Newsletter 295 June 2020

Friends of Chiltern Mt Pilot NP Newsletter #295 June 2020

Dear Friends,

Now that the lockdown associated with coronavirus/COVID-19 is being eased, it is now permissible to visit the Park in small groups and for our field days to re-commence with some restrictions.

Banksia re-planting – Neville Bartlett

As soon as COVID-19 restrictions eased at the start of June, an opportunity was taken to re-plant 96 Banksia marginata (Silver Banksia) seedlings at a site on Settlers Road in the Mt. Pilot section of the Park. This species is native to the area and a few large specimens remain. A previous planting of seedlings that took place during the drought was not successful. The wet start to the season and the availability of some locally sourced seedlings has encouraged us to try again. Tree guards were already in place and the ground was wet. The aim of planting this species is to increase the availability of nectar for birds and other creatures.

Banksia planting (5598) - NB Banksia planting (5600) - NB Banksia planting (5603) - NB

Volunteers at work. Photos: Neville Bartlett

Ranger Hannah Clemen provided us with the latest update regarding COVID-19 restrictions and the nine people who attended quickly planted and watered the seedlings.

It was great to be back in action again. Thank you to Trust For Nature and Mick Webster for arranging the planting.

Hooded Robins in the National Park and surrounding grasslands – Eileen Collins

 

Hooded Robin (Female) (9497) - JB

Hooded Robin female – Photos by Joseph Birckhead

When we think of robins the colours Scarlet, Rose, Pink, Flame and Yellow, our five more obvious and showy robins come to mind. However, the black and white Hooded Robin is not so flashy and along with its habit of sitting motionless watching for prey it is easily overlooked.

Hooded Robin (Male) (7946) - NB

Hooded Robin male – photos by Neville Bartlett

Hooded Robins seem to favour the park edges and sites with White Cypress Pines such as the Grasslands block, Anderson's Fire Trail and around the Peake's Track area of Donchi Hill where they were once regularly recorded breeding. Pizzey and Knight, in their Field Guide of 1997 comment that Hooded Robins are "declining in settled areas".Although they are common in inland areas it would be easy for this delightful little bird to slip out of our landscape unnoticed.

All records are valuable especially if accompanied by a photograph and GPS record so that they can be added to the state database.They may be sent to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. along with the observer's name and they will be formally recorded.

Tree guard replacement – Neville Bartlett

Ranger Hannah Clemen advised us of some damage to trees and shrubs that Friends had planted near the bird hide at Chiltern Valley #2 Dam. Some of the tree guards were missing and some creature(s) had chomped off the shrubs leaving the pieces next to the stake that was still in place. We suspect that the wind was responsible for tree guards being missing and that hares were responsible for the damage.

Chiltern Valley #2 (5633) - NB Chiltern Valley #2 (5635) - NB Chiltern Valley #2 (5636) - NB

Tree guards, no longer required at the Grasslands Block, were reused to help protect 20 to 30 damaged plants that no longer had guards. Some examples of the damaged plants above- Photos: Neville Bartlett

Around the Park – Various Reporters

Some very encouraging sightings have been reported of the last few weeks. These have included Hooded Robins (see Eileen’s story above), a Koala, Flame Robins, a Rose Robin, a Barking Owl and a flock of 10 Swift Parrots.

Barking Owl (9507-2) - JB

Barking Owl – Photo: Joseph Birckhead

Ranger’s Report – Brian Pritchard

The end of financial year has seen staff focusing on completion of our projects and all of our pest plant and animal and visitor facility programs have now been finalised. We are still awaiting advice on what our funding and work priorities will be going forward and need to wait for the State Budget in October to get a clear picture.Work to ensure our parks are safe, open and clean will continue to be our focus over the next few months. Control of Noisy Miner populations to assist with Regent Honeyeater Recovery are being supported this week.Illegal activities continue to be a focus for rangers with a number of illegal timber removal and off-road activities being detected and compliance activities undertaken.The Autumn firewood collection season finishes on 30 June so there are no legal avenues to collect firewood on any public land until September.Collection of firewood in National Parks is not allowed at any time and we encourage people to report any illegal activities.

Rainfall For May: 40 mm. Total for 2020 year-to-date: 390 mm. In 2019 we had 192 mm up to the end of May.

NEXT MEETING – Saturday 4th July 2020 We will be removing Caper Spurge seedlings at Bartley’s Block.Please let us know if you are coming so that we meet the COVID-19 requirements that limit the number of attendees and also to make sure that we have enough bun for everyone.Please bring gloves, a chair and something to drink.Empty bags to hold the removed plants would help a lot. Meet at the Post Office at 9.00am. Field contact: Neville on 0412 399 239

Membership

It's time to renew Membership as it expires on June 30th. Thank you to all who have taken out membership this year. We hope you will continue your support. Friends have achieved a great deal during the past few years. Surveys for plants, birds and monitoring, maintaining and surveying mammal boxes, tree planting, weed control and provision of brochures, interpretive signage and park furniture are just some of our contributions. Your support for our activities is valued and your membership renewal is important to our cause.Please ensure your contact details are current.Please find enclosed my membership of $15 for 2020-21. The fee covers the whole family and includes 11 newsletters.

Name:.................................................................................................. Telephone:..........................................Email:.................................................................................................. Receipt required: Yes / NoAddress:…………………………………………………………………………………... Postcode: ……....If you wish to use electronic payment the details are:Acc Name: Friends of Chiltern-Mt Pilot National ParkBank: WAW Credit Union Co-operative Ltd (Cuscal Limited)BSB number: 803070Acc number: 81167Please add your surname to the transaction.Please advise Tony (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Neville (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) when you have made the payment to help us keep track of payments.