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Kuprilya Spring: a (fenced) permanent waterhole, provides a refuge for wildlife and is part of Aboriginal freehold land which has become Land for Wildlife registered with enthusiastic monitoring and management by Tjuwanpa Women Rangers and Junior Rangers. It is a significant site providing water for the people of Ntaria (Hermannsburg) from 1935 until bores were established in the 1950s and 60s. Photo: Tjuwanpa Women's Ranger Team.

Land for Wildlife

Garden for Wildlife

 

Central Australia


Newsletter August 2015


Above: Our taxidermied cat models the Catlog device on the catwalk (couldn't resist the pun)! See more about our domestic cat monitoring project in an article below.


Hi Everyone!

Many of us have seen the widespread frost damage, brought about by the cool weather in many plants in our gardens and further afield. Interestingly, most natives have survived the sub zero temperatures and it's not surprising that introduced trees and ornamental varieties seem to have been hit the worst.

Soon enough our warm spring temperatures will bring flora and fauna out from survival mode, if only briefly. Keep a close eye on subtle changes that will be emerging from your block or garden over the next month as temperatures may begin to frequent the high 20's.

Events through these winter months are keeping our team busy. Welcome to the wave of new Garden for Wildlife and Land for Wildlife members and thank you for your patience!

To our long term collective of dedicated members, send us a photo from your block, we love including feature articles from our members and we always love to hear from you.

Happy gardening, weeding, planting, birding, viewing and enjoying...!

Jen, Tim and Bill
LfW and GfW team
lfw@lowecol.com.au

Senna artemisiodes nothosp. artemisiodes (Silver cassia) are showing their lovely yellow cheer around gardens and verges this month. Photo: Jen Kreusser.

What's On?

  • Wednesday 12th August - Kristi Abbott presents "School of Ants Australia: heads down, bums up for citizen science!" - 7.30pm @ CDU Higher Education Building - hosted by Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club.
 
  • Saturday 15th August - Walk through the Intertexta forest - hosted by Biodiversity Matters and led by the Alice Springs Field Naturalist club - 4pm - RSVP: business@alec.org.au by 7th August.
     
  • Saturday 22nd August, 3pm  - Tim Low, speaking at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden Gallery, on: 'The New Nature'. 

“Humans are responsible for conservation problems, and what many people conclude from this is that everything we do is bad for nature. But examples of animals and plants benefiting from us are easy to find, and include redback spiders in toilets, waders in sewage farms, bowerbirds using glass and plastic, and mammals benefiting from mosaic burning of spinifex. Native species that benefit from human impacts sometimes become conservation problems, for example noisy miners, overabundant kangaroos, and native plants that escape from gardens in new regions. Climate change is benefiting some species, and a subset of these have already become problems, including sea urchins that spread to Tasmania where they are decimating kelp beds, and kookaburras reaching higher altitudes in the Australian Alps, where they threaten endangered lizards. Conservation managers describe movement in response to climate change is what we want, when sometimes it can threaten biodiversity. This could become an issue in Central Australia.”   

  • Saturday 23rd August - 8.30am - Cactus Busting in the Valley - Biodiversity Matters free workshop - contact business@alec.org.au for more information.
   
  • Wednesday 9th SeptemberBen Beeton presents 'The Ecology, Geology and deep time history of landscapes in art form' - 7.00pm @ CDU Higher Education Building - hosted by Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club.
 
  • 23rd - 26th September - Fauna survey of selected Land for Wildlife properties hosted by Biodiversity Matters and led by Land for Wildlife team members. Volunteers can accompany the survey team to learn about trapping techniques and animals and plants that may inhabit their lands. Details in Biodiversity Matters brochure and available from the LFW office.
 
  • 18th - 24th October - Leak Week sponsored by Power Water Commission during National Water Week will be undertaking surveys of town and rural blocks to raise water conservation awareness and reduce landholder's water bills by alerting them of leaks in their systems. 
 

Project Title: Monitoring of domestic cats in Alice Springs


We are excited to announce that TNRM are supporting our project (2015-2016): 'Monitoring of domestic cats in Alice Springs', combined with various community awareness and engagement activities. - Thanks TNRM!

What does that mean?

Initially, we would like to obtain spatial data showing domestic cat movements around Alice Springs. We will find this out by putting a harness on the cat with a gps tracker and recording the cats location every few minutes. We are particularly interested to know the distances that they roam and locations visited. We will integrate the data into our community engagement activities and events, with an aim to encourage an attitude and behaviour of domestic cat owners in Alice Springs to control their cat movement and reduce the number of kills of native birds, mammals and lizards that national studies show is enormous.

Again, a gentle reminder, that pet cats (and dogs) are required by the Alice Springs Town Council to be retained on the owner's property. Pet cats older than six months are required to be registered and microchipped.

If you, or someone you know has a pet cat in Alice Springs who would like to know where their pet gets to when it goes out, get in touch and we can register your interest for your cat to be involved in the project. Owners details will remain confidential and their cat's data will be anonymous. (Email: lfw@lowecol.com.au).


