Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Dates for the Diary

See the CPPA Online Calendar for an up to date calendar of events

Ride2Work Day

Wed 12 Oct. A celebration of commuter riding in Australia

Chemical CleanOut

Sat 8 Oct, 9.00am – 3.30pm, Glendale TAFE

CPPA Committee meeting

Mon 10 Oct, 3:30-5:30, Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd


Wed 19 Oct The Hub, 97 The Boulevarde 5-6.30pm

Wildlife Nest box Workshop

Sat 15 Oct 9am-noon, Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd

Rathmines Catalina Festival

Sun 30 Oct 10am-3pm, Rathmines Park

Say Hi at our stall at the Toronto Spring Fair:

Sat 22 Oct 9am-3pm, Toronto Town

Vote now! Toronto picture competition

Mort de Magpie

As World Animal Day- October 4 comes and goes it is a time to reflect on our relationship with the non-human animals we share our community with.

Our fond relationship with the local birdlife was highlighted last month when several distressing calls were received about the numerous dead Magpies that were being found around Rofe Street and Stansfield Close, “at least 11 in the past 3 weeks”.

A local had taken a bird to the local vet, who identified poisoning as the problem, our local wildlife carer received a sick bird which was rehabilitated and released, then found dead. Two other reports from locals were received which prompted a bit of research as to the possible causes.

On the back of the Warnervale bird poisoning the first thought was someone is deliberately baiting the birds.But there was another possibility ‘Lawn Care syndrome’… poisoning by unknowing locals from readily available chemicals that are used to spruce up the lawn.

The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre states that in America about 67 million birds are killed annually due to pesticide ingestion.

The Risks from lawn care pesticides report produced by the US group Environment & Human health Inc. details the impacts of lawn care products and states “Some common lawn-care pesticides are toxic to birds (including 2,4-D and diazinon), while others kill the plants relied upon by insects, which in turn can reduce the available food supply for insectivorous birds.”

Diazinon, a popular, highly versatile general insecticide used to control soil and foliage insects as well as flies in many horticultural industries, in Australia, is under review and it has been found that it poses “an undue hazard to the safety of people and animals as these products could break down to produce highly toxic impurities”.

Dicamba is another pesticide that doesn’t look too good with it being neurotoxic in animals. Bindii contains Dicamba and MCPA – both are selective herbicides similar to 2,4-D and are ‘restricted use pesticides’ in US. Dicamba is said to cause wing drop, loss of controlled movements and weakness in birds.

Apart from the inherent toxicity of lawn treatment products another impacting factor is that the chemicals are often not used according to the instructions. Some home gardeners think more is better and are underestimating the lethal effects of these toxic chemicals, that end up persisting and poisoning the wildlife.

So before you reach to weed n feed or control Bidii & clover please read the label and be aware that your lawn care may be causing deaths in the local birds population or consider some non-toxic alternatives and strategies.

It is an offence under the EPA’s legislation to use pesticides in a manner that harms non-target animals. If you have any information that may assist the EPA with this incident contact the EPA on 131555 with the reference number C13261-2016.

P.S The EPA has just advised the CPPA that local dead birds have been collected and are being autopsied to determine what poisons have been used. It will take a couple of weeks for the results to be known

Roadside Verge Embankment Planting Guide

Have you ever wanted a biodiverse bank instead of a hard to mow hill? Thanks to the Threatened Species project and the skills of Nature’s Magic Garden Designs a landscape concept plan has been put together to guide and inspire the transition of those tricky verges and embankments into low maintenance habitat havens.

Designed with sight lines and slopes in mind there is a concept plan, an alternative plant list and information on the habitat benefits available for downloading 
on the Plants In Our Bigger Backyard tab  on the CPPA website .

What a spiffy sustainable Hall!

The $20,000 Community Building Partnership grant is bearing fruit. The 20 solar panels are on the roof as part of the SunCrowd bulk buy, the watertank is full and plumbed in and flushing toilets, the rusty roof has been replaced and we’ve acquired some newer chairs thanks to the Royal Motor Yacht Club. 

Only a few items left…a chair and table trolley and some more chairs. All these sustainable solutions will contribute to lowering the running costs on the hall and make it more user friendly. If you are a hall users you need to make sure the power is on to drive the pump to flush the toilet. Thanks to the NSW Government for making this all possible.

Neighbours noticing Nature

“Been hearing a bit of screeching this week (late Aug) coming from the forest patch behind Laycock St shops. Heard a pair of either Barn or Masked owls on dusk last night and then a single one tonight. I don't know which species is more likely in this location, or indeed if it could be another option. Whatever they are I hope they eat the neighbour's chihuahuas which don't seem to understand that not barking at every waking moment might be an option.”

Aussie Backyard Bird Count in National Bird Week 17-23 October

You can celebrate National Bird Week by getting involved in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. All you need is 20 minutes, your favourite outdoor space, and some keen eyesight.

Simply record the birds you see on the Aussie Bird Count app or through the Submit a Count on the website. You’ll instantly see live statistics on the number of people taking part and the number of birds and species counted in your neighbourhood and the whole of Australia.

Not only will you get to know your feathered neighbours, but you’ll be contributing to a vital pool of information from across the nation that will help us see how Australian birds are faring.

You can complete as many counts as you like over the week – so get your friends and family together, head into the great outdoors or your backyard and start counting!

Coal Point chick hatched in a hollow

This is an exciting time of year for the Powerful Owls, when chicks start to emerge from the nest hollows! The local Powerful Owl pair have produced another white fluff-ball of a chick. It will gradually get more and more chevrons on its chest as it ages. Some lovely images by Paul van Gaal are on the Owls of Australia Facebook page.

From the Powerful Owl Project

Powerful by name, and powerful by nature - the Powerful Owl Ninox strenua is Australia’s largest owl with an impressive wingspan of 135cm. It occurs from eastern and south-eastern Australia (east of the Great Dividing Range), from south-eastern Queensland to South Australia, mostly in large continuous forest. Despite being classified as threatened in all Australian states across its range, Powerful Owls can survive within cities. They are found throughout the suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Lake Mac, particularly where bushland remnants are close by. However, increasing urbanisation is likely to impact the long-term persistence of the Powerful Owl.

Despite their impressive size, little is known about the ecology of Powerful Owls, particularly those living in cities. Since 2011, the Powerful Owl Project, with the aid of citizen scientists, has collected critical data on the Powerful Owl population.The information gained from this study is used to inform the conservation status of the Powerful Owl, and help drive management recommendations for their continued survival in urban areas.

You can register to be a citizen scientist with the project through Birdlife Australia.

You can help these birds by:
• Having some trees in your yard for them to use
• Avoiding rat and mouse baits - eating a poisoned mouse can be deadly for these birds. Instead use traps to rid your house of these pests
• Installing a nest box. You can build your own using the dimensions outlined here.