News [ 164 items ]
Plastic Free JulyPlastic Free July (PFJ) aims to raise awareness of the amount of unneeded plastic in our lives by encouraging people to eliminate the use of single-use plastic during July each year.
Single-use includes plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging. Basically anything that is intended only to be used once and then sent to landfill. If refusing ALL single use plastic sounds too daunting this time, try the TOP 4 challenge (straws, plastic bags, plastic bottles & coffee cups).
Attempt to consume no single-use plastic during July
Remember it's not going to be easy! It is a challenge, not a competition!
Collect any unavoidable single use plastic you buy and share with us at the end of July
It is up to you how long you participate, we encourage you to do it for a month, but you might prefer just a day or week!
Australians send 1 million tonnes of plastic waste to landfill each year. Lets try and decrease that amount!
To go into the draw for 2 free raffle baskets containing lots of items to make going plastic free so easy, contact NNRC on 8558 3644, or put your name down when you drop in.
YACCA LILLAYACCA (Youth and Community in Conservation Action) is an environmental youth group set up to educate high school aged students about their local environment. YACCA – Willunga was set up in the late stages of 2013 and has been running successfully, with the number of members, aged 11-16, skyrocketing. These members attend different schools and come from different environmental backgrounds.
Some of the environmental activities the Willunga group have participated in include planting days with Trees for Life and NRM, surveys along the Aldinga Reef with Reef Watch, water and macro-invertebrate testing along the perennial creeks in Willunga, trapping nights at Tatachilla Lutheran College and much more.
YACCA LILLA (Yankalilla) is hoping to run monthly after-school sessions using a similar format, with a partnership established between Normanville Natural Resource Centre, the Yankalilla Library, the Community Services team from Council and Corey Jackson, Coast, Estuary & Marine Officer for the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula.
YACCA LILLA will be staring at 4.00 pm on Wednesday 2nd August at the Yankalilla Community Centre.
At this initial meeting we will be having a visit from Radicool Reptiles where kids will be able to interact with some amazing wildlife.
Refreshments will be available and it’s all FREE!
For more info please call the NNR centre on 8558 3644.
Bird Field Trip to Newland Head Conservation Park22 different species were seen on Monday 22nd May 2017
|Carrawong||Pacific Gull||Silver Gull|
|Singing Honeyeater||Crescent Honeyeater||Whiskered Tern|
|Masked Lapwing||Chestnut Teal||Black Duck|
|Intermediate Egret||Australasian Pipit||Willie Wagtail|
|Grey Fantail||Superb Blue Fairy Wren||Welcome Swallow|
|New Holland Honeyeater||Little Pied Cormorant||Silvereye|
Tracks, Scats and Other Traces, a field guide to Australian Mammals. Revised Edition. Barbara Triggs, 2004, Oxford University PressThe tracks, scats and other traces of animal activity are not difficult to find. Look at the ground as you walk along any dusty bush track or muddy stream bank, step off the track into the forest and study the forest floor and the trunks of trees around you, leave the road anywhere in Australia’s dry inland and be amazed at the variety of marks in the sand; pause as you ski along a cross-country trail long enough to examine those patterns in the snow – in all these and many other places you will find another dimension, a new and complex mammal world.
Mammals inhabit every corner of our vast continent, yet the great majority of species are seldom seen. The only clue to their presence might be a footprint left on a muddy track, a rocky ledge, or bones scattered on a forest floor. Barbara Triggs provides all the information needed to identify mammals anywhere in Australia, using only the tracks or other signs they leave behind.
Tracks, Scats and Other Traces is organised for easy identification of the visible traces left by Australian mammals. This guide is divided into four sections: • Tracks – line drawings are matched with photographs of the same tracks in sand or mud; • Scats – the faeces of 128 species are illustrated in colour. A selection of scats and a distribution map and habitat information are given for each species; • Shelters, feeding signs and other traces – provides detailed descriptions and more than 70 colour photographs of the distinctive traces of mammals; • Bones – forty full-page plates of sculls, lower jaws, humeri and fenurs cover 38 commonly found species, and a detailed guide covers all mammal groups.
This book is available from the centre
Red or Purple Star Thistle.
Native to S & W Europe, although rarely found there nowadays has become a noxious weed across the globe.
Multi branched stems forming a dense mat to 1 m tall.
Dark green deeply lobed lowers leaves becoming less divided higher up, 2 to 8 cm x 1 to 3cm with course hairs.
Numerous flowers at the ends of branches or in leaf axils. 1.5 to 2 cm long, bright or pale purple sometimes pink, July to October with surrounding spikes 10 to 30 mm long in 1 to 3 pairs.
Each flower dries to produce about 1000 seeds per plant, that aren’t wind dispersed, rather falling close to the parent plant or being dispersed by water, machinery, fur, wool or contaminated hay.
Cultivation can stimulate germination so combined cultivation & herbicide application can be most effective as long as the thistles are treated at seedling stage, usually winter or spring. Individual plants can be dug out being sure to remove as much of the tap root as possible.
Kidney weed. Mercury weed(NZ)
Small herbaceous plant native to Australia & New Zealand.
Creeping plant that develops roots at the nodes.
Kidney shaped leaves, 0.5 to 2.5 cm across, hairy underneath.
Tiny greenish, creamy white flowers appearing at any time of the year usually Sept to Feb, usually Nov.
Fruit is a small hairy 2 lobed capsule.
Found in woodlands, forest & lawns, often associated with Eucalypts.
Often used a lawn substitute for shaded areas. Available in nurseries.
Seeds are a popular food with Pacific Black Duck (Anas supercilliosa).
Shrub to knee high with stiff branches.
Bright orange pea shaped flowers amongst the leaves Aug to Nov.
Green pods 1.5cmin length ripening to dark brown with 2 seeds inside.
Collect the ripening seeds in cloth bags or stockings tied over the ends of branches to protect from foraging ants or cut the pods of close to maturity & place in warm dry spot to dry, do this Dec to Feb.
Heat treat the seed in near boiling water for 30 sec & then top up with cold water, leave to soak overnight. Cover lightly with propagating mix, keep moist in a warm sunny spot.
Popular understory plant with birds, especially favoured by ants for the eating the aril. Found on many soil types.
Blowfly grass. Big quaking grass. Shell grass. Shakey grass.
Tufted grasslike annual 0.2 to 0.6m high.
Native to Nth Africa, W Asia, Sth Europe, naturalised in most parts of southern Australia.
Introduced as a garden ornamental although this is rarely seen nowadays.
3 to 12 distinct green large pendulous seed heads, grey/green with reddish brown top 2cm in Spring & Summer. Seeds germinate in Autumn after rains & then die back in summer
Brizia can be known to impede the growth of native plants. Easily pulled out.
A garden escapee that originated from Sth Africa, now found in bushland, in disturbed sites & along roadsides in most states of Australia.
Tolerant of full sun & shady sites preferring moist areas.
Long rigid sword like leaves with a prominent midrib, 80cm x 2 to 5cm
Annual flower spikes up to 2 m tall of numerous pink, red or dull orange of tubular curved flowers 5 to x 3 to 4 cm in Spring.
Bulbils or corms, up to 8 cm in diam, reproducing new plants arising in Winter, the plant becomes dormant in Summer & Autumn.
The best time to remove or spray this weed is in September before flowering, being careful to remove all bulbils from the disturbed soil.
Declared a noxious weed with detrimental effects on native flora & agricultural lands, poisonous to animals & humans, spread by water, animals, machinery disturbed soil.
An erect, branching perennial weed, invading neglected disturbed sites, roadsides, railways& pastures reaching 1m tall and between 30 to 80 cm wide.
Fleshy dark green, dived & lobed. Bigger leaves more & divided on the lower portion of the plant. 10 to 15cm long.
Flowers have 4 petals, 8 to 15mm across occurring singly & in clusters at the end of stems. Flowering all year.
Produces a cylindrical seed pod 2 to 5cm long x 1 to2 mm wide, with a small beak. Containing approximately 50 to 80 brown or yellow orange egg shaped seed 2mm.
Lincoln weed has a deep tap root which it can reproduce as well as seed.
Lincoln weed was initially planted as a soil binder, but is known to be poisonous to stock, although rarely eaten. It does contaminate cereal pastures & will taint meat & dairy produce.
Sweet Apple Berry
A sprawling shrub that will lightly climb nearby vegetation, 1 to 2 m. Narrow, oblong leaves, 2 to 3 cm long x 0.5 wide. Pretty mauve, blue sometimes creamy or pink 5 petal flowers, near the ends of branches. Sept to Dec. Hanging oblong fruits, to 2cm in length, fleshy, initially green, ripening to purplish red, with an aniseed taste. Indigenous people ate these raw or dried. Fruit contains many tiny black seeds.
Seeds can be collected from ripe fruit or from fruit that has been left on the plant until dry, usually mid summer. Rub fruits firmly to release from the broken capsule, It is important to remove all fleshy matter from the seed so soak in water for 48 hours & sieve through a fine sieve, retaining the seed & discarding the fleshy gunk. Spread seed on newspaper & leave in a dry spot, occasionally rubbing to dislodge the seed. Store seed in a dry place & sow in early spring, or sow immediately. Sow in propagating mix & cover lightly with mix or course sand. Billardiera takes a long time to germinate. Propagation by cuttings is also possible, semi hardwood cuttings with a heel taken in July/Aug.
Suitable for dappled shaded spots in the garden in well drained moist, sandy to loam locations.
Pink Fairy, Pink Fingers
Flower held on a stem 25cm high.
Long, thin leaf to 100mm long x 3to 4 mm wide.
1 to 5 flowers, sweet to musky scented. 30mm across with one upright petal & 4 lateral petals each 0.8 mm to 1.5cm long, pale greenish, pinkish white with a darker striped central labellum with yellow tips. Flowering August to October
.Flowering is followed by a non fleshy capsule that splits on maturity containing several seeds.
Found in alps, heathlands, woodland, scrub & forest in well drained soils in full or partial sun, in Eastern & South Eastern Australia including Tasmania. This plant is listed as endangered. Removal of plants from the wild leads to the death of the plant & is not recommended. Propagating the seed is extremely difficult.
Woodland Bearded Orchid, Purple Beaded Orchid.
A common orchid
An erect single blue green leaf with a powdery white appearance, sometimes with a red base, folded (V shaped) 30 cm long.
The flower head can be 40cm tall, with 1 to 8 flowers usually only one at a time. A light green with reddish marked hood with a distinctive hanging hairy purple tongue. Flowering Oct to Nov.
1 to 5 flowers, sweet to musky scented. 30mm across with one upright petal & 4 lateral petals each 0.8 mm to 1.5cm long, pale greenish, pinkish white with a darker striped central labellum with yellow tips. Flowering August to October
.Do not transplant.
Found in heathlands & woodlands in SA, VIC, ACT, NSW & TAS
Leaves are triangular in cross section 2-5cm long x 4-10mm wide. Shiny green through to purplish in colour. Flowers are pink, purple or violet petals with white centres. 2-5 cm diameter. Many petals. Flowering October to February. Indigenous people ate the fruit & the foliage was baked. Juice from the leaves was used as an insect repellent.
Widely distributed in saline areas, coastal dunes & samphire flats. Tolerates a wide range of soils including sand, loam & clay. Easily propagated from cuttings. Low water requirement & maintenance once established. Excellent in rockeries. Best in full sun or partial shade. Useful for soil erosion control. Fast growing.
OliBel Bird Watching Field TripTrip to OliBel (an area which links areas of significant native vegetation between Belair National Park and Mark Oliphant Conservation Park at Ironbank) on 27th March 2017
|Blackbird||Crimson Rosella||Little Raven|
|Buff-rumped Thornbill||Crescent Honeyeater||Sulphur-crested Cockatoo|
|Eastern Spinebill||Grey Currawong||Grey Fantail|
|Magpie||New Holland Honeyeater||Red-browed Finch|
|Red Wattlebird||Silvereye||Superb fariy-wren|
|White-naped Honeyeater||White-throated Tree Creeper||Yellow-rumped Thornbill|
|Crescent Honeyeater||The Group|
|New Holland Honeyeater||White-throated Tree Creeper|
The Bee Friendly Garden, easy ways to help the bees and make your garden grow. 2016. Doug Purdie.“Let’s go back to that idea from right at the beginning…when you stand outside, imagine a backyard or balcony packed with flowering plants and, in the air, the chirp of crickets, the squawk of birds, and, of course the buzz of bees, just as it’s meant to be”
Bees are our most important pollinators and they are in decline the world over. They love to live in urban environments, where it’s a short flight path from one plant to the next. But conventional gardens that favour lawns and pesticides over flowers and edible plants are scaring the good bugs away.
The Bee Friendly Garden is a guide for all gardeners great and small to encouraging bees and other good bugs to your green space. Includes:
• How bees forage and why your garden needs them • A comprehensive plant guide to bee friendly plants • Simple changes anybody can make • Ideas for gardens of all sizes • Natural pest control and companion planting advice
“Increasingly, people want to know what they can do to provide forage for bees and how they can get involved in the movement to help our bees and other beneficial bugs. Hopefully, this book answers some of those questions and will help transform your backyard or balcony from an insect desert into a bug nirvana, as we save our bees one garden at a time” Doug Purdie This book is for loan from the centre.
The case against fragrance. Kate Grenville, 2017. The Text Publishing Company, Melbourne, VIC.When Kate Grenville was tiny, her mother had a tiny, precious bottle of perfume on her dressing table and on special occasions she’d put a dab behind her ears. The smell of Arpege was always linked in her mind with excitement and pleasure – her Mum with her hair done, wearing her best dress and her pearls, off for a night out.
Kate had always associated perfume with elegance and beauty. Then the headaches started. On a book tour, dogged by ill heath, she started wondering: what’s in fragrance? What does it do to people?
The more she investigated, the more she felt this was a story that should be told. Fragrance isn’t made of flowers now, but synthetic chemicals. Some of them can be linked not just to headaches, but to asthma and allergies, hormone disruption and cancer. These chemicals are released onto to the market without testing. Their use is regulated by the same people who make them. And they don’t have to be listed on labels. Our world is awash with scented products containing these potentially damaging ingredients.
Based on carful research into the science of scent, yet accessible and personal, The Case Against Fragrance will make you see – and smell – the world differently. This book is available for loan from the centre.
Bird Field Trip to Mundoo Island41 different species were seen on Thursday 2nd February 2017
|Australian Pipit||Australian Reed Warbler||Little Raven|
|Crested Pigeon||Magpie Lark||Willie Wagtail|
|Red Wattlebird||Kestrel||Australian Magpie|
|White-fronted Chat||Silver Gull||Crested Tern|
|Fairy Tern||Caspian Tern||Whiskered Tern|
|Common Greenshank||Red-necked Stint||Banded Lapwing|
|Masked Lapwing||Purple Swamphen||Whistling Kite|
|Swamp Harrier||Australasian Darter||Pied Cormorant|
|Little Black Cormorant||Great Cormorant||Australian Pelican|
|White-faced Heron||Little Egret||Great Egret|
|Straw-necked Ibis||Australian White Ibis||Royal Spoonbill|
|Australasian Grebe||Black Swan||Cape Barren Goose|
|Musk Duck||Pacific Black Duck||Grey Teal|
Cape Barren Geese
Wildlife of Greater Adelaide, James I.D. Smith, foreward by Chris Daniels. 2016. Axiom Publishers, Stepney SAThe city of Adelaide and its immediate surroundings contain some truly remarkable wildlife. The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region is recognised nationally and internationally for its faunal diversity, which is, for the most part, abundant and accessible. Wildlife communities are found here that occur nowhere else on earth.
A rich collection of animal species can be seen in the region’s conservation parks and large bush blocks in the Adelaide Hills, and along watercourses to the coastal dunes and beaches. While the greatest variety exists in the natural and bushland areas, many species inhabit urban parks, golf courses, school grounds and backyards. Small numbers are even able to exploit the inner city and occupy human dwellings.
Mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, fishes, insects, spiders, crustaceans, snails and worms are amongst the diverse array of wildlife described and displayed within these pages. Emphasis has been placed on the most common, well-known or potentially dangerous species recorded across the region.
The wildlife of Greater Adelaide is the most comprehensive wildlife guide to the Greater Adelaide region and is a must-have addition for anyone interested in our local wildlife. Whether you are simply looking to identify the wild neighbours with which you share your own backyard or you are a seasoned naturalist looking to further expand your knowledge, this book is the perfect companion.
This book is available from the centre
Forces of Nature, Professor Brian Cox & Andrew Cohen. 2016. HarperCollins PublishersWhat is motion? Why is every snowflake different? Why is life symmetrical?
To answer these any many other questions, Professor Brian Cox uncovers some of the most extraordinary natural events here on Earth and in the Universe beyond.
From the immensity of the Universe and the roundness of Earth to the form of every single snowflake, the forces of nature shape everything we see. Pushed to the extremes, the results are astonishing. In seeking to understand the everyday world, the colours, structure, behaviour and history of our home, we develop the knowledge and techniques necessary to step beyond the everyday and approach the Universe beyond.
Forces of Nature takes you to the great plains of the Serengeti, the volcanoes of Indonesia and the precipitous cliffs in Nepal, to the humpback whales of the Caribbean and the northern lights of the Arctic. Brian will answer questions on Earth that will illuminate our understanding of the Universe.
This ground breaking book is a breathtaking and beautiful exploration of our planet.
This book is for loan from the centre.
Originated in South Africa.
Found throughout Australia.
5 to 10 grass like leaves to shin height.
5 petals pink greenish underneath, 2 to 3cm across that initially open close to the ground & then the stalks will elongate to lift them into the air. Aug to Nov.
Above ground vegetation dies back in summer leaving underground corms that can withstand hot dry summers.
Produces abundant seeds that are dispersed by animals & insects that will often grow well ahead of desirable species, using up available moisture & nutrients thereby reducing productivity of pasture & crops.
No nutritional value to animals as it will remain undigested in the gut, if large amounts are eaten it can obstruct the bowel & cause death.
Encourage competitive desirable species as Romulea prefers no completion. Regular slashing or mowing before the plant has set seed, to no higher than 1cm. Herbicide treatment on the advice of your herbicide retailer at the appropriate stage of corm development is crucial to kill off the corm.
Native to Europe, North West Africa & Western Asia. Escaped from cultivated gardens of settled European gardens in Eastern & Southern Australia.
Scrambling, deciduous shrub 1.5m with small sharp prickles.
Egg shaped leaves are arranged in pairs opposite to each other, 5 -7 leaflet pairs, with sharp serrated edges.
Pink 5 petalled flowers, 2.5cm across on hairless stalks clustered at the ends of branches. Late Spring to early Summer.
Red – orange oval fruit or hip, 1.5 – 2cm. Fruit is high in vitamin C & antioxidants, used for syrup, tea, marmalade & wine. Used in homeopathic medicine. Hips where gathered & used during WWII in Britain to supplement scarce citrus fruits.
Forms of this plant are used for grafting or budding of cultivated rose varieties.
Pollinated by bees, flies, Lepidoptera & self pollinated. Weedy & invasive in some regions.
Plants can be dug out of the ground, slashed or mowed in Spring, then spray the re-emergent shoots with a herbicide. Continual control measures must be adhered to for many years to be effective against this plant. Considered a minor or potential weed in SA.
Egyptian Rose, Mournful Widow, Mournful Bride, Pincushion Flower, Sweet Scabious.
Native to South Europe, North Africa & Western Asia. Escapee of cultivated gardens, now a naturalised weed in Australia & USA. Fast growing & invasive, easily spread seed. Found widespread in gardens, roadsides, paddocks.
To 1 m tall, untidy, wiry stems, with opposite, much lobed leaves on many branches.
Flowers on long stems, pink, lavender, purple occasionally white, forming a compact, many pedalled pincushion head. Spring & Summer.
Flower head drying to a brown or tan , bristly, oblong seed head, 3 x2 cm.
Manually remove plants from gardens or spray with appropriate herbicide before seeding occurs.
A prickly low bush up to 60cm high. Common in areas with higher rainfall. SA, VIC & TAS in well drained forests & scrublands.
Leaves are rigid, divided twice into three’s forming sharp points.
Buds have a red tinge( Photo of bud in October). Yellow flowers in dense spikes held within the foliage. Flowering in late Winter to early Summer.
