Monday, 31 January 2011

Weedeaters back on duty

Well this summer has been even wetter than last and there have been some tragic consequences here in south-east Queensland. But the additional rainfall has sparked plenty of new life - and new weeds - in the Dawn Road Reserve.

The wildlife in the reserve has ventured further afield than usual as people stayed indoors during many wet days over the past few months.

As a consequence, backyards have been quieter places and some native animals have taken that as an invitation to explore ... Last week we even saw a busy bandicoot in the middle of our side yard, oblivious to our outside spotlight which lit him up like a Christmas tree!

But the warm, wet weather has also spawned lots of weeds in the reserve, so the local Bushcare group - the Dawn Road Weedeaters - will be swinging back into action once a month and is looking for extra volunteers.

The two-hour working bees are a great way to meet neighbours from the three estates along Keong Rd (Albany Parkside, Woodlands and Country Club) as well as the occasional Brisbane residents who come from the Bridgeman Downs side of the reserve.

So make a note of these dates and come along and see for yourself:

7.30-9.30am Sunday, February 13, 2011 @ south-western end of Fred Campbell Drive (near No. 36)

7.30-9.30am Sunday, March 13, 2011 @ southern perimeter of reserve near Huntingdale Court

8.00-10.00am Sunday, April 10, 2011 @ southern end of Hengis Court

In the meantime, when you're our walking around the reserve, watch out for our new Bushcare signs. They should also have the next date for these gatherings.

Happy wanderings


Saturday, 13 June 2009

Dawn Road Reserve's no place for trail bikes

Why you should leave your trail bike at home when you come to the Dawn Road Reserve

  • Fire risk is very high, year-round, in the reserve. It only takes one spark from a trail bike’s exhaust pipe to light a blaze that may quickly destroy the reserve, its native animals and even the properties that adjoin the reserve (that’s homes, parks and sportsgrounds in the Albany Parkside, Woodlands and Country Club estates in the Moreton Bay Regional Council area and Bridgeman Downs in Brisbane City Council area)
  • There are areas of high conservation values throughout the reserve. Trail bikes cause damage to those areas as well as to undergrowth, clearings, fire and walking trails
  • You risk harming native animals, birds as well as a variety of nesting areas or other habitat
  • Loud noises not only annoy those living in neighbouring properties they also frighten native animals and birds, especially their young
  • If you are hurt, it’s very difficult to locate where you are and get help to you
  • It’s against the law to ride bikes in the reserve and, if caught, you may face a stiff fine

Come instead on foot or your pushbike and you are more likely to

  • See and hear an amazing array of undisturbed flora and fauna as the seasons unfold
  • Appreciate and leave undisturbed areas of great beauty and diversity
  • Learn more about native animal and plant species local to your area as well as introduced and weed species of plants
  • Grow to love, respect and protect the reserve as much as many others in the community already do

Things you can do to stay safe while in the reserve

  • Bring a water bottle (may sure to take it home with you) because there are no taps
  • Having a mobile phone is wise in case you need to summons help
  • Stick to the established fire and walking trails
  • Remember to watch where you put your feet and to look up ... avoid stopping/sitting underneath damaged trees, dangling branches or other overhead dangers
  • Be careful when moving around the edges of the creek, where surfaces can be slippery and sometimes prone to collapse, especially after heavy rains
  • If you bring stuff into the reserve (i.e., hats, bags, soft drink cans, chip packets, etc.), take it out when you leave ... there are no rubbish bins
  • Look out for permanent features that you can use as landmarks (in case you need to call for help or return to a favourite spot)
  • Don’t chase/approach native wildlife, appreciate it from a distance and, if you’ve a camera with you, take photos instead

Want to learn more about the reserve?

  • Read on! There’s a growing collection of blog entries to explore. Click on the comment button to add your own observations or ask a question.
  • Join in the Moreton Bay Regional Council’s monthly Bushcare activities to learn more about the plants and animals that populate your Dawn Road Reserve. The group meets for a two-hour working bee on the second or third Sunday of the month. For details, call Adam Christison or Wendy Heath on 07 3205 0555.

