MARCH 2018……. MT ROGERS NEWS

Hazard Reduction Burn
March came in with a rush of activity when there were several reports of ground being cleared, branches sawn off trees, trees cut down and several of ‘our’ most treasured, centuries old Eucalypts having ribbons round their trunks.
It took Brian Bathgate, Mt Rogers’ Land Manager for TCCS, an hour or two to find out what was happening. The Fire Management Unit had begun preparations for a Hazard Reduction Burn (HRB) in the reserve without alerting the Land Managers, much less the reserve’s community.
There is a Brett McNamara article in this week’s Chronicle on page 7. It does not seem to explain what HRBs in our reserves are designed to achieve other than “to enhance, protect and conserve our beautiful bush capital”.
There was a HRB on the eastern side of Mt Rogers in August 2011. The currently planned burn is part of the broad ACT-wide schedule of HRBs. I put a map of the target area on the seat by the notice box. It shows that the burn will affect the vegetation between the track up from Jacob Place (Flynn) and the rocky track up from the notice box. I placed some Living with Fire brochures in the notice box and in residents’ letterboxes in adjacent streets.
Rachel’s visit
Rachel Tokley is Urban Volunteer Group Co-ordinator for TCCS. On Wednesday 7 March Rachel visited Mt Rogers for the first time and heard about our concerns. More importantly, she was really impressed with the place, the sense of community that we have and what we have achieved with your decades-long landcaring, erosion management, stewardship and species observations.
Since she has an extensive network of contacts within and beyond the ACT Government’s agencies, Rachel encourages us to report management issues to her, rachel.tokley@act.gov.au and ph. 0478 404 999. This would include the state of the path, the dumping of rubbish (e.g. those mattresses), fallen trees or branches.
Fix My Street is another, though online, reporting option.
The Rock Sign & a ‘garden’?
The Rock Sign has been tagged. Rachel has organised for the Graffiti Unit to remove the vandalistic paint-job and cover the rock surface with a clear ‘paint’ that makes graffiti easier to remove. If we planted some native daisies around the sign’s boulders, would those of you who come up by car be able to bring bottles of water to help the little plants establish? It’s a very exposed position of course but it might have been native grassland there 5060 years ago. 
Here's the Rock Sign again, after its installation in December, in case you've not seen the photos in one of the blog posts further below. 

Clare
For the first part of Rachel’s visit we were accompanied by Clare from the Fire Management Unit. Clare took photos and GPS co-ordinates of areas and rarer native species that are especially sensitive to fire damage and important to us. Her camera was busy because this HRB will affect the most extensive high-to- reasonable quality woodland zones in the reserve.
The HRB needs to be a series of cool patch-burns as there are very few places where damage to habitats and ground-dwelling species can be avoided. The ancient trees are marked for special care and the ground has been cleared around them. HRBs are done to “reduce fuel load” but there are differences of opinion between ecologists and fire management personnel especially surrounding the effects and frequency of burns. At least this target area hasn’t been burned officially for 4050 years or more.
There have been visible HRBs in Namadgi in the past 10 days. Residents should be notified of the pending HRB with signs going up at entrances to Mt Rogers.
Weeding
The Sunday 25 February working bee against the Tree of Heaven infestation was rained out as the spectacular dump of 92+ mL hit the region. On Monday 5 March Phil and I moved through the bush east of the notice box pulling or cutting & daubing scores of young woody weeds. We ‘extrapolated’, from what we found, that there’s plenty of similar work throughout the reserve should anyone feel so motivated! As usual the weeds we found originated from berries carried into the reserve from garden plants. One stranger that I dug out turned out to be a young Asparagus Fern. The well watered ground made our work relatively easy.
Koels departing…less one from Fraser
This last week has been quiet in most areas of the ACT as the Koels begin their migration out of the region. Red Wattlebirds, Noisy Friarbirds and Honeyeaters also move away. April is the time of traditional Honeyeater migrations through the river corridors with thousands of several species passing through to warmer places. Small groups of these migrating species may pass through Mt Rogers.
One fledgling Koel won’t be migrating. Hayward found the injured chick on the edge of Mt Rogers and carefully took it home. It was after-hours. Ruth emailed a “what to do?" message but I didn’t receive it before they’d taken the little bird to the 24-hour Gungahlin Veterinary Hospital. The vet said it had ‘neurological damage’ and would need to be euthanased.
As Koels are still newcomers to ‘Canberra’ I thought the Australian National Wildlife Collection would be interested in the bird as a specimen. I phoned the clinic-hospital and the staff, understanding the situation, agreed to put the corpse in their freezer. I collected the surprisingly small bird and, a few days later, took it to the ANWC at Gungahlin.
The efforts of probable Wattlebird parents in raising the young cuckoo won’t be wasted as it is now in the research collection. The Injured Wildlife Hotline is 0432 300 033 and Website www.actwildlife.net.
Lyndon’s Red-Capped Robin
Mt Rogers bird- and wildlife-watching identity, Lyndon, made news on the COG (Ornithologists’ group) email line recently. He ended up with a Red-Capped Robin on his cap whilst photographing at Yerrabi Pond, Gungahlin. Steve W was on hand with a quick photo. The robins are also seasonal migrants. The story and photo are in the blog-post below this one, and the photo is repeated here.