Cone fruit, 1.5cm in diam with many seeds, ovoid in shape to 3 mm in length, many per cone.
Use gloves to collect the cones, twist or cut off the plant. Collect seeds at any time of the year. Place in a dry, warm place to dry. Peel outer layers off with care, the other layers will come away easier.
Sow seed in late Autumn or early Winter in well drained bush sand just below the surface. Keep moist in a sunny position.
Member of the nightshade family, native to South Africa, it was introduced to Australia as a garden ornamental plant in the mid 1800s.
A woody, many branched perennial shrub up to 5m high.
Distinct 1cm woody spines on the trunk & branches.
Smooth oval shaped leaves 10 to 40mm long x 4 to 10mm wide.
White or purple 5 petal flowers with white stamens, appear solitary in leaf axils. Mostly flowering in Summer or throughout the year.
Fruits are shiny, round or egg shaped, orange or red in colour on a drooping stalk .Each containing about 70 dull yellow seeds. This photo was taken at Lady Bay in early July.
Boxthorn displaces native vegetation, forming dense thickets & providing habitat for foxes & rabbits. It is also a host plant for fruit flies.
Spread by birds, it can germinate at any time of the year provided it is moist & warm enough.
It has a deep branched root system that will readily sucker or regenerate from broken pieces.
Persistent long term control measures by mechanically removal, being careful to remove branch & root pieces & burn & follow application of herbicide on any regrowth over many years.
Native to Southern Europe & Northern Africa & Western Asia.
Common naturalised species particularly found in Southern parts of Australia, VIC, NSW, WA, QLD & southern NT. Pastures, rangelands, open woodlands, grasslands, disturbed sites, cropping areas, common along roadsides.
A tufted herbaceous plant 20-80cm tall. Onion-like leaves, cylindrical, hollow & elongated, 2.5 to 7mm thick.
Flowers arranged on the upper stems on short stalks, white or pinkish with a reddish stripe down its center ,6 petals, 15 to 20 mm across. Flowering Spring & Summer. Most plants do not flower in their first year.
Fruit is an almost round capsule, 4 to 7mm across, divided into 3 compartments containing 1 or 2 seeds. Turning from green to pale red-brown or sandy brown. Seeds are dispersed by wind, water, machinery or mud. Germinates at any time of year mostly late Summer & Autumn.
Regarded as an environmental weed of high invasive nature, competitive with native & pastoral species. Not eaten by stock.
Dig out isolated plants being careful to remove root pieces before flowering. Increase the level of cultivation. Spray larger areas on advice of the local herbicide retailer in Winter to Spring.
Native to the Mediterranean.
Annual grass to 50cm. Leaf blade is >2mm wide & emerges rolled & overlapping at the base. Rapidly germinates in Autumn. A valuable fodder for stock when in vegetative state, but avoided by stock when in flowering/seeding stage. It can cause eye problems for grazing animals, also reduce live weight gains & a reduction in wool quality.
A colonizer of disturbed sites & pastures. It is a major host to many cereal diseases. Consult with your local herbicide retailer for management strategy.
Seedhead, a spike with distinct awns. Flowering Spring to early Summer.
In Australia there are 3 main species of fleabane. C.bonariensis (flaxleaf fleabane), C.canadensis (Canadian fleabane) & C. albida (tall fleabane). Of these 3 species, flaxleaf fleabane is the most common in Australia.
A common garden & roadside weed most of year.
Growing to a height of 1m.
Spindly looking with numerous branches arising from the main stem base.
Narrow leaves, being wider at the base of the plant, upper leaves becoming narrower. Leaves are elongated, lance shaped, ranging from light green to dull khaki.
Both stems & leaves are slightly hairy.
Cream to beige colored flowers, feathery balls, situated in terminal clusters.
Control of this weed depends on removing the flowers & consequent seed heads & thoughtfully disposing of them. Hand pulling of this plant is made easier by soaking the soil first.
Paterson’s Curse, Salvation Jane
Native to Mediterranean Europe & Nth Africa. Introduced into Australia as a garden ornamental & accidentally released in the 1850s & was showing potential as a major weed by 1890.
Prolific seeder, producing more than 10,000 seeds per plant a year, with seed soil life of 5 years.
Occurs in disturbed sites in all states of Australia.
Seeds may germinate at anytime of the year, mainly after Summer or Autumn rains, producing a rosette, of green hairy egg shaped leaves that may grow to 15cm long, they may have stem leaves which are smaller than the base rosette leaves. Stems may be 60 to 150cm tall.
Predominately noticeable when it comes into flower, Sept to December. Purple occasionally white or blue, curved trumpet, 2 to 3 cm long borne on a branched spike. Up to 4 seeds per flower.
Extensive widespread infestations of pastoral regions, natural vegetated sites & will pop up in gardens.
Great for bees but it is toxic to most grazing animals especially cattle & horses less so sheep.
Grazing by sheep after a suitable herbicide application proves the most effective control method but this must be done for a prolonged period.
Native to the Meditteranean.
Hardy, perennial herb, 2.5m tall, with hollow stems. Feathery leaves, strongly aniseed flavoured & scented.
Yellow tinted flowers in terminal umbels, 5 to 15cm across of 20 to 50 flowers on short stalks in Summer. Seeds can be eaten raw, cooked or made into tea. Good for flatulence, colic, nursing mothers, externally the oil is good for rheumatic & muscular pain.
Planted near dog kennels it is good for keeping away fleas.
Remove plants before flowering time is vital. Use a combination of different control methods, spray, dig out, slash.
Fennel spreads by seed on machinery, animals &humans, in water, it will regrow from crown or root fragments.
Prickly Lettuce, Compass Plant, Scarole
Annual or biennial plant, up to 2 m tall. A relative of cultivated lettuce. Originting in Europe, Asia & Africa.
Blue green leaves with saw toothed divided edges & a prominent mid vein up to 30cm long. Leaves grow along a spiny stem, progressively getting smaller towards the top. Similar to L.saligna but lacks spines on the lower stem but may have a few spines on the lower side of the leaves. Leaves on the stem follow a north south plane hence the name Compass Plant.
Pale yellow flowers, 15mm long, Oct to Feb with white seedheads that look like dandelions.
When cut it emits an irritating milky latex.
Colonizer of disturbed sites. Germinates in late Autumn & Winter. Leaves can be eaten when young though do taste bitter.
Minor crop weed in Australia. Can be found in gardens & alongside roads. Manually remove plants including the taproot with gloves or spray with appropriate herbicide before the flowering stems have started to elongate.
*Acacia longifolia var. sophoraeMIMOSACEAE
Widely spread throughout the world. Used for soil preservation &^ nitrogen fixing especially along coastal areas. A quick growing tree with a lifespan of 5 to 6 years.
Low growing with sprawling lower branches, reaching 3 m high & 4m wide.
Bark on older stems is grey, either finely fissured or smooth, on younger branches it is green/reddish.
Leaves, 4 to 11 cm x 10 to 30mm, dull green, oblong with blunt, slightly rounded tips. 2 to 4 longitudinal veins.
Bright yellow flowers, elongated spikes up to 50mm long occurring in the leaf axils. Flowering late winter into spring..
Woody cylindrical pod often coiled & twisted on opening. 4 to 15 cm long. Constricted between each seed. Dark, smooth seeds 5 to 6mm long x 3 to 4mm wide, each with a large fleshy orange aril attached to the seed, sometimes irregular.
Aboriginal people harvested the green seed pods, then steamed them lightly. The protein rich seeds are picked out & eaten.
The flowers are used in yellow dye & the pods for green dye. The bark, high in tannin has a limited use for tanning sheep skins & fishermens sails.
Widely naturalised in SA, NSW, VIC, TAS & WA.
An introduced escaped cultivated garden plant.
18 to 50 cm tall x 3 to 20mm wide, strap like leaves & 3 angled stems. Strong garlic, onion smelling leaves when crushed or bruised.
White flowers with a green stripe running down the middle, 6 petals, pendulous bell shaped in clusters borne on a stalk 10-25mm long. Spring & Summer.
Fruit is initially green, rounded capsule4 to 7mm across maturing to light brown containing several small black seeds.
Stock will not eat it. Causes dermatitis in some people.
A declared weed in the Borossa & Mount Lofty Ranges.
Dig out isolated plants, carefully removing all the roots. Spray larger infestations before flowering.
Paradise is Underwater, Memoir of a marine biologist. 2016. Dr Scoresby A Shepherd AO.Paradise is Underwater presents the life of a marine biologist and fisheries worker in South Australian from his earliest days in the country to the present. After a troubled youth, trapped by strict parents within a cult, he escaped just at the time when diving gear first became available in Australia. He donned an aqualung and was at once inspired for life, enthused with a sublime sense of the mysteries underwater that only increased the deeper he went.
Lovers of the sea will be enthralled by these lyrical memoirs, full of astonishing facts about the hidden and fleeting beauties of underwater life. All is woven together into a seductive blend of underwater research, travels to many parts of the world, and diving experiences in all oceans and seas, starting in Australian waters and then in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the coasts of Mexico, the Arabian Gulf and Alaskan waters.
Mingled with these reminiscences is an account of studies of a marine shellfish – the abalone – and efforts to prevent overfishing of that valuable resource.
All is written easily, poetically, with frankness and humour in a mix with history, philosophy and literature – enchanting at every level.
This book is available for loan from the centre.
The Oldest Foods on Earth, A History of Australian Native Foods with recipes, John Newton. 2016. NewSouth Publishing, Uni of NSW Press Ltd.“This is a book about Australian food, the flora and fauna that nourished Aboriginal peoples for over 50,000 years. It is because European Australians have hardly touched these foods for over 200 years that I am writing it”.
We celebrate cultural and culinary diversity, yet shun the foods that grew here before white settlers arrived. We love superfoods from remote exotic locations, yet reject those that grow here. We say we revere sustainable local produce, yet ignore Australian native plants and animals that are better for the land than European ones.
In this, the most important of his books, John Newton boils down these paradoxes by arguing that if you are what you eat, we need to eat different foods – foods that will help to reconcile us with the land and its first inhabitants.
With recipes from chefs such as Peter Gilmore, Maggie Beer and Rene Redzepi’s sous chef Beau Clugston, The Oldest Foods on Earth will convince you that this is one food revolution that really matters.
This book is available from the centre
Bird Field Trip to Bullock Hill25 different species were seen on Monday 24th October 2016
|Sulphur-crested Cockatoo||Tree Martin||Golden Whistler|
|New Holland Honeyeater||Grey Fantail||Willie Wagtail|
|Rainbow Bee-eater||Hooded Robin||Silvereye|
|Red Wattlebird||Kestrel||European Goldfinch|
|Eastern Spinebill||Red-browed Finch||Little Raven|
|Superb Fairy-wren||Red-rumped Parrot||Horsefield's Bronze-cuckoo|
|White-browed Babbler||Striated Thornbill||Yellow-rumped Thornbill|
Female Golden Whistler
Bird Camp Out to the Riverland September 201696 different species were seen on 18th - 21st September 2016.
|Grey Teal||Pacific Black Duck||Hardhead|
|Pelican||Hoary-headed Grebe||Singing Bushlark|
|Red-necked Avocet||Australian White Ibis||Australasian Shoveler|
|Musk Duck||Australian Shelduck||Australian Wood Duck|
|Black Swan||Emu||Eurasian Coot|
|Purple Swamphen||Feral Pigeon||Crested Pigeon|
|Galah||Little Corella||Chestnut Teal|
|Great Egret||Crimson (Yellow) Rosella||Welcome Swallow|
|Tree Martin||Grey Shrike-thrush||Willie Wagtail|
|White-plumed Honeyeater||Yellow-plumed Honeyeater||Singing Honeyeater|
|Red Wattlebird||Common Starling||Australian Magpie|
|Noisy Miner||Magpielark||Little Raven|
|Superb Fairy-wren||Variegated Fairy-wren||Little Grassbird|
|White-winged Fairy-wren||Clamorous Red Warbler||Chestnut-crowned Babbler||White-browed Babbler||Hooded Robin||House Sparrow|
|Blackbird||Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike||Grey Fantail||Fairy Martin||Sacred Kingfisher||Horsefield's Bronze-cuckoo||Mulga Parrot||Red-rumped Parrot||Australian Ringneck|
|Regent Parrot||Sulphur-crested Cockatoo||Little Corella||Common Bronzewing||Peaceful Dove||Brown Treecreeper|
|Caspian Tern||Silver Gull||Darter||Pied Cormorant||Little Pied Cormorant||Great Cormorant|
|Little Black Cormorant||Royal Spoonbill||Yellow-billed Spoonbill|
|Straw-necked Ibis||Black-shouldered Kite||Black Kite|
|Whistling Kite||Sparrowhawk||Little Eagle|
|Australian Hobby||Nankeen Kestrel||Masked Lapwing|
|Southern Whiteface||Weebill||Chestnut-rumped Thornbill|
|Yellow-rumped Thornbill||Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater||Yellow-throated Miner|
|Striated Pardalote||Silvereye||Zebra Finch|
|Starling||White-winged Chough||Dusky Woodswallow|
|White-breasted Woodswallow||Magpie||Black-fronted Dotterel|
Juvenile Pied Burcherbird
Woodland Bearded Greenhood, Bearded Greenhood
Upstanding orchid to 30cm high. A large rosette, pineapple like leaf base typically 30 to 50mm long.
A solitary dark green hooded top that is pinched in the middle with a pointed tip, & two downward pointing petals with a feathered yellow, hairy tongue that has a small dark brown knob at the end. 1 to 30mm long. Flowering Sept to Oct.
Found in VIC & SA in woodlands on clay loam soils. As with all orchid species they are extremely difficult to propagate & should never be taken from the wild.
The Fleurieu & Southern Coasts. 2014. Neville Collins.The Fleurieu and Southern Coasts examines various aspects of the southernmost part of the Mount Lofty Ranges extending from McLaren Vale to Cape Jervis which has become a popular tourist destination in South Australia.
Situated in close proximity to the capital of South Australia, Adelaide, and with fertile soils and reliable rainfall, it was one of the earliest areas to be settled in the state. The Fleurieu still retains a rural aspect, and this, combined with spectacular scenery, especially along the coastline, has resulted in it becoming increasingly tourist oriented and a location where many of the South Australian populace tend to retire to or have vacation residences.
The book should act as a ready reference for those exploring, residing or intending to reside in this beautiful region. The chapters on vegetation, fauna, birds and reptiles will be of particular interest to the amateur naturalist while the maps, numerous colour and historical photographs should have general appeal.
This book is available from the centre
Field Trip to Laratinga Wetlands on 19th July 201638 different species were seen on 19th July 2016.
|Grey Teal||Pacific Black Duck||Hardhead|
|Chestnut Teal||Hoary-headed Grebe||Australasian Grebe|
|White-faced Heron||Australian Ibis||Australian Shoveler|
|Blue-billed Duck||Mallard||Australian Wood Duck|
|Australian Spotted Crake||Dusky Moorhen||Eurasian Coot|
|Purple Swamphen||Feral Pigeon||Crested Pigeon|
|Galah||Little Corella||Rainbow Lorikeet|
|Musk Lorikeet||Adelaide Rosella||Welcome Swallow|
|Tree Martin||Grey shrike-thrush||Willie Wagtail|
|White-plumed Honeyeater||New Holland Honeyeater||European Goldfinch|
|Red Wattlebird||Common Starling||Australian Magpie|
|Willie Wagtail||Magpielark||Little Raven|
|Superb Fairy-wren||Little Grassbird|
Pacific Black Duck
The Bee Book, Beekeeping Basics, Harvesting Honey, Beeswax, Candles and other Bee Business. 2010. Anne Cliff. Manna Press. Melbourne.Honey has been an important food for people for thousands of years. Their desire for it led to the 'domestication' of bees, through crafting artificial beehives and manipulating the bees' food sources. But quite apart from the harvests of honey and wax, the life-giving role of bees in pollinating many plants that people rely on for food, has made them the stuff of legend, mystery, worship and, nowadays, also controversy.
Although some people believe that our reliance on bees for the cultivation of food crops is much exaggerated (as some major staples like rice, wheat and even potatoes don't need them), there is no doubt that there are many crops whose very survival depends on bees. And that is why the recent, somewhat mysterious decline in bee populations around the world is so concerning to people who worry about the future of our natural environment.
Anyone interested in growing food, who wants to find out what a beehive or two will give them, even on such a small scale as the suburban backyard or the terrace-house garden, will find this book an indispensable introduction to keeping bees.
This book is available from the centre
Scraggly tree to 4m high.
Leaves are thick, rigid with pointed ends 3 to 8cm long x 4 to 7mm.
Red flowers with yellow tips, bottlebrush shaped.5 to 8 cm long x 4 to 5 diam. Spring & Summer.
Seed capsules, woody, in clusters along the stems containing numerous small seeds.
Cut mature seedpods off the plant when mature with secateurs & place in a warm dry container to collect the released seeds. Sprinkle seed over propagating mix & cover lightly with soil, keep moist. Seed germinates between 18 & 25 degrees. Direct sow in lightly tilthed soils. Appreciates a prune after flowering.
Excellent plant for birds & insects.
Blue grass lily
A tufted perennial plant, up to 50cm tall with broad finger shaped fibrous roots that are edible.
The base leaves are crowded, grass like, up to 30cm long x 9 to 15mm wide.
Flowers in clusters of 1 to 3 arising along the stems. 6 petals, lilac pale blue petals 6 to 9mm long, yellow anthers, star like flowers which will spiral on itself after flowering. Flowers Sept to Feb.
Seeds are held in solitary partitions in a capsule.
Found in SA, VIC, NSW, TAS in grasslands & woodlands.
Available in nurseries. Tolerates sandy, loam or clay soils, prefers well drained but moist sites not in the shade.
Donkey Orchid, Wallflower Orchid.
Small upright herb.
2 or 3 long narrow, grasslike leaves, 10 to 20cm long x 6 to 10 mm wide.
Beautiful flowers on tall stems 12 to 35 cm tall. Yellow suffused with browns and purples. 2.5 cm across Modified petals with 2 lateral drooping petals that cross each other at the bottom & a central tongue petal. Flowering Sept to Oct.
The fruit is a non fleshy capsule containing 30 to 500 seeds which mature in a matter of weeks.
Underground tuber becomes dormant in Summer when the upper growth shrivels.
Grows in moist soil, in shaded sites in woodlands.
Purple Cockatoo, Waxlip Orchid.
Beautiful slender 12 to 32 cm high stems, slender leaves.
2 or 3 long narrow, grasslike leaves, 10 to 20cm long x 6 to 10 mm wide.
5 petals, most commonly purple blue, white inner petal & yellow on inner throat, but variation in colour is common from deep purple to a rare white form, up to 6 cm in diam. The one pictured was 3cm diam. Flowers Aug to Oct.
Found in eastern Qld & central & eastern NSW, VIC, SA & TAS on undisturbed sites in forests & woodlands.
Difficult to cultivate & transplanted plants tend not to last long as they are dependant on a symbiotic soil fungi for nutrition.
Australian Hollyhock, Flood Mallow
Tall, woody at the base, shrub with an upright flowering stem to 2m.
Large velvety, soft leaves, light to mid green up to 20 cm across, 3 to 7 lobed.
Five petals, mauve, pink sometimes white, 12 to 25 mm, occurring solitary or in clusters in leaf axils. Hibiscus looking. Flowering mostly in Spring.
Grows in open woodlands & along creeklines & roads.
Annual or binennial. Suitable for gardens but are susceptible to slugs & snails. Dehead often. Prefers well drained sites, water well in summer. Tolerant of all soils.
The Coral Battleground. Judith Wright 1996. Angus & Robertson.The story of the groundbreaking campaign to save the Great Barrier Reef, by Australia's foremost poet – Judith Wright.
Teeming with life, Australia's Great Barrier Reef region covers 350,000 square kilometres. That it still survives is a legacy of activists, such as poet Judith Wright, who in 1967 were branded as 'cranks' and 'anti-progressive visionaries'.
