On Friday 10th January Mid Lachlan Landcare monitored 4 nest boxes that have been installed on a farm in Cargo NSW. The boxes have been up for a couple of years now and this farm is where we held our Squirrel Glider Spotlighting night in 2018 with Australian National University’s ‘Sustainable Farms’ project.
Very happy to report that 2 out of the 4 boxes were occupied 🙂
The remaining boxes had leaf nests which means they are still being used. The pictures are taken from a long camera and it’s done very carefully so as not to disturb the gliders. It is very hard to get a good picture!!
The dam these Gliders would use for water in this paddock is getting very low and muddy on the edges. Peter decided to make one of the vacuum waterers to install in a tree to trial the provision of an alternative water source for this local Squirrel Glider population. Another small way we can help our wildlife at this time. We will try and get a monitoring camera onto this to see if the Gliders use it.
This picture shows a huge mass of fur. Can you guess how many might be in there??
It is fantastic to see so many of our local landcare community doing what they can for their wildlife as well as trying to keep their farms running and stock fed during such a difficult time.
This summer has not been kind! The ongoing drought and the terrible fires have caused extensive damage across the state. Many of us are on water restrictions and don’t even have green garden spaces that can provide some refuge for our wildlife.
I have been putting out water in 2 pedestal birds baths in our garden and they are constantly used. One is outside my home office window. In previous years I have been distracted while trying to work by Eastern Rosella’s bathing, little Friarbirds frolicking and Apostlebirds all trying to fit on the birdbath at once. This summer that birdbath has been taken over by thirsty bees. They too need the water and I am more than happy for them to utilise this water source.
So it was time to put out another bird bath. There is plenty of information about the benefits of baths at different levels so I placed a ground level bath out and installed a camera to see how long it would take to get new visitors. They found the water the same day. The most exciting being a Diamond Firetail. I hadn’t seen them at any of the other baths in the last year. Wow!! The next day there were six of them. The first one had obviously told his mates.
It doesn’t take long to put out water for wildlife and it is wonderful to see the birds using these important resources. Please think about doing this at your place.
Diamond Firetails taking a bath. These are a threatened species in NSW.
Another threatened species. Dusky Woodswallow with it’s youngster 🙂
This Eastern Rosella was in the bath for ages. I have a whole sequence. It looks a bit wet in this video!
Couldn’t believe my luck with this picture. Dusky Woodswallow enjoying the birdbath with the Diamond Firetails.
Below is a Striped Honeyeater with a Noisy Miner coming in to check out the bath as well.
All these captures were taken over only 3 days and there were so many other species coming in to drink as well. Just amazing how fast the birdbath was discovered by such a huge variety of birds.
Almost $300,000 will be spent enhancing Box Gum Grassy Woodlands on farms in the Cowra/Canowindra district over the next six years, as part of the NSW Government’s Save our Species (SoS) Program.
Mid Lachlan Landcare (MLL) was successful in its bid to roll out a program protecting White Box, Yellow Box, Blakely’s Red Gum woodland on local farms. This Woodland is a threatened ecological community of which it is estimated that less than 10% of its pre-European distribution is still intact.
‘The project will provide farmers with access to resources to understand and manage woodland areas. Farm visits will be done and individual property woodland management plans will be completed. These plans will include a range of actions which will be tailored to suit the farmers involved and their production systems.
It is a long term land management project aiming to build the ecological function of Box Gum Woodlands on private farms’ said Will Johnson from MLL.
Project officer Tracee Burke is working day to day on the project. “We will be targeting sites but we are also interested in hearing from farmers who are eager to protect the native woodland habitats on their properties and are hoping to get 58 farms involved over the next 6 years of the project. Participants will develop property plans aimed specifically to maximize the possibility of this woodland surviving for the next 100 years while working in with the production systems of the farms involved.” Participants will then be eligible to apply for either immediate or future management actions funding which may include but are not limited to:
Funded by the NSW Government via the NSW Environmental Trust, the program is interested in collaboration between Government, the community, non-government organisations and industry.
Sites in the Cowra, Canowinda, Hovells Creek, Mandurama, Gooloogong, Cudal and Cargo areas may be assessed. Each site will have the capacity to improve connectivity across the MLL Region and maximize the chances of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands surviving for the long term.
Contact Mid Lachlan Landcare if you are interested in finding out more about this great project.
Tracee Burke 0417 799 425 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the last two decades 4th generation mixed farmer, Peter Davis, had found it
increasingly harder to make a profit due to rising input costs. Recently, through simple
management changes, he has increased profits through grazing alone.
Cargo property, ‘Laanecoorie’ has been run by Peter Davis’ family for 101 years.
