Friends of Mt Majura (FoMM) Newsletter – September 2021

Lockdown means our events are on hold

While the ACT continues to be in lockdown it is not possible to organise events for the Friends of Mount Majura, including our regular weekly Mondays at the Fair and Third Sunday working parties.

We expect another wonderful display of wildflowers in the Mount Majura nature park this spring and we hope it may be possible to host a wildflower walk. Watch the website for details.

In the meantime, we hope you are taking time to enjoy some of your daily exercise on Mount Majura. This newsletter includes photographs of some of the wildflowers you can expect to see, including Pretty Cryptandra (Cryptandra amara), a lovely flower with a sweet fragrance

Pretty Cryptandra (Cryptandra amara) courtesy Canberra Nature Map

Gang-gang Cockatoos …

The Gang-gang Cockatoo is a much-loved bird which can be seen, or more often heard, its ‘squeaky gate’ call being very distinctive!

Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum)
It is the faunal emblem of the ACT and features on the distinctive logo of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service. Yet little is known about the distribution of the Gang-gang across the ACT, the status of its population, its feeding and breeding behaviour and reliance on both the nature reserves and urban habitat. Gang-gangs have been nominated for listing as an endangered species and it is possible our local woodlands are critical to their survival.

Jochen Zeil recently observed nesting Gang-gangs in the nature park, the first such sighting at Mount Majura.

A current citizen science project is seeking volunteers in late September and October to identify Gang-gang locations at sites in the ACT. You can register interest in participating by clicking here.

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

And Brown Falcons

A recent addition to the Canberra Nature Map, close to FoMM’s project site at The Fair, is a sighting of a Brown Falcon (Falco berigora). The Canberra Ornithologists Group describes this bird, a member of the Raptor family, as uncommon in the ACT and a breeding resident. Another indication of the importance of the nature reserve for biodiversity.

Brown Falcon, photos courtesy Birdlife Australia
If you walk on Mt Majura and see something beautiful, interesting, funny or unknown why not take a photo and record it on the Canberra Nature Map. This Boulenger’s Skink (Morethia boulengeri) and an aggregation of well camouflaged Shield Bugs (Commius elegans) on a Cherry Ballart tree (Exocarpos cupressiformis) were photographed by Sarah, who spotted them during one of our recent weeding sessions at The Fair.

Wildflowers to watch out for

This will be another bumper season for orchids. The first flowering Canberra Spider Orchids, Caladenia actensis, have been recently spotted Being small (around 10cm) and with colours that blend in with the environment, this critically endangered species is easily overlooked and trampled or ridden over by bike riders.

Canberra Spider Orchids, Caladenia actensis Photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map
Daviesia genistifolia, the Spiny Bitterpea, is now showing its spring display at Mount Majura, this photo submitted to the Canberra Nature Map by FoMM volunteer Barbara Reed.
Watch out for Australian Indigo (Indigofera australis)
and a favorite, the cheerful Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans) which is prolific on Mount Majura.
You can enjoy our photos on these Flickr pools

The Canberra Nature Map section on Mount Majura contains photos of a wide range of wildlife -plants and animals – that have been recorded over the past 10 years. Many species have been described for the first time and found their way onto the Flora list which is currently in the process of its annual update.

Recognition of the work of FoMM volunteers

It was pleasing that our work at The Fair was highlighted in the 20/21 Invasive Plants Annual Report published by the ACT Department of Environment, Planning & Sustainable Development – see page 18.

We have removed very many weeds over nearly ten years of work at The Fair site and replaced them with local species which provide habitat for wildlife. Eight National Tree Day events and other smaller planting events have seen mass plantings of native trees, shrubs and flowering plants; native grasses have been direct seeded across the area. Our newest project has established seed nodes to protect herbaceous wildflowers from overgrazing and repopulate the surrounding areas via natural seed dispersal.

Majura mountain scouts and cubs planted many shrubs and trees at The Fair site in May 2021. Photo Max Pouwer

Get involved with other organisations

The Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Network is seeking new Executive Committee Members. For more information click here.

The Australian Network for Plant Conservation is looking for a paid part-time Communications Manager based in the Canberra office. For more information click here.

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