Wednesday 12th August – Blue Mountains Bushcare Network Meeting – 6:00 – 8:00pm Mid Mountains Community Resource Network Meeting Room, Lawson Library San Jose Ave Lawson. Finalise plans for the Network Conference, meet fellow Bushcare Group co-ordinators, enjoy a light supper. Contact Paul Vale [email protected]
Monday 17 August – Leura Falls Creek Catchment Meeting 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Receive updates on progress with work in the Catchment, participate in making plans for future events and find out what is going on with other Groups in the Catchment. For more information and to RSVP, please contact Jenny Hill at [email protected]
Wednesday, 26 August – Marmion Swamp Planting Event 9:00 am – 12:00 Join the Marmion Swamp Bushcare Group for some planting to protect a magnificent swamp system. Easy access and ideal for children. Morning tea provided. Contact Karen Hising on 4780 5623 or [email protected]
Saturday 29th August Bushcare Network Conference 8:30 am – 3:30 pm Mid Mountains Community Centre, New St Lawson. This year’s theme is “Bushcare and Living with Fire”. Registrations essential RSVP by 14th August: email Monica Nugent [email protected] or phone 4780 5528.
Thursday 3rd September – Valley View Swamp Blackheath 9:00 – 3:00 pm Come for the day or just the morning. Help us get this swamp back into shape. This stream is part of the headwaters of Braeside Swamp which is very important to the health of Govett Leap Falls. There is a wide range of weeds to choose from including Holly, Honeysuckle, Privet, Jasmine etc. Enjoy a delicious morning tea and lunch donated by the Hominy Bakery. Book with Lyndal on 47805623 or [email protected] by 25th August.
Wednesday 9th September – West Kittyhawke Swampcare, Wentworth Falls 9:00 – 3:00pm An opportunity to continue the long term efforts of volunteers to keep improving this large swamp system that needs help to reverse the impact of many varieties of weeds. A known site of 2 threatened species, Giant Dragon Fly and the Blue Mountains Water Skink. This is a joint NPWS and BMCC activity. Lunch and morning tea donated by Hominy Bakery. Book with Lyndal on 47805623 or [email protected] by 2nd September.
Friday 18th September at 5pm: Fitzgeralds Catchment Group meeting at the bushfire station. Contact: Steve Barratt on 4753 6339 or Karleen Waldron on 4753 6636 or 04 2851 2305.
Sunday 4th October – Leura Falls Creek remote 9:00 – 4:00pm A full day trip with the NPWS Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare Group. We will be tackling Trad, Tutsan, Privet and Montbretia below the escarpment. Good fitness is required for rock-hopping, wading and very steep stairs in and out of the valley. Registration is essential. Please contact Monica on [email protected] or Arthur Henry at NPWS Blackheath on 4787 8877 [email protected] by Sunday 27th September
Saturday 26th September at 1pm: Joint Fitzgeralds Catchment Group work at the Long Angle Creek Melaleuca swamp. Contact: Steve Barratt on 4753 6339 or Karleen Waldron on 4753 6636 or 04 2851 2305.
Saturday, 10 October 2015 – 9.00 am – 12.00 Noon – Jamieson Creek Wentworth Falls Look after the threatened Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pherosphaera Fitzgeraldii) and learn more about it and the work of the Valley of the Waters, Charles Darwin Walk Bushcare and Jamison St Landcare groups and other work happening in the Jamieson Creek catchment. We’ll be targeting Montbretia and Broom. Morning tea provided. Book with Monica [email protected] or 4780 5528.
Saturday 10th October – Popes Glen Creek, Blackheath 9:00 – 3:30pm Spend the day assisting the Popes Glen Bushcare Group by working downstream to stop the weeds spreading further into the National Park. Some work is in the creek so be prepared for wading. This is a joint NPWS and BMCC activity. Morning tea and Lunch provided. Book with Lyndal on 4780 5623 or [email protected] by 2nd October.