Happy exploring


Thursday, 16 April 2009

Where's our ark?

WELL it's been a hectic few months at our place but the intermittant - and sometimes even torrential - rain has been rather welcome after too many dry years.

All that rain has meant lots of growth and plenty of wildlife activity in the Dawn Road Reserve and, as Easter rolled around again, the Reserve has come alive with blooms ... sadly the most prominent ones were the bright yellow escapees from local gardens, the Easter Cassia, which are becoming a real invasive nuisance in the Reserve. If you happen to have one in your yard, it would be great if you could remove it as the birds love its seeds and broadcast them far and wide.

All the rain has certainly got the ants on the move and a few other creatures, too, including this Eastern Long-Necked Turtle (sometimes known as the snake-necked turtle for obvious reasons) which appeared in our yard on Monday at lunchtime, just before the latest downpour!

We wondered whether nature was telling us it was time to acquire an ark because it's the first time in the 10 years since we moved here that we've seen a turtle at all, let alone in our yard.

This fellow's carapace (it's hard shell) was about the size of a small dinner plate and his neck was almost as long as his shell was wide. We're only assuming it's a he, because we're not experts at determining the gender of such shy creatures.

Over the recent past we've also been visited by a juvenile Eastern Water Dragon (who took a little treat from my fingers, so we're assuming he's not too wild). We've also continued to see fresh Lace Monitor markings on their favourite tree, just adjacent to our block, and the Black-Striped Wallabies are still around at night, their calling cards in evidence on our open front lawn and nearby grassy verges of the Reserve the next morning.

Have you had any special wildlife sightings at your place in the past few months? If so, share them. If not, why not enjoy a stroll through the Reserve ... there are plenty of walking trails (about 6km in total) and lots of interesting flora and fauna to see if you look around carefully.

In places, you can still see the aftermath of that destructive storm that hit Brisbane's northern suburbs back in November, but in addition to clean up work done by the council, already the Reserve has reclaimed much of the downed branches and foliage, with many damaged trees already sprouting healthy new growth.

A quick reminder - if you live in the Albany Parkside, Woodlands or Country Club estates - that our local Bushcare group that has been working on rejuvenating two key areas of the Reserve is always looking for volunteers, once a month, for two hours.

The next two Bushcare days will be Sunday, May 17 (8-10am) at the southern end of Hengis Court and then on Sunday, June 14, (8-10am) at the south-eastern end of Fred Campbell Drive. See below for what to wear/bring. In the meantime, you can checkout the latest Moreton Bay Regional Council's Bushcare newsletter, Understory, online.

Happy wanderings.


Monday, 6 October 2008

Spring has well and truly sprung

THERE are lots of things to see in the Dawn Road Reserve at the moment and the best way to get to know about the range of interesting plants and wonderful wildlife is to join us next Sunday on an "interpretive bushwalk" with local naturalist John Bowden.

Organised through the Moreton Bay Regional Council's BushCare program, this unique, free, two-hour gentle walk will begin at 8am sharp at the south-eastern end of Fred Campbell Drive, Albany Creek, in the cul de sac.

Children are welcome, accompanied by an adult, and it's strongly advised that you wear closed shoes, a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves, long pants, a sunscreen and a repellant. Bring along some drinking water, too, as the weather's already quite warm.

There are so many things to see and understand, that you might also want to bring along a camera. Feel free to contribute images to this blog afterwards.

By the way, with the warmer weather returning, you might want to review your bushfire preparedness as we head into peak danger season. If you're new to the area and not familiar with these preparations or want to be reminded of some of the essentials, check an earlier post on this blog.

Look forward to seeing you and your family on Sunday.


Tuesday, 8 July 2008

BushCare this Sunday (July 13)

WELL it was wonderful to see a handful of keen residents from the Parkland Estate rock up for the last BushCare activity on June 22.