What began as a small group of dedicated conservationists in Queensland, battling to save the Ellison Reef from coral-limestone mining and the Swain Reefs from oil exploration, swelled to encompass scientists, trade unionists and politicians throughout Australia, and led in 1976 to the establishment of a guardian body: the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
'There are not many success stories in the attempts we make to save especially important elements of the natural world from our own greeds and needs. Here at the end of the twentieth century, we have lost or destroyed a great deal already, and we know that much more is likely to vanish. But the story of the rescue of the Great Barrier Reef still throws a light on the present and gives hope for the future', Judith Wright.
This book is available from the centre
Making a meal of it: smart ways to buy, store and use up food. 2011. Jane Willcox and Rosemary Cadden. Wakefield Press. Kent Town, SA."Two black bananas, one sad carrot, a bunch of slimy coriander and half a loaf of stale bread. That's how this book began; with a quick list of the food about to go to waste in our homes. Talking on the phone one day about how much perfectly good food people throw away, we headed into our respective kitchens to see which of us was the worst waster. Let's just say we called it a draw. And that's when we decided to write this book."
What to do with that one sad carrot? Making a meal of it is a guide to making the most of the food we feel guilty about throwing away.
Bursting with tips, ideas and recipes, this book tells you how to buy the best, keep it fresh, and make use of every bit – and, when you forgot, how to restore and revive. The ideas are simple and flexible, from tasty solutions for last night's leftovers to easy recipes for a bulk buy or garden harvest.
Find out: • which everyday vegetable is healthier cooked than raw • what staple causes food poisoning in the home • why you shouldn't put a vase of flowers near the fruit bowl • why apes peel their bananas from the other end Tuck in and make a meal of it. You'll save time and money, and a bit of the planet too.
This book is available from the centre
Miniature Lives, Identifying Insects in Your Home and Garden. Michelle Gleeson. 2016. CSIRO Publishing, Clayton South VIC 3169“This indispensable guide to insect-watching will fill an important role in insect conservation and as a reference work, as it introduces new generations to the diverse, secretive, often beautiful and always intriguing miniature lives of insects”. Densey Clyne.
We can’t avoid insects. They scurry past us in the kitchen, pop up in our gardens, or are presented to us in jars by inquisitive children. Despite encountering them on a daily basis, most people don’t know an aphid from an antlion, and identifying an insect using field guides or internet searches can be daunting.
Miniature Lives provides a range of simple strategies that people can use to identify and learn more about the insects in their homes and gardens. Featuring a step-by-step, illustrated identification key and detailed illustrations and colour photographs, the book guides the reader through the basics of entomology (the study of insects). Simple explanations, amusing analogies and quirky facts describe where insects live, how they grow and protect themselves, the clues they leave behind and their status as friend or foe in a way that is both interesting and easy to understand.
Gardeners, nature lovers, students, teachers, and parents and grandparents of bug-crazed kids will love this comprehensive guide to the marvellous diversity of insects that surround us and the miniature lives they lead.
This book is available from the centre
Gardening Australia FLORA, the gardener’s bible. 2003. ABC Books, Ultimo NSWThis comprehensive, beautifully illustrated encyclopedia of plants contains information on over 20,000 plants from all around the world. Organized in an A to Z format by botanical name, the individual entries provide a detailed description of each plant and its features, notes on origin, cultivation requirements, growth habit and propagation.
With a foreword by respected author and gardener Peter Cundall, the introductory section features many of the Gardening Australia team, who provide up-to-date discussions on a wide range of issues. There are double-page spreads on each of the country’s six main climate zones, with detailed explanations of the characteristics and gardening needs of each zone and stunning photographs of typical plants accompanying each of the zones. As well, the introduction features articles relevant to today’s gardener, from topics such as landscape design basics to gardening with natives and organic gardening.
This book covers all the plant groups: trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials, bulbs, corms and tubers, cacti and succulents, lawns, ground covers, ornamental grasses, herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, other fruits, nut trees, palms and cycads, ferns, climbers and creepers, bromeliads, carnivorous plants and orchids.
Written by a team of local and international botanical and horticultural writers, this book will allow all gardeners to choose the perfect plants for their garden and expand their knowledge of the wealth of plants available.
This book is available from the centre
The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food. Tanya L.K. Denckla, 2003. Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA.Why choose organic gardening over conventional methods when it requires greater commitment? This book will inspire you to take on the challenge, and the result will be delicious food from a garden that is healthy for the children to play in and for the gardener to tend
The Industrial revolution brought mechanization and precise replication to the world of manufacture. The "green revolution" of the mid-twentieth century brought similar change to the world of agriculture. To tackle the daunting task of feeding the world's hungry, science and agriculture joined forces to create new crop hybrids, fertilizers, and pesticides that produced, first in the United States and then elsewhere, yields that were truly miraculous.
Since the early success of the green revolution, however, the world and our understanding of it have fundamentally changed. The information age and globalization have given rise–and credibility-to the movement for sustainability, which seeks to work in ways that ensure resources are constantly replenished and renewed, not depleted and damaged. The sustainable model is all encompassing and can be applied to agriculture, business and natural and human resources.
The Gardener's A-Z Guide to growing organic food: 765 varieties of vegetables, herbs, fruits and nuts. Formulas and techniques that control 201 pests and diseases organically. This book is available for loan from the centre.
Field Trip to Scott Conservation Park on 11th April 201627 different species were seen on 11th April 2016.
|White-winged Chough||Purple-crowned Lorikeet||Rainbow Lorikeet|
|Musk Lorikeet||Elegant Parrot||Blackbird|
|New Holland Honeyeater||Striated Pardalote||Willie Wagtail|
|Grey Fantail||Nankeen Kestrel||Australian Ibis|
|Tree Martin||Dusky Woodswallow||Brown Treecreeper|
|Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo||Kookaburra||Red Wattlebird|
Field Trip to Goolwa Barrages on 1st February 201644 different species were seen on 1st February 2016.
|Grey Teal||Pacific Black Duck||Hardhead|
|Black Swan||Hoary-headed Grebe||Royal Spoonbill|
|Australian White Ibis||Great Egret||Little Egret|
|White-faced Heron||Australian Pelican||Little Pied Cormorant|
|Great Cormorant||Little Black Cormorant||Black-shouldered Kite|
|Whistling Kite||Nankeen Kestrel||Eurasian Coot|
|Purple Swamphen||White-headed Stilt||Red-necked Avocet|
|Common Sandpiper||Sharp-tailed Sandpiper||Curlew Sandpiper|
|Red-necked Stint||Common Greenshank||Whiskered Tern|
|Caspian Tern||Crested Tern||Silver Gull|
|Pacific Gull||Rock Dove||Crested Pigeon|
|Red Wattlebird||Singing Honeyeater||Australian Magpie|
|Willie Wagtail||Magpielark||Little Raven|
|Welcome Swallow||Little Grassbird||Common Blackbird|
|Common Starling||House Sparrow|
Pelican, Avocets, Caspian Tern
Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community and the Whole Earth.
Jessie Bloom & Dave Boehnlein, 2015. Timber Press Inc.
The book covers the basic principles of permaculture, showing the entire design process from land assessment to the completed master plan, with detailed information on the plants, water, waste, energy, shelter, food, animals and structures that make up the garden. Filled with real-life examples from all over the world, this invaluable resource will help you turn your property into a sustainable ecosystem.
We are at a crossroads and need to start making changes. Many of us rely on systems that are beyond our control – the industrial food system, municipal waste and water systems, the energy grid, to name a few. But we don't have to rely on those systems – we can be more self-sufficient and take back the reins. We can remember that human life has an ecological purpose and function.
Each reader may come to this book on a different path, but we all have something in common: we're human, in this together, and we belong to the intricate web of life that Chief Seattle describes. We are all born into that connection and are hardwired to feel it, but depending on our experience of life, we may be pulled away from it. Humans are inherently always looking for a better quality of life – for health, happiness, comfort and financial stability, among other things. However, it is easy to look ahead and see that many of the choices we as a species have made in that quest are not going to sustain us.This book is available for loan from the centre.
Bird Minds, cognition and behaviour of Australian native birds. Gisela Kaplan 2015. CSIRO Publishing, Clayton South Vic.Gisela Kaplan is a Professor at the University of New England and an Honorary Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute. She is the author of over 250 research articles and 21 books and has conducted groundbreaking research into vocal learning, communication and cognition in in birds and other vertebrates.
In her comprehensive and carefully crafted book, Gisela Kaplan demonstrates how intelligent and emotional Australian birds can be. She describes complex behaviours such as grieving, deception, problem solving and the use of tools. Many Australian birds cooperate and defend each other, and exceptional ones go fishing by throwing breadcrumbs in the water, extract poisonous parts from prey and use tools to crack open eggshells and mussels. Kaplan brings together evidence of many such cognitive abilities, suggesting plausible reasons for their appearance in Australian birds.
Bird Minds is the first attempt to shine a critical and scientific light on the cognitive behaviour of Australian land birds. In this fascinating book, the author also presents recent changes in our understanding of the avian brain and links these to life histories and longevity.This book is available for loan from the centre.
Living Waters: ecology of animals in swamps, rivers, lakes and dams. Nick Romanowski 2013. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Vic.Far more that a natural history, Living Waters explains the underlying forces that drive ecological change and movement in Australian wetlands.
Wetlands are often seen as the ultimate symbol of beauty and tranquillity, the clear waters sheltering mysterious animals in a world where change is gentle and slow, from dragonflies skimming above their own reflections to the fishes glimpsed briefly below. Yet Australian wetlands are among the most varied and changeable habitats found anywhere, and the many creatures that live out their lives in and around water are superbly adapted to some of the most unpredictable ecosystems in the world.
This book follows the diverse common themes and patterns that link inland waters from Tasmania to the tropics. It shows how cycles of change, the ways that different wetland animals travel through and between wetlands, and the interactions of the animals themselves create an ever-changing ecological kaleidoscope. Drawing on what is known of the biology, ecology and even genetics of many of the most abundant, widespread and successful groups of animals, the author shows similarities to wetlands in other parts of the world, as well as some of the more extreme environments and specialised animals that are unique to this continent.This book is available for loan from the centre.
Planet to plate: the Earth Hour cookbook. 2015. WWF Australia, NSW.Food is the fabric of our society. Planet to Plate is a fantastic opportunity for the broader community to meet some of our wonderful Australian farmers, share the stories and start thinking about food and how they value in a different way.
Climate change is one of the top pressures facing farmers. If we let it continue, people's access to a choice of food will dwindle. People's access to affordable food will decline. This is what we have to wake up to.
Planet to Plate brings together 52 delicious recipes from Australia's top chefs in the name of celebrating and protecting our fresh produce. With mouth-watering celebrity dishes, evocative photography and firsthand stories from farmers about how rising temperatures and more extreme weather is already affecting our food, Planet to Plate will inspire you to live the spirit of Earth Hour, every hour. This book is available for loan from the centre.
Care-free plants. 2010. Readers Digest (Australia), Surrey Hills, NSW.Who doesn't yearn for a garden filled with lush and colourful plants? And who wouldn't like their home to be surrounded by a really beautiful garden? But if you're like most of us, you'll wonder whether you can find the time and make the effort needed to create your own Eden.
Care-free Plants shows you how you can have a fantastic garden and still have time to relax and enjoy it. When you match the right care-free plant to the condition of your site, then gardening becomes easy. You'll quickly discover how you can develop a wonderful garden in your spare time without getting backache and spending a fortune.
You'll find that no matter where you live, there are plenty of suggestions for plants that will thrive in your garden. Whether you are gardening in a sunny spot, by a windy beach or a busy thoroughfare, or in a shady, boggy niche, the following pages will offer you schemes that feature the easiest to grow, most rewarding, most foolproof and most problem-free plants for your site. This book is available for loan from the centre.
Field Trip to Aldinga Scrub on 23rd November 2015Trip to Aldinga Scrub on 23rd November 2015
|Dusky Woodswallow||Austral Magpie||Grey Fantail|
|Willie Wagtail||Little Raven||Magpielark|
|Welcome Swallow||Tree Martin||Blackbird|
|Common Starling||Mistletoebird||Red-browed Finch|
|House Sparrow||European Goldfinch||Musk Duck|
|Pink-eared Duck||Chestnut Teal||Mallard|
|Pacific Black Duck||Hardhead||Australasian Grebe|
|Hoary-headed Gebe||Common Bronzewing||Crested Pigeon|
|Tawny Frogmouth||Little Pied Cormorant||Little Black Cormorant|
|Pied Cormorant||White-faced Heron||Australian White Ibis|
|Wedge-tailed Eagle||Nankeen Kestrel||Purple Swamphen|
|Black-tailed Native-hen||Eurasian Coot||Black-fronted Dotterel|
|Masked Lapwing||Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo||Galah|
|Rainbow Lorikeet||Immature Black-winged Stilt||Eastern Great Egret|
|Eastern Rosella||Elegant Parrot||Superb Fairywren|
|White-plumed Honeyeater||Red Wattlebird||New Holland Honeyeater|
|Golden Whistler||Grey Shrikethrush|
|Pink-eared Duck||Nankeen Kestrel|
|Dusky Woodswallow||Tawny Frogmouth|
A rare, delicate, small wiry shrub to 50cm high. Grows in forested areas.
Dark green oval leaves in 3 leaflets with rounded tips spaced along the smooth red stems.
Four pink pointed petal flowers in Spring & early Summer.
Small, 2mm black seeds. Nip off the mature fruits from the tips & place in a paper bag, keep dry & warm to catch the ripe ejecting seeds. Or place a cloth under the plant to catch the seed. Collect in Summer.
In Autumn or Spring, sprinkle seed over sandy soil, preferably soil taken from near the parent plant. Keep moist. Also can be grown from cuttings.
Cassytha glabella form disparLAURACEAE
Slender Devils Twine, Snotty Gobble, Tangled Dodder Laurel, Slender Dodder Laurel, Smooth Cassytha.
Perennial climber, parasitic on nearby vegetation.
Twisting yellow green stems, 0.5mm diam.
Small, white, 3 petal flowers on short spikes, 5 to 7 mm long, Spring & Summer. Mucous sweet tasting fruits, elongated or pear shaped, green, yellow or sometimes red fruit, 2.5 to 3.5mm long.
Leaves are present as tiny scales.
Germinates by seed in the soil & then attaches to a nearby plant, the root will then die & then the plant lives by suckering on the host plant.
Seed is spread by wind, water & animal dung. Can germinate by fragments which will regrow, therefore do not slash infestations.
Widespread. QLD, NSW,VIC,SA & TAS.
Attracts butterflies especially the Western Dusky Blue Butterfly of the genus Candalides.
A small sized tree up to 10m tall.
Dark, rough bark.
Leaves, alternate along the branches to 1cm x 1-3mm. Pointed ends, lance shaped.
Fragrant, pale cream to white flowers similar to a bottlebrush, near the ends of branches. Flowering February to April.
Woody capsules, clustered along the stems, 0.5cm in diameter.
Collect seed capsules throughout the year, best in Summer. Place in a warm, dry place to collect the released seed.
Thinly sprinkle seed over propagating mix cover with fine gravel & keep moist. Sow in Spring.
Useful in revegetation projects. Direct sow in late Winter into lightly tilthed soil & press firmly. Germination may take several months.
Flowers attract bees & birds. Grows in woodlands on dry soils.
Totem pole, Cross-leaved Honey-myrtle
A common shrub from waist to above head high.1-4m tall.
Light blue-green leaves, paired, crowded, smooth above, dotted below.
4 to 15mm x 1to 3mm.. Light purple flowers, clusters, rounded or short spikes, upto 2 cm long, along the stem between the leaves, appearing Spring & Summer.
Woody cups embedded into the stem.
Grows in swampy or wet sites also sandy or rocky soils.
Popular garden shrub. Benefits from regular pruning.
Collect seed from 2+ year old plants after flowering any time of the year. Keep in a warm, dry place to collect released seeds.
Sow in propagation mix or use in direct seeding. Sow in Spring or early Summer, keep moist. Easily germinated in 10 days.
Popular with insects, bees & birds.
A small tree, 4-8m tall.
Dark brown to grey bark. Smoother bark in young trees becoming rough & furrowed in older trees. Bark on branchlets is smooth & can have a white bloom on it.
Curved, sickle shaped leaves with thick stalks 5 to 20 cm x 0.5 to3.5cm, prominent mid vein, hanging downwards.
Fragrant, bright yellow flower balls, 6 to 10 mm diam. on thick stalks 5 to 15cm in groups of 20 to 80 . Budding throughout the year but finally flowering late Winter & Spring.
Brown, flat, straight or curved seedpods, 5 to 12 x 0.5 to 0.8 cm. Enclosing hard dark seeds. Ripe in Dec & Jan. Initially green turning brown on maturity, splitting along one side.
Drought, slightly saline, tolerant. Acid to neutral soils. Sand, loam, stony to clay soils. Can suffer yellowing leaves in limestone soils. Mature plants will be killed in bushfires but seeds will regenerate quickly after. Fast growing & popular for revegetation purposes.
Easily propagated. Pour boiling water over seed, leave to soak overnight, sow in propagating mix. Germinating seedlings have small oval leaflets opposite each other along a stem.
The tree gum was collected by indigenous people & utilised to make spear & axe bases. It was also used in syrup & food.
Acacia pycnantha has been cultivated commercially for tannin production as its bark produces more than any other species.
Its flowers have been used for perfume making. Popular with birds & bees.
This was formerly known as Casuarina stricta.
Small tree, 4-10m tall.
Naturally occurring in a wide range of habitats including rocky outcrops, coastal heathlands & plains in granite, sandy, limestone & clay soils.
Dark, fissured, hard bark.
Dropping branchlets of pendulous overlapping pine-like leaf structures with small teeth.
During winter the tree has small golden flowers, giving the tree a golden look..
Cylindrical woody cones 30-40mm long x 20-30mm across, with sharp protruding valves that open upon ripening to release the dark seeds.
Collect the cones at any time of the year by twisting off with your gloved hands, when they have turned to a darker grey-brown colour. Store dry container to collect the released seed. Sprinkle over propagation mix, cover lightly, in late Winter & Spring or direct sow into lightly tilthed soil. Should germinate in 14 days.
Useful for windbreaks & shelter belts. Long lived soil improver, by fixing nitrogen. A favourite food source for the Black Cockatoo, other birds & insects.
Coast Saltbush, Grey Saltbush
A common small to medium shrub up to waist tall found along the high tide areas & coastal sand dunes.
Silvery grey, soft, narrow ovate leaves with scales, 5 to 7 cm long.
Flowering from June to December, this photo was taken at Lady Bay in July. Pictured is the male flower a purplish, dense, globular cluster at the ends of branches. Female flowers occur along the stems, cream yellowish in colour.
Fruit is triangular/rhomboid shaped with a rounded base, 1-3mm long holding within a seed to 2mm.
Collect seed by gloved hand by stripping or shaking the branch into a container in warm, dry weather. Seed germination can be enhanced by soaking for 1 hour or rinsing for several minutes to remove the spongey material, alternatively by sowing the entire fruit just below propagation soil that has been mixed with soil taken from around the parent plant from Autumn to Spring.
Indigenous people ate the salty leaves raw or blanched them. A popular plant with birds & reptiles.
A drooping, 3m long, native semi parasitic clump commonly found on Eucalyptus.
Leaves. In pairs of narrow, tapered at end, yellowish-red green, curved, 3 to 3.5 cm x 5 to 30mm.
Orange to red flowers, in groups of 3, with stalks, pendulous. Flowering sporadically, Dec to June.
Yellowish to red, pear shaped fruit, 8 to 14mm long.
Attracts birds which spread the seed in their faeces on tree branches.
Amyema often causes stress to the host tree which causes further pressure especially during drought.
Tree Lucerne, Silky cytisus, Tagasate.
Native to the Canary Islands in the Mediterranean.
Widely naturalised throughout Australia except in the N.T. Also Norfolk Island & NZ.
Small tree 1-6m tall with drooping branches. Branches, leaf undersides, flowers & fruit are softly hairy.
Leaves are up to 7 cm long in a group of 3 elongated leaflets 10-50mm long.
White or cream flowers pea shaped flowers 14 to17 mm long in small dense clusters. Winter.
Elongated, flattened pods that turn brown or black when mature 4-6cm x 8 -12mm wide.