‘Fertilizer and chemical costs were becoming a major concern to me, with yield and
farmgate return not improving. There was an increase in chemical resistance in our cropping areas’, explains Davis.
‘It was bothering me that my farm inputs were increasing but returns had plateaued. I also noticed hand feeding of livestock was becoming more frequent due to climate variations and my livestock enterprise was carrying the cropping.
‘I saw a change was needed and I decided to look outside my own patch to learn about
alternative methods to improve my business bottom line without increasing input costs,’
‘We started attending some grazing group workshops looking for possible answers. Through attending workshops run by Mid Lachlan Landcare and using their free support services under the Growing the Grazing Revolution (GGR) Project, I became much more aware of our soil ecology, ground cover and pasture species. I learnt how to better manage grazing to prolong and improve pasture viability and quality.
Sustainable and regenerative grazing management is critical for future land management and profitability according to Landcare, GGR Project Manager and Canowindra farmer, Scott Hickman.
Hickman has recently seen a spike in interest in sustainable grazing and has brought in Cargo farmer, Peter Davis, to work as Support Officer for the GGR project to help meet the demand from primary producers. ‘It is great to have a talented and respected local farmer to work alongside me,’ says Hickman.
‘I hope I can help a few grazing blokes understand, through simple management changes, they can increase profits through grazing,’ said Davis.
The GGR project covers farmers in the Canowindra, Cranbury, Eugowra, Carcoar,
Woodstock, Hovells Creek, Koorowatha, Gooloogong, Neville, Lyndhurst and Mandurama
It provides mentoring and peer support to farmers wishing to improve their grazing
management and shares experience, expertise and information on regenerative farming
systems. Scott Hickman and Peter Davis are available to give support to interested farmers.
Contact Scott Hickman (Project Manager): 0427450416 email: email@example.com
Contact Peter Davis (Support Officer): 0408 643122 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MLL is a voluntary, not for profit, cost effective organization providing forums for all local people to inform the future direction of both the (MLL) Landcare group and the (GGR) Grazing Project.
This project is supported by Smart Farms Small Grants, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
One hundred of Mulyan Primary School’s Year 3 and 4 students enjoyed outdoor lessons on the Lachlan River last Thursday, some touching the river for the first time in their lives.
On the day, Aboriginal students handed their peers images of native flora and fauna that live along the Lachlan and joined in discussions on the Aboriginal Totem system that once guarded every species against extinction.
On the shallow sandy banks of the river, students each created a science experiment looking at erosion and what makes the river muddy. Students concluded exposed soil causes erosion. They found ground cover from trees, grasses and their root systems held soil in place when it rains.
“We looked at how Cowra sits in the middle of the Murray Darling Basin, said one student. ‘I was surprised to see the river system travelled through four States of Australia starting in Queensland and came out at its South Australian mouth, five times saltier than the ocean,” he said.
Landcare coordinator, Jayden Gunn, explained the important role tree hollows play in supporting native animals including the superb parrot, the squirrel glider and other woodland birds.
Students studied food webs and were surprised by the massive eco system that a single gum tree supports.
“We learnt it takes over 100 years for a gum tree to form a hollow,” said a student.
“Old trees are important homes and food sources for native wildlife even if the trees are dead,” said another student.
“Mid Lachlan Landcare takes great pride in running its student workshops free for local schools,” said Landcare Education Officer, Trudi Refshauge. Students from all over Australia travel to Cowra to participate in our education programs,” she said.
“I knew this fabulous environmental program was right on our doorstep and I’m so happy I organized for our middle school to get involved, said Mulyan Deputy, Lisa Cummings.
A talented new Pest Animal Control Coordinator has joined Mid Lachlan Landcare. Jayden Gunn, wildlife photographer and writer for Aviarylife Magazine, brings some amazing skills and energy to the Landcare group says MLL Coordinator, Tracee Burke.
“My work over the next year will involve community engagement. I will be communicating with landowners, asking them what pests are out there and how we can work in community groups to tackle current pests or predicted pest problems,’ said Gunn.
‘For example wild dogs are becoming an increasing threat to agriculture in our region.
‘A large part of my life has focused on work as an aviculturalist, legally keeping and breeding threatened and endangered Australian birds including …the Glossy Black Cockatoo and the superb parrot.
‘This has resulted in developing an in depth understanding of the dietary requirements, breeding habits, seasonal movements, behavioral characteristics, conservation status and general taxonomy of the birds,’ he said.
Since leaving school Jayden has focused the majority of his time studying the Australian environment, more particularly the human impact on all of the native species.
Jayden also has a Certificate 3 in Animal Studies from Cowra Tafe and has had local work experience as a Veterinary Assistant and currently works at Cowra Meat Works.
