Newsletter 081 December 2000

 Dear Friends
Our final meeting for 2000 was at Depot Dam on a pleasant afternoon. The targets for the day were Grey-crowned Babblers and Bush-stone Curlews so we divided into two groups to cover the known territories. The group searching the Fisher's Road area had the most success, 5 Grey-crowned Babblers, a Barn Owl, a Goanna with part of its tail missing and an unfortunate juvenile Squirrel Glider dead on a barbed wire fence. Spring must be the fighting season for goannas since that is the third sighting of a damaged animal.
Our group, which searched a large area north of the park, had a nil record for both the target species. Lots of Brown Songlarks in the croplands, Willie Wagtails and Common Bronze wing Pigeons. The paddocks where the Curlews and Grey-crowned Babblers have bred in previous years have been turned into cropland which is sad for the birds. Another downside of the area north of the park is the proliferation of Chilean Needle Grass. Its thick tangled heads were heavy with seed and plants were invading areas of native stipa. Noisy miners were the dominant birds of the roadside vegetation.
After tea beside the dam there was a short meeting. The evening walk along Depot Road was very pleasant. The sound of crickets replaced the bird calls, White-browed Babblers were taking dust baths, Common Bronzewing Pigeons foraged in the drain lines. Rufous Whistlers, Fuscous Honeyeaters, Grey Thrush and Olive-backed Orioles were all seen or heard.
Despite the warmer weather there were still a few Trigger Plants, Finger Flowers, Wedge Pea and Diggers Speedwell in flower. The Golden Everlastings were paper crisp but still colourful.
We sampled the ripening fruits of the Cherry Ballart and although still a touch orange in colour they were quite sweet. Good bush tucker.
Tiny colourful Spined Spiders are abundant at this time of the year. Their webs are stretched between the shrubs and they catch more than insects for they are very hard to see!
I wish everyone a Happy and Safe Festive Season and a wonderful New Year, Eileen

Eileen awarded prestigious "Kookaburra Award"

Friends convenor, Eileen Collins, was recently awarded a "Kookaburra Award" by Parks Victoria. The award recognises and celebrates outstanding individual contributions to the protection, enhancement and expansion of Victoria's park system.
The award recognises Eileen's significant voluntary contribution to Chiltern park over a 30 year period. Years of gathering data on flora and all things that move in the Park, from the smallest insect to mammals and birds, her infectious enthusiasm for the park that has rubbed off on all who meet her and years of lobbying to achieve appropriate reservation of the area, has been recognised by this prestigious award.
Well done, Eileen.
Scott Jessup.

 
NEXT MEETING JANUARY 13/14 2001 OVERNIGHT CAMP OUT IN THE PILOT RANGE. BYO EVERYTHING. NATASHA HOPES TO SHOW US SOME OWLS.
IF YOU INTEND TO COME PLEASE RING 03 57 261 484 AFTER JANUARY 8 FOR DIRECTIONS AND TIMES.


February Meeting Sunday February 4
Presently activity and venue is undecided. Please ring for details