My children noticed a few additions to the land mullets we have seen a lot this year. I was able to get some footage of a young land mullet.
After reading, we found out this is fairly routine for them. The offspring stick with their parents for about 3 months during the first year. My perception of the uncaring reptiles needs to be rethought.
Hopefully I will be able to get some better quality video of them one day.
A young water dragon was hanging out near the top of first falls today. I was not sure what it was as it was much smaller than the usual water dragons that we get to see. However, once I saw the footage on my computer, it’s markings made it clear it was a young dragon.
Rain combined with family commitments has left Dick’s Creek bush regeneration on the back burner over the last few months. To prepare for a renewed effort, I did a quick site inspection on the 13th of November, 2022. Really just a quick walk around to see if any areas were pressing. It was a mixed bag…
At the top level, near Green Valley Rd, It was good to see Lomandra popping up in new places:
And the cheese trees planted towards the front all look healthy, even if they are growing soo slowly:
Sandpaper figs appear to be able to grow in the most unlikely of places. Here from the cliff at first falls (underneath the false bracken fern):
Also an example here, growing in the smallest patch of dirt that lies in the middle of the creek:
Still, the bank on the north side is dominated by invasive weeds. Apart from the obvious Ginger lilly seen in the image below, palm grass and mist flower have never given up trying to own this location.
At the bottom of First falls, on the south side, the bleeding hearts are going well. There is also a red cedar (I think) as can be seen in the middle of the image below. There are also other natives taking hold but unfortunately they are accompanied by wandering willy, crofton weed and many of the other weeds that are common throughout the reserve. Maintenance is definitely needed.
Here is the video of the same spot, saying the same stuff but showing off my lacking video editing skills:
Between the first and second falls, the Swedish Ivy has been loving the extra rain. I have tackled it previously and I find it is easy to remove but with so much of it, I am going to need to dedicate a day to get the bulk of it done:
It is not all bad though… Various natives are still hanging on as can be seen in this clip:
One sad finding was the loss of some sandpaper fig saplings that I had planted at a spot near the top of Second falls:
I had previously planted them at this location when there was a lot more soil on the bank. Ironically, the intention was to reduce erosion. Considering sandpaper fig’s ability to grow in the most unlikely of spots, I was thinking they would make it here. However, we had some big rain events since then and clearly this spot was not protected enough to stop them from being swept away. Who knows, maybe they found a spot further down stream…
After moving past the top of second falls, I had great difficulty moving through the bush. Tracks that were previously clear and easy to follow, no longer existed. It was the same picture however. A big mix of good and bad. My next working bees will be a mix of tackling the swedish Ivy on the west bank and the lantana that is still strong at the rear of the reserve.
Dependent on the weather, this weekend should be good for another Working Bee. If you would like to volunteer some time for Bush Regeneration at Dick’s Creek Landcare, please let me know via the contact page.
Was able to do a solid 3hrs on the Saturday which felt quite productive. Great day for bush regeneration with a cloudy day keeping it quite cool and previous rains making the soil easy to work with.
We have had a lot of rain so everything is growing well at the moment.
Including the weeds unfortunately. The track from second fall that I normally use had been swallowed by fishbone ferns.
So that was a good place to start… I looked through the fishbone fern for any natives and cleared around those. I found pittosporums, false bracken, blue flax lilly and others who were all doing their best to stay above the fishbone fern. I have done this multiple times now and each time the desired native plants get more numerous and larger. It is all heading in the right direction.
A native olive tree that I had previous cleared around is doing well with new growth showing but no new shoots closer to the cliff were visible. Still, other natives were taking advantage so that’s a win.
Notice the blue flax lilly and elderberry panax in the bottom left corner…
After this I moved down the lower creek section and pushed back lantana around a stand of bracken that I have posted about previously. Unfortunately the rain came in so no photos.
There are many seedlings of desired species popping up at present. Another two years will see a transformation I believe.
One last thing I could not resist taking a photo of was this spider. A beautiful specimen I thought… A golden orb spider I have been informed.
I’m looking forward to next weekend. My intention is to once again look for natives that need some more space to grow but there is also an infestation of Swedish Ivy that needs attention. It has been disturbing to see it popping up in more and more places.
It looks similar to Senna, and there is Senna in the area, but these leaves were much bigger and did not have the usual yellow margin that Senna has. I notice the leaflets are mostly opposite but not all of them. This plant was about a metre in height.
Was able to get another 3 or so hours in this afternoon. I took the weedpuller down with me to help with some privet but in the end, I didn’t get to the section I intended to work on (nothing new there…).