Working Bees
The next working bee is on Sunday 25 March, meeting at the Wickens Place carpark at 09.00 am. We’ll try again for another assault on the Tree of Heaven. Monday 1 April’s a holiday.

Rosemary, Convenor
Mt Rogers Landcare Group  
6258 4724.    
16.03.18.

Where's that Red 'cap' Robin?

A short story about Mt Rogers folk, Lyndon, Maureen and, in recent years Doug the Blue Heeler.
These folk have walked on Mt Rogers for decades.

Lyndon’s interest in photography increased as Doug slowed down; with a huge telephoto lens being part of their daily equipment.

Mt Rogers gained substantially when Lyndon collated his photographs to produce Wildlife of Mt Rogers. 
A file celebrating Mt Rogers’ bird species followed and morphed into a photo-book. It illustrates all the species Lyndon has seen on and from Mt Rogers.

In the course of his Mt Rogers birdwatching, Lyndon met Steve W.
Steve specialises in videoing birds and their behaviour, with this passion taking him throughout our region and beyond. He has also provided countless valuable statistical analyses of birds’ abundance and movements to the COG (Canberra Ornithologists Group) email line.

Steve and Lyndon teamed up. Lyndon was introduced to the numerous birdwatching locations around the ACT by Steve and the pleasantly addictive pursuit of studying local avifauna. Lyndon has joined the scores of locals who record what their binoculars find and link their discoveries to Canberra Ornithologists’ Group, Canberra Nature Map and E-Bird. 

Here’s the delightful result of their being beside Ginninderra Creek at Gungahlin’s Yerrabi Pond on March 1st.
Today, at Yerrabi Pond, a Red-capped Robin became impossible for Lyndon to
photograph. It landed on his cap, on the peak first and then moved to the
back. I was not close enough nor quick enough to get a clear shot but you
get the idea from the photo. A special moment.

[Lyndon agreed to have his photo sent to the chatline]

Steve

At this time of the year several Robin species pass through the bush capital from breeding at higher altitudes.  Sighting the robins provides the classic case of "being in the right place at the right time".
We’re occasionally lucky in finding them on and around Mt Rogers. They usually join Mixed Feeding Flocks of other small foraging bird species.  

Rosemary 

MT ROGERS IN MID FEBRUARY 2018

NOTES FROM A WALK AROUND THE TRACK on Mon 19.02.18 after a 34 degree day
First, here is our 'Notice rock', in December 2017

