Lime Kiln Bay Walk 20 May 2017

170520 LKB wetland OFF Guided walk-page-001

OFF Annual Dinner

Celebrate with usOatley Flora and Fauna Annual Dinner
At The Oat Mill Brasserie Oatley RSL
Thursday 29 June 6.30 for 7pm 
Set menu of alternate serves of entree & mains ***
 + cupcake dessert
COST $38 pp  PAYMENT   by MONDAY 26 JUNE MEETING  
We will be holding a Raffle. Donations will be appreciated. 
Contact Sue Howard  9579 1718 . Mob 0411580453
***vegetarian,gluten free & other special dietary needs can be organised.
 

2017 AGM – Long Term Members Recognised

2M4A2731OFF 62nd AGM was on Monday 6th February 2017, held in Oatley RSL and Community Club from 7.30.The meeting was well attended with 38 present; apologies were received from a further nine members.

Secretary Liz Cameron presented her report summarizing the years activities. READ FULL REPORT HERE 

President, Graham Lalchere thanked the outgoing committee for its work during the year and announced with regret that John Davoren was stepping down as Editor of OFF News after nine years in that position. He detailed some of the projects OFF would be undertaking in the coming year. CLICK HERE FOR FULL ADDRESS

Philip Andersen chaired the election of office-bearers and committee for 2017. The following were elected unopposed: We welcome two new committee members Ben Hope and Keith McRorie.

President: Graham Lalchere             Vice-Presidents: Alan Fairley and Julian Sheen

Treasurer: Rodger Robertson            Secretary: Liz Cameron

Committee:  Matt Allison ; Melina Amerasinghe; Peter de Beuzeville; Vicki Bolling;Robin Dickson; Graham Fry; Ben Hope; Shaun Keays-Byrne; Keith McRorie and Kim Wagstaff.

LONG TERM MEMBERS RECOGNISED

2M4A2718At the AGM Graham Lalchere, Robin Dickson and Alan Fairley presented certificates of recognition for long-term membership to fourteen who have been members of the Society for 35 years or longer. Foremost among them were Rafe and Moyia Kowron, foundation members of OFF when it was formed in 1955.

Altogether 26 members were recognised for their long-term membership and certificates will be sent or delivered to those who could not attend the meeting.Members recognised were: Peter & Margaret Airey (1977), Alan Argall(1977), Janet Austin (1975), Elizabeth Benbow(1973), Beryl Black (1968), George & Barbara Carrard(1982), Lesley & Peter Cox(1979), Valmai Douglas(1975), Alan Fairley91973), Dave and Tricia Koffel (1974), Heather Mackey(1981), Don & Elaine McGuire(1976), Graham & Jenny Quint(1982), Julian & Annette Sheen(1975), Win Tonkin(1968) , Gaham & Margaret Walters (1968)

Recipients spoke of their delight at receiving this recognition and their appreciation of the work OFF does for environmental issues.

2M4A2734 2M4A2729 2M4A2726 2M4A2725 2M4A2716 2M4A2714 2M4A2713 2M4A2712

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaun Keays-Byrne took photos of the presentation – CLICK HERE FOR FULL ALBUM

Letter of appreciation from Lesley Cox: Peter and I appreciate OFF’s recognition of our many years of membership of the Society. Like many other members, we are “rusted on” and cannot imagine not belonging to OFF.

- Since joining the Society thirty eight years ago we have seen the many ways in which OFF plays an important part in the local and wider community in matters of conservation. For my own part (Lesley) I first read about OFF in the local paper at Peakhurst where I grew up, maybe in 1956 – the year I started high school. I seem to remember there were Oatley residents actively trying to take better care of the bushland in Oatley Park. Oatley Park was special to me even then, probably due to my conservation-minded grandfather who took the family to Oatley Park from the time I was a small child.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL LETTER

Alan Argall – I would like to thank OFF for their kind thought; even though I am still a paid up member I have not been to a meeting since 1998 for personal reasons. For this reason I do not believe I am entitled to the society’s appreciation. Once again I thank OFF for the thought and rest assured I will stay a member as long as I remain upright, in my recognition of the work OFF does for environmental issues.  

