Please join us
Greening Australia (Darwin) is holding some community workshops in April and May about recognising and growing native plants; these workshops are open to anyone interested.
Each workshop is $40 or all 3 for $100 plus a free “Native Plants for Top End Gardens” book if you sign up to all of them.
All workshops run from 9am to 4pm (lunch included)
Please see the flyer below.
Where- Greening Australia nursery and nearby bush location
When– Saturday 1st April
Content- Plant identification and seed collection
Learn how to identify plants through their features with a focus on natives and how to observe them in their natural vegetation communities (in a short excursion to local bushland) and how to make a herbarium specimen.
Learn the different types of seeds, the protocols for seed collection, how and when to collect seeds form different species and how to prepare and store them.
Where- Greening Australia nursery
When- Saturday 22nd April
Content- An introduction to native plant propagation
Learn how to store and treat seed, how to sow, and the best time of the year to do this, to add success to growing your own native plants. Improve your techniques with growing from cuttings, how to propagate different plants. potting up plants and what medium to use.
Where- A Darwin garden (TBC)
When- Saturday May 27th
Content – Designing and planting a small garden with native wildlife attracting and bush tucker plants
Learn about the best Top End native plant to choose for small gardens that are wildlife attracting or bush tucker plants. Learn how to design a small space with plant size, shape, texture, and water requirements in mind. Learn how to prepare and plant out a garden space.
Let any interested others also know.
Bird week is such a great way to show case our feathered friends that are so abundant in the Top End; we put together a couple of small events for members and friends of Land for Wildlife, back in October. A hot and in one case wet time of year, we still had a great group of people along at both events.
The best things always come with collaboration and a guided walk of Fogg Dam was hosted for Land for Wildlife members and friends of in association with Parks and Wildlife at Fogg Dam. After low rainfalls last wet season the dam was at low levels, but started filling up as we were talking our guided walk- with some of the first rains of the year. We were joined by ‘Friends of Fogg Dam’ members Mary and Janis who talked about their work, the birds and take stunning photos of the birdlife.
After a drive across the dam wall, a talk on looking after bird habitat and a good soaking we went into the very wonderful woodland walk to see what else we could spot. We ended up with a great list of wetland and woodland birds. I would love to thank Jo Scott, who helped organise the event and sadly has since left the role of Community engagement Officer at PWC.
We held a small “Landholder’s walk and talk” with Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow who has written ‘Birds of Australia’s Top End’ and ‘Birds of Palmerston’ with her partner Michael. They have a 20 acre (8 hectare) property with some wonderful flooded Sandsheet and wet season creek areas in Darwin River. Denise tells some great stories and emphasises that watching birds is about sitting with country and watching behaviour, not just ticking them from a checklist; it is about getting to know them and their habitat.
Thanks Denise and Michael for your great contribution to wildlife education.
It’s that time of year again; next week is Bird Week and The Backyard Aussie Bird Count 17th -23rd October 2016. You can register for the bird count and become part of this great citizen science project here http://aussiebirdcount.org.au/
So let’s celebrate and get involved, especially as we are lucky enough to live in one of the most fantastic regions in Australia for bird species, bird watching and intact bird habitat. At Land for Wildlife we also and have a whole list of fantastic members in our program who manage their land to support wildlife, including our wonderful birdlife.
Land for Wildlife has organised 2 special events next week for members and friends of the program in the Darwin ‘rural’ area:
On Thursday 20th October from 5- 7pm join author of “Birds of Australia’s Top End region” and “Birds of Palmerston” on her property in Darwin River for some laid back evening bird watching. She will give an overview of bird life in the region, bird behaviours and how best to attract birds and manage bird habitat. This will be followed by light refreshments and info on how to take part in the bird count. RSVP (email@example.com) for directions.
On Saturday 22nd October from 8- 10am join Parks staff and friends of Fogg Dam at Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve for some morning bird watching, an introduction to bird species and habitats in the rural area. This event is for Land for Wildlife members, friends of and interested others and is run in collaboration with Parks and Wildlife (please RSVP to confirm- see the poster below).
