FRIENDS OF WILSON RESERVE NEWSLETTER NUMBER 93

					FRIENDS OF WILSON RESERVE:                                fluttered out into the meadow to flush up insects with
                                                          its wings and tail, then fluttered back to its perch.
NEWSLETTER NUMBER 93
FEBRUARY 2004
Next working bee: Sunday 21 March 10 a.m. to
12 noon. Weeding at the Friends patch. From the
Irvine Rd car park, take the left track along the golf
course boundary. 350m along, where the path forks,
take the right fork. It is about 50m along.
Weeds
Late Jan., continuing to remove Bristly Ox-tongue
from the riverbank behind the 18th tee and pile it by a
big Redgum. Once the big ones are removed the many
smaller ones become much more visible. Slowly work
ing westwards along the embankment through Feb-
                                                          Grey Fantail – eyebrows and moustache
ruary. Also sawed and poisoned emerging Ash, Des-         The pair of resident Wagtails that hang around the
ert Ash and Fennel. Pulling out Trad and Winter-          sports field just south of the car park flit between the
cherry along the east margin of the scout hut meadow,     Silver Wattles and the open grassland every morning.
as usual. On Jan. 22 did some more work on Ivanhoe        Welcome Swallows skim the fairways, Sulphur-
Park cutting, sawing and poisoning a Cotoneaster          crested Cockatoos screech up in the trees, very many
stump and sawing off the two Gorse plants and pois-       Bell Miners tink along the billabong margins all day.
oning their multi -stem stumps. One of the residents in   On 27 Jan. two White-faced herons seemed to be
the houses above that footpath told me she had written    having a dispute about something along the 13th
to the Council many times about the eyesore of weeds      fairway, but later were searching for breakfast
in the cutting and got no response. One of those spots    separately.
that has fallen through the cracks so no-one is respon-
sible for it. Snipped off another Cotoneaster on 31
Jan. leaving about 8 or 9 to go. One more on 13 Feb.

On 4 Feb I found a very large Kapok Vine scrambling
over several tall Tree Violet and Currant bush along
the south rim of Reedy billabong, by the track, and
spent an hour removing it. This exposed several well-
grown saplings of Glossy Privet and fruiting Winter-
cherry so they were yanked out, too.

Met up with Zofia Stalmach early Feb and taught her
to identify Hawthorn and Nightshade. On 13 Feb met
here again and she told me she’s started pulling out
Nightshade on her daily walk along the river track – a
little thing an elderly person with angina can do to      White-faced Heron on 4th fairway
help make a better world. Even a few plants make a        On 1 Feb., the Straw-necked Ibis were back, 8 of
difference.                                               them, along with about 15 White Ibis, on the 13th
                                                          fairway. Saw the Frogmouth perched on a power line
On 13 Feb found David and Chris whippersnippering         in Hilltop Crescent again on 31 Jan – seems to be part
Nightshade along the track by the Horseshoe billa-        of its regular patrolling round. On 1 Feb, a Black-
bong planting site. David said they worked on that        faced Cuckoo-Shrike landed in a Wattle just above
area quite recently and the recent rains have made it     my head as I was walking by – common birds around
regrow amazingly fast.                                    the reserve, but I rarely see them. Wood Ducks on the
                                                          golf course seem to still be increasing – groups of up
Birds                                                     to 40 waddling about all over the place, probably
Early on 18 Jan. as I was leaving the reserve a Grey      several hundred altogether. On 4 Feb.there were about
Fantail was perched on a low branch and repeatedly        30 White Ibis and 8 Straw-necked Ibis on the 2nd
fairway – more than I have seen for many months. On        Eltham Copper at Pauline Toner Reserve
11 Feb, after a heavy overnight rainfall, there were 48
White Ibis and 7 Straw-necks on the 5th fairway




