Author Archives: Bushcare Office

Orchids of the Blue Mountains Book Review

A book that you might find interesting in regard to local Blue Mountains Orchids is: Orchids Of The Blue Mountains by Sabine Hanisch and Ben Jasiak

Native Orchids of the Blue Mountains features over 125 species of native orchid that occur within the Blue Mountains Region, with over 500 photographs.  This intends to aid in the identification of native orchids, and help document and record what currently exists within one of the most botanically diverse regions on the East Coast of Australia. You can purchase your copy at NPWS Heritage Centre, Blackheath, or by contacting the authors:  

The book has also been listed on ebay.

Sabine Hanisch and Ben Jasiak also have a Facebook page that includes some stunning photos of local native Orchids. –

An interesting post on that Facebook page comes from an article from the “Sydney Morning Herald” about Sabine and Ben’s eight year old Daughter Arabella finding a rare Orchid that has not been seen for over 140 years.  The full article is via the link below: 

Home schooling led eight-year-old to rediscover long lost orchid – “Sydney Morning Herald” (29 April 2020)

In that article there is mention of “Bush Blitz” – an excerpt from the article is below:

The multi-billion-dollar project (“Bush Blitz”) began in 2010 and has uncovered thousands of new species. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bush Blitz would join taxonomists, Indigenous communities, park rangers and local councils across the country to explore remote parts of Australia and classify new species.

Since the COVID-19 social distancing regulations came into play the project has had to think creatively to motivate discoveries virtually.

Using the app iNaturalist Bush Blitz is providing every day Australians with the opportunity to have their discoveries analysed and verified by the country’s best taxonomists. After an individual’s discovery is verified by one of the experts on the app the data is categorised in the Atlas of Living Australia as a new species.

Bush Blitz manager Jo Harding said this process will help “solidify the place of citizen science data in research”.

Their aim during COVID-19 is to nurture curiosity through technology “we want to help teachers and parents to motivate children to behave like scientists in the field and discover things in their backyards” she said.

Although aimed at involving all Australians, Ms Harding said children especially will help reveal Australia’s unknown biodiversity.

“Adults have often lost the ability to wonder in awe. The way that children look at the world as if everything is new and worth examining is exactly how discoveries are made,” she said. “We finally have the technology to tap into that lack of expectation and nurture that quality.”

More information on Bush Blitz is available via

Clean Up Australia – Maple Grove (The Gully)

By Jane Anderson

40 Volunteers turned up to Maple Grove, Katoomba for the annual Clean Up Australia event to help remove the rubbish recently deposited by the large rainfall event in February. Aunty Sharyn and David King welcomed us and talked of why this yearly event is so important to the health of the system and the Community. David has been involved with Clean Up Australia since the early beginnings of the program.

The group collected a huge amount of rubbish and felt a great sense of achievement keeping the rubbish out of the Kedumba system whilst gathering with members from Scenic world and the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institution.

And then off course we had a delicious morning tea. See you there next year!

40 volunteers listen to Aunty Sharyn and David King talk about Clean Up Australia at Maple Grove (located in the Gully) and it’s importance to the health of the system and Community. Photo: Council

Fallen Oreades – Swamp Resilience

A very large Gully Oreades Roost tree (Eucalyptus oreades) came down in April during a windstorm. Council’s Natural Area Operations team made the area safe and cut the old tree up into usable pieces for use in Middle and Top Swamp for erosion control, water retention, habitat and organic matter.

Council’s NAO team cutting up the fallen Euclayptus oreades roost tree then placing them in the swamp for erosion control, water retention, habitat and organic matter.  Photos: Jane Anderson

Some of you may remember when Kirsten Cowley came and talked to Garguree about her PhD which involves assessing the physical attributes of upland swamps, such as water quality, carbon sequestration potential and sedimentology and how these attributes change along a geomorphic degradation spectrum. (To read more see link below).