While we had a fascinating guided tour of the southern end of Mahaca Park (which is part of the Dawn Road Reserve) with Amanda from the parks section of the new Moreton Bay Regional Council, we soon realised that we have a long-term challenge ahead of us to get on top of some pesky weeds that have invaded the bushland to the east of FCD.

So the call's going out to more residents to join the effort. The work's not hard, the equipment's provided for us and we get plenty of guidance and instruction from people who really know their stuff.

If you're interested, come to the south-eastern end of FCD at 8am on Sunday (see below for recommended clothing). An added bonus is that you can learn about what common plants can in fact be weeds in our neck of the woods. (Sigh, I think our Jacaranda will be going soon, to be replaced by a less-invasive species!)

And this week's rains will mean any weed-pulling will be significantly easier!!

See you there.


Monday, 2 June 2008

Bushcare event @ Albany Parkside

DON'T you just love the bushland around our estate, peppered as it is with beautiful flora and interesting fauna? Even when it's raining and Albany Creek begins to babble, it's a wonderful landscape.

Well, one of the ways we can keep our bushland not only looking good but also free of invasive or destructive weeds (which could also spread to your garden), is to join in the fun activities organised by our local BushCare group.

The great news is that the next BushCare activity will be held on Sunday, June 22, from 8am to 10am in our Albany Parkside side of the Dawn Road Reserve.

In fact, those who want to participate will be helping to improve a segment of creekside parkland behind homes on the eastern side of Fred Campbell Drive.

The new Moreton Bay Regional Council sponsors our local BushCare activities, supplying volunteers with tools, equipment and cool refreshments in return for two hours of our time. The range of tasks can include:

  • Plant and weed identification
  • Encouraging natural regeneration
  • Tree planting
  • Mulching
  • Weeding
  • Habitat creation

BushCare is a community based conservation program aimed at restoring our natural bushland areas. The local group has been working successfully for once a month over several months on a patch of bush that runs along a rather pretty gully at the end of Hengis Court (in the adjacent Woodlands estate).

The transformation has been amazing as a group of a dozen or so local residents pitched in - under the watchful eye of MBRC BushCare officer Adam Christison and our local BushCare co-ordinator Janet Mangan - to remove invasive madiera vine, climbing asparagus, its groundcover form, asparagus fern, glycine and other pesky weeds.

Volunteers have included singles, couples, mates, parents and their children, people aged from 10 to 70+ who spend two hours once a month working together on a fun project.

It will be terrific to start such a project at this end of the Dawn Road Reserve. Why not join in the gathering at 8am adjacent to 35 FCD (cul de sac on the far south-eastern end)?

All you need is a broad-rimmed hat, gloves, sturdy enclosed shoes, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and to splash on plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent. And, of course, bring a friend, partner or child.

See you there.


Wednesday, 14 May 2008

We're back

I'M afraid it's been a bit busy on the family front these past couple of months and the posts have had to wait, but we're back and ready to roll.

The Dawn Road Reserve is looking pretty good right now and the wildlife are still fairly active, despite the arrival of cooler weather.

We've been glimpsing/hearing the wallabies - we think they're
black-striped wallabies (macropus dorsalis) but we've also been told they could also be red-necked wallabies (macropus rufogriseus) - quite often at night, their preferred time to roam the edges of our bushland and nibble on the dewy grass. But they're pretty flighty and will bound off into the heavier undergrowth as soon as they hear any movement. We think there's a large male as well as a few smaller animals grazing at our end of the Reserve. Have you seen any?

Sadly, we've also noted evidence of a growing number of small wildlife being struck and killed by vehicles on Albany Creek Road and other nearby roads. The upside of this may be that there are more possums, sugar gliders, etc. traversing the territory. Let's hope so.

But there's no time like the present to take a walk through the reserve and see the wonderful diversity of plant and animal life ... it's fun to be still for a few moments to not only hear the array of birdlife but to check for evidence of other animals. Don't just check out the ground, look up into the trees and canopy and you'll be amazed at what you see.

We took a walk along one short track last week with a large rubbish bag and collected discarded rubbish. I'm pleased to report the amount collected wasn't too onerous.

