Wood ducks sharing the news – photo courtesy of Ruth
Spring Bird Survey
- Naturally, our Spring Bird Survey (22/10) was the highlight of this month in the park. The event was very successful considering the bleak weather forecast which came to fruition (mostly) after the event. It was great to have several new faces present too.
- We were very fortunate that it was actually sunny at the start of our walk with a brilliant azure sky as new Friend Julie’s photo shows. As early birds ourselves, we beat the worst of the weather – although it gradually became cloudier during the walk and a shower caught us towards the end. That was nothing compared to the hail and persistent rain we experienced later in the day… which even the ducks wouldn’t have liked.
- The number of species observed (24) was a little down on expected. Nothing sinister – we think this is largely due to the change in the weather meaning we didn’t reach Furness Park with its prolific bird life and we reached areas frequented by the little birds like the Brown Thornbill after the weather had quietened things down. If you’re interested in the full results, as well as past results, there are links on this page.
- The Kookaburras were a highlight and popular with our photographers – Friend Ruth’s photo above shows a female with some “take-away” just before she delivered her prize to a nest in Blacks Walk.
- Of course, our Tawny Frogmouths were not to be denied their usual special status in the park. Five birds including a nest in Blacks Walk (above) were located – and we know there are more in Furness Park which we didn’t reach. Julie’s picture shows they are not the tidiest of homemakers – but do breed successfully in our park.
- We saw and heard other interesting sights and sounds. Ruth’s shot above shows a bee swarm in Kalang Park in a Black Wattle near Pakenham Street – they’re on their way to finding a new home. Apparently, the queen issues an order “we’re moving” and off they all go to keep her majesty happy. Obviously, it is a very bad idea to disturb bees when they’re on the move like this. Also, Striped Marsh frogs were very audible in the Waratah Wetlands. Click here for more information on our frogs (including links to sound bites of their calls).
- Our next Bird Survey will be in Autumn next year – why not join us ? Click here for more details.
Mulching in Kalang Park
- If you were wondering who to thank for mulching the large established bed in the park adjacent to the end of Sheehan’s Road in Kalang Park on the 10th October, most of the team responsible is captured in the above photo.
- Our photo shows Dara with a team of young folks from Burke and Beyond, together with our regular maintenance team Alan, John and supervisor Mary. Mary described working with Dara’s team as an “absolute delight”. Our thanks to Louise from Burke and Beyond for the photo and permission to use in our web news.
- It was unfortunate that a heavy shower put a dampener on things for the team – but it’s great that quite a few of the folks responded that they are up for an encore performance in future!
Maintenance Team / Working Bee Report
- The official community working bee program for 2016 has been completed. Committee sincerely thanks all who participated and we do hope to work with you again next year.
- We had an extra working bee on Sunday, 9th October to continue weeding along the northern bank of the creek between Laurel Grove and Main Street. This was not highly publicised – but Cr Andrew Munroe, his daughter and a few Friends contributed after noticing one or two signs notifying the work was to be done. Our thanks to those good folk! Weeds are thriving in the park at the moment – we intend to mulch in that area soon to capture the moisture in the soil and retard new weed growth in the previously weeded areas.
- Recent activity has included maintenance of our grant site in Furness Park (above) including in-fill planting of Carex and Poa grasses to increase planting density and replace minor losses due to flooding. Most of the thriving, young plants in the photo were planted in our May community working bee.
- This work has been extended to include the area at the end of Furness Street and around to the bridge in Furness Park. Serious Oxalis infestations are slowing progress going up the hill at this point. Sadly, vandalism of some eucalypts has been noted in that area. Similar issues have been experienced there in the past. It’s hard to believe that antisocial elements apparently enjoy destroying the community’s work.
- Next Year’s Community Working Bees: we plan to have 6 working bees with an extra if needed. Two will be planned for a Saturday given the success of the May working bee this year.
- Council will soon replace one of the sleeper seats in Blacks Walk (near the rubbish bin) with a new seat in the style of the new one adjacent 60 Main Street – rather better particularly for the elderly – higher off the ground and with a back rest.
Between the Bridges
- We are currently seeking funding for our next year’s project which is to be revegetation of the southern bank of the creek between the pedestrian bridge in Blacks Walk and the Pakenham Street road bridge.
- Hopefully, we’ll have some good news soon!
60 Main Street Demolition
- Demolition of the former Ayres family home adjacent to our park commenced on 5th October with asbestos removal followed by demolition of the house proper beginning on 12th October.
- What will happen next? Three double storey units have been approved by VCAT for the site under the old planning rules. Under today’s planning zones, a maximum of two units would be allowed. The safety fence has been removed – indicating that construction is not imminent.
- Click here for an indication of what the development will look like from the park and for the chequered history of the project to date.
Plant of the Month
- This year seems to be particularly good one for wildflowers. Our current Noticeboard display features the indigenous wildflowers you may find in Whitehorse.
- It is therefore fitting that Plant of the Month is the Chocolate Lily (Arthropodium strictum). This plant has long grass-like leaves with a single violet (rarely white) flower on stalks and having a chocolatey scent.
- The two photos above were taken in Furness Park. Though quite a spectacular flower, they are not “in your face” – so, to enthusiasts, they are a delight to find.
Weed of the Month
- Weed of the Month is an unknown nuisance thought to be a species of the Ixia (Ixia sp) family (genus) sometimes called Corn Lilies – possibly, yellow ixia (Ixia dubia). Our photo shows an example growing on the northern bank of the creek near the Laurel Grove bridge and is probably a garden escapee. Most species seem to be native to South Africa. When disturbed, their bulbs seem to break up into hundreds of bulblets – possibly accounting for how easily they spread.
- Some say Ixia derives from the Greek word for bird droppings (maybe a reference to sticky sap?) – others say it comes from the ancient Greek word for the Pine Thistle – an unrelated plant in the Daisy family.
- Please refer to our Bird Survey article earlier in this news bulletin for several interesting sightings. Perhaps curiously, our parrots were not well-represented in the survey results – even though Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos were spotted that day, and the Sunday after, making a huge racket flying through park!