Tag Archives: sustainable rural living NT

Revelations on Reptiles

Audience 2

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.

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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).

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Frill-necked lizard (photo  by Alice Buckle)

Northern Spadefoot Toad

Northern spade-foot toad (by Alice Buckle)

Mains frog

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.

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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.

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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.

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Wildflowers Walk and Macropod Talk

“Landholder walk and talks” are a fabulous way to let Land for Wildlife members share their knowledge with other landholders by taking them on a walk of their property and pointing out how they manage and enhance wildlife habitat.

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 The assessment of our new members Ingrid and David spanned over a couple of days as their property is over 400 hectares. The first visit we took out to the property was during the drier part of the dry season, so we went back after some rain to get a more complete plant list and see the property at a different time of year. This was turned into an opportunity for all Land for Wildlife members and interested others to visit the property.

Greg Leach, Botanist was on hand to identify annual flowering plants and other vegetation for those on the walk. Landholder, Ingrid gave an insight into the hard work carried out by the landowners with weed control and fire abatement.

 

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We walked to a beautiful view point on the property to overlook this unique landscape, it really is a stunning part of The Top End and the view  at the top was worth a slightly sweaty climb and we rested for a chat under the trees.

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Back at base camp we were treated to a fascinating talk by Landholder, David,  about Macropods (Kangaroos and wallabies ), this was based on his lifelong studies and looked at their behaviours, biology and the species trends all over Australia and then focusing on northern Australia. It was really illustrated that in the north we are so lucky to have large amounts of landscapes fairly undisturbed that we have a large percentage of species in tact, particularly in rocky areas such as near Adelaide River.

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We finished off with a feast of shared food and a Barramundi barbeque!

Below are just some of the flowering annual plants we encountered to add to the species list of the property. All of these species are very important to the food source for a large list of insects, which in turn are a food source for other animals as well as pollinators.

From Left to right, Thecanthes punicea (red), Plectranthus scuttellaroides, (purple) Centranthera cochinchinensis (pink)

 

From Left to right; Hibiscus meraukensis, Buchnera linearis, Cartonema spicatum

 

From Left to right; Mitrasacme connata , Thysanotus chinensis, Spermacoceae calliantha

Thanks so much to Greg Leach and our hosts for their hospitality and amazing conservation efforts.

 

Weed Workshop for better Wildlife

 

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It really is fantastic that landholders are pledging to conserve and manage land as wildlife habitat, particularly as more land is subdivided and more people inhabit our rural areas and beyond. A lot of land is in the care of private landholders. Managing land and keeping it as beautiful intact vegetation to support a diversity of species is so rewarding, but not always easy. Management issues arise and the most commonly mentioned one on visits to new and existing member properties is that of weeds, shortly followed by fire, and often involving relations with nearby landholders.

Weed management is quite high up on everyone’s list, but can cause stress and aggravation. If you are busy, it may feel like a never ending task that you can’t get time to finish. It can be frustrating, particularly as negative energy is being targeted at plants, and if you love plants (I certainly do), that can be weird.  However weeds are plants out of place, this can mean different things dependent on the land manager’s perspective. If you are a pastoralist some “weed plants” may be seen as beneficial as they are food for cattle, so are not seen as weeds. Many other “weed plants” may be seen as food, medicine, or ornamentals that are beneficial to humans. If you are looking after land to keep its ecological integrity and support all wildlife species (plants and animals) and their interactions, then non-native plants that compete with natives and change the fire regime to degrade diversity are not welcome and are out of place.

The major weeds are grassy weeds that change the fire regime- with the highest priority to Gamba Grass. Mission grass comes in as another weed to tackle that can change fire regime and is very competitive and Rat’s Tail grass is now creeping up the list, but has not yet been declared. There are many other weeds which are highly vegetatively competitive and often are medium sized herbs. The most common seen on LFW properties are Snake Weed, Hyptis, Sida, Crotolaria, Neem and some other aquatic weeds when landholders have lagoons. We have some more info on our weeds page, and links to the  Weeds Branch website, which is very useful.

The idea of our Weed Workshop was to increase members’ weed awareness and ability to ID weeds, help participants access resources and assistance to aid weed management and allow members to share stories and strategies on weed management to assist one another.

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The main workshop was kindly hosted on Rod and Bhavini’s 9 acres (4 hectare) property in Humpty Doo. This property merges from Open Woodland into a Lagoon. The middle of the lagoon is 38 acre (17 hectare) zoned for conservation and managed by Litchfield Council. The landholders also own one neighbouring property and another LFW property is located across the north side of the lagoon. The majority of the host’s block goes underwater in a good wet season and its location backing on to the lagoon with minimal fencing gives it some great values in habitat connectivity, but also adds to the diversity of potential weed species.

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Over 30 Land for Wildlife members came along on this steamy Saturday morning to be involved. Some had some long term tried and tested weed strategies and others were new to the weeds found here, so a perfect balance to exchange information at a grass roots/ landholder level, as well as have a weed expert on hand.