Other great events happening in the Darwin region include–
A bird watching cycling tour at East Point in Darwin on Sunday 16th October at 8am
A whole host of Events including Bird art at CDU-
and lots more, so take this great opportunity to learn more about our bird life.
Another fantastic workshop, with a fauna focus was hosted especially for Land for Wildlife members at The Territory Wildlife Park. This workshop focussed on reptiles that are likely to be found in Top End landscapes and particularly properties of the rural Darwin area and how best to manage habitat for their success.
Nearly 30 Land for Wildlife members all boarded the train on another slightly sweaty but beautiful Saturday morning to meet Dion Wedd, curator of the collections at Territory Wildlife Park. In the nocturnal house Dion gave us a background to reptiles in the Top End and how we can look after their habitat, as well as all the participants having an opportunity to see and even handle some of the species themselves, including a Blue- tounged lizard (actually a skink), a Frill-necked lizard, a Tree frog and others.
There are over 300 species of Lizards, snakes, turtles and frogs that can be found in the landscapes of the Top end region and about 1/3 of those in Darwin and rural region. Lizards include numerous small skinks which are common even in suburban gardens and rummage around in leaf litter, Dragons- Frill-necked Lizards (Chlamydosarus kingii), Tree Dragon (Gowidon temporalis) and Gilbert’s dragon (Lophognathus gilberti) gheckos and goannas, there are also Pygopods, which are legless lizards (and yes they look quite like a snake).
Frill-necked lizard (photo by Alice Buckle)
Northern spade-foot toad (by Alice Buckle)
Mains frog (photo by Alice Buckle)
In wetter areas we find amphibians (frogs, toads and toadlets) in great numbers, turtles and water monitors. Many Land for Wildlife properties include inundated areas of Sandsheet, treed swamp or freshwater creeks.
And snakes, yep there are lots of them, over 40 species in the Top End region, many of the more common ones found in the Darwin region. Unfortunately there is a culture of humans in Australia fearing snakes and wanting to kill them, often without much knowledge of their behaviour or how harmful they are. Generally keeping a distance and letting them be is the best action.
We joined Greg Mayo, Wildlife keeper in the monsoon rainforest, who told us a lot of amazing information about snakes, their behaviour and habitat and showed us a live Black-headed python (Aspdithes melancephalus). We were also informed of some snake first aid and who to call if a snake was too near.
Australia has 8 of the Top 10 deadliest snakes in the world, but only (on average) one person dies of a snake bite per year and almost always they were bitten when trying to catch it, handle it or had hurt it. Compared to other statics of how people die in Australia, that is pretty low on the list, we should be a lot more worried about cars, other humans and bad food or alcohol!
After our talks we had time to enjoy the reptile displays in the rainforest and got together at the main station for brunch and everyone got to share stories and tips on land management for reptiles on their own properties.
The biggest threat to reptiles in our region are ‘inappropriate fire regimes’, Cane Toads and possibly at the Top of the list habitat loss (land clearing.) So good land management practice and the efforts of landholders (and our members) is of great importance.
“Inappropriate fire” is fire that is too widespread, too regular or too late in the season, or a combination of these factors. Most reptiles find it hard to get away from fire, they will try and find an underground or wet place or move to an unburnt area. If fire is later in the dry season (and enhanced with extra fuel from grassy weeds) it will often kill most lizard (and some mammal) species in the landscape. You will see birds of prey circling overhead ready to eat the grilled animals. IN addition to this, the leaf litter layer, where many smaller species thrive is taken away with fire.
On most small rural blocks, keeping fire out of the property with fire breaks and diligence is the best strategy.
Cane toads seem to have dented many reptile populations with competition and predation, although these populations have stabilised land managers can keep on top of cane toads by “disposing of them” as quickly and painlessly as possible…
Keep up the great work and a big Thanks to The Territory Wildlife Park staff for all their time and knowledge.