Monday, 28 July 2014

National Tree Day

Two National Tree Day (NTD) plantings were held at Gurranba Reserve this year. On Schools NTD 400 native grasses were planted to create a boundary buffer to the foreshore bushland. At the community NTD, 154 low growing habitat haven and food supply plants were planted for the Squirrel Gliders and small birds underneath the mature Eucalyptus in the mulched ‘islands’.
Over the two NTD events there were 120 planting people, including 107 Coal Point Public School students and supporters. A total of 266 hours was volunteered and 554 plants were watered, planted, watered and mulched.  
The tubestock that was planted included Kangaroo Grass-Themeda triandra, Hairpin Banksia Banksia spinulosa, Blue Flax Lily-Dianella caeurlea, Conesticks-Petrophile pulchella and Prickly Moses-Acacia ulicifolia  
Sincere thanks to everyone who gave of themselves for the greater good.  
Grevillea sericea

If you didn’t get to plant you can still enjoy the local flora. A wander along the West Ridge will show many shrubs that are starting to flower including the Black Sheoak- Allocasuarina littoralis, Sydney Golden Wattle-Acacia longifolia and Grevillea sericea. At ground level, the terrestrial orchid, Pixie Caps-Acianthus fornicatus is appearing in dense patches.

Greater Toronto Spring Fair

The Toronto Chamber of Commerce is looking for motivated businesses to participate in the Spring Fair promoting the Greater Toronto area as the destination for shopping, dining, leisure and services. 
With a Buy Smart, Shop Local message, displays and stalls will be grouped in interest areas such as Sports & Watersports, Health & Wellness, Homemaker, Clubs & Communities Groups, Arts & Crafts, Home Entertainments. There will be lots to see and do as well with areas for Active and Interactive Kids, Classicars, Entertainment and a Fashion parade. 
Contact the Chamber on 1300 488 356 or email for more information. Stalls are $75 or $65 for Chamber members.

Putting their best foot forward

Local Oxfam Trail Walkers are pledging to raise at least $1400/team by walking 100km from the Hawkesbury to the Harbour over the weekend of 22-24 August. The Carey Bay Crawlers including (Mark and Leanne Shields) and the four teams from the Renee Schofield Personal Training rainbow Blue, Orange, Pink and Purple will be putting their best feet forward again and again and again for this worthwhile cause. If you’d like to donate to support these local pedestrians visit the Oxfam Trailwalker website and make a donation.
Oxfam Trailwalker in Australia has raised more than $49 million since 1999. Oxfam is determined to change the world by mobilising the power of people against poverty.

Through the support of the Trailwalker teams, Oxfam funds are used to work with families and communities promoting education, ensuring access to clean water, teaching skills to grow food and fighting for their rights.

Congratulations Mikali

Congratulations to Mikali Anagnostis who has accepted the Asparagus Fern challenge. Equipped with his own gyprock knife and trained in the Asparagus fern crowning removal technique, he’s aiming to join up his efforts with that of the landcarers in the adjacent Burnage Reserve.
Landcare can provide support for students who want to undertake Duke of Edinburgh Awards contact Robyn Gill for more information.

Securing a future for the local Squirrel Gliders

The TSLS project aims to provide suitable habitat for the local Threatened Species, of which the Squirrel Glider is one.

Squirrel Gliders are hollow-dependent, they need tree hollows…or nest boxes to survive. In order to give them the best chance of survival around Coal Point the TSLS project is coordinating a mass installation of nest boxes on September 6th to celebrate Threatened Species Day in conjunction with Lake Macquarie Landcare’s Super Saturday Session.

The Toronto Men’s Shed has developed a prototype nestbox and will be going into production over the next month. 

Do you want a nestbox on your block? 
Please contact Suzanne (Committee contact) with your location details.

A trial of the location and installation process will be conducted as part of the Hunter Region Landcare’s Network meeting on August 9th at noon at Progress Hall.

