The Newsletter of Land for Wildlife and Garden for Wildlife in Central Australia - April, 2016
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Land for Wildlife former coordinator Jesse Carpenter (now CLC trainer) and current coordinator Tim Dowling conduct a biodiversity survey on Geoff and Denise Purdie's Ilparpa property adjacent to Roe Creek in March.

Land for Wildlife

Garden for Wildlife


Central Australia

Newsletter April 2016

Hi there Land for Wildlifer's, Garden for Wildlifer's and the broader community...

  • New Land for Wildlife member
  • Quails in search of water
  • Animals out and about
  • A chat about cats summary
  • The outside sneaking inside
  • Resource: Feral Scan pest mapping
  • Coordinator changes - A new LfW coordinator and farewell to coordinator Tim

New Land for Wildlife Member

Dawn and Thomas Jacko

Jen Kreusser

New LfW members Dawn and Thomas Jacko have an amazing property that has been managed for conservation for more than a decade! Previous owners were committed to leaving dead wood around the place (as opposed to collecting for firewood use), which has contributed to visible signs of soil health, cycling of nutrients and of course habitat for geckos, snakes, skinks, arthropods, invertebrates...(the list goes on)!  Termites are well distributed amongst the Acacia aneura (Mulga), which lies over colluvial footslopes with short grasses and forbs (Fig. 2). When the LfW team were visiting, we noticed Evolvulus alsinoides (Blue Periwinkle, Fig. 1), Monachather paradoxus (Bandicoot Grass), Tragus australianus (Burr Grass) among others. To the credit of the owners there is very little buffel grass on the property and as a result there is an interesting diversity of grasses and forbs.

As the block is situated to the south of the Atwentiye Ridge (MacDonnell Range), it is subject to sheet flow from rains and drainage channels have developed in some areas. Managing erosion and rehabilitation of these areas are the focus for the owners.

Fig. 1. Evolvulus alsinoides (Blue Periwinkle) is a pretty silky perennial forb that produces pale blue flowers.

Fig. 2. The property is characterised by Mulga over forbs and grasses on a gentle slope of red earth soils, here adjacent to the hills, the colluvial rocks provide protection from rainfall for the relatively fragile soils.


Photos and Stories From Our Members and Friends

Red-chested buttonquail

Thanks to Land for Wildlife members the Ryans for sending in a photo of several red-chested button quails (Turnix pyrrhothorax) that wandered up to their residence on their property in Ross. The quails’ adventurous spirit came about on a record hot day before rain, when many birds and lizards on the property were in need of water. The family of quails were bathing and drinking out of a bowl near the house but have since retreated back to the high native grasses on the block.

Red-chested button quails (Turnix pyrrhothorax)  seek water from the Ryan's Land for Wildlife residence in Ross. C.Ryan.

Land for Wildlife Update

A great catch! A red-backed kingfisher (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius) with a legless lizard (Lerista) in its beak at Twin Bonanza. B.Low.

This striped skink (Ctenotus inornatus) was found in a funnel trap during the recent biodiversity survey on the Purdie's Land for Wildlife property at llparpa. 

A Chat About Cats....

Thank you to the interested members of the community who attended the 'Chat about Cats', in March. Land for Wildlife provided a short summary about the domestic cat monitoring project and the Alice Springs Town Council Senior Ranger, Wayne Davison, and Parks and Wildlife representative, John Tyne, were also able to comment about their work relating to domestic and feral cats in Alice Springs. We will continue to encourage pet cat owners in Alice Springs to keep the conversation going about how we can have pet cats and protect our unique native wildlife here in Alice. We are in the midst of designing the next phase of the domestic cat monitoring project in Alice Springs as we continue to engage with the community and raise awareness about the important role pet owners play when pets are managed responsibly. Our new coordinator, Caragh Heenan, has a range of relevant scientific skills and experience and is excited about continuing the project with pet cat owners in Alice.

A free resource, 'Where is your cat now?', available online, was launched on the evening with an aim to keep pet cats safe as well as prevent opportunistic predation on local wildlife. The content of the pamphlet follows. 

