Flora and Fauna of Northern Alaska

BearsForestOn 22 August Rodger entertained us with another one of his adventures.

On this trip he travelled the notorious Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, Alaska.

This road featured on the TV programWorlds Most Dangerous Roads”.  See below for video played during talk. Before  1996 it was only open to trucks supplying the Alaskan oilfields. Despite the harsh environment, plants and animals manage to survive.

Rodger talked about their life on the edge of the Arctic Circle . Life in the extreme temperatures at 70 degrees north is tough.

Last treeMost memorable photo from the night was the Northern most spruce tree (now chopped down!)

CLICK HERE TO SEE PRESENTATION

CLICK HERE TO SEE DALTON HIGHWAY VIDEO

 

 

Bird on the Brink – Regent Honeyeater

P1000348Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society (OFF) volunteers have been helping ANU PhD candidate Ross Crates with his research into the ecology of the Regent Honeyeater, one of the most endangered birds in the country.Capertee NP Regent HE  12-18_10_2015 174There may be as few as 600 individuals remaining in the wild. 

25 Flora and Fauna Society members and friends helped to make 80 Regent Honeyeater and Friar Bird nests over a two week period in August. Ross will use these artificial nests (with false eggs) in Capertee National Park to ascertain which birds and mammals predate on the Regent Honeyeater eggs and young. The nests are now in place with cameras to track predators.

P1000286Ross’s research is aiming to identify the major threats to the survival of the Regent Honeyeater in its woodland habitats. Reducing threats such as nest predation and loss of woodland habitat can contribute to the Regent Honeyeater’s long term survival in the wild.

 This work follows on from his fieldwork into their habitat when he used motion sensor cameras, including one donated by Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society. Ross will present his findings at one of OFF’s regular monthly talks in 2017.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

P1000179 P1000189 P1000323 P1000262 P1000280

 

 

Hike It Baby in Oatley Park

P1000298Sunday 7th August Oatley Fauna and Flora held its first walk with the group Hike It Baby. Five OFF members and 13 adults and 13 children and babies met in Oatley Park to undertake a family friendly exploration of the bushland.

P1000296As we set off to the bushtrack through the centre of the park, we were met by several sulphur crested cockatoos who put on quite a close-up display in the steamroller park.

P1000310We spotted wattles in flower, blueberries on the bluberry ash trees,banksia flowers and seed pods, hardenbergia and  lomandras. Lower down colourful mushrooms, moss and lichens were seen. Scratchmarks on a tree, most likely from a possum, were pointed out.

P1000291The highlight for both children and adults were the two tawny frogmouths roosting in the trees facing Lime Kiln Bay.

We had a very pleasant morning stroll before returning to the steamroller park for morning tea and play.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

Yellow Tail Black Cockatoo Research

P1000148 Citizen scientists are being asked to help in a joint project between University of New South Wales, Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands.

In recent years there have been significant decline in the populations of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos. Birds have been seen in urban areas feeding on introduced pines and food sources in bush parks and golf courses.

Click here for more information and to register sighting

Pictures here were taken in July and August from a flock of nine seen on an Old Man Banksia (Banksia serrata) on Lloyd Street Oatley.

P1000140 P1000259P1000141 P1000143 P1000161

 

Clean-up Australia Day 2016

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.IMG_3194

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.

IMG_3159

IMG_3181 image2

IMG_3173Total 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

 

Dollarbirds in Lime Kiln Bay

Dollarbird -Limekiln BayRecently, 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

DollarBirds Dollar Birds 24 Jan 2016

“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 at Oatley Park

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.

Black Belly Swamp Snake 13022016

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.
Black Belly Swamp Snake and Liz
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

 

Lime Kiln Bay Wetland Guided Walks

W5.royal spoonbillEver wondered where your stormwater goes and what happens to it?

As part of the Wetland Awareness project OFF will be conducting free guided walks around the Wetland to show interested people how the quality of stormwater runoff is improved and the abundant native plants and wildlife that the wetland supports.

Saturday 20th February, 2016 3pm – 5pm
and
Saturday 19th March 2016 3pm – 5pm

 

Meet at corner Waterfall Rd and Acacia St. Oatley

Wear sturdy shoes and a hat, bring water and sunscreen
CLICK HERE FOR PROJECT FLYER

 

Wetlands Day 2 February

 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

W8. long-necked tortoiseW5.royal spoonbill

 

Lime Kiln Bay Guided Walks

IMG_1683OFF conducted free guided walks on 8 and 12 December around Lime Kiln Bay Wetland to show interested people how the wetlands improve the quality of storm water runoff and the abundant native plants and wildlife that the wetland supports.

The walks are part of  a  project undertaken by the society to raise awareness in the local community of potential environmental impacts on the wetland from urban activities. What goes down the drain ends up in the wetland and then into the Georges River. The project is being funded from the NSW Minister for the Environment’s Conservation Fund. It will benefit the local community and Council by improving the long-term health of local waterways and reducing maintenance costs of Council’s drainage infrastructure.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE Project

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE WALKIMG_1723 IMG_1721