Seed is dispersed by birds, insects & animals & the natural explosive propulsion of the ripened pod but also by slashing, machinery & garden waste. Seed will germinate readily after a fire. It has a long seed life & the nitrogen fixing ability will increase soil fertility & encourage other weed germination.
This plant is used as a fodder crop & sometimes is used in land rehabilitation or as a garden ornamental.
Native to Europe, Arica & Asia.
Common weed in man made or disturbed sites. Mustard like.
Reaching 50 cm tall.
Lobed or toothed leaves. Lower leaves form a rosette at the base with leaves along the stem gradually becoming nearly leafless on the upper stems.
Stems topped with yellow or occasionally purple oval shaped 4 petalled flowers with large anthers. Spring to Summer.
15 to 40mm seed pod, a flattened tube with a pointed tip that splits when ripe & dry to release the seeds.
Leaves are edible, raw or cooked.
Upright shrub, with one main stem up to 1 m tall.
Small lance shaped leaves, with a pointed end to 1cm long along the stem, pungent. Green with the midrib more prominent underneath.
Beautiful pendulous clusters of pink, white or red with 5 fused petals into a tubular form, 1 to 2cm long, in the leaf axils along the stem. Sometimes with different colours on the same plant. Flowering Winter to Spring.
Many small seeds are held in a green, 5 valved capsule. When mature, in summer, bend the fruiting stems over a container to collect the fine seed which will fall out easily. Store in a warm, dark place until sowing time. In Spring, sprinkle seed over an acid potting mix & mist the fine seed in rather than covering it with soil. Keep in a warm position, well drained but moist position . This plant is not fond of the cold & can be difficult to propagate. Best planted in a similar place. It will benefit from pruning after slow release fertilizing at the end of Winter or beginning of Spring, being careful not to remove all the seeds. Can be grown successfully in pots. Cuttings can be taken from tip growth, 6 weeks after flowering, keep moist. Again propagation by cutting of this plant can be difficult.
Found in woodlands, heathlands & shrublands in acid soils. Will regenerate after fires well. Also in NSW, VIC, & TAS. Pink heath is the floral emblem of VIC
A small to medium sized rounded tree with many stems. 8 x 6 m.
Smooth grey, white or pink patchy bark.
Juvenile leaves are glossy green lance shaped. Adult leaves are thicker, grey green that are curved 10 x 2 cm.
Large fat pale flower buds with caps.
Cream or white flowers that are attached to the stem in groups of 3. Flowering throughout the year.
Large cup shaped woody seed pods, 2 x 2 cm with 5 sections containing reddish, grey or black 2mm seeds.
Easily grown from seed. Collect mature fruits & place in a container to retain the released seed. Sow in Spring, sprinkle over propagation mix, keep moist. In spring seed may be directly sprinkled over tilthed soil in Spring.
Occurs in southern Mount Lofty Ranges & Kangaroo Island. Will grow on a wide range of soils, dry soils & boggy soils.
Popular with all wild life as a source of food or habitat. Good windbreak.
Mallee Box, Black Mallee, Quorn Mallee, Peppermint Box, South Australian Mallee.
Small tree 4 to 10 m. Multi or single stemmed.
Rough grey, brown bark.
Bright green to olive green leaves. Narrow or broad leaves, 5 to 1o cm x 7 to 25mm, with a mid rib quite distant from the leaf edge.
Buds are pear or club shaped with a rounded cap. In groups of 3 to 7, mostly in leaf axils.
White flowers from Spring to Winter.
Woody ovoid nuts 5 to 7 mm long x 5 to 6mm diam, depressed disc with enclosed 4 to 5 valves.
Occurs in southern SA & VIC.
Broad leaved Cotton Bush. Wild Cotton Bush
Native to South east Africa. Introduced into Australia as an ornamental garden plant. Now an environmental weed in Western Victoria & Southern South Australia of waste lands & also an invasive plant of conservation areas. This photo was taken on the foreshore region of Lady Bay. It is the larval food plant of the Wanderer Butterfly (Danaus plexippus), also an introduced species.
Upright stems, 0.5 – 1.5m tall with an underground fibrous root stock.
Broad egg shaped leaves with rounded bases & a pointed tip, 4 -7 x 1. 5-3cm, slightly fleshy, green above & paler below with a conspicuous whitish mid vein.
Attractive flowers are grouped in a dense ball with pale mauve, green or greyish petals on the outside & 5 cream or white boat shaped lobes on the inside. Flowering all year round but mostly April to Aug.
The fruit or seed pod is an inflated pod with bristle like protrusions that will ripen from pale green to dark green sometimes with maroon stripes. When it is ripe it will burst open to release the black seeds each white tufted. Seed is long lived up to 5 years. It is dispersed by wind or water.
Wear gloves when handling this weed as the plant produces a white irritating sap.
Hand pull individual plants after rain when the soil is softened.
Cotton bush is poisonous to stock but is rarely eaten.
Heath Tea-tree . Silky Tea-tree.
Scraggly shrub. 0.5-2.5m growing in shrub & woodland on poor soil. Tolerant of moist, poorly drained sites. Sandy, loam, clay soils. Acid to neutral soils. Frost tolerant.
Dull green leaves. Spatula shaped, broader toward the tip.4-10 x 1-3mm. Not spikey.
White or sometimes pink 5 petal flowers with a greenish cup center. 10-15mm across. Masses of flowers in Sept to Nov.
A non woody , stalkless capsule seedpod. 5 celled. That falls off after forming. Collect seed from seedpods before they fall & let seed fall into a dry, container.
Propogate under a sprinkle of soil mix. You can take cuttings of this plant too. They are commercially available. Grow about 50cm apart in a group. Prune annually.
Attracts insects & butterflies. Indigenous people used the wood for pegs & spears.
*Fumaria copreolataWhite Fumitory
Climbing Fumitory, Ramping Fumitory, Rampant Fumitory (NZ)
Originates in Europe, Mediterranean, Western Asia, & Nth Africa.
Robust, angular hairless stem, annual vine, climbing & trailing up to 1m long.
Bright green much divided leaves. 2-3divisions nearly to the midrib, triangular or egg shaped segments, 5-15mm long.
Pretty, small white flowers with black to reddish spot on the tips of the petals. Tubular, narrow 10mm by 2mm on stalks that bend downwards. Up to 40 in a cluster of flowers from July to November
. Fruit is a nut-like capsule with 1 seed, smooth, globular, 2mm in diameter also curving downward. Each plant can produce up to 22 500 seeds a year that can remain soil dormant for 20 years.
White Fumitory has various medicinal properties, but should only be used under the consultation of a qualified herbalist.
White Fumitory has not been reported as dangerous to stock. Continual grazing may help control this weed.
Weed of cultivated areas, crops, disturbed sites, shrub lands & gardens. Spread by machinery, clothing, boots & tillage. Ants are a natural dispersal agent as the seed coating is a food source for ants.
Manual removal of small infestations is easily achieved. Although hand pulling must be vigilant & continual to be effective.
Correct identification is extremely important for management with herbicide susceptibility varies between species.
Fumitory hosts a range of fungal pathogens including Peronospora affinis & Alternaria radicina which are both potential biological control agents.
Creeping Oxalis, Creeping Wood Sorrel, Procumbent Yellow Sorrel, Sleeping Beauty
Creeping, ankle high weed. Native to South Africa & Europe.
This weed has light sensitive leaves that fold up at night. Trifoliate green leaves which are subdivided into 3 leaves which can fold downwards, some leaves maybe purple (O.altopurpurea).Leaves have a lemony taste which can be infused in hot water, sweetened then chilled. High in vitamin C. Although safe in low doses, it can inhibit calcium absorption in the body if taken in large doses over a prolonged period.
Yellow 5 petalled flowers, 6mm, in clusters or single throughout the foliage. Throughout the year but mostly in spring.
The seed capsule is about 1-2cm long containing a single seed, the fruiting capsule is held on a bent stem, like a knee joint. Explosive pods that distribute the seed when ripe.
Common weed in gardens, crops & pastures or roadsides. May cause oxale poisoning, mostly to pregnant ewes that have been exposed to dense stands.
Manual removal, digging, mowing, grazing or herbicide application is effective but will take several years of persistence to totally eradicate this weed.
Cheeseweed, Egyptian mallow, Marshmallow, Sunflower mallow.
Persistent weed native to Southern Europe, Central to Western Asia & Northern Africa. Found in disturbed sites, around farm yards, roadsides, wastelands.
Broad leaves 8 to 10cm across with 5 to 7 lobes on long 11 to 13 cm stalks, Leaves can be toxic to mammals & can cause staggers in lambs.
M. parviflora is able to flower & seed within 2 months of germination. Germination occurs after Autumn & Winter rains. Photo is of a young plant in May.
White to pink flowers with 5 petals, 4 to 6 mm long with twisted buds in axillary clusters. Flowering Mar through to Nov.
The fruit is a dry disc of joined sepals that split into many sections when ripe & dry, each containing one seed. Seeds remain viable for possibly 100 years.
This weed has a single deep taproot which renders it resistant to glyophosphate. Remove single isolated young plants by hand. Consult your local herbicide retailer for best spray during April to July.
Similar species are M.nicaeensis or native species Lavatera plebeia .
Field Trip to Naracoorte, Bool Lagoon, Port MacDonnell and NelsonTrip to the South East on 20th - 23rd September 2015
|Aust. Magpie||Magpie lark||Eastern Yellow Robin|
|Willie Wagtail||Silvereye||Welcome Swallow|
|Little Raven||Common Starling||European Goldfinch|
|Black Swan||Aust. Shelduck||Chestnut Teal|
|Pacific Black Duck||Great Crested Grebe||Australasian Grebe|
|Hoary-Headed Grebe||Common Bronzewing||Spotted Dove|
|Crested Pigeon||Australian Pied Cormorant||Australian White Ibis|
|Grey Shrike Thrush||Black Shouldered Kite||Black Kite|
|Nankeen Kestrel||Purple Swamphen||Eurasian Coot|
|House Sparrow||Red-browed Finch||Tree Martin|
|Masked Lapwing||Silver Gull||Rainbow Lorikeet|
|Superb Fairywren||Yellow-rumped Thornbill||Singing Honeyeater|
|Red Wattlebird||New Holland Honeyeater||Little Wattlebird|
|Spotted Pardalote||Australian Pelican||Emu|
|Musk Duck||Pink-eared Duck||Australian Shoveler|
|Australasian Gannet||Blackbird||Great Cormorant|
|Eastern Great Egret||White-faced Heron||Intermediate Egret|
|Black-faced Cormorant||Australian Bittern||Straw-necked Ibis|
|Swamp Harrier||Spotted Harrier||Wedge-tailed Eagle|
|Brown Falcon||Red-necked Avocet||Red-capped Plover|
|Pied Oystercatcher||Sooty Oystercatcher||Brolga|
|Sharp-tailed Sandpiper||Caspian Tern||Whiskered Tern|
|Crested Tern||Ruddy Turnstone||Common Greenshank|
|Hooded Plover||Red-necked stint||Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo|
|Long-billed Corella||Sulphur-crested Cockatoo||Musk Lorikeet|
|Crimson Rosella||Horsefield's Bronze Cuckoo||Kookaburra|
|White-throated Tree-creeper||White-browed Scrubwren||Striated Thornbill|
|Brown Thornbill||Eastern Spinebill||Yellow-faced Honeyeater|
|White-plumed Honeyeater||Noisy Miner||Rufous Whistler|
|Fairy Martin||Little Grassbird||Eurasian Skylark|
|White-winged Chough||Grey Fantail||Grey Currawong|
|Eastern Yellow Robin||European Goldfinch|
Jewel of the Australian desert: Native Peach (Quandong).
Neville Bonney 2013. Published by Neville Bonney, Tantanoola, SA.
This book is a major step forward in our understanding of the Quangdong or Native Peach, one of Australia's iconic wild food plants. Known by so many across its range there are numerous stories about the Quangdong and it has become part of the folklore of the regions where it grows.
This fully illustrated book follows its journey through prehistoric times, ancient Aboriginal history, botany, Australian land exploration, early settlers, arts and craft through to farming the species and its use as a popular cooking ingredient in modern Australia.This book is for loan from the centre.
The Jetties of South Australia – past and present Revised and Expanded Edition.
Neville Collins, 2010. Hyde Park Press Pty Ltd., Richmond S.A.
"The term 'jetty' has been defined in many ways…a structure built out from land, made of iron, steel, cement, timber or a combination of these and used as a working platform or for recreational needs…most of the jetties in South Australia are, today, used for recreational purposes…the attraction of the jetty for most people is that it allows them to walk out onto water without getting their feet wet"
This expanded book, like the first edition, is likely to become a reference point for students and local historians when researching the state's maritime history as well as a useful addition to the bookshelves of those interested in the past.This book is for loan from the centre.
Field Trip to Cape Jervis
|Australian Magpie||Grey Currawong||Grey Fantail|
|Willie Wagtail||Little Raven||Scarlet Robin|
|Common Starling||Red-browed Finch||House Sparrow|
|Rock Dove||Crested Pigeon||Pied Cormorant|
|Masked Lapwing||Crested Tern||Silver Gull|
|Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo||Galah||Sulphur-crested Cockatoo|
|Crimson Rosella||White-throated Treecreeper||Superb Fairywren|
|Striated Thornbill||Buff-rumped Thornbill||Brown Thornbill|
|Easter Spinebill||Yellow-faced Honeyeater||Singing Honeyeater|
|Red Wattlebird||Crescent Honeyeater||New Holland Honeyeater|
A Guide to the Spiders of Australia.
Volker W. Framenau, Barbara C. Baehr and Paul Zborowski 2014. New Holland Publishers Pty Ltd, London. Sydney. Auckland.
A Guide to the Spiders of Australia is the first comprehensive guide to Australian spiders to cover all 79 families that occur in this country. Almost 400 colour photos of live spiders and about 50 images of their webs are complemented by 50 microscopic shots taken in the laboratory to illustrate the very smallest of spiders. A number of scientific drawings clarify particular features of spiders.
This book is for loan from the centre.
Hare's tail grass
Originated in the Mediterranean, thought to have been an introduced escapee ornamental garden plant now a widespread weed, common on sandy soils disrupting native species & leading to an increased fire risk.
A clump forming grass, growing to 50cm with soft hairy leaf blades. Germinating in June & July.
The characteristic seedhead is white, soft, dense, egg shaped, 1 to 6cm x 1 to 2 cm in Spring through Summer. Prolific seed producer which is dispersed by water, wind, animals & machinery.
Effective management is dependent on the prevention of seed set. Hand removal of small isolated infestations & herbicide application of larger infestations in Sept & October is most effective.
Lagurus is similar to native Hedgehog Grass (Echinopogon spp) which have a similar seedhead but are a greenish coloured , less dense feathery on its spikelets.
Burr Medic, Burclover, Toothed Medick, Trefoil
Annual weed found in lawns, roadsides, agricultural lands & disturbed sites. Germinates from April to October. New seedlings have oblong leaves. Later leaves are trifoliate, clover like in shape.
Flowers from May to November, a tiny pea shaped yellow flower that cluster into flowerheads at the ends of the stem. Stems are up to 60cm long which often root at the nodes.
The fruit pod is an annoying tightly coiled seed pod with rows of prickles on the outside edge, about 6-7mm across. Green & soft when young but maturing brown & harder. Each pod has several yellow or tan kidney shaped seeds. They cling to fur, fleece, clothing. Uncomfortable in lawns. Seeding from Aug to Dec, noticeable right now. Seeds remain viable 5+ years.
Unfortunately removing top growth will not eradicate this weed. Herbicide treatment is best done on seedlings. So look out for seedlings next June
Hand pulling young seedlings before flowering is an organic Autumn job. They form long trailing stems which take roots at the nodes, this can be pulled up , wear gloves. Dispose of carefully into a garbage bin. To pick up scattered burrs, throw a old camper mattress down & pick off & dispose of the burrs.
Occasionally it is toxic to livestock.
Kangaroo Apple, New Zealand nightshade.
Native to SA, VIC, TAS and NZ. Shrub to 3m high.
Leaves are dark green above & lighter below with conspicuous veins. Irregular smaller juvenile leaves, older leaves are larger in arrangement of 3, regular lance shaped, 150mm x 30 to 50mm.
Bluish purple 5 petalled flowers, 30-50mm across with bright yellow central anthers in clusters or singly appearing in Spring to Summer.
Following the flowers are the egg shaped berries which are bright orange when ripe, 20-30mm long. Unripe berries are poisonous. Ripe fruit was eaten by Tasmanian aborigines. Produces fruit when more than 2 years old.
Stems are green to purple often striped, hairless, round to polygonal in cross section.
Appears in disturbed sites, fast growing in most soil types except salt spray areas. Often used in areas high in heavy metal concentrations making it very useful for reclaiming old mine sites.
Propagation from seeds is easy, requiring no pre-treatment, cuttings should be taken from Spring to Autumn. Good quick screen & soil stabiliser plant that is unfortunately short lived 5 to 6 years in good conditions as older plants tend to split at the base which leads to wood rot. Such splitting could be prevented to a degree by corrective pruning from a young age. Difficult to obtain from nurseries. Prefers moist soil & full sun. Top growth may die back in winter.
Research on the steroid containing young leaves for use in contraceptives has taken place in the USSR, NZ, India & Egypt since the 1960s.
Green berries will cause a burning sensation to the tongue & mouth & are toxic to humans & stock.
Hand pull young seedlings or apply herbicide spray being careful to control outlying infestations 5km from the source target to reduce the seeds being spread by birds.
Guide to Urban WildlifeA Guide to Urban Wildlife: 250 creatures you meet on your street. Professor Christopher B. Daniels 2011. Harper Collins Publishers Australia Pty Ltd, 25 Ryde Road, Pymble, Sydney, NSW.
Have you ever wondered what that peculiar insect sitting on a leaf in your backyard is called? What about the antics of those acrobatic possums that swing along the phone lines at dusk? And the beautiful lizard that lives under a stone near the compost bin?
In every Australian suburban street there is a secret universe (seen but not really understood) of animals that live alongside us. In A Guide to Urban Wildlife, Professor Christopher B. Daniels introduces you to 250 creatures that live on your street, in your backyard, in the air, at your local beach or even in your house, and takes you on a tour of their world, a world increasingly affected by its interaction with its human neighbours.
In this fascinating book, you will learn how to recognise book, you will learn how to recognise the animals you live among, and find out about their behaviours, ways of communicating, eating habits and peculiarities.
This book is the essential guide for any nature lover, or anyone who wants to know more about the surprising lives of the creatures around us.
Field Trip to St Kilda Saltfields
|Australian Magpie||Magpie-lark||Brown Quail|
|Musk Duck||Black Swan||Australian Shelduck|
|Pink-eared Duck||Common Starling||Grey Teal|
|Chestnut Teal||Pac Black Duck||Blue-billed Duck|
|Great Crested Grebe||Hardhead||Australasian Grebe|
|Hoary-headed Grebe||Rock Dove||Spotted Dove|
|Crested Pigeon||Little Pied Cormorant||Little Black Cormorant|
|Pied Cormorant||Australian Pelican||Whistling Kite|
|Nankeen Kestrel||Great Egret||Black Native Hen|
|White-faced Heron||Black-winged Stilt||Little Egret|
|Masked Lapwing||Silver Gull||Australian White Ibis|
|Superb Fairywren||Royal Spoonbill||Singing Honeyeater|
|Swamp Harrier||Black-winged Stilt||Red-necked Avocet|
|Banded Stilt||Red-capped Plover||Red-kneed Dotterel|
|Common Greenshank||Red-necked Stint||Sharp-tailed Sandpiper|
|Caspian Tern||Whiskered Tern||Australian Pelican|
|Red-rumped Parrot||Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater||White-fronted Chat|
|Grey Shrikethrush||Willie Wagtail||Brown Songlark|
|Welcome Swallow||House Sparrow|
|Red-kneed Dotterel||Royal Spoonbill|
Lavender grevillea, Varieties Victor Harbor, Tanunda, Aldinga.
Small, to 1m tall straggly untidy shrub. Variable leaves, rigid, sharp pointed, with inward rolling edges. Blue green above & paler underneath. Up to 10mm long.
Deep pink to red spiderlike typical grevillea flowers that occur throughout the year.