His interest in conservation has led him to develop an interest in identifying environments and wildlife at risk of decline or damage.
“I have had experience in handling all pest animals found in this area as well as other dangerous and deadly animals like venomous snakes and wild boars,” he said.
‘Most of our threats to native wildlife come from cats, foxes, feral dogs as well as the near arrival of the Indian myna which I have seen, on numerous occasions only 50-100km from Cowra,’ he said.
‘The science says that if landowners work together in groups they have more positive outcomes rather than tackling the problem as an individual.
If you have any pest animal problems that you would like to discuss or you would be interested in becoming part of a local pest animal group please contact Jayden on 0474128928 or E-mail email@example.com.
Mid Lachlan Landcare through funding provided by Saving our Species ‘Save our Superb Parrot’ project is running a scattered paddock tree project within our area.
The Mid Lachlan Landcare region is covered in the map above and includes the area coloured blue.
Some of the key threats to the Superb Parrot are the loss of living and dead hollow bearing trees and poor regeneration of nesting trees. This project is providing funding for 500 new scattered paddock trees to be planted across farms.
The aim of this project is to enhance areas of highly cleared landscapes in the Mid Lachlan Landcare region by further developing connectivity through the landscape to improve movement and habitat of the Superb Parrot and other local fauna. This builds upon projects completed in 2016 and 2017 where over 800 new scattered paddock trees have been planted across our region. The trees must be planted within 30m of each other and need to connect remnants i.e. roadside vegetation and an existing mature paddock tree. Advice on tree species to plant, mesh and star posts to protect the young trees, as well as the tubestock will be provided to successful applicants. Construction and installation of the guards plus planting of tube stock is to be completed by the landholder.
Paddock trees across the landscape have a number of benefits for productivity as well as conservation including pest control, salinity management, stock and crop shelter and improved soil structure.
Check out the link below for further information on paddock trees.
You can also watch this short video on paddock trees as well.
If you would like an Expression of Interest form for this project please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org All forms must be completed and returned to Mid Lachlan Landcare by 28th September 2018.
Applications for this project are now closed.
Mid Lachlan Landcare is pleased to introduce Trudi Refshauge. Her skills in education, journalism, agriculture and Landcare have enabled us to offer her the roll of Education Officer. Trudi’s role is to engage with local schools and the wider community about environmental conservation and agricultural sustainability. She also presents to visiting schools and universities that take part in our Educational Tours.
Trudi is a beef producer from Wyangala Dam where she practices Holistic Management and has developed her own version of low stress stock handling. Regularly spotted stopping boat traffic near the dam where her stock run on both sides of the road, drivers are often surprised to see her stop/go hand signals work equally effectively on her herd of cattle.
Trudi has spent the last decade developing and leading a successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen – Garden Program at Wyangala Dam Primary School. In that time, the school community has gained a wealth of experience growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing a range of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Trudi has also introduced her students to learning about healthy soils and biodiversity through native seed collecting and propagation, building a shrub and tree corridor on a travelling stock route, bird watching, worm farming and building a Bee B&B Hotel.
Trudi has been heavily involved with the Hovells Creek Landcare Group (HCLG). Two decades ago, it started with many devoted hours helping her horticulturalist mother-in-law (to-be) propagate native seeds and grow seedlings for any landholder in the district who wanted them. She has since partaken in biological weed control and native seed collection programs and actively planted out numerous native shrub and tree corridors. Trudi has held voluntary positions of Press Officer and Secretary for the HCLG and hosted a number of functions for HCLG in her and her husband’s historic homestead. Her influence has extended over 60,000 hectares of land in the HCLG region.
In 2015 Trudi was contracted by The Great Eastern Ranges K2W (Kanangra Boyd to Wyangala) Link to join a group of teachers to develop an educational resource for Primary Schools supporting biodiversity and in particular, the threatened Squirrel Glider.
Trudi is skilled at writing, and in 2011 was a prize winner in Orange Library’s Banjo Patterson Writers Short Story Competition. She has had a range of environmentally focussed articles published in the local Cowra Guardian.
Spring is approaching and with it comes the beautiful woodland wildflower season. Woodlands have a rich understorey comprised of many forbs, lillies, grasses and even some spectacular orchids. After all the winter rain we received in the Mid Lachlan, it’s likely that a good flowering display is on the cards. As the weather warms up head out to TSR’s such as Badgery’s on the Reids Flat Road or a bit further afield is Crowther TSR on the Olympic Highway. Conimbla and Nangar National Parks have beautiful walks, or get along to an old cemetery such as Koorawatha, Canowindra or Toogong, and enjoy the diversity!