The fallen Oreades are used to form check dams across the contour lines to slow down water movement across the swamp. These sediment control measures will contribute to the health and resilience of the swamps in ways that were outlined by Kirsten in her talk (attached below a short explanation of her research methods) by placing more organic matter into the systems and slowing the flow of water.

Seen this weed Datura stramonium – Common Thornapple ?

Recently found in a couple of sites around Blackheath has been the weed Datura stramonium or Common Thornapple belonging to the nightshade Family Solanaceae.  It has been noticed on sites adjacent to former agricultural land that has been disturbed by recent fires. Such behaviour lends credibility to the long viability of seeds of this species. Additionally it has been noticed producing seed while quite young.

Common thornapple is a short-lives plant that grows in disturbed sites. It is a stout herb, glabrous or sparsely hairy with non-glandular hairs. Flowers are white-lilac 6-8 cm long. Seed capsules are large and oval shaped with numerous spines varying in lengths.

Toxic plant: Datura stramonium or Common Thornapple belonging to the nightshade Family Solanaceae. Flowers are white-lilac 6-8 cm long. Photos: Steve Fleischmann
Fruit of the Seed capsules are large and oval shaped with numerous spines varying in lengths. 

The plant has a strong smell, reminiscent of Green Cestrum, a white flower and grows to about one metre.


Thornapple is highly toxic to humans, capable of causing serious illness or death. All parts of the plant, particularly the flowers, seeds and nectar are poisonous, causing thirst, increased temperatures, rapid pulse, incoherence and convulsions. 

The entire plant is also poisonous to livestock and pets. 

What to do if poisoning occurs:

  • If the patient is unconscious, unresponsive or having difficulty breathing dial 000 or get to the emergency section of a hospital immediately.
  • If the patient is conscious and responsive call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or your doctor.
  • If going to a hospital take a piece of the plant for identification.

Be a Dead Tree Detective and Citizen Scientist

The Dead Tree Detective
Citizen Science to Monitor Tree Health

Have you seen dead or dying trees in your area? Go to the “Surveys” section and choose “Add a record”. You can then upload photos of your trees and answer a few questions to help identify the possible causes. You’ll find some information about each of these causes in the “Resources” section. Here are some photos from B Medlyn.

How tough are Australian trees?
We tend to think of Australian trees as being pretty tough – well-adapted to drought and high temperatures. Research shows, however, that most tree species have a
fairly tight ”safety margin”. That is, their adaptations enable them to survive typical droughts in their native environments, but more extreme droughts are likely to tip
them over the edge. In Australia, widespread tree death has followed intense drought in some places such as river redgums along the Murray, and jarrah forests in WA.

Records needed
For most other forests around Australia, we don’t know what levels of drought they can survive. During the Millennium Drought, there are very few records of trees dying from drought – but is that because few trees died, or because no-one made records? We do know that many of the trees around Cooma died in the years following the Millennium Drought, but scientists are uncertain of the cause because no-one knows when the trees started to die.

How you can help
Taking photos of dead and dying trees to record where and when trees die in your area will help scientists trying to work out the level of drought that different species can
tolerate. You can send in photos via the website or by email. Trees can die for a lot of reasons besides drought, so the survey asks a few questions to help work out the
likely cause of your trees’ death. You might also like to check up on the trees over time to see if they recover.

What will happen to the data?
The data will be stored in the Atlas of Living Australia main database. The records will be freely available, so that everybody will be able to track tree death in their area.
Scientists will combine these data with weather data to work out the severity of drought likely to cause tree death in different areas. Results using the data will be published
on the Dead Tree Detective blog, in scientific publications and in the media.

Post Fire AABR Resources and Links

Giving bushland a chance to recover after wildfires

By Louise Brodie, Australian Association of Bush Regenerators 

The recent bushfires throughout Australia have resulted in a variety of reactions from the community. As the immediacy of the devastating effects on communities and bushland diminish, a genuine concern has emerged for the fauna and flora of our
burnt bushland. Read more

AABR are seeking your seedling photos and expertise!