Endemic to SE SA & central VIC. Many differing varieties & so named. Available commercially. Will grow in pots. Can be propagated from seed but is easier from cuttings. Plant in a sunny position in the garden, will tolerate a semi shady position too.
Creating Your Eco-Friendly Garden
Mary Horsfall 2008. CSIRO Publishing, 150 Oxford Street, Collingwood, VIC.
Creating Your Eco-friendly Garden shows you how to develop an environmentally friendly garden for little cost. The book offers advice on planning your garden, choosing plants, planting times, watering options and pest management following organic principles. It explains how to assess the soil and microclimatic effects of surrounding buildings and vegetation so that you can determine the style of garden that best suits your property.
Water efficiency, biodiversity, soil conservation, use of native and biodiversity-friendly plants, organic methods, use of recycled materials and avoidance of environmental weeds are themes that feature strongly throughout the book, and will appeal to gardeners with strong environmental values.
This book is for loan from the centre.
*Evening PrimroseOENOTHERA BIENNIS
Evening Primrose, Evening Star, Sundrop, Weedy Evening Primrose, Kings Cure-all
Native to Chile, Argentina, Northern & Central America
This biennial weed may grow to 1m tall, with a stiff reddish brown stem.
Dark green lance shaped, wavy edges, a conspicuous paler midrib, usually with tiny teeth on edges near tip. Leaves 5 to 20cm long x 1 to 2.2 cm wide forming a rosette at base in the first year, forming spiral stem leaves in the 2nd year, becoming shorter up the stem 3 to 10 cm x 5 to 12mm wide. Yellow, sweet smelling flowers, 2 to 4 cm across, 4 petals, notched at end, with conspicuous midrib, with 8 stamens, opening in the evening, fading to russet brown& crumpling. Flowering Spring to Autumn.
Seed capsule, 18 to 35 mm, club shaped, splits into 4 sections along midribs. Seeds, yellow to brown almost smooth, seeds germinate in Autumn to Spring. Seed is dispersed by wind & soil dispersed. Can remain viable in the soil for 80 years.
Mature seeds contain Gamma-linolenic acid which is an anti-inflammatory that is used to treat PMS, is beneficial to the skin & is used for eczema, bruising & wounds. It has a long history of medicinal usage. The leaves & roots have & are consumed by Native American Indians.
Frequently found on roadsides, wastelands & disturbed sites. Not dangerous to grazing stock. A favorite to birds & pollinating insects, often considered a beneficial rather than pest weed.
Kangaroo Thorn, Prickly Wattle, Hedge Wattle
A dense bushy shrub 3x4m.
Dark brownish grey bark.
Dark green leaves. Oblong shaped with curved sharp tip. 0.8 to 3 cm x 2.5 to 7mm. 2 sharp spikes at the base of each leaf. Mid vein off center. New leaves are covered in hairs.
Yellow to golden round flowers 5 to 10mm in diameter. 1or2 on short stems in leaf axils. Flowering Winter & Spring.
Cylindrical brown pods, hairy, 4 to 7cm x 3.5mm, curved or straight.
Found in boggy sites, loam, clay, sand, lime, acid to neutral soils. Disturbed sites. Forms dense thickets. Declared a noxious weed in Victoria.
Collect seeds in December or January. Wear Gloves! Seeds ripen quickly in hot weather. Pour very hot water over seeds & leave soak overnight. Sow in Spring into sandy soil or propagating mix.
Provides good shelter for birds. Makes a formidable hedge.
Old Mans Beard, Yalkari, Yalkura, Taaruk
Scrambler or climber covering nearby vegetation. Becomes woody with age. Found SA, WA, QLD, NSW, VIC,TAS.
Leaves are grouped into 3 lobes that are narrow about 1cm long that are divided or lobed.
Covered in many 4 petalled cream flowers late Winter to Spring. Male & female flowers on separate plants.
Feathery seedhead flowers that have a soft cotton wool effect attached to light brown 4mm seed following the flowering.
Easily collected seed, by hand in bunches in bunches & store until ready for use. Sow in Spring under 5mm of soil or fine sand or gravel, keep moist. In drier regions or when direct sowing, sow in mid Winter.
Indigenous people baked the roots in hot coals or the starchy roots where pounded into a dough & enjoyed. The leaves were bruised & rubbed onto skin sores or arthritic areas.
Field trip to Gluepot32 different species were seen on 21st - 24th September 2014.
|Striated Pardalote||Emu||Crested Pigeon|
|Hooded Robin||Jacky Winter||White Winged Chough|
|Galah||Australian Raven||Grey Butcherbird|
|White-browed Woodswallow||Masked Woodswallow||Splendid Fairy Wren|
|Crested Bellbird||Grey Shrike-thrushy||White-fronted Honeyeater|
|Yellow-plumed Honeyeater||Gilbert Whistler||Varied Sittella|
|White-browed Babbler||Red Wattlebird||Striped Honeyeater|
|Brown-headed Honeyeater||Spiney-cheek Honeyeater||Yellow-throated Miner|
|Chestnut-rumped Thornbill||Weebill||White-winged Fairywren|
|Pallid Cuckoo||Horsefield's Bronze Cuckoo||Mulga Parrot|
|Australian Ringneck||Brown Falcon|
|Pallid Cuckoo||Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater|
Found in the drier parts of southern SA, VIC & WA. Shrub or ground cover, 80 to 160 cm. Flowers most of the year particularly Spring.
Pink or mauve flowers with 5 petals, 1cm across on drooping stalks, cupped starlike.
Oblong shaped, soft green leaves, hairy or rough to the touch, slightly toothed edges often rolling under, prominent mid vein, 2 to 4 cm long, with 2 large leaf extensions in the junction of leaves & stem.
Seeds are held in a three celled capsule, splitting when ripe to release small black seeds. The empty capsule remains on the plant a long time.
Found in well drained woodlands in lime, loam, sandy & rocky soils, acid to neutral soils. Drought tolerant.
Maybe propagated from cuttings or seed, but germination percentage is low. Pruning mature plants is beneficial.
Milk Thistle, Common Sow Thistle
Native to Asia, Africa & Europe. Occurs throughout Australia.
An invasive weed emerging in gardens, fields, crops & roadsides now, August(pictured). Will grow to 1 to 1.5 m tall.
It has a hollow stem which exudes a milky sap when cut or broken.
Soft, mid green, deeply lobed, toothed edged leaves that clasp the stem, 5 to 25 cm long gradually becoming smaller towards the top of the plant.
Bright yellow, dandelion like flowers, disc ray with many petals, bisexual, 2cm across, at the ends of the stems. Most of the year.
100s of dark brown seeds with white feathery tops that appear after the flower which are easily dispersed by wind or movement. Each plant can produce 25 000 seeds per year.
Leaves can be eaten as a salad green or cooked like spinach. Boiling or blanching will remove the bitter taste. Milk Thistle has a wide range of medicinal properties. A popular snack for pet birds. Makes an excellent addition to a green fertilizer brew or compost.
Hand pulling young plants is best as older plants have a deep root which can be loosened by a garden fork . It will not persist where grazed. Tillage is effective, especially before the weed seeds. Glyphosate is quiet effective.
Dwarf Hakea, Beaked Hakea, Wrinkled Hakea
A shrub from 1m sometimes to 2m.
Prickly, sharp pointed, 3cm leaves, grey/green, round or triangular in cross section.
Woody wrinkled pod, to 2cm, with a curved beak at the end, containing 2 papery black seeds.
Flowering late Winter to Spring, in clusters along the stem in leaf axils, whitish cream, 1cm flowers.
Collect pods when mature, with gloves & leave in a box in a warm, dry place until seeds dislodge or can be shaken out. Easy to propagate. Sow just beneath the soil or propagating mix in a sunny position. Sow in late Winter. Good garden plant. Bees & bird favourite.
Sandy, lime or loam soils. Moderately frost tolerant. Tolerant of all soil pH. Sunny position.
Soursob, Bermuda buttercup, African Woodsorrell, Goatsfoot
A readily recognised familiar invasive weed in August. Native to South Africa introduced into SA in 1841.
Leaves are bright green, often with a single dark spot on each leaf, in a trifoliate (clover-like) arrangement grouped in a large clumping rosette on longish stalks to mid calf height. Bearing yellow flowers on longer stalks up to 150-350mm high, 5 free or slightly fused petals. Closing in the shade & at night. Flowering Winter to Spring.
Extremely difficult to eradicate, this weed propagates largely through its underground bulbils which easily break off when the weed is pulled up & spread , reinfesting the area. Up to 4500 kg/ha of bulbils can be produced in a year.
Repeated application of herbicide is the most effective control method on larger outbreaks, on smaller infestations in the garden one can try smothering/mulching the weed with newspapers or pieces of carpets. Do not pull up plants.
It is relatively harmless to humans & stock in small doses, fatal to guinea pigs & pet rabbits. In large doses it painfully fatal to stock. The sour tasting stalks are often enjoyed by children .It does contain Oxalic Acid. Has been used in folk medicine, as a food & dye.
Common Horehound, White Horehound.
Native to South & West Europe, West & Central Asia & North Africa. Introduced into southern Australia as a medicinal herb in the early 19th century.
A perennial weed to >60cm high. With a deep taproot & fibrous lateral roots. Germination occurs throughout Winter & Spring. Common around sheep camps, rabbit warrens, roadsides, bushlands, disturbed sites & gardens.
Leaves are a grey green, wrinkled, with rounded tooth edges & a rounded tip, to 7cm long. Aromatic.
Small white flowers in clusters, grouped in the leaf & stem junctions, flowers throughout the year but particularly in Summer & Autumn. Flowers dry to form a burr like fruit with backward facing hooks. About 20 000 seeds per plant a year. Seeds are easily dispersed by clothing, machinery , wool, socks, fur & water. Seeds cause considerable reductions in wool value.
Horehound has been used in the past as a medicinal remedy for respiratory ailments. (Tastes YUK). Recent scientific studies conclude the essential oil possess antidiabetic & anti inflammatory properties.
Marrubium is also used as a natural grasshopper repellent.
Small infestations are best hand pulled before the plant matures the deep taproot. Herbicide is effective. Larger infestations require an extensive ongoing program. Care must be taken with seed dispersal via machinery & stock. An Autumn low intensity fire followed by revegetate with preferable perennial species. Regrowth may be more palatable to sheep & horses. Slashing annually before flowering may decrease the seed stock, although seed may remain viable for 7 years. Plume Moth biological control appears to be effective against re-emergent seedlings after herbicide treatment.
Pink gum, Hill Gum
Small to medium tree to 15m, often stunted or crooked looking. Bark is smooth white or grey on upper branches with grey, brown rough bark shedding & flaking on lower tree, branchlets & twigs reddish in colour.
Leaves taper at the point & broadest at the base, 2.5 to 14cm long x 1.5 to 3 cm wide. Distinct mid vein. Juvenile leaves are shorter & wider. Cream or white flowers in clusters of 3-7 at terminal ends of branches, 1.5cm across. Flowering through out the year.
Woody capsules, 4-6mm. Pear to cylindrical shaped, peaked caps. E. fasiculosa drops its capsules readily. Releases dark seed amongst brown chaff. Collect seed capsules when ever available, late Summer preferable, storing in warm area to release seed. Best sown in Spring, lightly sprinkled over propagating mix & covered with a light gravel, keep warm & moist.
A popular wood for fence posts, firewood. Very attractive to bees & birds, insects & reptiles. Shady tree suitable for gardens, parks & roadsides. Tolerates sandy, clay, limestone & poor soils. Does not like waterlogged or saline environments
Capeweed, Cape marigold.
Originates from Cape Province in South Africa, first collected in Australia in Albany WA in 1834, now found all over Australia.
I am writing this article early than flowering time as it is important for control measures to remove the weed before flowering & seeding. It is easily removed from the lawn or garden or small infestations by cutting at ground level by a bread knife. It is a great composting plant, quickly activating, better than Comfrey in my opinion.
Capeweed is a low growing prostrate, heavy lobed leaves 3-25cm, forming a rosette. Germinating Autumn & Winter. Green above white below.
Flowers in late Winter to Spring, a single headed daisy-like flower, yellow with a purplish to black center, grey/green below. 15 -20 petals. 30-70mm wide.
Seeds are like pale brown wool. Easily dispersed by wind, movement or water. Up to 4 300 seeds per year.
Extremely invasive, competitive. Dominating lawns, pastures, roadsides all habitats.
Can be grazed by stock but is thought to be toxic & can taint milk.
Small infestations can be easily removed by hand as I have already described or by glyophosate as directed by retailer.
Field trip to Inman River and Nangawooka24 different species were seen on 28th July 2014.
|Striated Pardalote||Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo||Blackbird|
|Starling||Australian Magpie||Magpie Lark|
|Galah||Crimson Rosella||Wedge-tailed Eagle|
|White-faced Heron||Crested Pidgeon||Splendid Fairy Wren|
|New Holland Honeyeater||Willy Wagtail||White-naped Honeyeater|
|White-plumed Honeyeater||Raven||Wood Duck|
|Female Golden Whistler||Red Wattlebird||Little Wattlebird|
|Shrike Thrush||Rainbow Lorikeet||Musk lorikeet|
|New Holland Honeyeater||Crimson Rosella|
Dung Down Under: dung beetles for Australia. Bernard Doube and Tim Marshall, 2014. Dung Beetle Solutions Australia, www.dungbeetlesolutions.com.au"This essential reference provides a detailed insight into the world of the dung beetle", Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery.
The introduction of domestic stock to Australia created a huge dung pollution problem because native dung beetles were unable to dispose of it. Introduced dung beetles from Europe and Southern Africa have partially solved this problem but there is much more to be done. Dung Down Under: dung beetles for Australia is the first farmer-friendly book on the ecology and management of dung beetles in Australia, possibly the world. It is an essential reference for farmers, Landcare groups and environmental organisations concerned with sustainable land management. The book examines the ecological, environmental and production benefits of dung beetles, and provides a non-technical analysis of their value and potential role in increasing soil carbon storage.
This book is for loan from the centre.
The Nestbox Book: enjoy the wonder of nesting. Compiled by Gould Group, 2008. Wilkinson Publishing Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Vic.
Although nestboxes cannot replace the millions of tree hollows that have been lost, they can greatly benefit wildlife in areas of human habitation, where hollows are extremely rare.
Nestboxes can provide an opportunity for native birds and mammals to breed that they wouldn't have otherwise.
This practical and informative book guides you through the process of selecting, constructing, installing and maintaining a selection of nestboxes for a variety of native Australian birds and mammals.
This book is available for loan from the centre.
Native Mice and Rats, Bill Breed and Fred Ford. CSIRO Publishing, 2007, Collingwood Vic. Australian Natural History Series
Australia's native rodents are the most ecologically diverse family of Australian mammals. There are about 60 living species - all within the subfamily Murinae - representing around 25 per cent of all species of Australian mammals.
Native Mice and Rats describes the evolution and ecology of this much-neglected group of animals. It details the diversity of their reproductive biology, their dietary adaptations and social behaviour.
The book also includes information on rodent parasites and diseases, and concludes by outlining the changes in distribution of the various species since the arrival of Europeans as well as current conservation programs.
This book is available for loan from the centre.
The New Organic Gardener: the essential reference for Australian gardeners, Tim Marshall, Principal photographer Dan Schultz. ABC Books abcbooks.com.auOrganic gardening is much more than simply throwing a bit of mulch onto your garden beds. A true organic gardener adopts a holistic approach, starting with the most precious organic element of all: the soil. Tim Marshall's passion and love of gardening is present on every page of this book. He not only guides you through the principles of organic gardening, he explains the reasons behind these principles and why they work. Successful organic gardening, Tim fervently argues, is not just a matter of blindly following a set of rules, it is about experimenting, being creative and making discoveries about how plants best thrive and flourish in your unique garden. "Without question, this is the great informative book organic gardeners everywhere have been waiting for. It contains everything anyone wishes to know about how to grow things without the use of poisons or disruptive chemical fertilisers." Peter Cundall
This book is available for loan from the centre.
From Seeds to Leaves: a complete guide to growing Australian shrubs and trees from seed. Doug & Robin Stewart, 2008. Schwartz Publishing Pty Ltd, Melbourne.
If you have an interest in the power of seeds to transform the earth, or in planting Australian native trees and shrubs on a small scale or large, From Seeds to Leaves is the book for you. It describes how to:
- Collect your own fruit and nuts
- Extract, store to germinate the seeds in the right way and in the best season
- Use smoke to germinate seed normally difficult to grow
- Plant out, water, mulch, protect, fertilise and prune your plants for best results.
As well, there are sections on botanical names and identifying plants by flower and seed, and an ABC of information about Australian species. Procedures are set out in easy table form and there are lists of plants for a variety of special purposes. This book is a must-have for anyone who is keen to preserve our native environment - Jamie Durie
This book is for loan from the centre.
David Attenborough's First Life: a journey back in time by Matt Kaplan with Josh Young. Introduction by David Attenborough.
2010, Harper Collins Publishers, London.
The history of life is the most spectacular epic tale. Its storyline spans billions of years, from the dawn of life in Earth's ancient and hostile environment to the invasion of land by the first terrestrial organisms. The journey of life is full of bizarre, primitive creatures, from giant, bracken-like fronds to five-eyed predators with corkscrew mouths. Catastrophes as well as happy accidents pepper the rich evolutionary journey of animals.
David Attenborough's First Life takes you on a journey back in time to the key moments in the development of life on earth. With material and images from the BBC television series.
This book is available for loan from the Centre.
Field trip to Cox's Scrub and Mt Compass40 different species were seen on 2nd June 2014.
Birds seen at Cox Scrub
|Austral Magpie||Grey Currawong||Grey Fantail|
|A Reed-Warbler||Little Grassbird||Welcome Swallow|
|Willie Wagtail||Little Raven||Silvereye|
|Red-browed Finch||Peaceful Dove||White-faced Heron|
|Rainbow Lorikeet||Musk Lorikeet||Crimson Rosella|
|Elegant Parrot||Superb Fairywren||White-browed Scrubwren|
|Yellow-rumped Thornbill||Buff-rumped Thornbill||Spotted Pardalote|
|Little Wattlebird||Red Wattlebird||Crescent Honeyeater|
|New Holland Honeyeater||Brown-headed Honeyeater||Golden Whistler|
|Magpielark||Welcome Swallow||Eur Blackbird|
|Common Starling||Eur Goldfinch||Australian Wood Duck|
|Pacific Black Duck||Crested Pigeon||Australian Grebe|
|Australian White Ibis||Nankeen Kestrel||Galah|
|Sulphur-crested Cockatoo||Striated Thornbill||Yellow-faced Honeyeater|
|Red Wattlebird||Nankeen Kestrel|
Geology WalkIt was an excellent excursion on Saturday 12th April when 40 enthusiastic people ventured out to learn more about the fascinating rocks around our local area.
The Southern Fleurieu has a rock record extending back at least 1600 million years. So we started at Myponga Beach with an energetic scramble over some huge rocks to view interbeds of limestone and mudstone from the Sellick Hill Formation and then on to Carrickalinga Heads for a more leisurely stroll down to the beach to view the sandstone from the Carrickalinga Head Formation.
After a picnic in Bungala Park we headed to Little Gorge where we viewed gneiss and schist from the Barossa Complex and glacial tillite composed of conglomerate and sandstone from the Sturt Tillite.
Wirrina was another scramble of some boulders to see sandstone from Aldgate Sandstone, glacial tillite composed of conglomerate and sandstone from Sturt tillite and black mudstone from Tapley Hill Formation.
It was then time for a nice relaxing cup of coffee or tea and some delicious scones at Leonard's Mill which gave us time to digest some of the information swirling around in our brains.
The day concluded at Second Valley to view black mudstone from Tapley Hill Formation and limestone from Brighton Limestone.
Thank you to Dr Pierre Kruse for organising theevent and putting together a very interesting power point presentation which is available below.
Download the Slide Show Presentation
Composting: the ultimate organic guide to recycling your garden. Tim Marshall 2008. Harper Collins Publisher, Sydney.Composting is easy, rewarding and profitable: your garden will benefit and so will the environment. This book tells you what you need to know about recycling in your own backyard.