An example of the type of map the Catlog device can produce (obtained from a vehicle and logging every 10 minutes).

Outing observations at Peter Latz' bush block
by Tim Dowling

Hints and tid-bits from the trip with Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club, to Peter Latz’ block at Ilparpa. 
  • Ironwoods (Acacia estrophiolata) are more susceptible to fire with dense buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) around their base. Peter's technique is to keep the base free from buffel. He showed us a section of a neighbouring  property that had a controlled slow fire, yet still killed quite a number of old Ironwoods due to buffel infestation. 
  • He lets the birds do all the planting and sowing of seeds for him. Birds will deposit seeds of ruby saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa) and other green plants that are a fire retardant around the base of trees. Bush bananas (Marsdenia australis) have germinated at the base of trees since the buffel has been removed. Previously there were no bush banana plants on the block. 
  • The trunk of an old, dead corkwood serves as a reptile “kingdom” or refuge.
  • If fire was used on the block there would be fewer reptile refuges, fewer birds and mammals and fewer seeds dropped, slowing down the rate of regeneration.
  • Peter's main land management strategies are to get rid of weeds (chiefly buffel and couch) and keep his block free of fire. Persisting with these priority strategies over 15 years on the block, has resulted in a dramatic increase in plant diversity.
It was a lovely and instructive morning. Thanks Peter, your dedication is inspiring!



Peter's property represents a diversity of plant and habitat structures resulting from his dedication to removing weeds and keeping fire away. Themeda avenacea and Ruby saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa) in the image above are alternative ground covers to buffel and couch grass!

Kuprilya Springs:

Ntaria Junior Rangers, Tjuwanpa Women's Ranger and the Land for Wildlife team

The Land for Wildlife team recently joined a workshop about the presence of feral horses and camels. Junior rangers practiced their observation skills and recorded tracks and scats of introduced species. It wasn't all about poo, there was discussion about predators vs prey and carnivores and herbivores and how and why horses and camels have such an impact on our central Australian landscape. Thanks to the Tjuwanpa Women's Rangers for inviting us to be involved again in the awesome and worthwhile program.

We look forward to our next opportunity to contribute! Thank you, Tim and Jen.
 

Junior rangers record their observations and Jen learns the Western Arrente word for Euro is 'Kurarta'. Photo: Tjuwanpa Women's Rangers.


Teachers and Tjuwanpa Womens Rangers working together to help teach the Ntaria Junior Rangers. Photo: Tjuwanpa Women's Rangers.

New Land for Wildlife members!

 


New Land for Wildlife members Rod and Anna, southeast of the Gap, have a dominant land unit type of Sandy Clay Flat on the northern part of their property characterised by Needlebush (Hakea leucoptera) and Cottonbush (Maireana aphylla). The saline soils are prone to erosion and and run off from the flanks of the MacDonnell Ranges requires careful management. The handbooks on soil management available on the NT DLRM web site are helpful in understanding the management required. 


Maireana 'aphylla' meaning no leaves... this spikey bluebush variety dominates the landscape.  On elevated rises, a variety of salt tolerant ground cover species occur following good rains.  
 
Photos from our members and friends...



Spiny-cheeked honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis), is a medium sized bird and frequent visitor around Alice Springs properties that enjoy nectar, fruit and some insects. Photo: Max Rittner.


A classic shot of Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata) sitting along barb wire for safety and a short rest, before fluttering back down amongst  the native grasses to enjoy seed. Photo: Max Rittner.


When was the last time you really stopped and observed the all so common Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla)? This image shows off their light pink 'hats' and provokes thought - was it simply a bit windy? Or were they practicing coordinated summersaults? Photo: Max Rittner. 

Moth of the month?

Last month we asked you to have a go at identifying the moth below, from the CSIRO's latest resource

How did you go?



 


We are waiting to hear back from our expert Lepidopterist at CSIRO. Apparently it is much more complicated than we thought!

 
Image above shows a few of the many volunteers helping out at the Australian Plant Society stall over the show weekend, as well as Tim and Jen from the Land for Wildlife team.
 

Alice Springs Show 2015


Thank you to the Australian Plants Society Inc, (Alice Springs) for hosting the Land for Wildlife team at their (awesome), prize winning stall over the Alice Springs Show weekend. We felt very pleased to be welcomed once again to share the shaded and beautifully decorated outdoor site. Congratulations on a terrific and visually aesthetic display with plenty of experience and advice on hand.

The Land for Wildlife team received many new expressions of interest from potential members and we are working hard to process new memberships, complete land assessments and offer support to the new wave of enthusiasm. 
Thanks for reading folks.

Did you know that we manage social media pages:

'Land for Wildlife - Central Australia'

'Garden for Wildlife, Central Australia'

AND

'Tawny Frogmouth'

So if social media is your thing.... LIKE our pages and stay in touch with the latest photos and updates!




Happy winter!

Jen, Tim & Bill.
August 2015
(lfw@lowecol.com.au)
 
Copyright © 2015 Low Ecological Services, All rights reserved.


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