The weekend’s bitterly cold wind was still obvious but didn’t deter the 20 or so walkers who shared the path and conditions from 13.15 onwards. I met an energetic multi-lap runner who joked “Not having a stall today?” This with reference to my gathering up some brochures for a make-shift offering of local places-to-visit and natural history information on the Queen’s Birthday holiday.
She’d signed the Ginninderra Falls petition then.
This reminds me to thank all Mt Rogers community members who have signed, petitioning MLAs to ensure that there are ecologically sound buffer zones around Ginninderra Falls to protect the unique area from the encroachment of urban development in the future. The Ginninderra Falls Association has heard that there may not be any news of the NSW Government’s deliberations about approving or rejecting Riverview’s rezoning application until next year. It’s vital to have the hundreds of signatures gathered so the community is ready for the developers’ next moves.
Starting my clockwise stroll from near the Notice Box, I noticed:
- Wild oats, germinated and flourishing green
amongst the thicket of Cootamundra wattles, were almost the only sign of
lushness in the prolonged dry conditions we’re experiencing. The thicket’s
there because that area was set fire to some years ago and wattle seeds need
heat to split the seed coat, to allow water in and to stimulate germination.
- Some Thornbills were calling high in the nearby
eucalypts as they sought insects. Currawongs’ calls resounded through the
reserve. Are their seemingly omnipresent numbers reducing small, insectivorous
birds’ chances of survival, breeding and keeping the insect populations in
shrubs and trees balanced?
- The pile of concrete-from-the paths debris Mt
Rogers needlessly hosted has gone. Soil, straw and seeds are evidence of
restoration attempts. Time will tell whether there were weed seeds in the soil
and whether ants and birds ate too many of the seeds. Chris D kept me informed
of the debris progress. Chris and Rob have had issues with the path workers’
accessing their street.
- The heavy vehicles’ track from the Magrath Place
gate through the reserve’s grass is very obvious. Less obvious were up to 50
young Serrated Tussock tussocks near the ‘white house’ and the Mildenhall
- As several of the seat notices were going mouldy
and the masking tape was finally succumbing to the elements I’ve taken the
notices down for now. I’ve asked email@example.com
if she can seek permission for our using cable-ties to attach the A3 info
sheets to the seats. Chris C trialled that method for us.
- There were one or two Puff-balls along the track. These remarkable fungal fruiting bodies push their way through the soil, gravel and sometimes even urban asphalt so the minute spores can be exposed to dispersal by breezes. The spores are part of the mix of fresh air we breathe and that most of our bodies learn to cope with.
- I wonder if Mt Rogers
hosts Truffles? They are an essential part of the diet of Australia’s
small digging mammals. The diggers, just by foraging for their food,
created holes through the soil allowing air and rain to penetrate. Plant
debris entering these spaces added nutrient-rich, decaying material that
retained water and created diverse soil structure. Introduced animals have
caused the extinctions of hundreds of small mammal species with Australian
soils impoverished as a result. Search for Mulligans Flat fences and check the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s site: http://www.australianwildlife.org/field-programs/feral-cats-and-foxes.aspx for up-to-date
projects that include fencing introduced predators out of reserves.
- On a walk round Mt Rogers’ gravel track several
boulder clusters are visible. I sometimes muse about these being iceberg-like
tips of huge subterranean structures. Going back in time it’s likely that the
tips we see were once as buried as the rest of each of their ancient
formations. Millions of years of rain and wind have eroded soils away from the
rock to expose new surfaces to weathering and colonisation by multiple species
of lichens. Aidan wrote a pre-history account of Mt Rogers for us several years
ago. It’s a 'page' on the right hand side of the screen at the Blog Ann creates for us: www.mtrogerslandcare.blogspot.com
- I took some photos of the Prickly Pear cactus
‘plantation’ above Bainton Crescent, Melba. Quite soon after the 2003 fires I
came across the householder removing smaller rocks from beyond his fence-line.
He was piling them up in heaps on the edge of the main rocky knoll there. When
I remarked “that’s a lot of work” the reply was that he was clearing the rocks
away so the grass could be mown to protect his property. “What about the cactus
plants?” I then asked. He said he’d put them in in the seventies to prevent
burglars from entering. Now we can see further results of his labours. The
Prickly Pear pieces he planted into the rock piles have grown into substantial
specimens. Pieces turn up in the rest of Mt Rogers from time to time and
neighbouring Bainton properties have a few as part of their hedges. What would
happen if each piece were put through a mulcher? Would the pulp be any use or
would it grow?
last three working bees have seen Angharad, Anne, Ivan, Jemima, Phil, Ted
adding to our CV’s by tackling three separate expanses of Honeysuckle. It’s
cosmetic weeding to a certain extent as the sources of each intertwined plant
will regrow. By then we’ll be ready to spray the new leaves or return to dig
out the roots. More intractable are several Ivy infestations as the trailing
branches have roots that’ll cling to trunks or grow wherever they touch ground.
Ivy berries are cryptically dark bluey-black but the birds bring them from
gardens and poo them into the reserve when they perch on trees’ branches.Ted, Phil and Angharad beginning work on Monday 2 July. We were watched, most of the time, by a Galah perched above in the next tree. Was it guarding a nest hollow?
If your walking or cycling takes you near Canberra region creeks, lakes and rivers your help with a new project would be more than welcome. The Australian Platypus Conservancy is organising surveys of the presence and abundance of the Australian Water Rat Hydromys chrysogaster. (If that name is daunting divide it into four! water+mouse+yellow+belly explains what the scientific name reveals) There will be gatherings where the project and the animals’ lives are explained. One is at ANU on Thursday 2 August at 19.00 hrs and another is being organised by Waterwatch at the ‘Old Health Centre’ Kippax on Wednesday 1 August also at 19.00hrs. (Parking behind Woolworths).
Our next Working Bee is scheduled for Sunday 22 July. Potentially frosty nights & mornings suggest another 09.30 hrs meeting time. Meeting above the easement between Hammett and Bainton Places on the reserve’s Spence - Melba edge.
Rosemary, Mt Rogers Landcare Group 6258 4724.