Is your cat an unwanted visitor in neighboring backyards? Council by-laws around Animal Management, state that a cat is 'at large' when it ventures from its yard. They also highlight the requirement for pets to be registered with council, which includes having them micro-chipped and desexed.

This project is supported by Territory Natural Resource Management, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme.


Resources and Articles

The Outside Sneaking Inside

While we can control how many people inhabit our homes, the number of extra visitors is not so easy to regulate. A mouse or two here and there sometimes takes us by surprise. A recent survey in the USA has uncovered the truth about the habitat our homes provide for hundreds of terrestrial arthropods such as cockroaches, moths, lice, mites and grasshoppers. The majority of the diversity within the household was composed of flies, spiders, beetles, wasps and ants.

Many of the arthropods found may be able to complete their life cycle within the home and therefore our dwellings contain self-sustaining ecosystems - so our homes are important patches of Land for Wildlife!

It is probable that local arthropod fauna are likely to take up residence in Australian homes as well. If you’re interested in identifying the extra visitors to your home...

Pick up a copy of Michelle Gleeson’s book: Miniature Lives: Identifying Insects in Your Home and Garden from CSIRO Publishing.

You can read more about the miniature lives in the CSIRO blog Hidden housemates.

Feral Scan Pest Mapping

Feral Scan Pest Mapping is a project by the Invasive Animals CRC and Australian Government Department of the Environment, and is supported by communities Australia-wide to improve knowledge about feral animals to help protect Australia's threatened wildlife.

As part of the project, FeralCatScan is a resource available for community members to record sightings, evidence, or predation of wildlife by feral cats in the local area. The information from members can be used to build a better understanding of feral cat populations and the issues that arise from their presence. Users of FeralCatScan can also view local feral cat maps and access information about feral cat control.

The FeralCatScan project has had over 1,000 sites recorded across Australia to date, though records from the Northern Territory are scarce (currently 4 sightings). Since feral cats can impact native wildlife and livestock production, it is worthwhile considering signing up and adding your own sightings of feral cats. You can sign up on the Feral Scan website and enter data or by using the FeralScan smartphone app – available for iPhone and Android devices.

For more information, visit their website: 

A Change Is In The Air...

New Land for Wildlife Coordinator

I’m Caragh, the new Land for Wildlife coordinator! I join the team here at Low Ecological Services with a background in ecology and zoology and a few other ‘ologies’ from my time in Adelaide.

I am a lover of birds (but a total amateur bird identifier) and spent several years of research looking at birds’ nest insulation as part of my PhD. A general lover of all things in the natural world, so it’s great to see all the new life that central Australia has to offer!

I had a desert change last year when I moved to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and worked as an operations ranger on park, which was a great experience.
Now I’m back in the big smoke to learn more and help my new neighbours find a way to tread lightly on this beautiful earth of ours by promoting conservation of the native wildlife.

Since I’m new to Land for Wildlife and Alice Springs, please come say hello if you see me around.  I will be presenting the work I did for my PhD at the Rangelands Ecology Seminars at CDU Higher Education Lecture Theatre on April 29th at 3.30. All are welcome. 

Farewell Tim!

Tim has been a fundamental contributor to the Land for Wildlife and Garden for Wildlife team over the past two years (among other projects). His practical knowledge of horticulture and landscaping as well as understanding of environmental science and ecological concepts will leave a void in the team for some time. Mostly, we will miss your humour, sense of fun and can-do team player attitude.

We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with you. All the best for your future endeavours in Melbourne and keep us posted!
Thanks for reading folks.

We are busy as ever and are always delighted to hear from our members and friends. Thanks for keeping us posted about the subtle changes that are happening at your place as Autumn advances over the next few months. Send us any photos or verbal descriptions of your block or flat and share your treasures.

Keep updated with more information about what is going on! Visit our Land for Wildlife / Garden for Wildlife website, follow Tawny Frogmouth on Twitter (@LFW_Alice), or follow LfW and GfW on Facebook.


Caragh, Jen, Tim and Bill
April, 2016
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