Palm grass has been getting ignored for the last six months or so and it was showing. Multiple spots where it was getting far too healthy. So I tried the weedpuller out on the palm grass and surprisingly, it made easy work of it. I expect it depends on how soft the ground is but as it was, it made easy work of most of it (easier than a mattock at least). I dared not clear all of it in case it was holding the bank together but I did enough to keep the shade off the nearby cheese tree sapling.
I was disturbed to find the tree fern near first fall was in dire straights. I hope it makes it. It seems that removing the camphor laurel has just allowed too much light to reach it. Fingers crossed that it adjusts to having more light for a while.
Once again, I decided to help out the Gahnia by picking on the fishbone fern. Not removing all of the fishbone fern but rather, just thinning it out and breaking off any large fronds. It is a slow process but it seems to be working. I hope the area along the creek between first and second falls will end up being mostly Gahnia.
Another inspection at the top of 2nd falls shows the Swedish Ivy really taking off.
On the positive side, the area has a variety of desired species doing well
Including a first for Dick’s Creek, a Blueberry Ash.
I do need to address the Swedish Ivy issue but today I only got to the a couple of privet trees and some camphor laurels. A productive day though.
Had a chance to get some more done at Dick’s creek for the first time in the new year.
As always, I deviated away from my original target after noting some weeds on the way. On the lower west bank of first fall I noticed a healthy stand of Croften weed & mistflower.
Not surprising of course considering that these invasives dominated the spot a few years ago. It didn’t take long to do some maintenance to get rid of most of it. This area is doing well mostly. Native ferns and trees are growing stronger and the weeds are having a harder and harder time.
I videoed progress while I was there…
I took some video at ‘Site A’ and also after manually removing some lantana behind 16 Green Valley Rd. I took some more photos and video of an issue I have with lantana rafts taking too much space. I am convinced that most bush regeneration advice is aimed at large sites where rafts can be built and forgotten. However, as there so much lantana at Dick’s creek and the site is relatively small, I find those piles of dead lantana take up too much space so I have tried a few options to speed up the breakdown. Firstly, I was spreading out the dead branches rather than piling them. Normally this is not done as it is possible the branches will reroot but I take this into consideration and find that spreading out the branches is an improvement.
Another approach I have now had success with, is to pile green leafy weeds in with the raft when it is made. It keeps the moisture in contact with the dead branches and hence hastens the process. Key with both approaches is to reduce the size of the branches as much as possible.
Finally, I got to the back of the reserve, near the creek, where I intended to spend most of the time on. Privet is the main issue at this location. I found multiple native saplings taking off at this location so I ended up just trying to keep the privet away from these guys.
In this shot, the pittosporum can be seen. A lot of the surrounding privet has been pulled out and will soon die.
Here we can see a small Cheese tree and another small tree of that as of yet unidentified tree that appears to like the area.
Hopefully I can do more for these in future working bees as they are struggling against the privet.
At present, there are still some extra restrictions or procedures that still need to be followed as per the email (shown below) sent via Lake Macquarie landcare:
Dear Landcare volunteer,
Following the recent announcement that the state has achieved 80% COVID-19 vaccination status, Landcare activities can recommence as of this Monday, the 18th of October. In line with Public Health Orders and Council’s COVID Risk Assessment, the following controls will be required to be met for all Landcare work sessions.
At the beginning of each work session Team Leaders will need to undertake a tool box talk to discuss these controls.
• Stay at home if unwell or if you have been to a potential exposure site
• Maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres between people
• Wash and/or sanitise hands regularly
• Avoid sharing of tools and practice regular tool cleaning
• No sharing of drink or foods
• No car-pooling outside of household members
• Double vaccination is a requirement to be able to volunteer or Medical exemption if you are unable to be
vaccinated due to medical reasons
• Signing on to the Daily Work Diary indicates that you would be able to demonstrates your vaccination status (or
medical exemption) to an Authorised Officer if required (e.g. Police officer)
• Mask wearing in outdoor environments is optional
• In the event that you or a volunteer receive a positive COVID-19 test result or notification as a close contact
and have been volunteering since exposure
or the exposure occurred at site, you MUST contact NSW Health and the Landcare Resource Centre at the earliest
opportunity, providing names and contact details of all volunteers working on that date
• If you have volunteers or members of the public challenging your presence or these controls – refer them to the
Landcare Resource Centre 4921 0392 or Council on 4921 0333.
If you anticipate you will need any assistance implementing any of these controls, or if you have any concerns, please contact the Landcare Resource Centre.
Unfortunately, I still have a few weeks before my second jab is administered so working bees will have to wait until then but not long now…