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Placement GIFNewsletter of the Friends of Scott Creek
Conservation Park

No. 144, March- April, 2012

The President's Words:

The year is off to a flying start with a new species being added to our list, Painted Button-Quail, a very pretty and somewhat cryptic bird that likes forested areas. Recently they have been sighted twice in the Derwentia Gully area. Another infrequently seen visitor is the Little Wattlebird. Although by no means rare, we had very good views of two at bird-banding the other day, as they stayed very close to all the flowering Banksias on Twisted Chimney Track. I can only remember one or two sightings IN many years.

 Little could the Federal Government have realized the irony of appending the Mt Lofty Ranges with the title of one of Australia ’s 15 “Biodiversity Hotspots”, some six years ago. It was given, in part, in recognition of the continuing decline of biodiversity values of the MLR and Kangaroo Island. Below is an extract from some of the rationale. Highlighting is mine.

“Biodiversity hotspots are areas that support natural ecosystems that are largely intact and where native species and communities associated with these ecosystems are well represented.  They are also areas with a high diversity of locally endemic species, which are species that are not found or are rarely found outside the hotspot. The current, planned or potential management activities in hotspots place the natural values at risk, and it is likely this risk will increase in the future in the absence of active conservation management.”

There are thirty Hotspots world wide, fifteen are in Australia , two in SA. Given the above, one would expect a cautious approach to any measures that could put these ecosystems and their species at risk. The current level of prescribed burning in our reserves coupled with ever relaxing native vegetation clearance legislation seems to meet all the criteria highlighted above. We have the unenviable distinction of having something less than 13% native vegetation cover left with the majority of that being on private land, coupled with continuing land degradation, irresponsible development and habitat loss and fragmentation. However this new and increasing threat from fire is raising questions that few seem adequately qualified to answer. The current burning programme seems to have a lot to do with meeting a 5% minimum quota than considering the impacts at a species level. Depending on which side is asked, these fires are:-

  • A natural part of the landscape which was burnt on a regular basis for thousands of years
  • Fires can be used to “shape the biodiversity in our parks” with “careful study planning and management”.
  • Necessary to allow regeneration and renewal of habitat
  • Necessary for “asset protection” of properties close to reserves
  • A complete waste of time as far as asset protection is concerned, as these areas will burn just as fiercely if a “big one” comes through

There are many more schools of thought and whilst the truth may lie somewhere in the middle, what concerns me greatly is the lack of rigorous scientific studies being carried out on those species most at risk. The exception may be the Southern Brown Bandicoot, but another iconic and “at risk” species is the Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo whose habitat is being burnt out every year with recruitment of its main food plant, Hakea carinata, being killed by fire and having to re-grow from seed. As this species will take five to six years to produce significant amounts of fruit, I believe a study is warranted into

·        The areas are being burnt

·        What percentage of cover this species constitutes

·        Lag time involved in seed production

·        Long term viability of Hakea resources whilst regeneration is occurring at burn sites, given the extra pressure these unburnt sites may experience

These are just a few of many questions that need scientific answers if this Government is to be taken seriously with regard to their expressed concern for “No Species Loss”. The issue of spring nesting birds and burns, is never mentioned in any of the DENR brochures  as the impact cannot have been given any consideration. The lag period for the loss of some thirty woodland bird species was flagged over thirty years ago and little is happening to make me believe many of these birds are not still on the slippery slope. On a separate but not unrelated issue, I am yet to be convinced that the resource levels for follow-up pest plant control in all these burn sites is, or will ever be, adequate.

DENR has recently initiated its OHS policy with Friends groups and we are now obliged to follow a few basic protocols. One of these is the filling out of a form at each and every working bee, bird banding or related park activity. This is not too onerous and Sue has volunteered to keep and collate all forms which will be handed in to our Ranger on a regular basis. This will also help with our own record keeping, so behind the enormous cloud of bureaucratic pink forms and tape, there is a silver lining, (with a pink tinge). 

Our guest speaker in May will be the the same speaker who couldn’t make it to the AGM. I have already seen many of Allison’s photos of Macquarie Island and they are spectacular, as is the terrain and wildlife, so put it on your calendar or be sorry.

Little Wattlebird In Banksias At Mackereth Creek

Bird Banding Notes:

Tom Hands’ photo above was taken last Sunday At our Mackereth Creek site. It was one of our few sightings of this species in the park area. They are usually associated  with flowering Banksias and our banding site has a grove of large trees at its’ centre which are in full flower. .

We have had several banding outings so far this year, as follows

14-1-2012       Gate 9                          20 captures      4 recaptures

15-1-2012       Gate 9                          14                    4

18-2-2012       Scott Creek                  19                    7

3-3-2012         Mackereth Creek         34                    3

4-3-2012         Mackereth Creek         23                    1

Notable recoveries were a 4+ Striated Thornbill at Gate 9, another 4+ Striated Thornbill and a 4+ Superb Fairy Wren at Scott Creek. We caught 5 female Golden Whistler at Mackereth Creek on the 3rd. March,  an unusually large number of this species for a single site.