Weather
It was blissfully cool after the previous days’ inescapable heat. Grey clouds brought hope of some rain. The easterly breeze refreshed walkers but probably extracted even more moisture from the summer-desiccated vegetation.
Agapanthus blooms
Landcarers’ compliments to those who have cut off the spent flower heads and taken them to the green waste site for mulching & composting.  The birds might discover the seeds are edible & begin taking them into the nature reserves in their droppings.
Grey Butcherbird
One was perched on the wires across Schwarz Place. It pecked an insect off the wire and was later heard carolling away; the equal of its magpie cousins.
Chinese Pistachio
In weed awareness hindsight, those of us who bought Chinese Pistachio trees for our gardens could have been labelled ‘gamblers’. The trees brighten our autumns with glorious northern-hemisphere colours. They are dioecious:  plants where the male and female reproductive systems occur on separate plants.” The female plants produce berries, birds eat the berries and spread them into others’ gardens or the bush. We all see the Cockatoos at work in the trees. Their strong beaks and gizzards may not crush every berry. The seedlings grow up from under the larger trees that the cockatoos perched in, as privets and cotoneasters do. Chinese Pistachio is now a declared pest species.
Cockatoos
A few weeks ago Barbara J responded to a request for evidence of where Sulphur Crested Cockatoos roost. They’re familiar with & gave evidence of the roost site around the Flynn playground’s trees. Today the ground was littered with white feathers from the birds’ moulting & preening - if corroboration of Barbara’s long-term observations was needed.
Winds and branches
Winds have been tortuous at times this summer. Wind direction is influenced by topography and the presence of other trees. Thanks to those who have moved branches that have fallen across the main path. We’ve had success with the ACT’s Fix My Street in such situations provided we can show the nearest street or mark the location on a map. Mattresses and other dumped material were removed quickly as the result of Lyndon’s and Phil’s respective reporting.
Whipper Snipping
In recent weeks a major effort has seen rank grasses in the zone between the path and the houses whipper-snipped into neatness. Thank you TCCS for organising this. Wouldn’t it be great if the original wildflowers and shrubs were still dense around the zone’s clusters of boulders and able to crowd out the last 100 years’ windblown or animal dispersed seeds?
TCCS
Transport Canberra & City Services’ Rachel Tokley will be having a look round Mt Rogers on Wednesday 7 March. We’ll be able to raise any issues with her for liaising with the TCCS and broader networks. When Angharad mentioned the ‘tags’ on the engraved MT ROGERS rock Phil Nizette carved two months ago Rachel has arranged for the ACT Government’s Graffiti Unit to address the vandalism. 

Blackberry
It’s a pity ivy and honeysuckle don’t attract sufficient attention for removal by contractors. Blackberry attracts governments’ attention because it is a Weed of National Significance. The Ginninderra Catchment Group has a new funding stream for the treatment of blackberry clusters in the catchment of Ginninderra Creek. Are there any blackberry infestations that need spraying in the land parallel to Kuringa Drive, in the land between Fraser oval and Dunlop or around Lake Ginninderra? Please report sightings, with locations to: landcare@ginninderralandcare.org.au .
Green grass
When most of the vegetation is very beige it’s easy to see where hidden water sources are keeping grasses green. How does water drain down subterraneously from the higher levels of Mt Rogers? Perhaps as the lower slopes were moulded into the landscapers’ and engineers’ visions the directions of springs ‘ flows were changed? In the suburbs there are greened places that can be attributed to leaking swimming pools and sewer lines from houses. Fix My Street’s the place to report these too. Actual water flows can be reported to 13 11 93. We did this for a ‘no-man’s-land’ part of Redfern Street, Macquarie last week.
Notices
Thanks to Chris C for redoing the Snow Gum’s corner notice after the eddying wind blew the two A4 sheets apart. Chris has an A3 laminator and offered to redo that information sheet.
Bark’s brilliance
Before I’d even moved into the reserve I was awed by the glorious golden yellow hues of those Eucalypts that are shedding their bark. Some of them have the common name Yellow Box for the new bark that’s revealed when the bark’s age + rain + heat  + wind peel strips off trunks and branches.
The ground around each tree was littered with bark with some pieces having been blown several metres. Barks’ textures give clues when identifying eucalypts and would show their diversity if anyone indulged in the bark-rubbings we used to try 6 decades ago.  Photos achieve similar results nowadays. 
Negative:
The MT ROGERS sign being tagged left a decidedly nasty taste in our mouths even though a remedy will be forthcoming. Perhaps more official graffiti spaces would be acceptable to the artists but tagging is a different cult it would seem. 