Composting: the ultimate organic guide to recycling your garden is a comprehensive, easy to use, practical guide to soil improvement. It also recognises that time spent close to the soil expands the gardener's understanding of biodiversity and the need to make room for nature's complex processes, even in our cities and backyards - an awareness we must develop to maintain our land and water resources sustainably.
|How to build a compost heap||Anaerobic composting|
|Compost ingredients||Solving compost problems||Tools||A guide to mulching|
|Composting with worms||Composting for specific purposes|
This book is for loan from the centre.
Field trip to Laratinga Wetlands, Mt. Barker51 different species were seen on 7th April 2014.
Birds seen at Laratinga Wetlands, Mt. Barker
|A Reed-Warbler||Little Grassbird||Welcome Swallow|
|Tree Martin||Blackbird||Red-browned Finch|
|Freckled Duck||Aust. Shoveler||Grey Teal|
|Mallard hybrid||Pac Black Duck||Australasian Grebe|
|Hoary-Headed Grebe||Rock Dove||White-plumed Honeyeater|
|Crested Pigeon||Little Pied Cormorant||Australian Pelican|
|White-faced Heron||Royal Spoonbill||Yellow-billed Spoonbill|
|Brown Falcon||Purple Swamphen||Australian Spotted Crake|
|Eurasian Coot||Dusky Moorhen||Black-fronted Dotterel|
|Red-knee Dotterel||Galah||Long-billed Corella|
|Little Corella||Crimson Rosella||Red-rump Parrot|
|Superb Fairywren||New Holland Honeyeater|
|Austral Magpie||Grey Fantail||Magpielark|
|Crimson Rosella||Dusky Woodswallow||Grey Currawong|
|Willie Wagtail||Australian Raven||Little Raven|
|White-winged Chough||Red-capped Robin||Wedge-tailed Eagle|
|Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater||White-browed Babbler||Rufous Whistler|
51 different species seen on 7th April 2014
|Yellow Billed Spoonbill||Australian Spotted Crake|
The Native Plants of Adelaide: returning the vanishing natural heritage of the Adelaide Plains to your garden, Phil Bagust & Lynda Tout-Smith. 2010. Wakefield Press.Australian native plants have been a popular option for gardeners for many years, but only rarely are the words "locally indigenous" used when selecting species.
Locally indigenous natives are the plants that evolved to grow naturally in a particular area. In the case of the Adelaide metropolitan area, these plants remain almost unknown by the general public, largely because the unique native woodlands and wetlands of the Adelaide Plains have long since succumbed to urban development.
This pocket-sized guide aims to bring the very beautiful -but now largely forgotten- indigenous flora of Adelaide back into the spotlight for nature enthusiasts and home gardeners alike. The Native Plants of Adelaide profiles over 100 of the most important (and formerly most common) indigenous species. Each plant is depicted by at least one photograph accompanied by information about its former distribution, uses for humans, and good tips about growing it in your own garden.
This book is available for loan from the centre.
Mistletoes of Southern Australia. David M Watson, illustrations by Robyn Hulley. 2011, CSIRO Publishing.Mistletoes are a distinctive group of native plants found throughout Australia, from Wilsons Promontory to Cape York, Byron Bay to Monkey Mia and most regions in between. In addition to forest and woodland, desert and heathland, mistletoes also abound in urban and agricultural areas, making some of the most cosmopolitan plants of the continent.
Mistletoes are an enigmatic group of plants. Lacking roots and depending on other plants for their livelihood, they have inspired a range of beliefs throughout the world. Some people regard them as mystical plants endowed with magical properties, others as destructive weeds that devalue native habitats, and still others as beautiful native plants that support wildlife.
With 51 specially commissioned watercolours by artist Robyn Hulley and more than 130 colour photographs, Mistletoes of Southern Australia is the definitive authority on these intriguing native plants.
Shrub with varying height depending on local rainfall, from 1m to 7m. Found in South Australia, Victoria, NSW & Tasmania, in scrubland, heathland & moorland. New leaf growth is pale pink or pinkish brown, juvenile leaves & leaf tips often have fine toothed edges. Juvenile leaves 3 to 7cm long. Mature leaves have an alternative arrangement on stem & are narrow with a tapered end a prominent midrib underneath, 1.5 to 6 cm x 0.3 to 1.3cm wide, dull green on upper side & whitish underneath . Often appearing silver in the wind. Pale yellow flower spikes with grey or golden tinge on late bud, 5 to 10 cm x 4 to 6cm cone shaped flower in late Summer to Winter, attracting Birds, Fauna & Insects. Buds pale yellow or green in colour. Flowers mature & dry to develop woody follicles. Seedpods are a woody cylindrical cone 8 x 4 cm, containing follicle segments, each with 2 seeds. Seeds are black triangular 5mm attached to a1cm flat papery wing.
When fruits are dry & mature usually 12 months after flowering, cut from the plant & store in a dry warm place to allow follicles to fully open, shake the seed out, clean to remove any debris. Mature cones can be left in a warm oven at 120c for half an hour to help dislodge the seed. Sow seed just below the surface in seed raising bed in Winter to Spring, keep moist. Germinates in 4 to 6 weeks. Transplant into pots when seedlings have developed their first true leaves. Plant out when seedlings are about 12 months old. Keep well watered for first 12 months. Tolerates a variety of soils & condition but will grow spindly if planted in the shade. A good prune back to remove dried leaf matter & old cones will be beneficial to the plant & keep the bush compact.
Cuttings can be taken from firm young growth in August to October
Gorse, Furz, Common Gorse, Irish Furz
Native to Europe & Nth United Kingdom. Introduced into Australia 150 years ago. A dense, prickly shrub up to 7m but typically 3m tall. Mature plants have spines along the stem. Waxy leaves are very spiny. Green & darkening with age. Young seedlings have trifoliate leaves resembling a small cloverleaf. Yellow pea shaped flowers in clusters towards the ends of branches, usually flowering in Spring & Autumn. Plants start to flower when plant is 18 months old.
Fruit is a dark pod 1 to 2 cm long covered in fine hairs, containing 2 to 6 yellow green seeds. Seeds are released in Summer. Viable for up to 30 years.
Seed spread by seed ejected by ripe seed pods, also by machinery, birds, water & stock.
Gorse occurs in pastures & crops & native vegetation. Resulting in decreased production & biodiversity & an increase in habitat for foxes & rabbits. Extremely flammable & fire regenerative. Prevention is the most cost effective means of control. Prevent flowering & thereby reducing seed.
Integrated control methods must be long running & persistent & with cooperative efforts with neighboring land owners. Herbicide application, on advice of herbicide retailer, when plants are at least 500mm high, best when plants are actively growing during Spring To Summer & after Autumn rain. Do not spray when plants are flowering. Recheck plants after 12 months & reapply herbicide if necessary. Grazing with sheep & especially goats on re emergent seedlings is moderately effective & nutritious to stock. This also applies after controlled burning. But beware, Gorse is extremely flammable.
Biological pest control is very effect when used on this plant. The gorse Spidermite (Tetranychus lintearis) & the Gorse Seed Weevil (Exapion ulicis) reduce the spread of this weed.
Gorse is used in some counties as a hedge plant or stock fodder. The wood has been used to make utensils, due to its on toxic properties, The flowers are also used in Homeopathic Bach Flower Remedies.
Twiggy Daisy bush
Straggly, many branched bush. 0.5 to 2m x 1 to 1.5m.
Small leaves, linear, dark green above paler underneath, rough to touch, rolled edges. 1 to 2 mm long. White to cream, small, daisy like flowers with strappy 2 to 10 ray florets, along the stem in leaf axils, 25mm wide. Flowering most of the year.
Found in open forests, gullies, prefers semi shade.
Good in gardens, benefits from pruning, plant under trees.
Field Trip to Goolwa Ponds & Goolwa Barrages on 24th February 2014Trip to Goolwa Ponds & Goolwa Barrages on 24th February 2014
Birds seen at Goolwa Ponds
|Aust. Magpie||Magpie lark||Aust. Reed Warbler|
|Willie Wagtail||Silvereye||Welcome Swallow|
|Little Raven||Common Starling||European Goldfinch|
|Black Swan||Aust. Shelduck||Grey Teal|
|Pacific Black Duck||Hardhead||Australasian Grebe|
|Hoary-Headed Grebe||Rock Dove||Spotted Dove|
|Crested Pigeon||Little Pied Cormorant||Australian White Ibis|
|Straw-necked Ibis||Black Shouldered Kite||Whistling Kite|
|Nankeen Kestrel||Purple Swamphen||Black Native Hen|
|Eurasian Coot||Black-winged Stilt||Black-fronted Dotterel|
|Masked Lapwing||Silver Gull||Rainbow Lorikeet|
|Superb Fairywren||Yellow-rumped Thornbill||Singing Honeyeater|
|Red Wattlebird||New Holland Honeyeater||White-browed Babbler|
|Black Swan||Grey Teal||Pacific Black Duck|
|Hardhead||Spotted Dove||Crested Pigeon|
|Little Black Cormorant||Australian Pelican||Common starling|
|Australian Magpie||Willie Wagtail||Little Raven|
|Eastern Great Egret||White-faced Heron||Little Egret|
|Australian White Ibis||Royal Spoonbill||Purple Swamphen|
|Buff-banded Rail||Australian Spotted Crake||Black-tailed Native Hen|
|Eurasian Coot||Black-winged Stilt||Pacific Golden Plover|
|Masked Lapwing||Common Greenshank||Red-necked Stint|
|Sharp-tailed Sandpiper||Caspian Tern||Whiskered Tern|
|Crested Tern||Silver Gull||Singing Honeyeater|
59 different species seen on 24th February 2014
|Immature Black-winged Stilt||Eastern Great Egret|
Grow your Own BushfoodsGrow your Own Bushfoods: a complete guide to planting, eating and harvesting. Keith and Irene Smith, 2013. New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd.
Most people have heard of Australian bush tucker and know it is collected from trees and plants in the wild. But the idea of growing your own bushfoods, just like ordinary fruits and vegetables, is new and fairly radical. Grow Your Own Bushfoods has been created to change all that. The five major kinds of bushfoods - leaf flavours, fruits, vegetables and tubers, seeds and nuts, and nectar - are all dealt with separately in the first five chapters and chapter six guides you through growing bushfoods.
Austral doubah, bush tomatoes, Davidson plum, geebungs, lemon myrtle, lilly pilly, midyimberry, riberry, quandong, warrigal greens and wattleseed are all indigenous food-bearing plants which grow in the bush or the outback, but imagine going into your own garden and picking them to eat! This book tells you how to grow and harvest 150 kinds of Aussie bushfoods right in your own backyard. "We have always been organic gardeners, conscious of the fragility of our environment. Growing bushfoods is a logical step in thinking globally and acting locally
Small Yellow Rush-lily
Wiry, erect stems to 50cm.
Rhizomous roots, in clumps.
Leaves grass like.
Yellow flowers, 6 petals, twisting tightly when finished. Flowers in Summer.
Seed capsules with conical tip.
Found in sandy coastal sites, heath & mallee, common along roadside.
Photo: Joy Mayberry
Catsear, Flatweed, False Dandelion
Perennial. Native to South America. Low growing rosette of rough & hairy leaves, rounded toothed edges 5-20cm x 10 -40 mm.
Many petalled yellow flowers, in a ray formation, 3 cm across on branched or solitary stems
15 – 80 cm high. Mostly flowering Nov – Jan & throughout the year.
Seedhead & flowers similar to dandelions. Often mistaken for Dandelions, the main differing feature is Dandelions have a hollow stem, Catsear has a solid stem.
Edible raw leaves, roots can be roasted.
Common in lawns, roadsides & bushlands.
Remove flowerheads before seeding to cut down on seed dispersal.
Shrub to knee high. Leaves egg shaped, dark green & smooth above, paler, grey & somewhat hairy underneath. Flowers, off white, with 2 or 3 leaves per floral head, Spring or Summer. Seed capsule ovoid, 3mm in length, brownish black seed, less than 1mm & released from valves in the capsule.
Collect unopened fruits & let the valves open, or collect in a sheet left at the base of the plant in January, sprinkle seed over propagating mix cover with light gravel, keep moist. Sow seed in Autumn or Spring.
Beautiful in the garden. Likes sandy heath country near the coast.
Photo: Joy Mayberry
Christmas Bush, Sweet Bursaria, Native Box. Commonly occurs in the understory of woodlands in Eastern and Southern Australia. Reaches 10m high.
Very popular food for butterflies and moths, an ideal haven for small birds.
Bears small, fragrant, 5 petalled, white flowers in Summer.
Spines on branches, up to 1 cm long. Leaves, wedge shaped, 2 to 4.3 x 0.3 to 1.2 cm long, notched at the ends, fragrant when crushed.
Grey furrowed bark, smooth branches. Lives for 25 to 60 years, will re-sprout after fires the base.
Brown papery seed capsules containing seeds in terminal clusters. Easily collected in late Summer & Autumn when ripe, wearing gloves on still days, by hand or by shaking the branch & catching seed in a drop sheet on the ground . Chill the seed in the fridge for 3-4 weeks at 2-40c . Sprinkle lightly over propagating mix or original site soil, in late Autumn to Winter. Larger leaf & no spines from moister sites. Spinier, smaller leaf in drier sites. .
Suitable for home gardens. Prune to encourage a bushier plant.
Photos. Ron Taylor
Ruby Saltbush, Barrier Saltbush
Low sprawling shrub, 1x1m.
Found throughout Australia in poor soils, especially saline sites. Very adaptable.
Evergreen semi- succulent, cylindrical, finger like leaves, up to 2cm long, grey in appearance.
Insignificant, single, axillary flowers in early Summer & Autumn. Followed by small (5mm diam), fruit, yellow ripening to red, with a central depression (pictured). Salty & sweet to taste. Attracts birds.
Propagate from seed or cuttings, they do self seed in gardens quiet readily. Pick ripe fruits, in summer, dry, gently rub on absorbent kitchen paper to remove the flesh, sow in germinating soil in Winter & Spring. Germinates in 1-4 weeks. Keep soil moist.
Photo: Ron Taylor
Two-horned Sea Rocket
A world wide highly invasive hardy weed that originated In North Africa & temperate Europe, spread by wind water, tide, birds, ship ballasts & sand transportation. It is quick to establish in harsh maritime saline conditions becoming a coloniser species along high tide lines & sand dunes. Its two part seed pod ensures that one seed part is retained close at the parent plant whilst the second seed part is easily dispersed to another location. The seedpod/fruit is small, flat 1.5-2cm long, horned or unhorned, may or may not be present at flowering time.
Leaves are fleshy, unevenly lobed & divided , 2-8cm long.
Flowers, pink to lilac sometimes white, 4 petals, 1-1.5 cm wide,
characteristically opening from the bottom of the stem
& then upwards towards the top. Fragrant.
Flowering all year.
Orange bellied parrots feed on its seed, whereas high levels of erucic acid can have pathological effects on the cardiac muscles of other animals.
Control measures must be carried out every eight weeks, before seed drop by hand pulling or spraying with a suitable herbicide, often difficult in a large scale operation.
Control of Cakile is rarely undertaken.
Wattle Seed: the kitchen handbookby Linda Hoffmann. 2012
Features 35 recipes using Australian native wattle seed.
The difficult rural and financial times in the 1990s prompted the owners of Footeside Farm, Eudunda to research ways of increasing farm resources and their business. This book shares some of the knowledge gathered by growing, harvesting, processing, storing and most importantly using wattle seed in the home kitchen. Whether it's a special occasion, dinner with friends or a cosy liaison, you can impress with the unique flavours of Australia. Featuring a range of recipes including marinades, dressings, pancakes and pasta through to desserts and drinks
Wattle seed flavour when roasted is nutty, creamy and has tones of mocha. This versatility means it can be used in either savoury or sweet dishes. The benefits of wattle seed have not been fully explored to date. Relatively high in protein and low in the glycaemic index. Dark roasted wattle seed can be used as an alternative to coffee. To date those with gluten allergies have not had reactions to wattle seed.
For anyone interested in learning more about making use of native foods this book is an ideal guide.
This book is for loan from the centre.
Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica)Size: 37 - 41 cm
Wingspan: 7 - 80 cm
Male weight: 190 - 400g
Female weight: 260 - 630g
Habitat: Coastal mudflats and sandy intertidal zones
The Bar-tailed Godwit is a large wading bird with conspicuous blue-grey legs and a long, dark, slightly upturned bill with a pink base. The breeding and non-breeding plumages of the male Bar-tailed Godwit are noticeably different, changing from dull grey-brown in the winter to rich chestnut across the back and breast during the summer breeding season. The neck, breast and sides of the body are finely streaked with black ad there is a dark brown and grey streaking on the back and the wings. The breast returns to an off-white colour once the breeding season is over, while the rest of the plumage becomes duller with pale fringes to the back and wing feathers.
The female is generally larger than the male with a noticeably longer bill and has little red-brown colouration during the breeding season. Both the male and female Bar-tailed Godwit have a distinctive black and white barred tail.
The Bar-tailed Godwit is a non-breeding migrant in Australia. Breeding take place each year between late May and August in Scandinavia, eastern Siberia and Alaska. The nest is a shallow cup in moss sometimes lined with vegetation. Both sexes share incubation of the eggs and care for the young.
This bird has the record of any bird for undertaking the longest non-stop flight, flying over 11,000km in 9 day without taking a break.
Spring rolling Grass, Hairy Spinifex, Rolling Spinifex, Beach Spinifex, Coastal Spinifex
An interesting looking coastal grass with attractive grey, silver leaves to 30cm on creeping runners several meters long. Unusual seed heads in large, 20cm diam circular heads of a collection of straw coloured seeds, 12mm. Often seen rolling in the wind along coastal & dune habitats. Female & male are flowers on separate plants, or some plants only produce male flowers. Male flowers are yellow brown on erect stems. Female flowers are grey, green on what is commonly recognised as the rolling seed head, between Nov to Jan. Runners where often utilised by indigenous people to make string. Propagate in Winter from shoot runners. Pioneer colonisers, binds loose sand.
Stiff, prickly shrub 0.5 -2 m high.
Stiff pointed leaves, prominent mid rib, 5 -25 x 1.5- 3mm.
1 solitary, 3 to 4.5 mm wide, cream to yellow, in the leaf axils on a flower stem (peduncle) 5-15mm long. Flowering Aug to Jan.
Seedpods, 4 7 cm x 3 -5 mmm, curved, pale brown wrinkled thickened surface, pointed tip scarcely constricted between seeds, thickened aril, folded once or twice at base of each seed. Dark brown seeds, 4.5 - 5.5 mm.
Collect dry seed from plant, break open pods to retrieve seed. Scarify seed before sowing. May also be propagate by cuttings. Prune after flowering. Great garden species, but not alongside paths or play areas. Tolerates dry periods. From Eyre Peninsula to near Bordertown, also the Grampians in Victoria.
False Caper, Geraldton Carnation, Spurge, Terracina Spurge.
Originated in Mediterranean coast & Canary Islands in the Atlantic, Nth of the Red Sea. Introduced for unknown reasons probably as an ornamental plant. Common in many areas, coastal & inland, poor or fertile soils in both disturbed or undisturbed sites with rapid growth & prolific seed production. Spread easily by wind, water, birds, animals & by explosive seed propulsion.
Upright shrubby plant to thigh high.
Leaves alternate along the stem lance shaped, with a whorl of 5 leaves below the flowering stalks.
Flower, a lime green, 2 leaved structure. Flowering in Spring
Resistant to herbicides, slashing, grazing or burning with a deep tap root that will re-sprout, with re-emergent plants more robust with greater seed output.
Seed production starts in young emerging plants, it is important to control young plants as early as possible before seed set, taproot development or herbicide resistance occurs. Soil seed bank remains or 3-5 years so extensive follow up measures must last for 5 years. Sap is toxic & will cause irritation to unprotected skin. Manual removal is best between June- Nov. Appropriate herbicide application best between June -Aug.
STRIATED PARDALOTEA small bird 9-11 cm. with a widespread distribution often in the canopy of tall forests but also in low mallee woodlands it can be identified in the canopy by a loud chip chip call with a number of other similar calls, it has a short-tipped tail and relatively short rounded wings.
