Newsletter 007 February 1994

Newsletter No.7 February 1994

 Dear Friends,

Bartley`s Brewery site was again the focus of our attention. Thistles were ruthlessly hacked out and bags of Caper Spurge seed heads were removed. The browsing Kangaroos have created open patches and tracks among the sedge. The 130 year old Persimmon trees, with their elegant branches laden with fruit, provided deep shade for the children. In the Autumn they will provide rich golden fruit for those who wish to gather them before the Currawongs arrive. Beneath the Persimmon trees are the remains of the garden beds constructed over 100 years ago. Caper Surge was probably introduced at that time. An ancient White Mulberry, a Lime, Quince trees and Cherry Plums are other survivors of the homestead garden.

After morning tea and a brief meeting a healthy stand of Cootamundra Wattle hiding along Riley`s Road was removed. There were numerous native plants struggling to survive under it. A number of Eastern Shrike-tits called as we worked. A Jack "pruning" saw proved to be a popular tool. It`s amazing how competition for a tool gets the job done quickly!

The Genista site on Howlong Road was inspected. This mass was sprayed by C.N.R. in November and the results are excellent. A few stray seedlings were removed. The area will be hand weeded throughout the year. Lunch was top priority when we reached the Valley 1 Dam. A cool breeze blowing over the water was welcome.

We did a waterbird count on the adjacent swamp. There were large numbers of Straw-necked Ibis and Little Pied Cormorants, lots of Coots and a few Hardheads. As it was well past the middle of the day the birds were inactive and easy to observe. There were many young Cormorants. While we were observing a large young Pied Cormorant standing on a post its parent came in and fed it.

One shrub flowering in the park at present is the Geebung, Persoonia rigida. Since its foliage resembles that of the Grevillea alpina at first glance it is often overlooked. The small yellow fowers are often difficult to see. Some plants had tiny fruits forming on them.When mature, the fruit, which is a stone fruit, will have a single hard-coated seed, covered by a fleshy layer and a tough skin. {Like a plum} A few of last season`s fruits were still on the plants suggesting that the birds have no taste for them.

At this time of the year many spider webs adorn the shrubs in the park. The most common spider we saw was the Spiny Spider of the Gasteracantha species. The web of this small colourful spider was difficult to avoid. Spiders do not eat solid food. They trap and squeeze their prey, then, with their specially adapted mouth parts they suck up the body juices into their stomachs. If you care to examine the contents of a spider`s web you will get a good idea of its menu, for the skeletons of its prey will be left in the web.

From the meeting.

1. A number of members who were unable to attend sent apologies.

2. Dorothy Ambrose had her bypass operation on Christmas Eve. She is delighted to find she is a new woman. After a holiday down south she hopes to be back with us at the April gathering.

3. Membership for 1994 has reached 37, just over half of last year`s total. A warm welcome is extended to new members George and June Fraser of Howlong

4. Friends Network Seminar, March 19 in Melbourne. This will be a good opportunity to meet friends from other groups. Details and registration form are attached. Ten people from our group will be going.

5.Geology Tour, April 17 this will be a full day tour. If you wish to reserve a seat on the bus please contact me on 057 261 484. Final details in the next newsletter.

6. Incorporation, Members decided that we should become incorporated. The cost is $80 with an annual fee of $30. This cost will be covered by the proceeds from the sale of the Wildflower books.

7.Clean Up Australia Day. March 6th. Friends will target the Howlong Road where it passes through the Chiltern Park. Meeting place will be at the Tourist Park in Main Street, Chiltern. Time 9.30am. Each person taking part is required to sign a registration form. Please bring gloves. If we have enough volunteers we should be able to clean the roadside before lunch. Lunch will be at Cyanide Dam for those wishing to stay.

8. Programme error: Please note; The Geology tour date is SUNDAY APRIL 17.

NEXT MEETING: SATURDAY MARCH 5TH AT CYANIDE DAM. THIS IS A TEA MEETING. TIME 4PM.

Sounds of the Night, Stag Watch and Possum Prowl. Come along and bring a friend.

FRIENDS OF CHILTERN PARK MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL P.O.Box 60, Chiltern 3683 Please find enclosed my membership fee of $7.00 for 1994. N.B. The fee covers the whole family. NAME..........................PHONE................................ ADDRESS...........................................................

THE RENEWAL OF YOUR MEMBERSHIP IS VITAL TO OUR CAUSE. THANK YOU FOR CARING