George Carrard – Thanks for your kind letter about our 35 years membership of Oatley Flora and Fauna Society. These days I am very concerned about global warming and hope members of OFF are too.

Oatley Streams Litter Audit -Two & Half Year Report

IMG_4030The results are in from a litter audit of several urban streams in Oatley conducted by the Oatley Streamwatch Team over the period April 2014 to September 2016.

IMG_0050Audit Locations -

  • MDR Mulga Rd Site A -Myles Dunphy Reserve – Creek from sewer viaduct to 50m upstream (towards Mulga Rd)
  • MDR Kogarah Site B – Myles Dunphy Reserve – Stream flowing into MDR from pipe under the railway line draining the Kogarah side of Oatley.
  • Dairy Creek – a 50m section of the creek from the sewer viaduct to 50m upstream

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Results – The top 14 items collected are shown in Table below

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Preliminary conclusions and recommendations

IMG_0049The item most collected was foam insulation and packaging (whole and remnants), whilst the second most collected item was plastic film remnants.

IMG_4052The foam insulation becomes a problem in the environment as it breaks up into small pieces, right down to the spherical beads ( 2-4mm diameter). At this size it would be easily ingested by aquatic fauna and birds.

Equally the plastic film remnants tear apart, wrap around vegetation and clog streams, drains and gross pollutant traps. They also become partly buried in stream bed and banks and then may be exposed in the next high flow event. They too present a threat to aquatic fauna and birds as well as vegetation due to its smothering effect.

IMG_4581Nine out of the top 14 items were based on a plastic material in one form or another. The foam (or polystyrene) form is increasingly being used for packaging, particularly around consumer items such as electrical appliances, as it is lightweight and helps to reduce transport costs. However, this material is not readily recycled in the general community as it is not allowed to be put into our yellow recycling bins that are regularly collected.

It is understood however that it is capable of being recycled and large quantities are actually processed by specialist companies. It needs to be made easier for residents to at least drop this material off at a conveniently located central depot. The proposed Georges River Council’s St George Community Recycling Facility to be located at Depot Rd Mortdale would be a good location and it is highly recommended that the capacity for recycling polystyrene foam waste be incorporated in this facility.

P1010385In regard to plastic bags and plastic film remnants community recycling of these materials is just starting to catch up. Plastic resulting from many food packaging situations such as bread, frozen vegetables, etc and newspaper and magazine wraps and a range of other items have recently become able to be dropped off at REDcycle bins located at certain Woolworths and Coles supermarkets.

In this regard it is highly recommended that Georges River Council also consider establishing a drop-off capacity for these types of plastics in the proposed new St George Community Recycling Facility at Mortdale.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT

HEAR OUR NEXT SPEAKER on 27 February 2017  -  Associate Professor Stuart Khan from UNSW Civil Engineering Faculty talking about the concept of turning urban rivers – like Parramatta River – into swimmable recreation areas by arresting contaminants.  Did you know that Oatley Swimming Club at Jewfish Bay Baths, has a long history and enduring existence of as swimming? It will be interesting  what can tell us to do to ensure that it remains safe in terms of water quality?

Recent Leader article highlights that the River health is slipping.

The recent 2015-16 Georges River Combined Council’s  report card revealed a slight decline in the ecological condition of the catchment.

With the Greater Sydney Commission’s draft region plan for Sydney South projecting 23,000 more homes in the next 40 years outlook for the waterways is unfavourable.

Georges River Council Australia Day Volunteer Award 2017

Robin Cropped 2Congratulations to Robin Dickson on her Georges River Council Australia Day Volunteer Award 2017!

OFF nominated Robin Dickson, our Membership Secretary and Welfare Officer, for the GRC Volunteer of the Year Awards 2016 but those awards became incorporated in the Australia Day Awards 2017, so finally on Monday 23rd January, Robin was presented with her Georges River Council Australia Day Volunteer Award by the General Manager Gail Connolly and Administrator John Rayner, and Federal MP David Coleman. OFF representatives Graham Lalchere, Peter de Beuzeville and Liz Cameron were there to congratulate Robin.

