Newsletter 279 December 2018

Friends of Chiltern Mt Pilot NP Newsletter 279 December  2018

 

Dear Friends,

On a pleasant evening at Valley No 2 Dam picnic area we reflected our year’s  achievements and enjoyed a picnic tea. The dam plus the bush setting brings a variety of birds to enjoy. Phillip listed seventeen species for the evening.

A Rufous Songlark was heard in the grassland area. Usually very common and noisy in the park they  have been scarce this year.

Rufous Songlark

On the water a group of Pelicans appeared to be herding fish as we watched some being swallowed. Black-winged Stilts and Black-fronted Dotterels were combing the waterline as usual.

Black-fronted Dotterel N Bartlett

Jennifer recorded a Black Honeyeater and I note from the current  Birds Australia information  that they are turning up in various parts of the state this year. They are particularly attracted to Eremophilas and here  in Chiltern they have often been found in flowering Mistletoe at this time of the year.

Black Honeyeater female Dec

 Black-chinned Honeyeaters were heard calling

Black-chinned Honeyeater

A nice specimen of a Black Snake was encountered by Mick along the walking Track at a spot where one has been seen and photgraphed before. Impossible to say it is the same one!

The plantings around the picnic area have been very successful. They attract many small birds so we have made plans to extend the planting in Autumn to cover a bare area at the approach to  the picnic spot.

Hide planting Sept 2018

Wildlife:  Jumping spiders, belong  to the Salticidae family and come in many colours and sizes. This one, photographed by Neil, posed a challenge. It was in shades of brown and  no more than eight mm in size, and a very active subject. Jumping Spiders hunt by day. Jumping spider  N Blair

Website Flora Database : This is being extended to include plants of the surrounding region. The additions will take some time to be completed.  It is hoped that it will be useful to those interested in the regional flora. Neil had already  undertaken the photography of  the many species and we felt that these should be on the record.

Ranger’s Report

Coming into summer the focus of field work has been ensuring roads and tracks are cleared and mowing and slashing to reduce fire hazards.

Some new fingerboard signs have been erected to replace the old timber straddle signs. We have moved to this type of sign to reduce costs and use of treated pine.

Contractors have completed spraying of St John's Wort and other weeds at Grasslands Block and Rutherglen NCR

A stolen car that was dumped near Honeyeater Picnic Area has been removed thanks to early notification by Friends members and support from VicPol  and the vehicle’s insurers.

Calendars: Thank you to everyone who has supported the calendar sales.  If you wish to have one for a last minute Christmas gift be quick! Many thanks to Matt and Emma at the post office who take orders and distribute the calendars. It is another production that shows off the park values.

President’s Report :

Recently, our group has received a certificate of excellence from the ACF Peter Rawlinson Conservation Award (https://www.acf.org.au/rawlinson_award).

friends acf award

We had put in a nomination for this award and it is pleasing to be highly commended by the judging panel.

This is a testament to the many years of conservation work by the Friends group.

The Friends 2019 calendars have sold well and we are near to selling the very last one. Thank you very much to all of those who have purchased one as this is our major fund-raising activity for the year.

2018 has been a year with many achievements mixed with some sad moments.

The weekend in August when we planted 4,000 trees and shrubs on the Grasslands Block certainly goes down as one of the highlights of the year along with the discovery of a successful Regent Honeyeater nest on private land immediately next to the park.

We wish everyone a happy festive season and all the best for 2019.  Neville

 

 Rainfall:    For November :    47.2  mm over 5   days  Year to date: 340.5  mm  STILL VERY DRY INDEED

NEXT MEETING SUNDAY FEBRUARY 3RD 2019

Meeting details will be sent closer to the date.  Field contact  0407 486 480  or 0412 399 239

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Festive Season. Thankyou for the support you have given to the Friends group