Friends of Mt Majura (FoMM) Newsletter – October 2021

Lockdown advice from Parks & Conservation Service

While everyone is relieved at the gradual lifting of lockdown conditions for ACT residents from Friday 15 October the most recent advice from Parks & Conservation Service is that organised ParkCare activities are still not permitted. FoMM will be informed as soon as restrictions are further eased. We all hope this may occur after the second stage lifting at the end of October.

FoMM has expressed concern to PCS that ParkCare by individuals should be classed as essential work, especially given the significant weed problem following the wet winter. We were pleased to be advised that PCS has received approval for weed control contractors to resume activities targeting high risk invasive weeds.

The increased use of the nature park is also leading to more informal tracks being created including some highly destructive tracks made by mountain bike riders.

In the meantime, we hope you are enjoying spending time walking in the nature park and enjoying the beautiful display of wildflowers, some of which are featured in this newsletter. We hope it may be possible to organise a wildflower walk with local botanist Michael Doherty once lockdown lifts.

Leopard orchid among the Hoary sunrays – photo by Max Pouwer
ACT budget increase for ParkCare

The recent ACT budget included $3.5 million additional funding over four years for local volunteer groups to help maintain and improve our landscape. This includes funding to expand the ACT Environment Grants and for an additional ParkCare ranger in Canberra’s north. FoMM, with other ParkCare groups has long advocated for a second ranger position to be created, so this news is very welcome. An email from PCS noted “this announcement acknowledges the valuable contribution of volunteers to the Canberra community and the environment”.

The Hoary sunrays are putting on an amazing display, especially on the Federal Highway side of the mountain.  Photo Max Pouwer.
Sighting Gang-gang breeding behaviours

Following the 2019/20 bushfires there is increased concern about the fate of the Gang-gang Cockatoo, with much of the breeding habitat affected by fires. Members of the public are encouraged to record any indications of breeding within the ACT and to record their observations on Canberra Nature Map. This will contribute to increased knowledge of breeding events in urban and non-urban areas and in areas affected and not affected by the bushfires.

Gang-gangs can be found around tree hollows at any time of the year but the researchers are particularly interested in reports of birds seen entering, leaving or looking into hollows, chewing bark, or perched near a hollow

If possible, such sightings should be submitted to Canberra Nature Map so that all observations are stored in one place. To enter observations, log on at click on ‘Add a sighting’, add an image or click the location on the map, click on Identification- Birds- Parrots- Gang-gang and then answer the questions or provide further information. For additional information on Gang-gangs enter ‘Gang-gang’ in the ‘Quick Search’ box.

The Gang-gang is the faunal emblem of the ACT and regularly seen or heard in the inner north.

Young, male Gang-gang.  Photo Jochen Zeil.
Updated species list for Mount Majura

We owe thanks to Waltraud Pix and Barbara Reid who have used the lockdown to update the species list for Mount Majura They have identified 78 new entrants since the last annual update in 2020. This is painstaking work, requiring each species to be checked against the latest update at the Australian Herbarium/ACT Census of vascular plants, particularly for new or changed names and classifications – for instance, all wattles have been newly classified as belonging to the Fabaceae family.

Small-leaf Clematis, Old Man’s Beard is blooming in many places. Photo Max Pouwer
Researching perceptions of Dung beetles

Through its membership of the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Network, FoMM has been approached to seek responses to a CSIRO/University of Canberra survey on research into perceptions of biocontrol, with a focus on dung beetles. The research aims to explore understandings of, and attitudes towards, biocontrol. The survey will take 15- 20 minutes, is open until the end of October and can be found at

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