Monday 12 October – Leura Falls Creek Catchment Meeting 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm Get updates on progress with work in the Catchment, participate in making plans for future events and find out what is going on with other groups in the Catchment. For more information and to RSVP, please contact Jenny Hill at [email protected].
Wednesday 21st October – Headwaters of the Grose River, Mt Victoria 9:00 – 3:00pm Spend some time exploring the headwaters of the Grose River. We will continuing on from previous work to stop the weed invasion further downstream and into the swamp. Be prepared for the possibility of wet feet. Morning tea and Lunch will be provided. Book with Vanessa on 4787 3112 or [email protected] by 20th October.
Saturday 31st October: Bushcares Major Day Out event at Warrimoo Oval. Contact Steve Barratt on 4753 6339. Stay posted for more promotion closer to the day.
In June, I enjoyed another day in the bush in Sassafras Gully with other bushcarers. The day started around 9 am at the end of Yondell Street, Springwood where the team met each other: Chris, Roland, John, Rory, Karleen, Nelda, John, Michael, Bronwyn and Lyndal. Lyndal, our Bushcare Officer, checked that everyone had the necessary equipment for the day. Extra equipment was handed out to put in backpacks; making sure the morning tea was not forgotten.
When everything was ready, the nine team members walked down Wiggins track until we saw the sign at the bottom of the gully. We found a clearing in the bush where we could put down our backpacks. From there we scattered further up the track and in to the bush to attack the weeds. There was a lot of Ginger lily and Lantana growing. There was also Mistflower, Wild passionfruit, Small leaf privet and Crofton weed. The day catered for all levels of fitness: the strenuous can climb the steep slopes but for the more gentle workers: they can stay near the track.
The best part of the day was mixing with friends and making new ones. The morning tea was very yummy, relaxing for a while, and then it is back to work. It was soon lunch time, catching up with the latest bushcare news, then it is back to the weeds again.
With so many friends the weeds were soon done and it was time to pack up, walk up the Wiggins track and arrive back at the cars at 4: 00 p.m. It was a very worthwhile day, relaxing with friends and doing the community a big favour, restoring the bush to its glorious state. If this sounds like you, why not join the next remote Bushcare group – contact Lyndal on [email protected] or ring the Bushcare Office: 4780 5623.
What a buzz has been created all around the world by Megan Halcroft’s Bee Aware project and facebook page! Following Megan’s wonderful Bee Hotel talks and the installation of Bee Hotels in 5 different locations across Sydney we are all beeing more aware of our native bees. David Rae from Upper Kedumba Bushcare Group and myself were lucky to attend a Native Bee Symposium which was facilitated by fascinating Bee experts … a whole day on Native Bees and Lunch – it was a real Buzz! We were in Bee Heaven and learnt so much such as …..
If You Know What to Look For, Dr Michael Batley, Australian Museum Learning about some of the solitary bee foraging and nesting behaviours that might pass unnoticed, but once observed can easily be recognised such as making little slices into Lambertia Formosa flowers to get the best nectar.
‘Bees in Community Gardens’ Project, Dr Tanya Latty, University of Sydney
Tanya has been gathering bees in community gardens to find out about the diversity and abundance of native bees in community gardens in inner city of Sydney. She catches them (and other insects) in nets and chills them for identifying. From hours of observation something she has learnt is that they Love Blue flowers and they can be as abundant in inner city Sydney as they are in the suburbs! Find out more through her website http://www.tanyalatty.com/
Stingless Bee and Wasp-mimic Bee – Nests and Behaviour, Dr Anne Dollin, Australian Native Bee Research Centre Anne and Les Doolin have been traveling around Australia there whole adult life’s searching for Tetragonula carbonaria and Austroplebeia the native Stingless Bee genus They are tiny and form gorgeous spiral colonies they are ok as honey producers and fantastic as pollinators. http://www.aussiebee.com.au/savebees.html
Sydney’s Stingless Bee, Ms Jenny Shanks, University of Western Sydney Following Anne’s presentation we got to see inside a stingless bee (Tetragonula carbonaria) hive and learn about their nesting behaviour and biology.