Once the nest boxes are up they will be monitored each season to see if they are being used. This is an easy and cost effective way to determine the size and extent of the local Squirrel Glider population. It will make it possible to monitor individuals and hopefully track their movements. If you’re interested in being a part of the scientific monitoring of this local population, as part of your studies or for interest, please get in touch, it’s a great opportunity to contribute to a local project.

The recent spotlighting expedition was a wild and windy night in which the Squirrel Gliders were absent but the more robust Ringtail (4) and Brushtail (5) possums were about in the canopy.

Woo Who

The Draft Interim Large Forest Owl Planning and Management Guidelines has been released by LMCC for comment.  It discusses why the Powerful Owl, Masked Owl, Sooty Owl and Barking Owl are all listed as threatened (Vulnerable) species. 

“All species continue to be threatened by clearing of forest and woodland for agriculture, urban development, major infrastructure, mining, pine plantations and intensive harvesting practices for wood production in native forests (Kavanagh, 2002).
In particular, these species are susceptible to the felling of old growth forest and woodland as they and their prey are dependent on large hollow bearing trees (Kavanagh, 2002).”

The guidelines are packed full of amazing pictures and maps and puts in to context why corridors and landscape connectivity are so important for the survival of these amazing birds.

What birds are about?

Tom Clarke recently conducted a winter bird survey along Coal Point. Highlights of this visit were the discoveries of mixed foraging flocks moving through the shrub layer at the Carey Bay and West Ridge Central sites. At Carey Bay the flock consisted of Grey Fantail, four Yellow Thornbill (they love the casuarinas), Eastern Spinebill and three Golden Whistlers. This is the second winter record of mixed foraging flocks at this site so Carey Bay is showing some consistency in this regard. At West Ridge Central the flock was dominated by Silvereyes but also included three Golden Whistlers, Grey Fantail and three Brown Thornbills.

Another highlight was the discovery of a pair of Spotted Pardalote carrying out nest-building activities on West Ridge. These birds were stripping the fibre from a nearby Stringybark and carrying the nest materials to a burrow hidden beneath the base of a fallen tree. Given that nesting for these birds is usually in spring we are left wondering what may have triggered this behaviour.

Tom’s full report can be read online Birds of Coal Point Winter Survey.

There was more excitement in the world of birds… the Pacific Baza was about.

Below is an extract from a message from Liz Crawford dated Wednesday 16th July;
Nine Pacific Baza flew along the Coal Point ridge today, stopping to forage with wing-spread plunges into eucalypt foliage. Amongst the detailed information in HANZAB (Handbook of Australian, New Zealand & Antarctic Birds), there are notes that Bazas are
  • "regular in gardens and orchards in urban areas, mainly in winter."
  • "Wintering groups of 10-12 birds also noted in SE Queensland."
  • "Hunt co-operatively , in pairs or groups of up to ten."
  • "In eastern Australia, some birds appear to disperse during non-breeding season: in NSW recorded to 34-350S in winter, 330S in summer."

We have seen 2 and 3 Pacific Bazas flying past our house in the last couple of weeks, but today's big group was exceptional - although, as noted by HANZAB, such groups have been seen before!

Another Coal Point local, Rod Mackay spotted spotted a small flock (about 6) of Pacific Bazas on top of a large gum tree here at Skye Pt Rd. They flew off to the north just as I was hooking my camera up…A new tick is a great way to start a cold July day!

Image credit

Did you see them?

Following is a description from Birds in Backyards
The Pacific Baza is a medium-sized, long-tailed hawk with a prominent crest. It is slim-bodied, with a narrow head and neck. The wings are paddle-shaped, well-rounded and deeply 'fingered'. The head, neck and breast are grey and the underparts are white with bold dark banding. The legs are short with weak toes.
The Pacific Baza's favourite prey is large insects, particularly stick insects and mantids, and frogs. They sometimes eat fruit as well. Bazas will move through the canopy, or perch and watch, then make short dives, with feet extended, to snatch prey from the foliage or from the air.