Category Archives: People

Birds in Backyard Winter Survey

The days are shorter, temperatures drop, but backyard birdwatching never stops!

Brew a nice warm beverage, round up the troops and head outside for our 20 minute Birds in Backyards Winter Survey 2020.

Birdlife Australia encourages you to participate.

If you are unsure where or how to start, or even feel like you don’t know the first thing about birds only that you love to see them, then fear not! Our Urban Birds Program Co-Manager, Dr. Holly Parsons, will be hosting four free webinars on Wednesday 3rd of June at 7pm (AEST)Sunday 7th June at 2pm (AEST), Wednesday July 1 at 7pm (AEST) or Sunday July 5 at 2pm (AEST). These webinars will focus on how to use Birdata, bird ID’ing tips and tricks, how to complete one of our Birds in Backyards surveys and why this data is important. You can register for a session here

Blue Mountains Bushcare welcomes new Bushcare Officer James Bevan

Integral to Bushcare is depth of knowledge, understanding and leadership, and we are delighted to introduce you to our new Bushcare Officer, James Bevan. James will be taking over the Swampcare Program.

James Bevan
New Bushcare officer James Bevan

James has ten years’ experience in both aquatic and terrestrial Australian ecosystems applying his knowledge and skills across a variety of fields from ecological consulting, bush regeneration and training young adults. James’ studied a BSc.(Hons) at Sydney University, and his previous employers have included The Good Bush People, Conservation Volunteers Australia and The Australian Museum. James began appreciating the Blue Mountains’ bushland as a teenager, and is thrilled to be working as a Bushcare Officer.  

Please welcome James to the Bushcare family.

Making Natural Ink and Dyes

How to Make Natural Dyes to Dye Fabric & Clothes – 3 Easy Steps to Dyeing Naturally at Home

Great ideas from MoneyCrashers – natural dying.

It may be hard to fathom, but we didn’t always use chemicals to dye fabrics. For millennia, people used plants, roots and berries to color cotton, muslin, linen, silk and other fabrics. The coolest thing about natural dyeing is that the ingredients you need are likely right in your backyard or at the grocery store. CLICK on the link below to see how easy it is to make natural dyes with 3 easy steps.

Naturally dyeing fabric at home is an especially fun thing to do in the winter months because, let’s face it, we’re stuck indoors and need activities! Plus, we probably all have many of the dyes, like onion skin and celery leaves, on hand as ‘waste’ anyway.

How to dye fabric clothes make natural dyes

Jane, our Bushcare Officer, did a little experimenting herself with some natural dyeing at home using Dahlias.

The Dahlias are out in full bloom and I wanted to capture some of their wonderful colours for longer – to keep me happy over winter. So, I popped on my experimenter outfit (sort of like my Bushcare uniform but more green than blue) and got out my jars…

I soaked the Dahlias in water for 4 days and watched the colour seep out into the water with much delight.

After this time, I got out my trusty dye pot and with half a cup of vinegar and a large dash of salt. I then boiled the Dahlia brew for about 1/2 hour and low and behold – the colour became stronger.

I then bottled the Essence of Dahlia, added a clove as the preservative and used Gum Arabic as the binder and the results are below!! A lovely dusky pink hue …

Now, as this is my first time natural dying with Dahlias – next time I may boil for longer to get a stronger colour. Now I’m going to explore trying orange Dahlias and Gum leaves – hoping for more lovely rustic hues 😊

Bushcare Kids Resource Page – Updating the Bushcare Website

Come venture to our new BUSHCARE KIDS resource page and find a range of activities that will enable you to discover, explore and enjoy nature around your backyard.

Our BUSHCARE KID page is found under the RESOURCES tab

Here are some exciting activities

1. Birdlife Australia – Bird in Backyards, 26 Mar 2020. Keep your kids chirpy at home with these activities

2. Bushcare Ranger Programs – downloads some great activity sheets to explore around your backyard.

3. NSW Environment, Energy and Science Conservation from Your Couch

Here is a list of ways you can safely maintain your social distance and assist our most vulnerable native animals.

  1. Be an armchair detective
  2. Inspire a new generation of ecologists
  3. Plant a native tree
  4. Birdwatch from your balcony
  5. Listen to a new soundtrack

4. NSW Environment, Energy and Science 28 Threatened Species colouring-in pages and masks.

5. NSW Environmental Education Resources Visit the NSW Government Educational Resources webpage

Also check the Blue Mountains City Council – Connecting with Nature Our goal is to inspire the next generation – by connecting them to our special Blue Mountains environment and fostering their natural love of nature. In a learning experience unique to our City within a World Heritage Area, we offer local students the opportunity to explore their local water catchment, learn why it’s special and take action to protect it.

We hope you enjoy!!

Videos Resource Page – Updating the Bushcare Website

Great news! We have added a new page – VIDEOS to our Bushcare website where we can showcase Blue Mountains Bushcare and volunteers, the environment, threatened species, how to and other interesting segments.

