On Sunday 6th March, 40 people registered at Jinna Reserve South Peakhurst for the OFF Clean-up activity. Numbers from the Society were boosted by a contingent from Mortdale Girl Guides and their parents, plus some individuals who had seen our notices around the suburb.
Some OFF members took their canoes out onto Lime Kiln Bay to get access to what was lurking in
the mangroves, the rest picked their way around the muddy foreshores of the bay on both the
Peakhurst and Oatley Park side of the inlet.
Total rubbish collected was 36 bags, nearly half of it plastic bottles; also 9 car tyres, PVC piping and metal objects. This was an outstanding result,although real success should be measures by the absence of any rubbish in our bushland and waterways. We thank all those who gave up their morning to contribute to this community event.
Report by Clean up Site Coordinator – Alan Fairley
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM
Recently, David Mercer of Georges River Wildlife photographed some young dollarbirds leaving a tree hollow in Lime Kiln Bay on 24 January 2016 .
Dollarbirds are a summer migrant. They arrive in Australia in late spring, Sept/October and then mate and build a nest, typically in a tree hollow. They can have up to 4 young. The young leave the nest in mid summer, Dec to January.
The parents continue feeding them for some time before the young become independent.
The birds leave Australia in late summer, March to April, and fly north to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands where they spend the winter.
While they are not a rare bird in Australia, they are not commonly seen in the Sydney area and it is a treat to have them nesting so close to suburbia. It is good reflection on the richness and good habitat that Lime Kiln Bay provides that these birds continue to use the area and successfully raise young.
Report by Graham Fry
“Dollar bird and chick. Noisy miners tried to chase off the chick but it stood it’s ground ” – Georges River Wildlife – 24 January 2016.
As part of the Wetland Awareness poject OFF will be conducting free guided walks around the Wetland to show interested people how the qualrity of stormwater runoff is improved and the abundant native plants and wildlife that the wetland supports. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Black-bellied Swamp Snake or Marsh Snake Hemiaspis signata was found by OFF member Matt Allison on the road near the entrance to Myra Wall garden at Oatley Park on 13 February 2016. The snake appeared to have been run over. Report was made by Liz Cameron our Secretary and past Australian Museum educator.
This is believed to be a rare sighting for Oatley park Matt Mo’s paper (on the OFF website) didn’t record the species in his surveys in Lime Kiln Bay between 2006 and 2014 but noted that a specimen was collected in Oatley in 1996; according to Glenn Shea (2010) that was the last record in the Australian Museum’s database, for the species in the St George area (Shea, G M 2010. The suburban terrestrial reptile fauna of Sydney – winners and losers. pp. 154-197 in The Natural History of Sydney; edited by Dan Lunney, Pat Hutchings and Dieter Hochuli for Royal Zoological Society of NSW). Glenn listed the Swamp Snake as one of the ‘Suburban Battlers’ in regard to persisting in the Sydney region.
The Atlas of Living Australia records that the 1996 specimen from Oatley was donated to the Australian Museum by Oatley resident and staff member at the Museum and donated another swamp snake in 1986.
Average total length is reported at 60 cm; today’s specimen was 45 cm long, so it wouldn’t be fully grown.
Species occurs in coastal and near-coastal areas of eastern Australia from far northern Qld to the south coast of NSW. Usually found in low-lying marshy areas but also found on dry rocky ridges and wooded beach dunes. Normally active during the day and at dusk, but may be active at night in hot weather. It gives birth to live young (from 4 to 20 in a litter).
The snakes feed largely on skink lizards and frogs. A bite from a large specimen may be very painful but not generally regarded as dangerous. (This information from Cogger 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia; 7th edition; CSIRO Publishing).
Report By Liz Cameron
World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on 2 February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.
World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997. Since then government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups have celebrated World Wetlands Day by undertaking actions to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands. For more see Department of Environment
30 OFF members took part in one of easier outings of 2015. After a relatively early start in order to get to Hawkesbury River station by 10am, we boarded the boat for a very pleasant 3 hour cruise on the Hawkesbury River.
There was a good commentary and the participants were surprised at the number and extent of the many small settlements that are along the shoreline.
We dropped off mail at most stops except for one, where we met by a dog who gratefully accepted his regular ANZAC biscuit!
It was a very hot day but the cooling breeze on the water helped to keep us comfortable. After a nice lunch we arrived back at the wharf at 1pm in time to catch the train back to Central and then onto Oatley.
Whilst the day was not as active as some of our outings, it was a good opportunity to socialise and I think most people enjoyed the day.
Report By Leader: Graham Fry
CLICK HERE TO SEE LOTS MORE PHOTOS
About 6 dolphins have returned to the river. They were spotted on Sunday 1 November and again on Monday 2 November around 5:30 pm. Amongst them was the one with the notched fin as well as one with part of the fin missing which have been spotted on the river before. Thank you to Peter and Antonia Hayler of Choosypix for sending in these fantastic photos.
Matt Mo and David Waterhouse OFF members have just published their observations on a pair of Oatley Owlets in a paper in Australian Field Ornithology.
This paper extends previous observations of behavioural development in Powerful Owl Ninox strenua fledglings. The study combines a near-daily visual monitoring program on a pair of owlets in Oatley, suburban Sydney, New South Wales, with corresponding pellet analysis.
The fledglings were initially fed on possums, fruit-bats, birds and insects, and first demonstrated independence by disassembling carcasses by themselves. By October, they apparently mimicked the adults’ strategy for capturing insects, and began to chase birds and bats. Behaviours thought to be part of honing their hunting skills—including tearing and ferrying strips of bark, foliage-snatching, and swooping at animals on the ground—were recorded. Such actions intensified during a period when the adults were mostly absent in November and December.