Park News – December, 2017

Our Compliments of the Season!

  • We wish all our Friends and your families a safe and happy holiday period – and all the best for 2018!

  • In particular, we hope you enjoy feasting on crustaceans (or whatever your favourite tucker is) like our Little Pied Cormorant recently seen fishing in the Laurel Grove bridge pond.  Friend Ken snapped the picture and says:
This Little Pied Cormorant had a feast from 30 minutes hunting in the pond. I saw it catch 4 fish, a yabbie and a frog (note the frog got away minus a leg!).

2018 Calendar

  • Next year’s Autumn and Spring Bird Surveys will most likely be on Saturdays in the latter half of April and October respectively.  We’ll let you know once the dates are locked in with our expert Group Leaders.

  • Friends are very welcome to attend BCAC Committee meetings as our guests.  We meet at 7:30 PM on every fourth Tuesday in the month (excepting December) at the Kalang Oval pavilion commencing at 7:30PM.
  • Meeting dates for 2018 are to be:  January 23rd, February 27th, March 27th, April 24th,  May 22nd,  June 26th,  July 24th  (including AGM), August 28th,  September 25th,  October 23rd and  November 27th.

  • Friends are also especially invited to occasional Saturday or Sunday morning Working Bees.  We usually do weeding and/or planting work with occasional mulching and rubbish removal.
  • The community working bee program for 2018 is planned to be:
    • Saturday May 12th
    • Sunday June 3rd
    • Sunday July 1st
    • Sunday August 5th
    • Sunday September 9th
    • Saturday October 13th
  • We work 09:00-12:00 with morning tea provided at about 10:30.  Everyone is welcome to work with us all or part of the morning – or simply join us for morning tea!

  • Another option for your participation is our Maintenance Team whose members work Mondays all year round.
  • We usually work between 08:00 and 12:30 on Monday and Thursday mornings – though a shorter contribution is always welcome.

Our Favourite Bird

  • The Australian Magpie was officially voted Australia’s Bird of the Year for 2017, having won the Guardian/BirdLife Australia ‘Bird of the Year’ poll, scoring nearly 20,000 of the 149,000 votes cast.
  • Much as we love our local Magpies, we are a little sceptical of that result and suspect interference from a foreign government in the voting process.  Needless to say, the clear favourite of our local photographers is the Tawny Frogmouth.  We featured some great photos in last month’s news – here’s a new one from Friend Chris:

  • The photo shows two cute chicks in Furness Park.  The dark grey “dead stump” behind them is one of their parents in disguise.
  • They’re not the tidiest of nests are they?  Nevertheless, they seem to do the trick…  For contrast, Ruth’s photo (below) taken late November of a female Mudlark in Kalang Park seems to show a much tidier and more solid construction (mostly of mud – what else?):

  • Mudlarks tend to build their nests over water too – which presumably gives any chicks falling out a softer landing…

What Happened in the park over 2017 ?

Melbourne Water Grant Success!

  • Melbourne Water approved our “Mulch up and plant up” project for one of its Community Grants.  The grant covers two years of our 2017/18 activities – mulching and planting in Blacks Walk on the south side of the creek moving eastwards from the bridge towards Pakenham Street.
  • Our first Working Bee for 2017 was a great success – in the moderately difficult planting situation between the Scout Hall and the bridge in Blacks Walk.   This work was the first community planting done under the grant project.

  • Friend Ruth’s picture shows some of the participants enjoying a well-earned break with their new plantings in the foreground.   In the top right corner of the photo, our (feathered) supervisor can just be seen glowering at the team for indulging in too much idle chit chat.

Black Bridge in Blacks Walk !

  • The deck of the existing bridge in Blacks Walk was replaced, reinforced and its superstructure was repainted from its former green to black.

Works in the Park around Laurel Grove North


  • Council first discussed concepts for treating the drainage outfall of the Laurel Grove North/Linum Street road improvement scheme in February – as maintenance of those roads passes from private to public hands.
  • Discussions since then have been very positive.  Plans are expected to be finalized by Council by mid-February in time to tap into funding options.

New Crossings in Pakenham Street

  • Council contractors installed two crossing points suitable for prams either side of the creek in Pakenham Street.

Autumn and Spring Bird Surveys

  • Our Autumn and Spring bird surveys were conducted with good participation.
  • Once again, Group Leaders Pat and Ian led our two teams.  We are very grateful, not only for their insights, but for their generosity with their time and willingness to share their vast experience and knowledge.
  • Speaking of “spotted” – the above bird shows an adult male Pardalote “spotted” in two ways – he was spotted on the day and photographed by Michael – plus, its common name is the “Spotted Pardalote”.
  • To check the full results, please click here.