The post-fire recovery has reached a phase where targeted weed removal is now possible to aid the native flora in gaining a dominant position in the landscape, creating healthy and diverse habitat.

Seedling growth and resprouting is well underway in many areas, seedling recognition resources are now being developed and we need your help! However (because of the COVID-19 restrictions) it now needs to be done by individuals working on their own properties.

 If you use Facebook and have seedling or resprouting images to share, or expertise in identification, please join in and be an enthusiastic participant in AABR’s Seedling recognition Facebook group.  AABR is also seeking quality images for inclusion in video and educational resources to support landowners with post-fire recovery.

Please email photos to or we can discuss uploading to a shared folder.

Photo usage: By posting the images to the facebook group or sending them through to AABR you would be agreeing for AABR to use your images for educational purposes on our social media platforms and website. 

Join our Seedling Recognition Facebook groupJoin our Seedling Recognition Facebook group

Priority Weeds List – Blue Mountains

To see the State, Regional and Local Priority Weeds and their control measures, then go to

For more information on weeds, Council’s obligations and your obligations including how to control them, go to

For more general information on how to identify and control garden plants that go wild in our bushland, go to Weeds of the Blue Mountains

Week 4: Native Animals of the Blue Mountains

Week 4: Native Animal of the Blue Mountains crossword is here now. Most of the animals can be found in Blue Mountains Animals by Margaret Baker and Robin Corringham.


CLICK on the link below and follow the instructions to either fill in online or print a hard copy.

Week 4: Native Animals of the Blue Mountains Crossword Puzzle


  1. CLICK on the clue listed under Across or Down – and this will highlight the corresponding boxes (purple) to fill in on the crossword.
  2. To TYPE in the answer CLICK on the purple highlighted box in the crossword and start typing your answer (a correct answer turns the boxes green). If your answer was incorrect then use the backspace to delete then try again for this answer only!!
  3. To RESET ANSWERS (all answers) scroll down the screen‚  below the crossword and CLICK Reset Answer (red button)

To PRINT a Hardcopy scroll down the screen below the crossword and CLICK Print My Puzzle (purple button)

Answers to Week 3 Native Birds of the Blue Mountains Crossword Puzzle

Across 2. Bandicoot 4. Turtle 8. Skink 10. Frog 12. Wallaby 14. Dingo 15. Dragon  Down 1. Koala 2. Bat 3. Quoll 5. Echidna 6. Crayfish 7. Platypus 9. Snake 11. Glider 12. Wombat 13. Lizard

Blue Mountains Frog Search – Citizen Science Project

Are you wanting to be part of this “Blue Mountains Frog Search” citizen science project?

Litoria Peronii, (common name Peron’s tree frog) on audiomoth

The ‘Blue Mountains Frog Searchcitizen science program aims to monitor three key threatened frog species around the Blue Mountains region using acoustic data loggers. These data loggers will be installed near waterbodies across various sites and allow for the detection of frog species using their unique calls. As part of the project, citizen scientists have the opportunity to manage an acoustic data logger (including installation, maintenance and retrieval), as well as learn how to identify the unique calls for each frog species and analyse the data collected. Training will also be provided in the use of mobile phone apps, such as ‘iNaturalist’ and ‘FrogID’.

Online training is currently being provided via Microsoft Teams, however this will be extended to include face-to-face workshops and field trips in the coming months. If you are interested in becoming involved in the project or would like to know more, please contact Alana at or on 0448 462 004.

Compost Week 3 May – 9 May

Composting is something we can all do on a day-to-day basis – so help reduce organic waste going to landfill, reduce our carbon pollution and help build healthier soils. See more information below.

International Compost Awareness Week Australia. Better Soil, Better Life, Better Future Sunday 3 May – Saturday 9 May 2020   Compost Week

ABC Gardening Australia Episode on Composting (Saturday, 2 May 2020) – Costa lifts the lid on household organic waste and looks at the growing initiative to put it to good use on a grand scale

Blue Mountains City Council Food/Waste Composting

Blue Mountains City Council Food/Waste Composting/Worm Farming