Our Video page is found under the RESOURCES tab

Keep an eye out as we expand the video library. For the time being have a look at videos showing Bushcare South Lawson Park, Popes Glen Wasteland to Wetland, Saving the Callistemon megalongensis, Threatened species in the Blue Mountains and the Turtle Island Habitat launch.

We hope you enjoy!!

Love calls of powerful owls ring out along eastern Australia

ABC Science 19 April 2020

Mating calls of Australia’s largest owl — the powerful owl — are now being heard along eastern Australia.

And this noisy kick-off to the breeding season gives vital clues to scientists trying to track and protect this magnificent bird.

It turns out our big cities are an important refuge for the owl — especially since the recent fires burned much of its natural home. And researchers want our help in finding its urban haunts.

Read more

YouTube: You might be able to help scientists spot Powerful owls if you live east of the dividing range from Mackay in Queensland to Victoria.

Birds in Backyards – Autumn Survey

Greetings Backyard Birders, While spending most of our time at home can be frustrating, it also gives us a great opportunity to be #BirdingAtHome. As we head into the long weekend we wanted to let you all know of a couple of opportunities we have for you to do just that!

Autumn Surveys

We have just a few short weeks left for our Birds in Backyards Autumn Surveys. A huge thank you to those of you who have done your 20 min count already. With the recent fires AND the normal migration of many birds at this time of the year, there is likely to be some unusual visitors showing up in your space! If you do see something out of the ordinary, please flag it with us. There is a note section for each bird you record, so let us know there.

Want to participate in this Autumn Survey then you can read the instructions or watch the video here.

Also check out What’s New on Birdlife Australia

It’s time to have a #CuppawiththeBirds Submitted by Holly on 09 Apr 2020.

While spending most of our time at home can be frustrating, it also gives us a great opportunity to be #BirdingAtHome. Over the next few weeks, we invite you to take just 10 mins for yourself whenever you can. Get away from the TV and the news, make a cuppa and do a 10 min bird count at home. Share your list of birds using the tag #CuppawiththeBirds.Read more

Keep your kids chirpy at home with these activities! submitted by Holly on 26 Mar 2020.

Hello parents, carers and kids! Are you looking for at-home activities to keep everyone chirpy? Here at BirdLife we have lots of resources that are fun AND you can learn about amazing birds and places Read more

Week 2: Native Plants of the Blue Mountains Crossword Puzzle

Below is the link for our second crossword puzzle – Native Plants of the Blue Mountains . Most of the clues can be found in Native Plants Of The Blue Mountains by Margaret Baker and Robin Corringham.

Our aim is to post a new crossword each week on the Bushcare Website with answers listed the following week on

If you have some great ideas for our themed crosswords…or wanting to test your own crossword (and possibly cryptic) skills then contact Karen Hising on 


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

Week 2: Native Plants 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 I: Weeds of the Blue Mountains

Across 3.  Mother 6.   Cat 9.  Elder 10.  Boneseed 12.  Cassia 14.  Cherry 15.  Lantana 20.  Broom 21.  Ochna 22.  Cestrum 24.  Balloon 27.  Madeira 28.  Asparagus 29.  Moth 30.  Turkey 31.  Ivy 32.  PeriwinkleDown  1. Ginger 2.  Butterfly 4.  Tutsan 5.  Trad 7.  Privet 8.  Holly 9.  Erica 11.  Erigeron 13.  Japanese 14.  Crofton 16.  Coreopsis 17.  Pampas 18.  Dogwood 19.  Blackberry 23.  Kniphofia 25.  Gorse 26.  Jasmine

Photos – Backyard Fungi Foray

Our Bushcare Team members are already taking photos around their homes and we came across these small bright red fungi showing Cruentamycena viscidocruenta (left and centre photos) growing on the wood pile and this strange red tentacle fungi – Aseroe rubra (right photo).

These fungi have important roles in the landscape including erosion prevention, forming mycorrhizal relationships with plants, food for animals and invertebrates, and the breakdown and recycling of nutrients from wood and other dead plant material.

What do you need? Armed with just a camera / mobile phone with the flashlight and a keen eye – these small, yet inconspicuous fungi can show a veritable range of brilliant colours and shapes.

So how can we identify these fungi? Our Bushcare volunteer ‘fungi expert’ Liz Kabanoff says by using inaturalist you can upload your own photo and it will try and work out what it is. If the picture is good, it works very well. Also take note of the substrate the mushroom is growing on (soil, woodchip, rotting wood,  living wood, moss, insect etc) which will help rule things out. Other people may comment on your specimen and offer an ID.

Check Liz’s inaturalist project – Fungi in the Blue Mountains to see the incredible range of fungi that you may find. CLICK the link below.

Why not try this yourself to see what fungi lives around your home?

Remember to send in your photos .