Rain/bad weather wiped out one February weekend and we only spent one day at Scott Creek , when we visited the Larapinta Wetlands at Mount Barker on the Sunday. A goodly number of members and visitors saw 42 species of birds there. A Lewin’s Rail stood out in full view for us.

Business Meeting:

We are holding a business meeting on Thursday, the 8th. March at the Thompson’s residence, Frith Road, Cherry Gardens. Proceedings will start at around 7.30 pm. All members are welcome to attend.

Programme   March-May,  2012 (all working bees meet at 9.00am at G18)

March

3, 4

Bird banding

Mackereth Creek, 7 am.

 

6

Tuesday Working Bee

Broom & Erica, SW of G8

 

11

Sunday Working Bee

Erica, S. side Stringybark Track

 

8

Business meeting

Thompson’s residence, Frith Rd., Cherry G

ardens, 7.30 pm.

 

17, 18

Bird banding

Derwentia Creek, 7 am.

 

24

Saturday Working Bee

N. tributary, Upper Mackereth Ck., Gate 11, carry pack

 

31

Bird banding

Gate 7, 7.30 am.

April

1

Bird banding

Gate 7, 7.30 am.

 

3

Tuesday Working Bee

Pink Erica, SW side Fox Bog

 

6

Good Friday Walk

Greenhood Track – meet at top of Thorley Road

 

8

Sunday Working Bee

Verge N of old G10 Broom site

 

14, 15

Bird banding

Gate 11, 7.30 am.

 

28

Saturday Working Bee

E. side of Stockyard; weed cleanup post-burn

May

1

Tuesday Working Bee

Erica, boneseed S. of Echidna Track

 

5,6

Bird banding

Gate 3 Crossroads, 7.30 am.

 

13

Sunday Working bee

TBA

 

19, 20

Bird banding

Gate 4, 57.30 am.

 

26

Saturday Working Bee

TBA

June

5

Tuesday Working Bee

TBA

John Butler asks that anyone attending working bees and going directly to site rather than to the meeting area at Gate 18, give the organiser a call the day or so before, in case of a change in plans.

As a safety measure when working in the park, consider carrying a switched on mobile phone if you have one, with John’s 0427 164 290 or Tom’s 0417 869 349 numbers stored. Let John and Tom know your mobile No.

We have several two-way radios for members use. These are also available at working bees.

Officebearers:

            Any queries on Friends activities, please contact your office bearers.

President          Tom Hands       8388 2150         RMB 691, Cherry Gardens, 5157                                                                        Email: almanda11@bigpond.com

Secretary         Don Reid          8388 2123     224 Mt. Bold Road, Bradbury,  5153

                        Email: dre00249@bigpond.net.au

Treasurer          John Thompson     8388 2387          P.O. Box 426, Blackwood ,

                                                            5051

Saturday Working Bee Coordinator:

Peter Charles      8377 1749     74 Lascelles Avenue, Warradale,                                              5046

Email: charpet@ozemail.com

Tuesday/Sunday Working Bees Coordinator:

John Butler          8278 2773    5 Trevelyan Court, Coromandel

                                                                                                                         Valley, 5051                                        Email: jhbutler@chariot.net.au:

Friends Website:  http://friendsofscottcreek.org

John Butler asks that anyone attending working bees and going directly to site rather than to the meeting area at Gate 18, give the organiser a call the day or so before, in case of a change in plans.

As a safety measure when working in the park, consider carrying a switched on mobile phone if you have one, with John’s 0427 164 290 or Tom’s 0417 869 349 numbers stored. Let John and Tom know your mobile No.

We have several two-way radios for members use. These are also available at working bees.

We have several two-way radios for members use. These are also available at working bees.

Officebearers:

 Any queries on Friends activities, please contact your office bearers.

President          Tom Hands       8388 2150         RMB 691, Cherry Gardens , 5157      Email: almanda11@bigpond.com

Secretary         Don Reid          8388 2123     224 Mt. Bold Road, Bradbury,  5153                         Email: dre00249@bigpond.net.au

Check this Treasurer          John Thompson     8388 2387          P.O. Box 426, Blackwood , 5051

Saturday Working Bee Coordinator:Peter Charles      8377 1749     74 Lascelles Avenue , Warradale,  5046 Email: charpet@ozemail.com

Tuesday/Sunday Working Bees Coordinator: John Butler           8278 2773    5 Trevelyan Court , Coromandel Valley, 5051      Email: jhbutler@chariot.net.au :

Friends Website:  http://friendsofscottcreek.org

Please note that your Secretary's home address has changed, due to the new numbering system being put in place throughout rural area. RMBs are disappearing!

Don's email address has also changed to dre00249@bigpond.net.au

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