But this raises a point. If you're going in to enjoy the Reserve, please bring everything out that you take in!

Happy wanderings.

PS: There will be a BushCare activity this coming Sunday (May 18) from 8am to 10am which all residents who live around the Reserve are welcome to attend. For more information, during work hours, call 3480 6666.

FUN ALERT: Hays Inlet Festival

FROM Friday, May 23, to Monday, June 9, there’s a fabulous array of free or inexpensive activities for families to be enjoyed as part of the Hays Inlet Festival.

Events will include:
· bridge, beach, river, bush, nature and bird-watching walks
· fishing, photography and garden competitions
· a boat cruise
· sailing on Lake Kurwongbah
· a kite flying day
· tree plantings and potting demonstrations
· presentations on dugong and wading birdlife
· a night event with well-known wildlife expert Ric Nattrass
· ecumenical thanksgiving services
· a film night
· a trivia night
· weed-busting activities
· art displays and workshops
· a big family picnic

If you don’t already know, Hays Inlet, an internationally recognised wetland, is where the Pine River, Saltwater Creek and Freshwater Creek spill into Bramble Bay on the western edge of Moreton Bay.

While Hays Inlet itself is in Clontarf, near the bridge between Brighton and the Redcliffe Peninsula but the catchment that drains into it stretches back to the D’Aguilar Range.

The Hays Inlet Catchment covers more than 1000 sq km (from Brighton to Saltwater Creek and from the D’Aguilar Range to Redcliffe) and is home to over 200,000 people and a diverse range of birdlife.

You can download a brochure containing the schedule of events for this year’s festival from the Hays Inlet website.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Evidence of echidna in the area

WELL, with all the wonderful rain over the past weeks, it's been a bit hard to get out on the tracks too often to spot echidna, but, at last, we have an image of one that visited a house near the Dawn Road Reserve ... thanks to Woodlands' Neighbourhood Watch’s Mark R.

While this photo was actually taken in 2001 beside his front fence (near the western edge of the Dawn Road Reserve), his neighbour has told Mark and his family about subsequent evening visits, at least two of them in the past 12 months!

These shy little critters are pretty scared of dogs, so for those of us with canines, we’ll have to look for any echidna a bit further afield when we’re out walking.

Speaking of the rain, it sure has begun to soak in and do some good after such a long drought.

The BushCare group - under the capable supervision of the Pine Rivers Shire Council's Adam Christison - met last Sunday morning and managed to have its monthly, two hour get together on one of the only dry days in the past few week.

The 12 or so volunteers found extracting identified weeds a much easier task because the vines were coming out of the soft ground without anywhere near as much effort as when it's dry.

If you'd like to join this monthly activity - it's open to volunteers aged 10 to 70+ - for the next few months the group will be working under the PRSC's supervision along a pretty gully at the end of Hengis Court (in the Woodlands estate) every second Sunday of the month. February get-together will start at 7.30am, but it's likely to drift out to 8am as the days shorten and the weather cools.

One really wonderful piece of news we got from experienced BushCare representative Janet is that, after the recent rains, she and another volunteer saw a platypus frollicking along Sandy Creek (not that far outside our Reserve area, it passes the state school at AC). Janet's also had a couple of visits from a young koala in a gum tree at the back of her yard.

Who knows what you might see over here in around the Dawn Road Reserve, because one of our FCD neighbours reported one visiting gum trees at the back of his home a year or so ago.

Happy wanderings


Monday, 3 December 2007

Elusive echidna

Well our friend the echidna is proving a little elusive (and perhaps we need to try earlier and/or later in the day), but the beauty of the eastern track is really worth seeing for yourself.

If you stay on the main track, it will take you over to parkland at the back of Darien Street and there's even a fork just over half way, so on the way back you can end up at Dawn Road, at the western end of FCD or back where you started at the eastern end of FCD.

We'll keep trying to capture a picture for you, but if you go for a walk along this track, don't forget your camera!!

Happy wanderings.