Positive:
Hayward and Ruth initiated a sad but valuable Koel story. Hayward found an injured Koel fledgling and took it to the Canberra Veterinary Emergency Service at Gungahlin. The vet said it had ‘neurological damage’ and would have to be euthanised.
As the Koel is a relatively new species in our region I thought the Australian National Wildlife Collection (ANWC) might be interested in the body. A phone call or two later and the caring co-operation of the clinic’s vets, and the little corpse was frozen. It’s now been taken to ANWC. Here’s a link that explains the collection and its immeasurable value to researchers here and internationally.

Rosemary, Mt Rogers Landcare.  6258 4724.

January 2018 news, including 'Side-tracked by Butterflies and Wattles'

SCORPIONS: Steve W has sighted a Forest Scorpion on the main path today, 08.01.18.,  asking whether they’re common on Mt Rogers. I’m sure they’re there and part of a healthy ecosystem but seeing them on the path would be unusual I’d say. They’d be hidden away under rocks where it’s damper and near their invertebrate prey.
SNAKES: Lynn, Rod and Steve D have each reported sightings of large Brown Snakes since the weather turned spring to summer. It seems as though there’s a resident Brown at or near the Summit but also that the snakes seek water and rodents in gardens adjacent to Mt Rogers. Other people have “walked here for years and never seen a snake”. We all need to “be prepared” for sightings of these normally shy creatures and ready to retreat. Snakes are protected of course as are other native animals and plants.
SIGN: As I was clipping feral grasses around the now-engraved MT ROGERS sign at the Wickens Place, Fraser carpark a walker asked where the Frogmouths were now.
The fledglings we watched from the ‘Tween Tanks Track” have dispersed by now. Roy reported seeing two chicks in the Schwarz Place, Flynn trees quite recently. Their family and neighbours were equally delighted as they’d all wondered, without any sightings, whether this season had been unsuccessful for “their” pair. Clearly there’s been a variation in local nesting times this sprummer.
SUPERBS, SBB’s & SCC’s: The Superb Parrots seem to be spreading through the suburbs a bit by now. They’re after wattle seed-pods and unharvested fruit.  It was mid-Flynn’s turn to host a screech of Cockatoos this morning as they left their roost for the day’s foraging. Satin Bowerbirds have already been reported enjoying garden’s fruit.
PASSPORTS: Several regular walkers including Margaret and Chris have turned the Nature Play CBR  Passports into explorations with the under-12’s. The passport-sized booklets offer Missions for families going in search of organisms, natural objects and experiences in reserves, special places and their own backyards. Send and email to alesha.brown@act.gov.au if you’d like her to send you passports to being observant whilst outdoors. The Nature Play website also has a suite of  downloadable lists of outdoor things to do for each age group.
TWO REGULAR WALKERS have had dangerous and extremely distressing encounters with an on-leash German Shepherd recently. This may be the same dog that attacked Hoot some months ago.  In each incident the handlers were unable to adequately restrain the dog. Perhaps they were walking the dog for someone else. These unprovoked attacks were reported to the rangers via dogcontrol@act.gov.au/. If witnesses could also report what they’ve seen to that same e-address it will help the rangers analyse the occurrences of these ACT-wide incidents.
SPRAYING: Steve D continues his back-pack spraying efforts against golden-yellow St Johns Wort throughout the reserve. The plants are in flower and thanks to the rainfall pattern there are thousands of smaller plants needing the Starane treatment. The infestation is repeated throughout the region’s reserves and open spaces. 

EASILY SIDE-TRACKED…..BY BUTTERFLIES & WATTLES: After the 41 degree heat of 7th January I went to the Mt Rogers Fraser carpark to cut the grasses around the new MT ROGERS sign engraved on a boulder. It was already warm and humid though we’d had ineffective showers with yesterday’s cool-change-that-wasn’t. I also sheared round about six yellow ‘button’ daisy, Chrysocephalum apiculatum plants and a few Stipa grasses in the hope that TCCS brush-cutters would ignore that area.
Nearby two Cootamundra Wattle were being visited by many small butterflies. My brain registered ‘Grass Blues’ until other observations kicked in…these were darker and larger than Grass Blues and why would grass habitat butterflies be obsessed with wattle trees?
Once home and with Suzi Bond’s 2016 Field Guide to the Butterflies of the A.C.T* to hand I concluded the butterflies were Stencilled Hairstreaks, Jalmenus ictinus. Both Suzi Bond and Michael Braby give Ictinus Blue as an alternative name in their respective Field Guides.
Between conversations that explained my latest eccentricity to bemused Mt-Rogers-regulars early-walking their dogs to beat the heat, I took a few photos with the compact Canon. 


