Park News – March, 2016

Happy Easter!

  • We trust all our Friends had a nice Easter – the school holidays, Easter and the start of the Aussie Rules football season all in alignment this year.

Bird Survey Coming Up!

  • Our 2016 Autumn Bird Survey is scheduled for a 07.30 AM start on Saturday, 23rd April at the Scout Hall in Pakenham Street .  Our usual excellent Group Leaders, Pat and Ian have confirmed their availability.   Both are not only highly experienced and knowledgeable, but also great at sharing their expertise with those of us less well equipped.
  • Survey walks start at 07:30 and aim to finish at about 09:30. The correlation of results inside the Scout Hall over morning tea usually takes a further hour – although most attend, it is an entirely optional “icing on the cake” for the morning.  You are equally welcome to cut to the chase and simply join us for morning tea and a chat if you wish.  For further information please click here.
  • To whet your appetite, here’s another picture of a Nankeen Night Heron with frog:

nankeen night heron and frog 2

  • Earlier this month we posted a another of Friend Clive’s shots of the predator with his/her prey at the Waratah Wetlands.

Main Street Bridge Project Completion

  • Committee representatives met with Council on-site on 7th March, 2016 primarily to review the handrails proposed for the bridge.  A design constraint is that the railings must conform to the Australian Standard for bridge railings associated with bicycle traffic.  Council offered the ability to reduce the visual bulk of the railings by introducing an open panel towards the top of the railings like the right-hand panel:

railings

  • We agreed this would tend to reduce the “jail bars” effect of the original design. Committee is now expecting the railings to be installed very soon.

New Regeneration Project for Furness Park

  • Furness Park was acquired in 1941 for the express purpose of preserving land for indigenous plants and wildflowers.
  • A recent Bushland Monitoring report for Council highlighted the presence of remnant indigenous grasses to be found in Furness Park near the corner of Heath and Main Streets.  The grasses concerned look to be a fairly insignificant clumpy grass and would be a variety of Wallaby Grass(es):

grasses - furness park

  • A committee proposal that we attempt to recover part of the area has been approved.  The basic plan of attack is to stop mowing in that area, weed out the foreign grasses and other weeds; then allow the indigenous grass to seed and hopefully regenerate.
  • All this is located where a dead tree fell recently and the regeneration area is currently marked out by parts of the fallen tree:

stump - furness park

  • A similar, though larger project, at 1 Lake Road (near Regis, Blackburn) has been a resounding success.

Indigenous Gardening Guide (Booklet)

  • We’ve previously reported the availability of an on-line Indigenous Gardening Guide for Whitehorse (here).

Indigenous Gardening in Whitehorse cover

  • A hard-copy version has also been produced. This will be formally launched on 13th April during Sustainability Week.
  • There is a whisper about that we might hand out limited spare copies to working bee attendees as a special bonus at our first working bee (Saturday, 14th May).

Dog Poo Survey

  • Many Friends would be aware of the problems with dogs off-lead in the park. During the month, we noticed Council is following up the persistent complaints and has recently undertaken a dog poo survey of the park.

dna

  • Council is still collecting data and formulating possible solutions. We’re not sure whether they will include DNA testing to identify culprits as reported elsewhere in the news recently.

Corridor News – Busy May Weekend at Yarran Dheran

fungus

  • Our Friends at Yarran Dheran park (Mitcham) have let us know they’re having a Fungi Walk on Saturday 7th May, 2016 from 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon followed by a Bird Walk on Sunday 8th May, 2016 from 08:00–10:00 AM.
  • Bookings are essential for both events:  please e-mail gay.gallagher@bigpond.com by 1st May, 2016.

Plant of the Month

phragmites

  • Plant of the Month is the Common Reed (Phragmites Australis).  The Common Reed is widespread throughout temperate and tropical regions of the world.
  • The photo shows it growing in a silty area along the creek near Kalang Oval.  It grows in wet places – especially at the edge of ponds and streams and in tidal waters. It can grow to 6 metres tall and is flowering in the park at the moment.
  • It provides important habitat for birds and other native fauna.  It is an important contributor to erosion control and can also assist in pollution abatement.  It spreads from rhizomes which grow deeply.  One of our group is experimenting with transplanting it for the protection of areas subject to erosion when the creek floods.

Weed of the Month

white clover

  • Weed of the Month is White Clover (Trifolium repens).   It is native to Europe and central Asia and has been introduced worldwide as an animal crop.
  • White Clover is a herbaceous perennial of the bean family and is an Environmental Weed in the park.
  • It is low growing, often forming mats from creeping stems, with round heads of irregular whitish flowers (not shown in the photo).  The leaves form the familiar shamrock symbol and often show a white “V” marking .

Sightings

corella

  • The most interesting bird sightings have been Crimson Rosellas – they’ve returned early and Corellas in abundance.  Our photo shows a Long-billed Corella feeding in the indigenous grassed area we plan to regenerate in Furness Park (described earlier in this news).
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