Building Nest Blocks for Blue Banded Bees, Mr Les Dollin, Australian Native Bee Research Centre (pictured at left)
A how-to lesson on some useful methods to construct an artificial nest block habitat for Blue banded bees in a live demonstration.
About the ‘Bee Aware of Your Native Bees’ Project, Dr Megan Halcroft, Bees Business The day finished with a wrap up from Megan how the Bee aware project has grown and how we can all continue to be involved, through bee friendly gardening , bee hotels and spreading the good honey word around about our wonderful and diverse Native Bees. http://beesbusiness.com.au/index.html
Spring is upon us but there are still some Wintery Bushcare activities to partake in – but if that isn’t your thing maybe a meeting or two inside a warm room is? Check out the events program for the usual interesting selection.
Happily for our environment, Bushcare is as popular as ever – we can report that in the 2014-15 year our Bushcare program committed over 7,200 volunteer hours to Council’s environmental protection work. What a massive contribution – thank you all yet again.
As many of you will already know, couple of changes are afoot with our Bushcare Officers: Jill will be away for a while to recover from a respiratory illness and Tracy has returned full of energy after her break so there has been a little reorganising of schedules. Thanks for your patience during the readjustment.
So much to do, so little time! We understand, but still hope you can accept the invitation to attend the Bushcare Network Conference 2015 on August 29th – it’s a “5th” Saturday, so no Bushcare misses out! see the advertisement in this issue.
Hoping to see you on a Bushcare site soon and that you enjoy this edition of Gecko until then – Monica, for the Bushcare Team.
Well, not new, just recently discovered! I found Epacris browniae in 2009 in south Leura, and a team of National Parks and Blue Mountains Conservation Society volunteers helped me find more of these Epacris over the next two years.
Epacris browniae (pictured above) joins a list of 28 other Epacris species (and varieties) in NSW. But whereas many are widespread, E browniae is currently confined to the upper Blue Mountains, in treeless situations above 800 m and where rainfall exceeds 1300 mm a year.
The easiest time and place to see this new species in flower is at Sunset Rock, Kedumba Road, on Kings Tableland, Wentworth Falls any time in November, where it grows alongside another epacrid, the shorter Epacris rigida, on the rocky steps down to the lookout.
Its distinguishing features are that it is a woody robust shrub, the branchlets are not hairy, and the broad leaves are thick, shiny dark green with a blunt apex (unlike its close relative E Microphylla var microphylla).
buds and flowers
E browniae leaf
South of the Great Western Highway along Kedumba Walls, Lincoln’s Lookout, Podgers Hill and Sunset Rock E browniae is 70 –120 cm high. North of the GWH on the Mt Hay Plateau it grows on Flat Top and, in profusion, from the end of the Mt Hay Road out to Butterbox Point and Mt Hay. Plants in these areas tend to be shorter, thinner, less woody and more wiry than in the south.
Greater Glider Blue Gum Swamp Winmalee c Peter Ridgeway
Rescued Greater Glider c Sonja Stavic
By Judy and Peter Smith
We are seeking your records of arboreal mammals, especially Greater Gliders, and also Powerful Owls, in the Blue Mountains Local Government Area (LGA).
In the Blue Mountains, occasional pockets of fertile soils on basalt and shale caps, volcanic diatremes and alluvium support tall wet sclerophyll forests which harbour a particularly rich fauna, including many arboreal mammals.