Mostly insectivorous, occasionally eating some plant material, they feed singly or in pairs although during the winter months they will join mixed feeding flocks. The favoured food source is the lerp which has a honeydew casing. The pardalote has to spend some time avoiding larger honeyeaters which also eat the lerps, they will occasionally eat some plant material.
Monogamous breeders with both partners sharing nest construction, incubation and chick rearing, they nest in deep horizontal tunnels with a very small entrance, mouse hole size, also can be found nesting in cracks in stone walls, tree hole, cliff faces and nest boxes.
Australian Gardens for a Changing Climate
Jenna Reed Burns, photography by Simon Griffiths. 2008, Penguin Books
Divided into five broad categories (City, Native, Coastal, Succulent and Country) according to location or type. Includes information on water-saving techniques, soil preparation and plant selection. Beautifully photographed, this book proves that gardening with a limited amount of water is not only possible - it can produce beautiful, vibrant gardens.
This book is for loan from the centre.
Oceans of Life; How Our Oceans are Changing by Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation, University of York, England.Although we think of ourselves as the inhabitants of earth, which implies solid material beneath our feet we are in fact inhabitants of the blue planet. This was dramatically brought to our attention with the first photographs of the planet from space. The oceans cover 72% of the surface of the globe. With such coverage the significance of the oceans cannot be ignored or underestimated.
This is an easy to read book that is both informative and comprehensive if somewhat unsettling portrayal on the state of our oceans. Far from a book of doom it is rather one of hope. It commences with a brief coverage of the birth of the oceans, the rise of its inhabitants followed by an in depth coverage of the issues currently affecting our oceans; the increased pressure from fishing, climate change and pollution.
A detailed reference section provides an abundance of source material for the avid reader to follow up on aspects of interest. Additionally there is an appendix listing the Conservation Charities (together with their web sites) working to protect ocean life.
The book does carry a dire warning and in Callum's own words "We are on the cusp of one of the greatest re-organizations of planetary life. Five times our world has been plunged into turmoil that ended with the extinction of huge swarths of life. Extinction rates of plants and animals now run at 100 to 1000 times the background rate seen in 'calm' intervals in the geological past."
But far from a prophet of doom Callum outlines many potential solutions to the problems and he is quick to add ..I remain an optimist. We can change. We can turn around our impacts on the biosphere. We can live alongside wild nature.¯
This book is for loan from the centre.
Scarlet Mint Bush.
A compact shrub 0.3 to 1 m high.
Aromatic leaves, 1.5 to 6 mm in length x 0.5 to 1mm wide, terete or round in cross section.
Flowering throughout the year, but mostly in Spring. Single flowers along the stem, 8 to 11 mm tube. Usually known for being red, pink orange or yellow but this local specimen from Rapid Bay is mauve.
Best in dry conditions in full sun or partial shade. It will not withstand moderate frosts.
Found in NSW, VIC, SA & WA in shrublands & mallees.
Best propagated by cuttings as seeds prove to be difficult & slow to germinate. Annual tip pruning is best, not harsh pruning.
BLUE or SANDPLAIN LUPIN
Widely cultivated as a fodder & grain crop. A common weed of disturbed sites, roadsides, woodlands, waterways. Deep strong taproot that has nitrogen fixing nodules on the top of it.
Upright & short lived 0.2 to 1.2 m tall.
Much branched hairy stems.
Radiating handlike compound leaves with 7 to 13 leaflets.
Blue pea shaped flowers,12 to 17 mm long in elongated clusters at the tips of branches. Flowering in Spring.
Long pods, 4 to 6 cm long x 1.3 to 1.7 cm wide, densely hairy containing 5 to 5 mottled grey, flattened seeds.
Spread by machinery, contaminated soil, fodder & water.
This medium-sized, dense wattle was used for stabilising sand dunes following sand mining. However, it will often pop up where soil has been disturbed, growing rapidly (up to a metre a year) and potentially suckering. It also self seeds easily, with baby wattles often sprouting around the parent. Look for a spreading shrub with a short stem topped by drooping branches ... a willow-like habit.
FREE HOME ENERGY AUDITInterested in finding out how you can reduce your energy consumption? Want to know how much your appliances cost to run? The Normanville Natural Resource Centre can assist you. The centre has two trained Home Energy Auditors who are available to visit your home to help you understand and reduce your energy consumption.
This is a free service available to all Yankalilla District Council residents. If you live outside this area a small fee is required to cover travelling expenses. The Home Audit takes between 1-2 hours depending on the size of your house and you are given energy saving recommendations at the completion of the audit.
Jules lives with her husband and two sons. Since having an Energy Audit her bills have gone down from $500 to $400 a quarter. "I was really surprised about how much the air con costs to run" it just eats up money! Before having the audit done, on hot days Jules would set the air con on the lowest temp to stop the inside of the house heating up. The auditor explained if we set the air con to an ordinary temperature, around 25C, it would save us a lot. Jules now makes good use of their ceiling fans and finds they do a great job.
Other cost cutting areas Jules has targeted include drying the clothes outside instead of using the tumble dryer and not leaving the beer fridge on all the time, just turning it on when needed e.g. for a BBQ. Another cost saver is not leaving appliances on stand-by. We also used to leave all our appliances on stand-by, it's just laziness really, using the remote. Now we try to turn them off at the switch as much as possible.
An Energy Audit can also raise awareness of how to select the most energy efficient appliances when replacing your old electrical ones and why choose water efficient shower heads. Please contact the centre to arrange a FREE audit.
Bird Field Trip to Ingalalla Falls on July 25th 2012Bird watchers from our local Normanville group were fortunate to join Nick Tebneff and Keith Jones, members of the Fleurieu Bird Watchers group on a visit to Ingalalla Falls and Springs Road Native Forest A cold and blustery day was not ideal for seeing many birds but we were delighted upon our arrival at the falls to see a female scarlet robin which was feeding adjacent to the car park. We had some good sightings of her and she seemed quite unaware of us. When leaving we were graced by the appearance of the male scarlet robin, with his brilliant red breast and black back.
As we descended to the creek and walked towards the falls we spotted several small birds in the undergrowth that Nick identified as striated thornbills. The speed at which they moved made recognition difficult. We were reminded that our knowledge of bird songs needs to improve.
The most beautiful bird sighted was a golden whistler which was spotted a distance away and then flew into a tree next to where we were standing and stayed in that tree for a few minutes so we were all able to enjoy his beautiful plumage.
Other birds seen in this location included a pair of wood ducks, a grey shrike thrush, a grey fantail, a scrub wren, a crescent honey eater , a little raven, and a group of Adelaide rosellas.
By mid morning we drove further up the Hay Flat Road, turning in the direction of Parawa and stopped at the entrance to Springs Road Native Forest. Nick led the way to a track which rises quite steeply with dense forest on our left. Before we had gone very far we came to a dam which is a haven for several types of water bird. A beautiful pair of shell ducks were preening themselves at the edge of the dam and their plumage was stunning. Swimming on the far side were some grey teal ducks.
Further along the track we saw a nankeen kestrel, which flew down for prey near a huge fallen gum tree. The kestrel retrieved its prey so quickly we were unable to see what it was, but hoped it wasn't a male scarlet robin previously seen near the fallen tree.
A huge flock of sulphur crested cockatoos seemed quite unsettled by our presence, screeching loudly overhead. Nick spotted a white throated tree creeper which kept evading our view by moving round the tree trunk but most of us caught a glimpse of it. There were several fairy wrens twittering nearby, their tails visible above the thick ground cover of ferns and grasses.
After a brisk walk and the onset of rain we decided to retrace our steps and drive back to Ingalalla Falls car park where we could enjoy our lunch under shelter. During lunch we discussed the birds we had seen and recorded the numbers of each species. Nick informed us of some other great bird watching sites for future trips.
We parted in good spirits and look forward to our next day out. Our thanks to Nick and Keith for sharing their knowledge and company with us and to Wendy from the Normanville Resource Centre for organising the day.
Aldinga Scrub Bird Watching Field TripIn spite of the sudden change in the weather our dedicated group enjoyed a great day bird watching at Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park on 23rd April 2012. Equipped with cameras and binoculars and wearing several layers of clothing including hats and wet weather gear we were well prepared for anything.
Aldinga Scrub is located between Aldinga Beach and Sellicks Hill and contains the last major remnant of native coastal vegetation in the greater Adelaide region. This patch of scrub is of particular importance as it has been preserved as an example of the natural landscape which existed along the sea front prior to European settlement.
The scrub is used by many school groups and it is cared for by Friends of Aldinga Scrub, a group of volunteers who work hard to ensure the fragile ecosystem is not destabilized by the encroachment of suburbia. Invasive weeds are removed and indigenous vegetation encouraged to regenerate.
Our bird watching group found it a wonderful refuge for a variety of native birds, some observed for the first time by group members. All equipped with binoculars we were constantly on the look out for birds and helped each other locate them. Neville, our guide for the day and a Friend of the Scrub were familiar with the area and led us to particular locations where he had observed birds previously. He had very good recognition of bird songs which helped us to identify many birds.
One of the birds seen by some for the first time was the crested shrite-tit, which we were able to locate and observe thrre of them stripping bark from a tree and then follow them to nearby bushes. The elegant parrot was seen several times, in flight and also perched on bare branches. Few of us had seen one before.
A dusky wood swallow was seen throughout the day, one of Wendy's favorites! Tree martins and welcome swallows were flying overhead during the afternoon, difficult to spot with binoculars but we were able to distinguish differences between them. We were really hoping to see the striated pardalotes, then one showed itself fleetingly during lunch, alomost coming down for crumbs. We were lucky enough to see a male hooded robin perched at the very top of a tree and it stayed there long enough for most of us to focus on it.
Of course all the more common birds were also seen but we still aim to seek out the rarer birds, such as wee bills which are so difficult to spot in dense foliage. We shared an absolutely wonderful lunch and discussed our forthcoming trips, with three already in the pipe line.
Each day we have shared has been so interesting and there are always new things to learn both in relation to birds and also the plants which they need for their survival. It was really energizing to be in such a natural environment where plants, native birds and animals co-exist as they have for hundreds of years.
All you need to know about snakes and more!
Scott Creek Bird Watching Field TripOn Monday 10th October five keen bird watchers set off for Scott Creek Conservation Park accompanied by Wendy White from Normanville Resource Centre.
Scott Creek Conservation park is located 30km south of Adelaide and contains the ruins of an old silver mine as well as some of the most diverse natural vegetation and wildlife in the Adelaide Hills. In the 1850's the area was mined for both copper and silver and by 1887 the mine had produced 310kg of silver. The mine shafts are now sealed off and partly camouflaged by the scrub and native flora.
The park has many fire tracks which double as walking trails, some ridge tracks gave superb views of steep, heavily wooded slopes. The countryside is varied and provides examples of open scrub, swamps and bogs, gullies, and steep forested hillsides. Numerous creeks provide their own diverse habitats, the understorey including banksias, grevilleas and hakeas. It is hardly surprising that the area claims to have over 600 native plant species, many extremely rare as well as 128 species of birds.
We were fortunate to have Tom Hands as our guide. Tom has an intimate knowledge of the park having been a volunteer there for over ten years and was able to guide us along narrow tracks, pointing out rare orchids and other wild flowers on the way. Tom spent time describing different plants and how he strives to maintain the balance by removing any weeds which threaten the environment. He also took us to an area where the Southern brown bandicoot has been seen recently. These are an endangered species.
Tom's knowledge of bird calls alerted our attention to many birds before we saw them. At one point on a track which followed the creek he pointed out a spotted pardalote's nest which was a mere hole in the side of a bank. We waited nearby and saw the small bird both leaving the nest and later returning.
Other birds we observed included the golden whistler, grey fantail, silvereye, yellow faced honey eater, eastern spinebill, superb fairy wren, yellow tailed black cockatoo, grey shrike thrush and white throated tree creeper. We were able to see the tree creeper at quite close range as it moved up the trunk of a nearby tree searching for grubs.
In a clearing we were able to view at a distance, a wedge tailed eagle which was holding something in its talons. The kookaburra and grey currawong were also heard as well as the grunts of a koala which we later saw climbing a nearby tree.
The day went very quickly and although the weather was cool and rather overcast the sun did appear. There were many photographs taken by members of the group which are a good record of flower species seen.
Our thanks go to Wendy for organizing the trip and to Tom who made it such an interesting and informative day.
Report by Diana Wallfried
BATSIt was past midnight when my carriage turned into the gates of Castle Dracula. No lights shone from its windows. A tall old man, dressed from head to foot in black met me at the door. ¯
And so began the Jonathon Harken diary of his visit to Castle Dracula, the gothic horror novel published by Bram Stoker in 1897, the story centred about the Transylvanian nobleman and sorcerer who claimed descendent from Attila the Hun.
This also marked the modern eras story-telling of vampires and their readiness to sink fangs into any available neck! The shape-shifting naughty nocturnal neck nibbler of the night strikes again! Curiously before publication woman's fashion dictated coverage from foot to chin with the neck totally encased. After publication, a total reversal with the neck fully exposed. Is there a message here?
The name bat is from the Middle English backe , borrowed from the Old Swedish natbakka, night bat, in turn taken from the Old Norse lethrblaka with the literal meaning of leather flapper.
In many western cultures bats are a symbol of the night, synonymous with vampires, and invoke a sense of fear and dread derived from the association with black magic and witchcraft. However this is not universal as in both Poland and Macedonia they are considered symbols of luck. Similarly in many of the Arab lands and China where they are considered symbols of longevity and happiness. Unfortunately with the largely Western negative view these critters have ended up with a much undeserved reputation. This has been somewhat reversed in recent years with the rise of the dynamic duo of Batman and Robin taking on all the villains of Gotham City, and as good always does, triumphing against the evil doers.
Bats like ourselves are mammals and they belong to the Order Chiroptera which has an ancient lineage. They are found world wide and comprise over 1240 individual species, which is approximately 20% of all the mammal species. In numbers they are the most numerous of mammals on the earth but still they go generally unnoticed amongst us. Within the mammals they are the only members capable of sustained flight and as a consequence are found world wide, except for the Arctic, Antarctica and a handful of remote islands in the Pacific Ocean. Along with the pterosaurs and birds, bats are the only known vertebrates to achieve powered flight.
They are broadly classified into two suborders, Megachiroptera (megabats) and Microchiroptera (microbats). As the name implies the megabats are large with a wing span of up to 1.5m and weigh 1.2 kg. In comparison the microbats are small and range down a wingspan of 15cm and weighing 2.5 gm. They are generally 'furry'¯ but the microbats lack underfur. Whereas birds fly by flapping the entire forearm, bats in contrast only move the greatly extended thin and flexible 'finger'¯ bones. This flexibility is achieved by a lack of calcium in the cartilage of the fingers allowing for a great amount of bending without fracturing. The wings stretched between the foreleg and hindleg digits is a very thin membrane of skin and although easily damaged it has the property of rapid healing. This thin naked membrane is the secret of the bats high manoeuvrability and precision in high speed flight which is far superior to that in the birds.
Some bats are solitary but most are social roosting in colonies which may number in the millions of individuals. It is not uncommon for bats to migrate over considerable distances to semi-hibernate in dens during winter when food supplies are limited. Both groups are considered to share a common ancestor although considered to have been a small nocturnal insectivore, happily hanging from the underside of branches and when necessary, took to the air exhibiting elemental gliding. The origin of this proto-bat is still the subject of an ongoing debate and remains unresolved despite employing DNA investigations of today's bats.
The bones of both groups are delicate and are rarely preserved in the fossil record. The oldest known remains were found in the USA during 2004 and are dated at 52.5 million years, placing it in the early Eocene time. An even older single tooth believed from a microbat was found in South America and dated to the late Cretaceous Period (prior to 66.5 million years ago). Luckily the vampire members do not get the blame for the dinosaur extinction at the end of the Cretaceous!
Broadly the Megabats are fruit or nectar eaters, while the microbats which comprise 70% of bats, are insect eaters, although there is some cross over. The large megabats are out and about around twilight but just hang out with their mates during the day in any handy tree. It is generally these we see and take notice of. Food is located by smell and well developed eyesight. The microbats in contrast are exclusively creatures of the night with a somewhat poor vision and rely upon echolocation for navigation and finding their prey in total darkness.
The fossil remains from the USA reveal the ear modifications for echolocation were not present indicating that this was an evolutionary development exclusive to the microbats. These bats generate an ultra sounds and the returning echo is interpreted by the brain as a detailed image of the environment allowing the bats to navigate, locate, chase and catch fast moving prey on the wing. Although barely audible to the human ear the intensity of the generated sound is measured at 130 decibels, making it one of the most intense airborne sounds in the animal kingdom. Cunningly muscles in the middle ear contract during signal generation thereby ensuring that they do not deafen themselves. A down side of this brilliantly evolved bio-technology is the system fails in rain due to interference.
The 'calls'¯ are specific for different species, and once recorded and analysed they can be distinguished and identified similar to songs from different bird species. With the rise of robotics in the last few years there is currently considerable interest and research in the field of echolocation.
A major advantage of hunting at night is to avoid competition with birds and take exclusive advantage of the myriad of insects that emerge only at night. In the warmer months they are voracious insect eaters and can eat half to three quarters of their own weight in insects per night, considerably more than insect-eating birds. The microbats have evolved to take full advantage of this night time niche and research reveals some bats consuming up to 600 mosquitoes per hour. The ultimate 'mozzie zapper'¯ for that barbecue! With such a track record they can truly be considered as Cheetahs of the night sky. And like their Mega cousins they simply cannot resist hanging out with their mates in some dark recess during daylight hours.
And on the subject of vampires, yes there are vampire bats which feed on blood and as such are unique amongst the mammals as the only ones that are classed as parasites. But relax there are only three species and among them is the Hairy-legged Vampire Bat (true) and this feeds on the blood of birds. A handful of bats are actually carnivores, this includes the Ghost bat in Australia which feed on other bats and another which is a predator of small birds.
As mammals they give birth to live young which are nourished with milk. Generally a single and furless pup is born in spring to early summer. Mum dutifully carries junior about for up to a week before the weight training becomes problematic at which time it is left at a roost site while mum is out feeding, returning to provide milk. It takes two to three months for the pup to become fully furred, a competent flyer, and take leave of mum. Bats normally live five to ten years, but may live up to 30 years.
Recent research in the vicinity of wind turbines has observed a significantly higher death rate of bats as compared to birds. The cause is currently unknown although it has been proposed that the rapid change in air pressure in the vicinity of the revolving blades may rupture the delicate lung membranes.
In Australia there are 90 species of bat of which 75 are the small insect eating microbats and overall they comprise 25% of all native mammal species. Locally within the Mount Lofty Ranges area 95% of the vegetation has been cleared since European settlement. Recent research has identified twelve species of microbat ranging in weight from 5gm to 60gm. Many species forage within different sectors of the forest structure thereby reducing competition amongst themselves. The clearing presents a double problem for the local micro bats. Apart from the loss of roosting places, particularly in tree hollows there has been the loss of safe foraging areas within a closed forest environment as opposed to open forests. Despite the potential problem of being classed as homeless they have adapted surprisingly well to our constructions including roof cavities and readily take up residence. The average feeding radius from the roost is 15km but may fly up to 50km in search of food. Whereas insect feeding birds will frequently not visit out to a single paddock tree many bats in contrast will visit and make full use of it.
The unrecognised presence of bats is highlighted by Dr. Lindy Lumsden, an Environmental Scientist from Victoria and president of the Australasian Bat Society. Several years ago Dr. Lumsden carried out field work on property in Northern Victoria and within a patch of remnant vegetation. The local landowner had lived there for 80 years and never seen a bat. Next morning he was presented with 50 bats of seven different species. Currently farmers in Australia and overseas spend a fortune on pesticides in an effort to control pests. Perhaps we should be giving more attention and consideration to our unseen ally. Bats are highly beneficial in most farming areas and more than likely play an unrecognised critical role significantly reduced insect numbers.
Although under pressure, in general the microbat population is faring better than some other mammals and birds. One species, the lesser long-eared bat, because of its slow ground-hugging flight unfortunately falls victim to both domestic and feral cats.
They are significantly impacted by poisoning, particularly from the organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides, however currently there is a lack of information on pesticide accumulation.
