MID APRIL 2016 ……LAST RAIN ON 18TH MARCH….rain’s forecast….but that’s happened before…..where there was, perhaps, one raindrop per leaf

Over the last 10 years Mt Rogers’ folk have built a caring community from folks’ daily walks around and across the reserve.  Conversations have turned strangers into acquaintances and discussions have created friendships and like-minds who share the issues and ups and downs of life, local and world affairs. Our dogs have often been catalysts for these progressions and so have our landcaring efforts…working-bees that significantly benefit the reserve’s habitats and wildlife.

Another embryonic community-building effort is taking off: a Directory of trades, services and Community activities from individuals and groups who live in Flynn, Fraser, Charnwood, Dunlop, Macgregor, Latham, Holt, Higgins and those parts of Spence and Melba west of Kingsford-Smith Drive. The aim of the West Belconnen Directory is to encourage residents to use the trades and services in our local community. Not-for-profit groups are encouraged to advertise events and activities in the Community section. The Directory will be delivered FREE to 13,000 households in these suburbs every six weeks or so.
If you have a business that needs advertising coverage or you can recommend a local tradesperson contact Kate on 0411 067 111, use email wbcf@bigpond.com or visit the website www.thewbc.com.au.  This new Directory is modelled on the successful Murrumbateman Local Services Directory that, over 10 years, has helped ‘gel’ the Murrumbateman community, turning strangers into neighbours.

There wasn’t a working-bee on Easter Day but John, Angharad, Ted, Kirsty and I made up for that ‘holiday’ with a Wander and Weed session on Monday 3 April. We walked east and then up towards the Tree-of-Heaven infestation where we tried the experiment of cutting & daubing the suckers on the edge of the ever-expanding patch. We then headed into the rough bush south of the single tank and dispatched more woody weeds large and small. More weeds, such as Chinese Pistachio, were found to the east before we began to sight Serrated Tussock clumps that had grown up since our previous work in the area of Wattle regrowth. 

The photos here show (top) our group (John D, Kirsty, Ted and Angharad) beginning a cut&daub of Tree of Heaven, and (below) the group attacking Tree of Heaven suckers. This infestation covers an area of 100 m x 100 m. Presumably there was an older or original tree there 40 years ago.

We heard Grey Butcherbird calls several times, confirming our hopes that these songsters have found enough habitat to take up residence in Mt Rogers’ 65 hectares. The Butcherbirds, as their spectacular calls might suggest, are closely related to Australian Magpies. They sometime perch watchfully, on branches like miniature Kookaburras.

This April has been Honeyeater migration month as in previous years. Flocks of honeyeater species fly from the high country, though the ACT in order to winter where it’s warmer. They’re often seen flying along the Murrumbidgee corridor and through the nearby suburbs. Some of the honeyeaters are just Starling-sized but the species can be distinguished by their calls.

Steve D had an exciting sighting of Speckled Warblers so these ground-foraging little birds are still around the reserve. Grey Fantails have been busy and numerous recently, and the Scarlet Robins are back to brighten up our winter days. Those interested can go to the Canberra Birds website to find members’ photos of the species seen, read monthly newsletters about sightings or join the email ‘chat-line’ where there’s daily reporting of bird activities and sightings.

Mt Rogers, like other reserves and our gardens, is currently very dry. If you need to be ecologically refreshed go to the Canberra Museum and Gallery’s FREE Exhibition Bush Capital: the natural history of the ACT. The habitats, animals and plants of the region are illustrated through art and science including 150-year-old paintings from the National Library’s collection, botanical art, ceramics, digital photographs and videos, and animal specimens from CSIRO’s insect and animal collections. The displayed works’ captions are skilfully written by Ian Fraser who blends anecdote, science, humour and decades of his observations to make each explanation memorable. The Museum is near the Canberra Theatre complex. Mt Rogers’ neighbours are lucky because the 314 and 315 buses stop 100 m away on London Circuit (and the 300 series buses also use that route as they pass through Civic.). Take a look at what your rates & taxes have paid for!

Back on Mt Rogers, Chris has helped out by taking down the seat notices when the masking tape began to weary of overnight dew and the days’ hot sun. I could use stronger tape but that might end up vandalising the seats’ paintwork. Chris is one of the regular litter-collectors that I know of, but others make rubbish removal their regular contribution to Mt Rogers. Jill C has had her paintings exhibited at Strathnairn, with a view of Mt Rogers being sold very early on. There has been an exhibition showing Bush on the Boundary at ACTEW AGL House in Civic, The works featured scenes and artists’ interpretations of the natural world within the three ACT catchments, each of which has its own focused group: Ginninderra Catchment Group (Ginninderra Creek catchment), Southern ACT CG (Murrumbidgee River catchment) and Molonglo CG (Molonglo River catchment). These groups are umbrella organisations advising and supporting the region’s volunteer Landcare communities such as our Mt Rogers Landcare Group.

Our next efforts will be on Sunday 24 April, Monday 2 May and Sunday 29 May (I’m not available on 22 May).

On 24 April we’ll work north-east of the summit again meeting at about 9.00 am at the seat with views of the mock-Tudor House. This over-looks the easement between Carey and Hammett places.

On 2 May we’ll again meet at the Wickens Place carpark and head off in search of woody weeds….possibly our last chance before cooler weather slows down the sap and the transfer of herbicide.  9.00 am then also.

See you on Mt Rogers in the next few weeks.

Rosemary,   Mt Rogers Landcare Group    6258 4724

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