Our nomination read:

Mrs Robin Dickson joined Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society Inc (OFF) in 1990 and for the past 23 years has been a very active member of the OFF committee. Initially she was Honorary Secretary (11 years) then, for the last 12 years, Membership Officer, and for 8 years, Welfare Officer; she continues to carry out both these roles. As Secretary she was energetic in pursuing OFF’s objectives and has efficiently resumed that extra role when the current Secretary is absent.

Robin devotes considerable time to OFF business and activities. She processes new memberships, maintains an up-to-date register of members and their contact details, and each month presents a report on membership statistics and changes to the register; she also arranges printing and postage of OFF’s monthly newsletter. She is particularly busy at the end of the year, preparing and posting membership renewal forms to about 300 members.

As Welfare Officer, Robin looks after the wellbeing of our members, some of whom are quite elderly (our Society has been active for 62 years); she visits and phones those who are housebound or unwell, and sends condolences on behalf of OFF.

We have nominated Mrs Robin Dickson because she does far more than simply fulfil her nominated duties. She is a cheerful, warm and caring woman who fosters goodwill in our community and makes everyone feel welcome and valued. These qualities in Robin, along with her gentle persistence, have contributed greatly to the very high retention rate of members in OFF. She knows, and is probably known to, every member of our Society and communicates very easily with children as well as adults. Robin is generous in acknowledging the achievements of other members of OFF – in 2004 she documented the contribution of some of our prominent members and presented it to the Oatley Heritage Group, creating a record for future reference. But she is self-effacing regarding her own contributions.

Robin attends most of the numerous OFF events and outings and is always ready to provide practical assistance – helping on stalls, welcoming newcomers and providing delicious food for catered events. Her excellent handicraft skills were called upon this year when OFF members made 50 artificial nests for a research project on the endangered Regent Honeyeater.

Kosciuszko National Park January 2017

2017 Snowy Porritt(272)This is the second year we have stayed in Pygmy Possum Lodge at Charlotte Pass and again it was very satisfactory; fourteen OFF members spent three to seven days there during the week of 8-15th January. It was also a pleasure to have the company of some of the ski club’s members who were welcoming, helpful and knowledgeable.

2017 Snowy Porritt(154)The bedrooms, all with en-suites, were comfortable and warm, and the kitchen very well-equipped (but it called for some complex choreography when everyone was preparing dinner at the same time). The lounge afforded spectacular views of jagged granite tors, snow gums and olive-green shrubs, all occasionally blotted out by sweeping curtains of rain that briefly dampened our enthusiasm for the outdoors.

2017 Snowy Porritt(196)During inclement weather we occupied ourselves with reading, needlework, jigsaws, crosswords and identification of plants and animals we’d photographed. There was a happy hour each evening which sometimes developed into serious wine-tasting, and one night to admiration of the full moon as it rose in a crystal clear sky flushed by the sun’s afterglow.

2017 Snowy Porritt(278)This year was particularly good for wildflowers – daisies everywhere, mintbush and eyebright on the upper slopes, clusters of magenta trigger plants, cream candle heath and glossy buttercups in low-lying areas. Photographers found it difficult to capture the depth of colour in bluebells, flax lilies, violets, fan flowers and others in the blue – mauve spectrum.

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2017 Snowy Sharyn Cullis (7)

2017 Snowy Porritt(239)Fauna was not conspicuous but there were grey kangaroos on the Waterfall Track and we saw two large echidnas. Piles of dung, scratchings and big burrows were the closest we got to wombats. Around Charlotte Pass were Flame Robins, Brown Thornbills, Australasian Pipits, Crimson Rosellas, Little Ravens, Striated Pardalotes and Welcome Swallows.

2017 Snowy Porritt(228)There were some introduced animals including hares, a black rabbit, a feral cat (which we reported) and Common Starlings. A variety of sleek high country skinks was seen, and several “large dark snakes” (probably copperheads). There was a dead alpine funnel-web on Porcupine Track and colourful live grasshoppers and beetles were photographed on leaves and flowers; a few Bogong Moths secreted themselves in the Lodge at night.