Bats are very dependant upon trees, the population size being restricted by the availability of roosting sites. These are in high demand with competition from possums, birds and feral bees. Adding to the problem, a bat does not use just one site, but rather multiple sites, and this is further compounded by some picky species requiring specific height above the ground, entrance and cavity size, and proximity to water.
Bats can be encouraged by;
Retaining remnant vegetation
Replanting vegetation, especially around crops in a rural setting
Erecting bat boxes
In tropical and subtropical areas bats have an important function as both pollinators of flowers and dispersal of fruit seeds. Small bats eat a range of insects including mosquitoes which are becoming a human health problem here in Australia as they extend their range southwards with global warming.
With the constant and increasing competition between ourselves and the crop pests (diamond back moths, coddling moths, locusts, aphids, thrips to just a few), coupled with the increasing demand for greener food products, an increased positive association between us and bats would seem a very sensible and appropriate solution given their beneficial affects around a variety of crops including orchards, vines and broad acre crops.
Do you remember "Millie"?
If not cast your mind back to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Millie the Echidna was our national mascot and in that brief time became known world-wide. It was a very appropriate choice given that the Echidna is the most widespread of the Australian native mammals. But even with all this attention there is still a veil of mystery with not much known about them.
Echidnas are commonly known as spiny anteaters and although resembling porcupines and hedgehogs from the northern hemisphere they are distinctly different. The similarities are the result of convergence; a process whereby two different organisms exploit the same environment and because of the adaptations evolve to look similar.
The scientific name is a mouthful; tachyglossus aculeatus. The name Echidna is derived from the Greek ekhis 'the mother of all monsters' half woman, half snake and mother to most of the Greek mythological monsters.
Echidnas grow to 50 cm long, 2.5-7 kg in weight. They have a distinctive elongated snout which doubles as both mouth and nose, a long tongue, which as the common name implies, is excellent for catching its staple diet of termites and ants. Nostrils are located at the end of the snout together with 400 or so electro-receptors to aid in food detection. The mouth is toothless and they have an excellent sense of smell. Characteristically they are covered in spines which are modified hairs, and these are progressively shed and replaced similar to our own hair. The spines are surrounded by fur, short on the mainland but more obvious in colder Tasmania where the fur may almost hide the spines. From the distance it has a distinctive awkward and somewhat clumsy gait which is more reptilian-like due to the shared feature of the legs at the sides of the body instead of beneath as in the marsupials and placentals mammals. Uniquely they have backward-facing rear feet which aids in the escape strategy by digging straight down into the soil and presenting any potential predator with a face full of spines. This digging ability served them well during the devastating Victorian bush fires. While tree stumps were still glowing and smoke drifting emergency workers reported Echidnas out and about, essentially unharmed accept for some melted spines.
Although still considered by many as primitive they have a large brain case and do in fact have the same level of intelligence as a cat. They are long-lived reaching 40 years or more.
The Echidna belongs to a small group known as monotremes, which together with the marsupials and placentals are classified as members of the Class Mammalia. The ancestor of these three, a proto-mammal, arose at approximately the same time as the dinosaurs, approx 245 million years ago, and were dispersed across the then united supercontinent of Gondwanaland. This land mass was the southern of the two supercontinents (the northern being Laurasia) and comprised todays Antarctica, South America, Africa, Madagascar, Australia, the Arabian plate and India. The progressive breakup of Gondwanaland commenced approximately 150 million years continuing until approximately 55-60 million years when the last two, Australia and Antarctica separated. It was shortly after the initiation of the breakup, 140 million years that the monotremes diverged from the main proto-mammal line. Later at 100 million years the marsupials also diverged from this main line.
The Echidna itself is currently believed to have split from a platypus-like water-foraging ancestor 19-48 million years ago and returned to the land. Since this family¯ split, the platypus has survived essentially unchanged, a true aussie battler, a real survivor, but that is a story for another day.
The fossil jaw of one on these ancestors dated to 110 million years has been found at Lightning Ridge in NSW and is currently the oldest known remains.
The lore of Australia's First Nation People has another explanation on the origin.
Back in the Dreamtime, Echidna, like many other of the animals and birds of today, had a human form. Echidna was an old man who transgressed the law and aroused the anger of the elders. As punishment he was surrounded and speared multiple times so his back bristled with a mass of embedded spears, and his arms and legs broken. His wife Nunkito was so distressed at the news that she gashed her head with her digging stick until the blood flowed freely and stained her body. Later Nunkito was transformed into a robin and the red breast is an echo of that distant event. Old man Echidna although badly wounded had survived and crawled into a hollow log where he remained until all his wounds had healed. His arms and legs were now badly distorted explaining his now seemingly clumsy gait. Hands and feet were transformed into strong powerful claws. Despite the efforts of both himself and wife Nunkito, the spears could not be pulled from his body and today we see him out and about still bearing the mark of his punishment.
The monotremes are a unique group. Like their relatives the marsupials and placentals they are characteristically warm-blooded. All three provide their young with milk, but unlike the others the monotremes lay eggs. When the Scottish Naturalist William Caldwell announced this to the British Academy in London during 1884 it caused an uproar. This reptile/bird like trait is even the more intriguing given that the X sex chromosome is similar to that of the birds. On this basis some researchers propose that the ancestors of the synapsid lineage leading to the mammals and the sauropsid lineage leading to the reptiles and birds diverged some 315 million years ago.
Today the monotremes survive only in Australia and New Guinea. The iconic Platypus is found only in Australia. The long-beaked Echidna is restricted to New Guinea, while the Short-beaked Echidna is found in Australia and with a limited range in New Guinea.
Within Australia the Echidna is widespread, found from the mountain peaks, forests, grasslands to deserts. Solitary for most of the year they forage over a home range of 9-190 hectares (20-456 acres) which may overlap with a number of other individuals. Work on Kangaroo Island reveals a range of 40-150 hectares (88-330 acres). They are selective feeders and rotate through the home range foraging for up to 18 hours per day, travelling 1-2 km and excavating up to 1000 digs. In the process they contribute to soil aeration, the spread of mycorrhiza, nutrient mixing and seed germination. The Australian Short-beaked dines on ants and termites while the New Guinea Long-beaked seek out a wide variety of invertebrates including grubs, beetles, nematodes, invertebrate eggs, earthworms, insect larvae together with the ants and termites.
For the Australian Short-beaked the powerful claws come into their own, particularly to rip into ant and termite nests exposing the galleries of eggs. Here the long sticky worm-like tongue is ideally suited to the task of food gathering.
Given the opportunity Echidnas show a preference for a dense under story which provides not only protection but a warm dry area in winter and cool in summer. Caves, logs and rabbit burrows can be used as home.
As mentioned they have a large brain case with intelligence comparable to a cat. The neocortex in the brain is the site of higher mental functions and comprises 43% of the brain mass in the Echidna. On Kangaroo Island some have been observed foraging around the base of tidally inundated sea cliffs and display what can only be interpreted as an environmental awareness of tidal movements by regularly departing before they are cut off by the rising waters.
As an echo of their platypus cousin, they appear to be confident swimmers. Similar to the platypus the males have spurs on the rear legs but are non-poisonous. Within the eyes, cone structures are absent indicating no colour vision but they do have an excellent sense of smell. They are also capable of vocalisation with soft grunting sounds.
Echidnas are solitary by nature, do not fight or defend territory and basically ignore other individuals they encounter. However come spring and the females waft forth a pheromone courtship invitation. A number of males take up the invitation and form echidna courtship trains with a female in the lead followed by commonly two to six males. These trains may persist for one to six weeks during which time males can loose 25% of their body weight. Trains of a dozen individuals have been reported. Research by Peggy Rismiller on Kangaroo Island indicates that females only breed at 3-7 year intervals. After mating the males are observed to congregate for what could only be described as a post breeding blues bash!
Meantime after a gestation period of about 23 days the female lays a single egg directly into the 'pouch'¯ where it remains for an incubation period of 10-11 days. The pouch itself it not a permanent pocket and milk is secreted through a number of non-localised mammary glands along the elongate edge of the 'pouch'¯. The young puggle, as they are called, is carried, and provided milk for 50-60 days at which time it has grown too big, not to mention the emerging spines!
Mother stashes the puggle away in a nursery burrow. However it is still totally dependant upon the mother for subsistence she will return every 5-6 days for a period of a couple of hours during which time the puggle can ingest up to 40% of its own weight in one sitting. As the mother leaves she blocks and conceals the entrance to thwart predators. This cycle is repeated for the next seven months until junior is weaned and ready to leave home. Field work on Kangaroo Island revealed one such individual fitted with a radio tracking collar travelled 40 km before settling down.
Despite all its strangeness the Echidna has been a real survivor. Its success has been put down to a controlled birth rate thereby preventing overpopulating and consequently not competing amongst themselves for the food resources. With their colour and shape they blend into the surroundings and are a master of camouflage. In fact they are not uncommon in urban areas but rarely seen.¯
With their intimidating appearance the adults present a prickly problem to any predator with thoughts of a quick a-la-carte meal. The adults and more particularly the highly vulnerable burrow young have a number of natural predators including goannas, quolls (native cats), Tasmanian devils, dingos and large snakes. Imported predators have a significant impact and include dogs, cats, foxes and feral pigs. Research work on Kangaroo Island reports a 20% loss of both burrow young and adults to cats.
Additional to this predation the Echidna Watch Program reports that 20% of all sightings are road kills. Although not endangered as yet the pressure is mounting with expanding development.
ORCHIDSOrchids belong to the angiosperm group of flowering plants and count a close evolutionary kinship with the ancient asparagus family. The angiosperm group arose 120 to 130 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period and it has been one of the most significant events in the history of the Earth. To this day researches are still challenged by the mystery of the origin of the angiosperms from the non-flowering gymnosperms, their rapid diversification and rise to dominance.
Orchids are the largest and most diverse plant family on the earth comprising 8% of all flowering species and to date number at 22,000 individual species with the number still increasing as more are discovered. Most frequently we are aware of the tropical orchids and their magnificent blooms, however there are many more small flowering varieties which easily escape our notice. A number of the later are found in Australia scattered in the eucalypt forest, woodlands and mallee where they are tucked away in the under story and generally pass unobserved.
Recent research has found that two factors have enabled the orchids to evolve into the vast number of different species. These are pollination and fungi.
Firstly it is the highly adaptable way individual species interact with the pollinators, especially the bees. It has been discovered that two species of adjacent living orchids were found, due to their individual morphology, to dab only a specific but different location on the bee with their pollen. The bee is the unwitting carrier of pollen from both orchids and the specific location ensures that pollen from one species can only be passed to an orchid of the same species. Specific customer service!
The second is the relationship of individual species of orchid to specific species of soil fungi. This is a symbiotic relationship with both parties benefiting, the orchid receiving essential minerals and trace elements from the fungi which in return receives sugars from the orchid. With this strategy different species of orchid can live side by side without direct competition.
Research on a number of tropical orchids from South-East Asia in contrast, found that they rely on a wide range of fungi and these provide the orchid with carbon. This relationship is vital for the orchids as they have no chlorophyll and cannot generate their own. A carbon isotope study revealed that the fungi were in fact acquiring the carbon from the roots of adjacent trees, with which they also have a relationship, and passing it on to the orchids.
An Australian parallel is the research work carried out by Associate Professor Mark Brundrett from the University of Western Australia, and published earlier this year. The subject of the study was the critically endangered orchid Rhizanthella gardneri which is fully subterranean and has no green parts. Although it still retains some chloroplasts 70% of the genes in the chloroplast have been lost. This orchid also has a symbiotic relationship with a specific fungi which in turn has a relationship with the roots of a broom bush from which nutrients are acquired and passed on to the orchid. There are only 50 known individuals left in the wild.
JUMPING JACKSA man in his 40's was cutting wood in the bush when he told his companions he had been stung by a jumping jack ant (Myrmecia pilosula). Suspecting an allergic reaction, he took 2 antihistamine tablets. His companions left him alone for 15-20 minutes only to find him dead on their return. He was alleged to have died from anaphylaxis resulting from the sting of the ant.
The sting of this species of ant, is responsible for more anaphylactic shock (severe allergic reaction) than any other Australian insect. More commonly know as jumper ant, jack jumper, jumping jack or hopper ants it has been coined these names due to is jumping action when aggravated, which is very easy to do.
Jumping jacks are on average 10mm-12mm long and are highly aggressive and fearless. They are black bodied with bright yellow mandibles (nippers), antennae and lower part of the legs. Excellent vision make them efficient lone hunters often straying long distances from the nest. Although carnivorous, there have been reports that the worker ants eat nectar and collect insects for the developing larvae.
These jumping jack ants are uniquely Australian although a rare species has been found in New Caledonia. Nests are not easy to find and are commonly a small hole in dry ground, about the size of a ten cent piece. They are sometimes found under rocks with their eggs being visible at the surface. The ants prefer to make their nests in dry open eucalypt woodlands but have adapted to make their homes in walls, cracks in concrete, rockeries, dry dirt and dry grassy areas.
Common reaction to jumping jack stings involves, burning, itching and redness at the site followed by local swelling with blister formation. Itching of the site can last for a week or more. An icepack and "stingose" can ease these symptoms. Other symptoms may include fever, elevated heart rate and a decrease in blood pressure. Symptoms will vary from individual to individual. In severe sting cases, anaphylactic shock can develop requiring immediate medical attention. Some signs of anaphylaxis are swelling, in particular the mouth and throat, breathing difficulties, chest tightness, nausea and confusion. There has been a link between some types of medication, e.g. blood pressure medication, increasing the chances of anaphylaxis when stung by a jumping jack.
It"s always best to live with our fellow critters, but in cases where yourself or a family member could be sensitive to this ants venom, it may be advisable to consult a qualified pest control operator in your region. These ants are a huge problem in Tasmania prompting considerable research into venom studies and allergy immunotherapy. If you suspect you are sensitive to insect venom, you can arrange with your doctor to have a blood allergy test performed from "Southpath Laboratories" Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042.
Once meeting these ants you will not forget them especially if have been stung. If you have found these ants in your garden or house, could you please contact the Normanville Natural Resource Centre 8558 3644. An informal study is currently being performed on these ants and knowing their distribution is valuable, particularly in the Normanville, Yankalilla and Carrickalinga areas.
SNAKES and SPIDERS FIRST AID WORKSHOPThe NNRC held a First Aid Workshop presented by David Hamilton from St. Johns, the topic was snake and spider bites and what to do if you get bitten. In both cases if the casualty is young or old get medical attention asap.
Snake and Spider Bites
Building Soil Carbon Workshop (Report of Workshop held)18th November 2010 Victor Harbor
Presented by Tim Marshall of T M Organics and Deputy Chair of the Organic Federation of Australia (OFA).
The project is supported by funding from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of the Australian Government.
The workshop modules covered:
- Climate Change background
- Vegetation management
- Monitoring business and marketing
- Water management
The critical part of Tim's presentation was a relatively recent established fact that soil carbon in agricultural areas throughout the world, including Australia, have drastically declined with intensive agriculture. The situation has deteriorated more by the loss of topsoil as a result of wind and water erosion including slope instability following deforestation.
In Australia the pre-settlement soil carbon content was stabilized at 5% and this has now fallen to 1-2%. The lost carbon has been released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, CO2. According to Dr. Christine Jones, one of Australia's leading experts on carbon sequestration, "every tonne of carbon lost from the soil adds 3.67 tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere"
Exasperating the problem of atmospheric carbon dioxide are the results from a long term (50 years) research program of the University of Illinios which found that the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer lowered the soil carbon. Although the finger is almost invariably pointed at the burning of fossil fuels as the culprit for the rising of the atmospheric carbon dioxide content, the "poor" management practices relating to soil carbon are a very major contributor.
Decline and deficit of soil carbon can be turned around simply by the addition of plant material. The carbon in all plant material is derived directly from atmospheric carbon dioxide. The use of green plant material (rich in starch) provides a quick hit and result. This material is unfortunately quickly broken down by bacteria and the carbon release back to the atmosphere as part of a short term cycle. The dry material is better as this provides food for the soil fungi as part of the long term cycle.
With the correct approach and management encouraging and utilizing the micro-organisms in the soil the carbon is bound in a variety of organic humic acids as part of humus and as such is immobilized for several thousands of years. The critical part is to then maintain those conditions to preserve the humus otherwise it will be lost back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
Apart from sequestrating the carbon from the atmosphere humus has a number of other attributes significant for soil fertility.
The first is water retention. A soil with 5% soil carbon can hold 2½ X more than a soil with only 2% soil carbon. Apart from storing water and aiding in the "drought proofing" of plants, it significantly reduces run off and potential water erosion.
The second , nutrition:
Humus can store 90 - 95% of the soil nitrogen
15 - 80% of the soil phosphorus
15 - 20% of the soil sulphur
In addition to these a variety of essential plant trace elements are also stored and are likewise available to plants.
As part of the management to preserve the humus the style of soil tillage is a critical factor. A technique which opens and aerates the soil needs to be employed, rather than one which inverts and destroys the soil structure.
The realisation of importance soil carbon is not new as very recent work indicates. Researcher Per Stenborg from the University of Gothenburgh in Sweden working on an pre-Columbian archaeological project in the Santerarem area of Brazil (Amazon) regularly came across very fertile soil surrounded by otherwise infertile land.
These were not natural soils but had been created by the pre-Columbian Indians. Carbon had been added to the soil to enhance its productivity in order to support the agricultural based communities, which according to early 16th century Spanish explorers, flourished and were numerous. A significant amount of the carbon, some as charcoal, still remains in the soil to this day.
Hooded PloversThe small Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis) birds are found nesting and foraging on our local beaches. They are a Threatened species with less than 70 Hooded Plovers left in the Fleurieu, so protecting their beach habitat is extremely important. They attempt to breed by making a small nest on the beach to lay their eggs.
Hooded Plovers live on ocean beaches and on coastal dunes. The Hooded Plover's diet includes insects, sandhoppers (Orchestia sp.), small bivalves, and soldier crabs (Mictyris platycheles). It forages at all levels of the beach during all tide phases. It is most usually seen in pairs or small groups, darting about at the water's edge as waves recede, bobbing and pecking along the shore. They nest during late spring and summer which unfortunately is also the busiest time of year on our beaches. Their simple next-scrapes in the sand and well camouflaged eggs are very hard to see and therefore at great risk of being stepped on. The tiny chicks struggle to survive because they need to feed on the beach, but cannot fly from danger for the first five weeks after hatching.
The major threat to the success of these birds breeding are dogs who are left to run free on the beaches and people who are invading their space as well as vehicles and horses. The adult Hooded Plovers will abandon the nest to keep it hidden and will not return until the disturbance ends. If this is for a long period, the eggs can literally bake on the hot sand, or be eaten by predators such as ravens, gulls and foxes. The chicks are also easily frightened by people and dogs. Without time to run and hide in the dunes, they will crouch near seaweed making them easy to step on. If disturbed too often they may starve to death.
See following links for Hooded Plover distribution and what we are doing to help.
Hooded Plover Locations
Protecting the Hooded Plover
Monitoring the Hooded Plover 2011 to 2012
The State of Australia's BirdsThe State of Australia's Birds reports are overviews of the status of Australia's birds, the threats they face and the conservation actions taken.
To see the reports go to the Birds Australia website
E-wasteE-waste has been growing three times faster than any other type of waste. In 2007-08, 16.8 million televisions, computers and computer products reached the end of their life with 84 per cent sent to landfill. Only ten percent were recycled; nine per cent of these were computers and one per cent televisions. If Australia was to continue without any form of collection and recycling scheme, approximately 44 million televisions and computers would be discarded in 2028.
A national product stewarship legislation and accompanying e-waste regulations has been developed. This includes a TV and computer recycling program which is free at the point of disposal. Hopefully this will divert TVs from landfill and illegal dumping. This program has been implemented in 2013.
To find your location go to the TechCollect website
For more information go to the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme website
Did a turtle die for your tuna?Tuna stocks have been decimated worldwide. Supermarkets play a key role in the oceans crisis by selling us overfished tuna. Destructive fishing used for canned tuna also kills sharks, turtles and juvenile tuna. Australians can buy a sustainable canned tuna brand, go to Greenpeace's canned tuna guide website to check out tuna brand rates. You can also send an email to Australian tuna brands and tell them to use sustainable and equitably-caught tuna.