The butterflies have a projection on their wing margins near pronounced orange and black spots.
Two of the butterflies were in copulating mode. Another was very still and stationary for some time, preparing to lay eggs perhaps?  Most of the butterflies approached and seemingly searched the trees landing only briefly. When they did land their wings were open for a split second showing iridescent patches on the grey-brown wings.
There’s a large ant nest near the trees with meat ants active. I realised there were meat ants on the trees’ branches. This triggered memories of wattle-ant-insect larvae associations, symbiosis and interdependence. 
Both Field Guides mention Stencilled Hairstreaks’ associations with Meat ants. *“...colonies can only establish on larval food plants located near Meat Ant nests……The [butterflies’] larvae feed during the day either singly or communally. The larval attendant ants are Meat Ants (Iridomyrmex purpureus).” The Imperial Hairstreak is similar to the Stencilled Hairstreak but small black ants attend the Imperial Hairstreaks’ larvae.
I should have thought to also look for larvae – caterpillars in the trees. Both butterfly species rely on wattle species as larval food plants. Are there larvae on the Hickory Wattles, Acacia implexa, currently in flower? Are these beautiful, approximately 3.5 cm butterflies, threatened by the authorities’ penchant for having wattles removed as ‘fire hazard’ vegetation?
And so much for the reputation of Cootamundra Wattles, Acacia baileyana as a native pest-plant species. Here was further evidence of Mt Rogers’ population of Cootamundra wattles being a vital habitat species at all stages of life despite invasiveness when the seeds are stimulated into mass germination.

Rosemary Blemings 08.01.18.

MT ROGERS DECEMBER NEWSLETTER 2017

MURRUNGUNDIE GUIDES’ VISIT

On Monday 13th November hours after we’d continued our assault on the Tree of Heaven with Anne, Ted and Diana, Angharad and I hosted a group of about twenty Murrungundie Guides for a stroll on Mt Rogers. They normally meet at Charnwood near the Mt Rogers Scouts’ Hall but wanted to renew acquaintance with the place.
In August 2010 some of their predecessors planted shrubs 50m in from the Wickens Place carpark. This sprummer the shrubs flowered again.
Four leaders, including Rhonda who’s been an inspiring, local Guide Leader for over 30 years, took over from the girls’ parents at 18.00 hrs. We strolled along the Tween Tanks track where Angharad introduced them to the Frogmouths. Father was on the nest with a just-visible chick. Mother, in typical Frogmouth pose, was on a nearby branch.
We pointed out the differences in the trees’ ages by their sizes noting that the others had been planted as the four suburbs were built around Mt Rogers 45–50 years ago. The view across CSIRO land and Hall to Spring Range offered the chance to mention the opportunities of the Centennial Trail’s walks. As we came within 200 m of the summit the impact of Gungahlin & Crace was clear and treeless.
Once at the summit the girls began working out the compass points and where their homes were. Rhonda asked them what they thought the Trig Point was for. As we walked we found ourselves being asked questions about the plants, the birds we saw and heard (the Bronzewing pigeons were calling) and the likelihood of snakes and lizards. There were always excited interactions between the girls. Currawongs’ calls increased as pre-dusk approached.
The Guides divided into patrol groups to work out the next few weeks’ programs whilst drinking water and eating their snacks. They were able to complete missions in their Nature Play CBR Passports having seen birds, a few flowers, the different trees and shrubs, bugs, beetles and the distant views.
We pointed out the wild oats, relating them to porridge and saying the plants were normally taller but the rain pattern had kept the stalks shorter. On the return journey we paused at the Bench Mark Tree for further drinks and a few photos.
As we neared Wickens Place again, one adult heard “And we can see the sunset!”. If only more learning and fun could be scheduled outdoors!
  

