Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter – October 2022

It’s a busy month of activities with a bird walk, a wildflower walk, our regular monthly Sunday working party (with the start of Daylight Saving, now held in the morning) and the weekly sessions at the Fair. All are welcome to join in these activities.

Sunday Working Party 23 October 9am – 12 pm

Join us to plant local native groundcovers and sedges and help remove pesky Sticky weeds at the drainage line close to the Hackett reservoir. Give just as much time as you can spare.

Hundreds of walkers, bike riders and runners pass this site every day. It is a patch of living, breathing habitat, pulsing with vitality, including many frogs and birds. Our work at this site began in 2003 and it is FoMM’s oldest project. We maintain it to sustain the wildlife, as well as for people’s appreciation and enjoyment.

Meet us at the drainage line close to the reservoir off Rivett and French Streets, Hackett. Bring sun protection and drinking water; wear clothes which cover your limbs, sturdy shoes or gum boots and gloves if you have them. This activity is suitable for children. We provide instructions, tools, disposable gloves, hand sanitiser and a delicious cake for morning tea.

Learn more about this ongoing project here including photographs showing the transformation of the weed-infested drainage line to a native wildlife haven.

We will plant more of the native Raspberry (Rubus parvifolius) which grows naturally at the drainage line and is propagated from cuttings. Photo W.Pix.

Wildflower Walk Sunday 9 October 2.00 to 4.30 pm

There are more than 500 plant species on Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie, the majority local natives and some which are rare or endangered. Enjoy Mount Majura’s Floriade on a stroll with plant ecologist Michael Doherty.

Meet at the Mackenzie Street entrance to the nature park, near Grayson Street in Hackett. More information and a map here

Wear suitable clothing for the weather and sturdy footwear. Bring sun protection and drinking water. An updated plant species list will be available for a gold coin donation.

The Showy Parrotpea (Dillwynia sericea) is one of the plants you can expect to see on the walk. Photo W. Pix

Bird Walk Sunday 16 October 8 am (sharp) – 10 am

Canberra has the richest bird life of any Australian capital city, with more than 200 species recorded. Nearly half of them can be found on Mt Majura.

Join bird enthusiast Peter Miller for an early morning stroll through Mt Majura’s woodlands to see, hear and learn about the amazing variety of our birds.

Meet at the nature reserve entrance at Tay and Ian Nicol Streets, North Watson (‘The Fair’).

Wear appropriate clothing for the weather and sturdy shoes. Bring sun protection, water and a gold coin donation for a bird list; binoculars, a bird guide or bird app if you have them.

Max Pouwer recently spotted a group of these truly Superb Parrots (Polytelis swainsonii) feeding on deciduous blossom and the grassy verge in Aspinall Street Watson. Photograph; Canberra Nature Map.

And speaking of beautiful birds …

A FoMM volunteer recently spotted a pair of Glossy Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus lathami) at the nature reserve – a rare sighting of this “vulnerable” species. Mount Majura is the only breeding location for these birds in the ACT.

She uploaded her photograph to Canberra Nature Map, a volunteer-run website which maps the location of flora and fauna in a way that is educational and enjoyable as well as being useful to science. It is used to inform ACT Government decisions regarding the protection and enhancement of Canberra’s natural treasures.

Glossy Black Cockatoos in a Casuarina. 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. At present we are concentrating on an area at the south-west part of the reserve near Clancy’s Track, hand pulling St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) and other weeds growing near a drainage line where we hear many frogs. Another target weed is Cleavers, also known as Sticky weed (Galium aparine) a competitive climbing plant which forms dense masses of tangled vegetation.

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.

A Cherry Ballart tree (Exocarpos cupressiformis) before and after removal of a dense growth of cleavers by Monday volunteers. Photo Liese Baker.

A possible biocontrol for Fleabane?

We were pleased to read a report featuring CSIRO weed ecologist, Dr Ben Gooden, noting a new biocontrol tool for Flaxleaf fleabane (Erygeron (Conyza) bonariensis). As well as adversely affecting farmland across Australia, we have seen (and removed) a lot of it on Mount Majura this past year. Dr Gooden told the September 2022 issue of The Farmer magazine about a Colombian rust fungus which stops fleabane growing. CSIRO research has identified that the fungus does not affect other plants and authorities have now approved its use in Australia on test farm sites.

Fleabane can grow to about a metre and its fluffy white flowers produce copious seeds which are dispersed by the wind and persist in the soil. It would be lovely to think that eventually the rust might lessen the quantity of Fleabane on Mount Majura.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.