2017 Snowy Sharyn Cullis (5)The legacy of snowfalls late in the season was evident in the high water level in Lake Jindabyne and good flows in the alpine streams. The countryside was green and snow gums were regenerating well, although the rate of regrowth is noticeably slower at higher altitudes. March and bush flies seemed more than usually abundant and persistent, perhaps another consequence of the recent rain and snow.

2017 Snowy Porritt(197)Weather conditions were generally mild and conducive to walking. Our first walk was to Porcupine Rocks, an OFF tradition that prepares us for more demanding tracks. Many small patches of snow were visible on the Main Range and we admired “Jan’s tree”, a magnificent old Snow Gum beside the track that escaped the ferocious alpine fires of 2003. On our return to the Kosciuszko Road, we indulged in hot drinks and burgers at the Alpine Eyre café at Perisher Gap; it was a popular meeting spot for the rest of the week.

2017 Snowy Sharyn Cullis (3)Other walks completed by members of our party included Dead Horse Gap via the Thredbo chairlift, Blue Lake, Mt Kosciuszko via the Summit Road, Rainbow Lake, Guthega to Illawong, Waterfall, Mt Stilwell and Charlotte Pass Village to Alpine Eyre café. On the windiest day, while some were battling gales around Mt Stilwell, one couple enjoyed a peaceful riverside picnic in the sheltered woodland of Island Bend. At the end of the week the remaining ten people lunched together at Parc Café in Jindabyne and spent time in the displays and shop in the NPWS Centre.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

Cruising the Scenic Port Hacking River

dscn1561-2-groupThe last OFF outing for the year was a three-hour return cruise on Wednesday 30 November from Gunnamatta Bay at Cronulla, along the Hacking River to Royal National Park. Thirty-six members and friends embarked at 10.30 am on a fine mild day and enjoyed a smooth and comfortable ride (mid-week there was very little water traffic). Unlimited morning tea was available throughout the cruise and at the conclusion of the trip some of us lunched in Cronulla. It was unfortunate that Maureen, who had recommended the cruise for our 2016 program, was unable to join us on the day.

We travelled on the M.V. Tom Thumb III, named after the 2.5 metre rowing boat in which Bass and Flinders and ‘the boy Martin’ explored the area in 1796. Their voyage is also commemorated by a monument at Bass and Flinders Point in Cronulla but over the intervening 220 years much of the landscape they saw has been drastically altered.

 

p1010150On the southern side of Port Hacking, after we passed the settlements of Bundeena and Maianbar that border the Royal National Park, it was not difficult to envisage what the first Tom Thumb’s crew would have seen. The shores remain covered in typical Sydney sandstone flora dominated by flowering angophoras with their summertime deep orange trunks and an understorey of native shrubs and grass trees. Silver Gulls, Crested Terns, Pied Cormorants and a solitary Pied Oystercatcher were resting on a sandbar, and we were surprised and delighted to see a dolphin in the river. Graham spotted an adult and an immature White-bellied Sea Eagle.

p1010155The tide was high so our boat could motor as far as the weir at Audley; some passengers recalled Sunday School outings there. A kayaker was fishing in the shallows and picnickers on the bank waved to us. The commentator on board said it was planned, in the event of a Japanese landing during World War II, to bring all navigable craft in Port Hacking up the river to this point and burn them.

dscn1540-middenThe commentator also spoke about the original inhabitants – the Tharawal or Dharwal people, their place names and culture; some of their middens were destroyed when shells were gathered as a source of lime for buildings in Sydney. There were anecdotes about the European settlers and early industries including a fish hatchery and deer-farming. Many landmarks and significant dwellings and boathouses were pointed out, and free maps on board allowed us to trace our route. Also on board were albums of early photos and newspaper cuttings relating to life on Port Hacking.