In the past, spotlighting in these wetter forests (Mount Banks, Mount Hay, Kedumba Valley, Toby’s Glen, Murphy’s Glen, Euroka Clearing, Sun Valley, Blue Gum Swamp Creek and Blue Gum Forest come to mind) has revealed Greater Gliders and other arboreal mammals, even occasional Yellow-bellied Gliders. Recently we have been concerned that it is becoming harder to find Greater Gliders, especially in the lower Mountains. Our concern has grown as Greater Gliders in Eurobodalla LGA were listed in 2007 as an endangered population under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, and a preliminary determination made to support such listing of the Greater Glider population in the Mount Gibraltar Reserve area.
We have received a 25th Anniversary Landcare Grant to enable us to survey arboreal mammals in Blue Mountains LGA and are now selecting spotlighting locations where Greater Gliders have occurred in the past. We hope to also locate Spotted-tailed Quoll, Koala, Eastern Pygmy-possum, Yellow-bellied Glider and Squirrel Glider, all of which are threatened species. Surveys will provide baseline data against which future trends can be measured. We will also investigate the influence of various habitat factors.
We are keen to learn where arboreal mammals, particularly Greater Gliders, have been seen in the Blue Mountains LGA, either recently or in the past. We are interested to know when Greater Gliders were last recoded at locations but if dates are not known we would still like to learn about locations. Possibly Powerful Owls are affecting Greater Glider numbers so records of Powerful Owls would also be most welcome.
We have compiled an initial list of Greater Glider locations. If you would like a copy or can contribute records please contact Judy or Peter Smith at [email protected].
Bushcare Officers and volunteers were very saddened by the passing of David McNally in May this year. He was a lovely energetic member of the Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Bushcare Group for many years. David dedicated many hours to caring for the Gully and routinely lost himself in the world of weeds when bushcaring at both Kedumba Creek and the Friends groups. David is pictured 2nd from left in the photo of 2015 Seniors Citizens of the Year on page 4.
His most recent contribution was to very enthusiastically help plant 40 ferns along the path leading from Wells St Katoomba into the Gully for others to enjoy for many more years to come. He will be missed with his gentle ways and groovy dungarees, always with a pen in the top pocket (something his Bushcare Officers were always grateful for!)
Thank you David for all your effort and enthusiasm, we remember you with warm hearts.
Birriban Landcare Award Winners: Katoomba High Students and Teachers with GS Local Land Services (LLS) Staff
Birriban Katoomba High School Landcare Group was recognised at the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Local Land Services Regional Landcare Awards Ceremony on 15th May. They won both the Indigenous Landcare and the Junior Landcare category.
Last year Gary Rule, Katoomba High’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer, approached David King, BMCC Bushcare Legend of the Year 2015, for assistance to connect students to country. Supported by Elly and Becky Chatfield, Monica Nugent from BMCC Bushcare and the Science department’s Steven Ahern, a new sport option: “Birriban Katoomba High Landcare” was born. Greater Sydney Local Land Services has funded the purchase of tools and a second bush regeneration supervisor who will commence shortly.
Birriban is connecting another generation with country, teaching them about the Aboriginal pathways from the Gully to the Kedumba River and the Indigenous history and culture associated with their local environment. It is engaging young people through on-ground conservation work, horticulture and creative arts and working with neighbours to undertake more sustainable property management.
Students are working on the school’s remnant bushland located on Banksia Streamlet in Katoomba. Guided by members of the local Aboriginal community, school staff and a Council Bushcare Officer, they are enjoying the outdoors environment in a non-competitive environment, building teamwork skills and learning bush regeneration, horticulture and agriculture as well as Indigenous knowledge.
This latest effort means volunteers are undertaking Bushcare on all of the remnant bushland and across all tenures in the Banksia Streamlet sub-catchment. It is a great example of interagency and community co-operation with Katoomba High, Council, Greater Sydney Local Land Services, National Parks and local residents all involved.
The combined efforts of Council’s Banksia Park Bushcare, Birriban and the NPWS managed Vihara Landcare and Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare Groups compliments Council’s Leura Falls Creek Protection project and helps secure funding for contracted bush regeneration on important natural bushland and the adjacent Blue Mountains National Park.