OUTDOORS CLASSROOMS

Summer obviously has its drawbacks for being outdoors but once the restrictions of school hours have passed perhaps we can all adopt the concept of getting up with the sun. Outdoor activities could then be achieved in the cool of the day. Nature PlayCBR Passports can be obtained via the Nature Play website, http://www.natureplaycbr.org.au/. The passports suggest Missions for the children to find species and objects outdoors. There are also several Playlists of Things to do before you’re…should anyone need activity ideas.
One idea I had but have never tried is to take children on a bus ride from stops in Fraser, Spence, Charnwood, Melba to southern ACT. With a notebook or clipboard in hand they can check off observations of hills, clouds, weather, trees, animals, birds and inanimate objects seen as they’re driven along. Fares costs apply & changes may be needed unless travel happens before 10.15 am. There’s the advantage of air-conditioned comfort.

PLAY AND PLAYGROUNDS

If you find yourself with “Google-time” in the holidays, search for Forest Kindergarten. You’ll see refreshingly natural approaches to learning that allow urban students to follow their curiosity, to learn through applying their imagination and to co-operatively develop their physique using structures from nature. Some playgrounds around Canberra are becoming more natural to allow for unstructured play. There’s http://www.environment.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/906472/Explore-Canberra-Parks-and-Recreation-Guide.pdf ... which lists playgrounds and reserves in each ACT area.

WATER

Please ensure that birds visiting your garden have a clean dish of water for drinking or bathing. We have a terracotta plant pot saucer that also has a flat stone in it so small birds can reach the water. A new response to feeding birds has emerged:https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/09/feed-the-birds-stop-the-demonising-and-tell-us-how-to-do-it-properly
With the warmer weather water is more important than feeding the birds we share our places with. We’ve come to know Brown Thornbills in our shrubby garden. They come through seeking insects ans other invertebrates several times a day. Pest control without toxic chemicals!

BLACKBERRIES

Ginninderra Catchment Group was awarded a grant for Blackberry spraying on land that’s drained by Ginninderra Creek. Contractors have reached the Mt Rogers infestations we recorded.

OTHER NOTES

I suspect the approximately 100 ml of rain we received will be welcomed by weeds species. Until the soil dries out again it’s quite ‘easy’ to dig out species like Flatweed. These are the yellow Dandelion-like blooms on nature strips that await mowing. Each bloom can have about 50 separate flowers and consequently the same number of readily blown away seeds. If you have these flowers try to use a catcher when mowing, put the mowings in a black plastic bag for several weeks to ‘cook’. Then, stealthily, put the bag-full in the garbage bin. We’ve found in the past that chopped-off Flatweed heads continue to develop seeds if just lying on the ground.
Our next working-bee will be on Sunday 28th January but I’m sure our dedicated Mt Rogers landcarers will keep the observations coming in.
Has anyone seen Superb Parrots this ‘season’? I have a theory the Rainbow Lorikeets are deterring them from feeding on local Loquat trees.
Phil’s responded to the rain by checking the erosion channels regularly.

 

ENJOY the HOLIDAY SEASON!

Rosemary  (6259 4724)

MT ROGERS IN OCTOBER 2017: gathering news together

Money for nature
You all know that preserving natural areas costs more from your taxes than governments are prepared to prioritise.
You all know how much time our volunteers have given to weed management, species monitoring, rubbish collection and community-building on and around Mt Rogers.
You all know we’ve asked for the path near the Flynn playground to be repaired…
Here’s a chance to ram your messages home AGAIN:
The ACT Government has established a consultation survey on the ACT Budget that is now open till the 24th October. https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/2018-19-budget-consultation. This is a very brief survey on what priorities the Canberra Community want in the next budget. At the end of the survey there’s a box for your specific comments. Tell Government why our reserves are special!

PLEASE take time to fill out this survey and put ENVIRONMENT at or near the top.
If our open spaces are healthy and cared for, everyone benefits and for the long-term. 
Others will prioritise the obvious health, education, policing but YOU HAVE THE WISDOM & COMMITMENT TO KNOW WHAT CARING, STEWARDSHIP & CUSTODIANSHIP MEANS. Let’s show the government we’re serious about our habitat.
..........
 