Community Working Bees

  • We had six successful community working bees in our planting season between May and October.  Our sincere thanks to Committee, Friends and others in the community who worked with us this year or simply added to the community spirit by coming along to the morning teas for a chat.  Our project areas are really coming long nicely – especially after a freshening up from the recent rains.
  • Next year, we plan to repeat our successful strategy of having two Saturday working bees book-ending the season with four Sunday bees in between.
  • We’ve been doing a lot more mulching than we used to…  We were helped by young teams from Burke and Beyond who participated in mulching efforts below Waratah Crescent and  in Blacks Walk.   Whitehorse Council provided us with quality mulch for these projects.

Maintenance Team

  • Our thanks to our (ir?)regulars Alan, Kathryn, Graeme, Jan, Matthew, Tom, Nicky, Geoff, John, Nikki and, especially Mary, our Maintenance Team coordinator.
  • We’d also like to add a thanks to Juliet, Peter and Helen who look after specific project areas in Furness Park and Kalang Park respectively.

Regeneration Areas

  • Whether via Community Working Bees or Maintenance Team work etc, we’ve planted up or extended several new smaller areas in the park:
    • to the immediate north of the Blacks Walk bridge,
    • the peninsula of land on the creek edge area to the south of Waratah Crescent
    • new plots adjacent to Sheehans Road entrance to the park
    • on the southern approach to the Laurel Grove bridge
    • in Furness Park on the northeastern side of the creek near the Main Street bridge – grasses, wildflowers and shrubs have been planted along the path.


  • We feel it is important to maintain a record of the changes to the landscape in our park as our plantings grow and exotic vegetation is removed over the years.  To this end, we started taking photos from the same location (photopoints) every 5 years or so beginning about 1990.  We kept these photos from 60-70 photopoints in old-technology photo albums.
  • Our challenge has been to digitise the old photos, take a new set and present this pictorial record on our website.  Work continues .
  • The following photos are an example of one photopoint looking West at Main Street on the South side of the creek towards Kalang Park:

Entrance to Kalang Park from Furness Park – South of the Creek

Gardens for Wildlife 

  • The Gardens for Wildlife program was kicked off in our municipality with a successful Gardens for Wildlife Information Evening in March at Yarran Dheran emphasizing the benefits of indigenous plants in suburban gardens for bio-links and corridors.
  • Several Friends in the area have joined in.

Fighting for the Trees

  • Our congratulations to the Blackburn and District Tree Preservation Society Committee and members – not only upon launching their engaging and entertaining book Fighting for the Trees – but also for winning this year’s Victorian Urban Landcare Award in recognition of the book.
  • It tells the Society’s story from its inception in 1959 thru to 2016 celebrating 57 years of advocacy and protection of trees – all towards preserving our threatened neighbourhood character and local environment.

The Bad News

The bad news for the year is comprised of water pollution events, illegal mulch dumpings and a cat problem.

Water Pollution Events

  • The Whitehorse Leader of 14th August carried an article about a significant spill of diesel fuel spill first reported early on Friday 28th July.  It identified the source of the spill as being a depot near Rooks Road.  Iridescence could again be seen on the water surface and on rock/concrete surfaces in August after a burst water main served to flush the remnants of the diesel though the creek again.
  • Our photo below shows the pollution in the creek water – a week after the spill (!).

  • Although the tank had a capacity of 2,000 litres,  it is not known how much entered the creek – though definitely a lot.
  • There were also two instances of house paint being dumped into a stormwater drain in Main Street in July – most likely related to a new house being constructed in Main Street.

Illegal Mulch Dumpings

  • Two instances of illegal dumping occurred in Furness Park in May/June. One was near Heath Street along the boundary of the regeneration area that our Friend Juliet has been painstakingly looking after  – quite near where another dump occurred in 2013 where the illegal mulch dumper was eventually fined nearly $1,000 with a conviction recorded.  In that case, an astute neighbour noted the perpetrator’s registration details and Council did the rest (hooray!).  The other incident occurred just to the north of the Furness bridge.

Cat Problems

  • There were several incidences of a cat being allowed to roam and hunt in Blacks Walk.   Cats are inveterate hunters and killers – they will hunt birds, skinks – anything smaller than them that moves – whether they are hungry or not!
  • Our photo shows our cat was slavering over a nearby bird in Blacks Walk.  That’s no ordinary pigeon either – it’s an indigenous Bronzewing.

  • Cats are not permitted in the Blackburn Creeklands at any time.  The same applies to all the bushland parks in the municipality.
  • Also, Whitehorse Council introduced a cat curfew in October, 2010.  All cats must be confined between 8:00PM and 6:00AM.   In addition to protecting wildlife, a curfew is good for cats in terms of improved health, safety and longevity – as well as better neighbourhood relations!

See you next year!

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