Park News – March, 2014 [Updated]

Web News –  The Land Adjacent to 60 Main Street

  • Several Friends have asked why the mulch heap has sat so long on the land adjacent to 60 Main Street.  The mulch is awaiting some further work – Council is to “rip” the old path (comprised of compacted topping) so that we can plant it out once we’ve had some decent rain.
  • In the meantime, a web of intrigue (or, rather, an intriguing web?) has developed on top of the mulch pile (photo courtesy of Ian Moodie):

mystery web

  • The web looks almost like a covering of Glad Wrap film and seems to be the work of small spiders.  If any of our Friends are arachnologists, please let us know what creature is responsible.
  • Our maintenance team has been very busy preparing the site for planting out when conditions allow – with blackberry and creek bank ivy infestations addressed.  Further weed removals (prunus, mirror bush and agapanthus) have occurred recently in the NE corner near the “faux” scar tree (see here for more on the scar tree).  With good rain, planting could start at the end of April.

Autumn Bird Survey

  • Preparations for our Autumn Bird Survey on Saturday, 26th April are well underway.  Note that the start time is earlier than usual – 07:15 for a 07:30 start meeting at the Scout Hall in Pakenham Street.  This will be especially testing given that it is a long weekend!

wood duck counting

  • Friends are most welcome and no experience is necessary.  You should wear suitable clothing/footwear and bring cameras and binoculars if you wish.  Also, please join us for a morning cuppa and snack afterwards when the results are consolidated.
  • For the inexperienced, it is an interesting and educational morning – revealing the park’s birdlife as a “hidden dimension” most of us are unaware of.   Typically, our experts are able to locate species (invisible to us) through their knowledge of bird calls and habits.  It also offers the opportunity to ask questions of the experts.
  • Click here for more information on our Bird Surveys.

Working Bee Dates [Updated]

  • Community working bee dates for the year have been set.  The first –  on May 25th, will target planting out the Malcolm Street billabong.   See here for further information including the full calendar.

Future Newsletters – the Blackburn Bushland Corridor

  • The former “green paper” Bushland News hand-delivered to the community will be replaced by the combination of a brochure celebrating the Blackburn Bushland Corridor and a bi-annual news review.
  • So what’s a corridor ?  – the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary and the Blackburn Creeklands form part of an east-west corridor along Gardiners Creek.   This corridor harbours and attracts indigenous animals and plants to our urban environment.  Neighbouring private land, eg neighbouring the parks and along Central Road and Jeffery Street, also contributes to the corridor.

corridor

  •  Corridors are critical for ecological processes including the movement of animals and the continuation of viable populations.  By providing links to larger areas of habitat, corridors enable migration, colonisation and interbreeding increasing biodiversity.
  •  Species that migrate seasonally can do so more effectively and safely when they can use protected pathways through human activity.  Also, animals and plants are able to migrate to new areas when food or water are lacking in their normal habitat (eg due to drought or fire).  Plants and animals can breed with counterparts in neighbouring regions so that genetic diversity for the overall population improves.

Plant of the Month

  • Sadly, due to the prevailing dryness, not many of our indigenous plants look wonderful at the moment – they’d prefer to conserve resources – keeping a low profile until we get more decent rain.  So, Plant of the Month is again December’s winner – Common Dogwood (Cassinia aculeata):

common dogwood march 2014

  • This example is near the “Community Seat” (two seats at right angles)  in Kalang Park on the south side of the creek not far from Main Street.  Interestingly, there is another Cassinia there (should be “Cassinia Corner”) – Shiny Cassinia (Cassinia longifolia):

cassinia longifolia

Weed of the Month

  • Weed of the Month is Ivy (Hedera helix) – which originally comes to us from England.  It is a vigorous scrambler forming a carpet on the ground and is also a climber (to 30 metres).  It can smother indigenous plants and even pull down trees with its weight – especially when heavy after rain.

english ivy

  • It is very hard to eradicate – growing from seed, small pieces and stems setting roots where they touch soil.  Interestingly, seed only forms on climbing  parts and is spread by birds – making it doubly important to keep ivy from growing up your trees…

Sightings

There have been a few interesting bird sightings in the area:

  • Bronzewing pigeon in vicinity of Waratah wetlands
  • Gang-Gang Cockatoos
  • Corellas migrating overhead at night.
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