Tree of Heaven
This Sunday, 22.10.17., we’ll meet at Wickens Place at 09.00 hrs and move to the Tree of Heaven patch.  We’ll be continuing the treatment we began in autumn.
Please avoid walking through the rarely-walked area because there will be many stumps waiting to trip up the unwary. Jenny Conolly the Urban Pests and Weeds Officer has lamented several times “We don’t have the resources to treat this infestation…” Yet she’s been instrumental in setting up management programs for African Love Grass, Serrated Tussock and Chilean Needle Grass for Mt Rogers over many years. There is a great deal of work being done by the rangers in all reserves but those who hold the ‘purse-strings’ have no idea of what’s needed if the bush capital is to remain unique.

Our volunteers have:
  • Repaired the Notice Box again. Colin’s going to add a hook soon so ribbon can ‘flag’ that some new message is inside.
  • Reported on the Frogmouths’ progress and on other species they’ve seen.
  • I heard of a troop of forty kangaroos making their way up to Mt Rogers from the Fraser-Spence easement last week….extraordinary. Are they still there?
  • Reported sightings of Superb Parrots feeding on the seeds of weeds amongst the grasses.
  • Reported someone having taken felled shrubs and tree branches from their property to be dumped into the reserve. *
  • Gathered even more reports  “This is such a special place; we come here as often as we can.” “We’ve been walking here for years.” “We came here as children.”


* Dumping is not O.K.
Dumping of household items in Wickens Place is disgraceful, lazy and unnecessary. Worse, for Mt Rogers wildlife, is the dumping of garden waste in the reserve or ‘over the back fence’. Usually weed species are included on the na├»ve basis “They’ll all rot down eventually” or “it’s only the bush.”
Weed & garden waste can go to Canberra Sand & Gravel at Parkwood & it’s a FREE drop-off.
One nearly-all-native part of the reserve is being invaded by gardens’ grassy weeds dumped by those who live nearby. 
Monday 6 November’s working bee will be in that area. Meet at Wickens Pl. at 09.00 hrs.
We know that ACTEW have recently been through the reserve clearing vegetation that dares to grow under the power-lines.  Whilst some of this eucalypt debris has been taken away most has been left in the reserve to rot down. Hopefully this returning of nutrients to the soil will happen before attention-seekers set fire to the leafy branches.
You’ll have heard that tree trunks and thick branches are returned to some reserves to restore habitat when invertebrates and fungi break down the woody cells.  Birds and other animals then feed on these recyclers as well as returning to do their pest-control foraging in the living trees’ and shrubs’ branches. These reserves have much more ranger-attention and professional management than Mt Rogers is afforded.

It’s already so DRY.
We’ve all noticed in our gardens that the soil moisture is very low.  If you’re near neighbours who are new to gardening and watering encourage them to water close to or below the soil level so evaporation is minimal and their money’s not wasted.
Mulching with coarse material is great as it allows the air & good amounts of rain moisture to reach down to the plants’ root zone. 
For the birds we’d encourage the placing of a shallow dish of water near shrubs that allow perching & their checks for danger.  We had a Grey Fan-tail bathing in our birdbath twice yesterday. The bath is just a terracotta saucer that should be under a pot. In it there’s a flat pebble or two for smaller birds to reach into the water safely.

Ginninderra Falls.
You’ve probably seen TV adverts for the Ginninderry development in west Belconnen that begins with the suburb of Strathnairn to the north & NE of the Strathnairn Arts Centre off Stockdill Drive, Holt.  Eventually the development will stretch over quintessential views to the border beyond Parkwood road.. You may have visited Ginninderra Falls before they were closed in 2004. If you’d like a brochure about how the development could affect the Falls I’ll send you a copy.

Remember, this blog is sequential, and you can scroll down or cherrrypick from the menu at the righthand side to catch up on older newsletters!

Rosemary, Convenor Mt Rogers Landcare Group.  6258 4724.

Notice Box repaired for printed Mt Rogers news & brochures

Here is the newly repaired Mt Rogers Landcare notice box, thanks to Colin J.
You can see part of a Mt Rogers brochure through the circular window.



Behind it you can see the grass growth, with the mounds of native Microlaena stipoides Weeping Grass contrasting with the bright green of introduced grasses and Wild Oats (Avena sp.).

The oats will be tall and dried out by summer whereas the Microlaena will become greener as summer approaches and contain more moisture than dried-out species.

Rosemary
Mt Rogers Landcare Convenor