 March; meeting at the Kellaway Street Hackett entrance to the nature park. Sign up here. More information

Rosenberg’s Goanna. Photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map

Updated Flora list

FoMM volunteers Barbara Read and Waltraud Pix recently updated the Flora List for Mount Majura Mount Ainslie which now contains 566 records from Acacia to Zornia. Over the last two years 140 new records have been added. Eighty-four had not been previously reported; 54 were newly discovered local natives and 30 were exotic introductions or, in a couple of cases, Australian species which may be garden escapees rather than truly local.

The Flora List is an important record of what is growing in the nature park. When it was first created in 2006 it listed 274 species, the base data coming from a 1974 survey. New native species added in 2022 include wetland rushes and sedges, a new local wattle Acacia dawsonii, beautiful orchids Thelymitra sp. aff. cyanopictata and Dipodium punctatum and other lovely forbs like milkmaids (Burchardia umbellate). The updated 2022 Flora list can be found here and you can read more about the update here.

Thelymitra sp. aff. Cyanopictata, the Blue Top Sun-orchid, a recent addition to the Flora List. Photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map.

Mondays at the Fair

Every week a group of 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. Bring sun-protection, drinking water and your own gloves if you have them. Wear sturdy shoes and clothes which cover your limbs. We provide tools and gloves.

Monday volunteers with full bales of weeds, bagged because they were seed-bearing. Photo Margy Burn.

October Nature walks

FoMM’s October walks were popular. The bird walk led by Peter Miller attracted 28 people who sighted or heard around 30 species. The walkers were excited to see two active mud nests: a mudlark (peewee) was finishing its small cup-shaped nest and guarding its territory, while a group of choughs was guarding a fairly mature chick in its large vertical-sided bowl-shaped nest.

A native lady beetle joined the walkers. Photo Jenni Marsh.
The sodden ground and threatened showers did not deter those who joined the wildflower walk led by Michael Doherty. We escaped the rain and were delighted to see many wildflowers including the rarely seen Canberra Spider Orchid (Arachnorchis actensis) which grows only on Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie.
Walker Jessica van Gronginen took beautiful photos of flowers seen on the walk, including the Canberra Spider Orchid.

ACT Natural Resource Management Plan

The draft Caring for Dhawura Ngunnawal – A natural resource plan for the ACT 2022-2042 is now published and open for comment.

This plan will frame the management of natural assets in Canberra including land, water, biodiversity and cultural sites. Feedback on key themes is welcome, including on: Cultural, rural, urban and natural landscapes; Community connection to nature; Ngunnawal cultural values and aspirations; Climate resilience and Governance.

Feedback can be made at the YourSay site until 17 November 2022.

Another of Jessica van Gronginen’s photos from FoMM’s October wildflower walk.
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