 

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The return journey took us into some of the bays on the northern shores of Port Hacking, a completely different landscape featuring palatial homes, private jetties and big boats. But there were also some swimming baths for the general public and one passenger said she had spent her youthful summers there.

p1010136Shiprock Aquatic Reserve at the entrance to Burraneer Bay was pointed out. The biodiversity in this 2 hectare reserve so close to Cronulla is extraordinary and was illustrated by Gary Dunnet at an OFF meeting in February 2010. He explained the adaptations that allowed animals and algae to crowd onto the sandy substrates and rocky cliffs of what is essentially a flooded sandstone valley, and he listed some of the land and water-based human activities that can threaten that biodiversity. It was ironic that our tour guide also pointed out the former Fisheries Research Centre at the entrance to Gunnamatta Bay; scientists at the Centre which was closed down by the NSW Government in 2011, would doubtless have contributed to knowledge of Shiprock’s rich biodiversity.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

Footnote:

For those interested in reading an evocative account of the original Tom Thumb’s exploration of Port Hacking, I recommend the following book. It has been described as juvenile historical fiction and I borrowed from Kogarah Library some years ago.

Joan Phipson, 1972. Bass and Billy Martin. Macmillan of Australia. 240 pages.

Minnamurra Rainforest Walk

A simply beautiful day was spent in the calm ambience of the Minnamurra Rainforest on Sunday 30th October. Sixteen expectant walkers gathered at the Visitors Centre of the Budderoo National Park ready to face the climb up to the Falls. Because of trackwork the walk was in two parts: the steep walk to the waterfall followed by the lovely Minnamurra River walk.

The first part of the walk was a challenge made esasier by the regular path and rewarded by views of the deep chasm and distant views of the higher falls. After rain the water flow gushed down into the deep canyon. The bush was damp and fertile and the birdlife kept us company.

We returned to the picnic area near the Visitors Centre for lunch then set out on the shorter walk along the river.

The walk was glorious with added excitement provided by the two suspension bridges. The views up and down the waterways and down into the deep limpid pools were memorable.

And there were monsters too – a monster strangler fig and two delightful dragons on rocks by the water (somewhat smaller in size).  Along the walk there were information signs to help us understand our surroundings.

All in all it was a top day with the drive down the coast being no obstacle to our fun.

Report by walk leader Julian Sheen       CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

Lions Festival 2016

img_0974This year’s festival was superb, sunny with a light breeze, and well attended. OFF’s stand, was adjacent to the Bush Care and Oatley Heritage sites, and we all benefited from the locations with the public going to each of our stalls. img_1045

OFF had a good range of materials, both free and for sale. Our Oatley Park brochures were popular, particularly the bird brochure, and Shaun Keys-Burn produced a nice set of greeting cards using the brilliant photos of Peter Mercer. These sold well and raised over $100.

img_0972We had a good range of plants for sale, courtesy of the East Hills Aust Plant Society and Menai Wildflower Group. We sold about 75% of the stock and were very happy to share the proceeds with the suppliers.

img_1037 This is OFF’s best opportunity for public exposure. We benefited by gaining 5 new memberships on the day, and distributing many membership packages. It was a good day; many thanks to the volunteer staff, and to those who arranged our stall

Capertee National Park Field Trip

capertee-crossingFifteen OFF members and friends enjoyed our annual weekend field trip on 24 & 25th September to Capertee National Park. Heavy rain overnight presented the visitors to the national park with a swollen river crossing. It was a challenge to smaller cars, but all crossed it.

dscn8713The highlight was seeing gorgeous gold and black Regent Honeyeaters at close quarters. It was a fitting reward for those who had made artificial nests for a predation experiment run by ANU postgraduate student Ross Crates. One night Ross showed photos of predators, including Brush-tailed Possums, Sugar Gliders and Grey Shrike-thrushes, that had raided the artificial nests.

capertee-np-24-26_09_2016-042There were ambles along trails through different habitats that offered plentiful subjects for the photographers in the group. On the upland Airstrip Trail four different orchids were flowering and there was a sweeping vista of distant peaks that included Mt Marsden and Tayan Peak in Wollemi NP. By contrast the shaded grassy banks of crystal clear Ullumbra Creek sheltered maidenhair ferns and native violets, and supported massive river sheoaks on which fine-leafed mistletoes were flowering.

 

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walarooDriving back to the homestead after a late afternoon visit to the Valley Lookout, we were treated to a magnificent rainbow and encountered Wallaroos and Common Wombats venturing onto the river flats for their evening meal. Recent rains had put a fresh in the Capertee River and encouraged a chorus of frogs and crickets at night.

Many thanks to Deb Andrew who shared her intimate knowledge of the park and its rich flora and fauna.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

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