Friends of Mt Majura (F0MM) Newsletter – September 2022

Spring has sprung and as well as anticipating another wonderful wildflower season, the weeds are also flourishing. After so much rain this winter, weeds are easy to pull from the moist soil. Anyone is welcome to join our regular working parties – no experience is necessary. You will meet friendly knowledgeable people as you give something back to the nature park we enjoy. And a heads up, watch out for announcements of our popular guided bird and wildflower walks in October. Dates and locations will be advertised in newsletters and posters towards the end of September.

Third Sunday Working Party 1-4 pm 18 September

We will remove St John’s wort and other weeds from the Fair site in north Watson. Register at the Tay and Ian Nicol Streets entrance to the nature park at 1pm.

Stay only as long as you have time to spare. We provide tools, gloves, hand sanitiser and a delicious home-made cake for afternoon tea.

St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a perennial plant that reproduces from seed and from creeping underground rhizomes. One plant will produce thousands of seeds which can remain viable in the soil for many years. In recent years FoMM volunteers have made great strides in clearing St John’s wort from some of the rich areas of wildflowers at the Fair. More information

St John’s wort growing at Hackett – the plants will flower in late spring and early summer. Photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map

Invasive weed alert

Over the past year several people have spotted Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis). This highly invasive Weed of National Significance was introduced to the ACT through landscape work in Gungahlin. Given the prevailing north-westerly winds, it was only a matter of time before the first plants appeared on Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie – the seeds being spread by wind. The ACT Government controls Fireweed in Gungahlin and adjacent Mulligans Flat and Goorooyaroo nature reserves. Please help keep Fireweed out of the Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie reserves. If you spot a Fireweed take a photo and record it on Canberra Nature Map; if you can, please dig it out, place it in a bag and dispose of the bag with the weed in your rubbish bin. There is no other similar looking species that grows in local reserves so you can’t mix it up with other species.

Fireweed growing at Hackett. Photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map.

Mondays at the Fair

Every week a group of volunteers meets 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 SW end of the site near the Antill Street roundabout. One our target weeds is Cleavers, also known as Sticky weed (Galium aparine) a competitive climbing plant which forms dense masses of tangled vegetation. As well as removing old, dried plants with their seed cases we are also tackling young green growth closer to the ground. The plants with seed cases are bagged for removal by Parks & Conservation Service rangers.

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.

Gang-gang Cockatoo feather collection project

The ACT Government and the ANU Difficult Bird Research Group are seeking community help to find and collect feathers to better understand the population genetics of Gang-gang Cockatoos. Feathers contain genetic information unique to an individual. They provide insights into the biology and ecology of birds that are otherwise challenging to sample, and in a way that is not intrusive. By learning about the genetic variability of Gang-gangs (Callocephalon fimbriatum) their population size can be estimated to inform conservation actions. More information

In March 2022 the popular Gang-gang, the ACT’s faunal emblem, was declared an `Endangered’ species.

Young Gang-gang in a nesting hollow at Mount Majura. Photo Jochen Zeil.

Australia’s Favourite Tree

The River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) was announced on August 26 as Australia’s Favourite Tree, chosen after three rounds of polling by the ABC Science Unit, with more than 270,000 votes cast. The Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) came second – there are a small number of Snow Gums growing on Mount Majura. You can still take the ABC’s Australian Native tree quiz launched as part of the Favourite Tree campaign.

One of Mount Majura’s Snow Gums from our gallery of photos
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