                                                           Andrea catching her butterfly to mark its wing
                                                           Rabbit
Ibis White and Straw-necked                                Three times this month my little dog has flushed out
Five Crested Pigeons in a cluster by the 5th tee on 14     the resident rabbit near the Grammarians’ pavilion,
Feb Currawongs calling over the reserve often in Feb       and as always, failed to catch it. It often feeds in the
Butterflies                                                shrubbery just inside the golf course fence.
On 20 Jan. I spent a morning at Pauline Toner Res-         Litter on the Yarra
erve in Greensborough with Andrea Canzano, netting         On the evening of 21 Jan. Neil and I canoed the Yarra
Eltham Copper Butterflies as part of her PhD field-        upstream from Studley Park boathouse for about 2.5
work program. We started at 8:30 a.m. with a walk          km. Between 7 and 9 o’clock we filled the canoe with
around the eastern butterfly reserve, then drove a few     plastic bottles, cans, bits of styrofoam, tennis balls
blocks to Toner reserve and spent about3 hours sys-        and plastic bags found bobbing under the riverbanks.
tematically walking around various parts of the little     It was a beautiful evening for paddling with multitud-
reserve, net ready. Ended up with 24 butterflies,          es of Wood Ducks, Black Ducks, Moorhens and a
mostly males (20:4) which were assessed as fresh,          Nankeen Night-heron that flew off as we rounded a
medium or worn. Andrea told me they have an active         corner. The Willows have been almost totally cleared
life of about 3 weeks and are usually found on or near     out of this stretch of the river, but some are reviving
Sweet Bursaria in flower, which are plentiful, though      and need further poisoning this year. The many green
patchy in the reserve. They also have a symbiotic          plastic frames on both banks show there has been
relationship with a species of ant. The ants protect the   much replanting and the river is looking much health-
caterpillars from predators and in return seem to get      ier. But there is still much Blackberry, Honeysuckle,
gifts of food in the form of exudate liquids. They are     Ivy and Wintercherry remaining. Just as we landed
fast-flying little insects, but not very hard to catch     and started unloading all the rubbish we had collected,
after a bit of practice.                                   a large flight of Flying Foxes flew high overhead.
                                                           Fungi
                                                           On 27 Jan. while weeding at Horseshoe Billabong I
                                                           found some Macrolepiota rhacodes in the usual place
                                                           just east of the first entrance gap, as well as two large
                                                           field mushrooms.
                                                           The Amauroderma rude I reported in the previous
                                                           newsletter is a Fungimap species – one of the 100
                                                           species being mapped by the project located at the
                                                           State herbarium
                                                           On 15 Feb Carolyn and I were walking the dog and
                                                           came to the Horseshoe Billabong planting site. At the
                                                           mulched patch nearby is an oak stump with a clump
                                                           of the luminous fungus, Omphalotus nidiformis an-
                                                           other Fungimap species. The other specimen I found
                                                          though was that as we were walking along the river
                                                          track around the south end of Bailey West, we heard a
                                                          new call, a very loud long-drawn cackle, unfamiliar to
                                                          both of us, and got good recordings of it. On checking
                                                          the FrogWatch tape later I found it was Peron’s Tree
                                                          Frog Litoria peroni. Gerry Marantelli told me a year
                                                          ago he was surprised we had not heard this species as
                                                          he would have expected it to be in the area. It’s taken
                                                          almost six years to put in an appearance but now it is
                                                          on the list. You can see from the map it occurs all
                                                          across northern Victoria and in a tapering wedge
                                                          down to Melbourne where it occurs only in northern
                                                          and northeastern suburbs as well as a long strip on the
                                                          far eastern coast. So we now have seven species. It’s
Macrolepiota at Horseshoe                                 other popular name is the Maniacal Cackle Frog, as
last year was about 500m away on a Redgum at the          that is what it sounds like.
Irvine Rd car park.
                                                          Next morning, Striped and Spotted marsh Frogs, and
                                                          Common Froglets, were calling in pond 9, though it
                                                          was silent the night before. And several Spotted
                                                          Marsh Frogs in pond 11
                                                          What’s in flower?
                                                          The unseasonal rain has helped the Bursarias along
                                                          the 9th fairway and Irvine Rd. to flower. Loosestrife is
                                                          a beautifully rich magenta around pond 7, Lightwood
                                                          Wattles put out dense clusters of very pale creamy
                                                          flowers between the 5th and 3rd fairways, Lesser




Omphalotus on stump




Little wood-rot fungi on a stick: at working bee
Frogs
On 29 Jan. Neil and I did the usual circuit, after a
night of heavy rain and to our surprise found few
frogs, nearly all the two species that normally call in
January: Striped and Spotted Marsh Frogs, in Bailey
and in a few golf course ponds. The big surprise          Lightwood in flower
Joyweed along the tracks and at the fallen Silver
Wattle on the scout hut meadow, Goodenias every-
where – they flower just about year round. Night-
shade all over the place – millions of them, some
white, some purple
Flying Foxes
On 4 Feb. Simon Toop entered the same rail carriage
as John D’Aloia and me in the afternoon so we both
got a first-hand update on the Flying Foxes at Yarra
Bend. The annual migration increased the number of
animals to about 20,000, and a project is being dev-
eloped to improve the habitat along about 3km of the
river frontage to help spread them out and minimise
local damage to the tree canopy. The young born in
October are starting to fly, moving around the edges       Rosemary Nixon emerges from forest
of the colony, preparing for the day they will join the    grew in plenty. Leaf-curling spiders were all over the
evening fly-outs, near the end of the month. A decis-      area, and unfortunately a few webs were demolished
ion is needed soon on whether to leave them there and      as they were attached to Nightshade.
develop the area as Flying Fox habitat or try to move
them to Horseshoe Bend.

One Flying Fox flew out of a eucalypt in my front
garden on the night of 10 Feb. as I was returning
home from walking the dog.
Working bee
Late Jan. I decided to do something about diversity of
plant species. Bought two Pelargonium australe and
two Bluebells at Keelbundora nursery at Latrobe, and
planted them beneath the little clump of trees we re-
grassed two years ago, beside the Gold-dust Wattle,
Callistemon and Hopbush I’d already put in. Should
look really nice in a couple of years. On 14 Feb put in
two Common Everlastings (Chrysocephalum apicu-             David Barr after some Wintercherry
latum) a Correa and another Hopbush                        We quit at noon and walked to the mulch patch to
                                                           look at the Omphalotus fungus I had found that
On 1 Feb I was about to do some planting when Peter        morning, finding a Gymnopilus along the way at the
McGillicuddy came by, out for a walk, and came             Flying Fox area.
along with me to help plant and water in three more
Hopbush along the golf course track and some
around the car park

On 15 Feb 5 of us assembled by Horseshoe billabong
to do some maintenance weeding on Shane and Ann-
ette’s patch: David, Heather, Rosemary and Steve.
The shrubs have grown wonderfully dense so it was a
battle to get into the site to hunt for weeds. We pulled
out many very tall Nightshade, some Wintercherry,
much Honeysuckle, Blackberry and Trad. but overall
the area was pretty good to start with – weeds consti-
tuted under 10% of the vegetation instead of 75%+ as
at our other sites. Over 2 hours we set up a line of
weed piles across the track, then briefly attacked the     Spider on a Hempbush
other side, where tall Nightshade and Honeysuckle
On the way back we stopped at the gate as the zoo cu-
rator who feeds the caged animals were just leaving
so we gathered for a chat about the state of the project

Robert Bender (Newsletter)           9499 2413
David Barr (Waterwatch)              9497 4020
Margaret Fievez (Membership)         9497 2306
Neil Gardiner (Frogwatch)            9499 8422

				
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