We kicked of the session, after a quick intro, with members getting into small groups with people they had not met before to share where the property they managed was, what they loved about it, what weeds they had on it and how they felt about this right now. This is a bit like speed (weed) dating, but without the swapping over.

After this the host landholders took us on a tour of the property and familiarised us with some of the common weeds found on many rural properties and their management efforts, as well as pointing out some of the beautiful features.

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Rod purchased the property over 10 years ago and lived on it for several years, but then after marrying Bhavini moved to town and rented it out to friends, continuing to visit and stay on it to manage weeds (and monitor regrowth) The property had previously been mostly cleared around the house area, with some larger trees remaining and a huge infestation of Mission grass and some Gamba patches. Slowly after a lot of hand pulling and slashing, the wall of Mission grass on the margins of the lagoon started to disappear. An array of other smaller weeds continue to pop up in previously disturbed areas. Rod and Bhavini continue to come and stay at the property when no tenants are there to manage the weeds and enjoy the landscape. Rod works with Bush Tucker and Land Management projects in Arnhem Land.

Some top tips (from Rod and Bhavini)

  • Focus on manageable patches of weeds, put parameters or lines on an area and do not let weeds come back across the line and slowly progress through the chosen area. Maybe start with an area you can see, so you can feel good about it once weed free.
  • If you have any friends with some angry energy, maybe people just out of a broken relationship, get them to help out with the weed management (at the same time as perhaps offering refuge)- they can focus their energy on weed irradiation.
  • Use an integrated approach of hand pulling and spraying, where hand pulling is not efficient and there is a thick band of weed species and few natives that could be effected.
  • Keep consistently managing a focused weed area, rather than randomly trying to manage a large area. Prioritise which weeds and areas are the most important.
  • Come up with a plan after the weeds are gone to keep encourage native species, e.g. planting, mulching or seeding.
  • If renting out your property or away for a while for some reason, plan on some block amounts of time to come and manage weeds (before they go to seed or flower)
  • Look to weed management and hand pulling as a great work out, you can even include some funky stretches and dance moves to take it a step further.
  • Enjoy the beautiful bush and how you are helping it…

 

Some top tips from Emma

After our walk we looked over some of the weed species and their features. I highlighted the importance of getting to know your natives too.

  • If you learn to identify plants you can recognise them, like you learn to recognise different people from facial and body features. Look at growth habit, texture, smell of the leaves, leaf shape, flowers and fruit and bark if a larger plant.
  • If you get to know your native plants and what is likely to be found in the landscape naturally and not out of place, you can eliminate them and not mistake them as weeds
  • Often people find it hard to tell grass species apart an often some of our native vines are mistaken as weeds, particularly as they only appear and go crazy in the wet season. So get to know native grass features vs weed grasses. Native vines vs Weed vines

 

Grasses-

When flowering they are easy to tell apart, but before this it can be harder. Look at the clumping form of the grass, the blade shape, the leaf arrangement and the texture of the leaves, as well as colour and pattern.

Gamba grass is very hairy both sides of the leaf, it clumps from one wide base and has a distinct wide stripe down its leaves. The hairs are very distinct where the leaf separates from the stem and make a white fur. If the grass is second year (untreated) growth it will have browning inner leaves and dried flower stems.

A native grass that can look like last year’s Gamba is Heteropogon sp. as it also leaves similarly looking  dried flower stems of height. This grass however has a flat clumping base.

Native Cane grass can also be mistaken for Mission Grass as it has similar seed pods, but does not have a white stripe, or leaves that are as hairy.

Grass I D chart page oneGrass ID chart Page 3Grass ID chart page 2

Colopo, a climbing trifoliate weed also looks very similar to a native Desmodium species, but the weed has furry softer leaves.

A top tip to reduce weed presence is to minimise disturbance to an area. Weeds often occur along roadsides, where a house pad has been cleared, or where slashing or tracks have been made. Domestic animals such as horses or pigs also disturb the land and allow weed species to establish.

 

Weeds Branch assistance

After a great morning tea James Newman from weeds branch told us about the resources available for landholders.

There is a lot of information about how to make a weed management plan, including a guide and a weed management handbook, also weed decks. More info and links can be found here.There are some great pocket weed ID decks that everyone was given and also information on the Gamba Grass Eradication program and how get free glyphosate and application advice.

The weeds branch can also ID weeds, if you cannot ID them yourselves. You can send a photo to them, or to Land for Wildlife if you are a member.

James told us about the classification system which lists weeds in order of importance of threat to biodiversity. Anything in class A, should be reported to the weeds branch. 3 examples of these were bought by James so everyone could familiarise themselves with the weeds.

 

 

To wrap up, participants did some group work, sharing some top tips on weed management strategies, keeping positive and actions to take home.

Neighbours and working together

Working with neighbouring land holders is so important and weeds definitely cross boundaries, sometimes this can be pretty hard. On neighbouring land that has weed problems, offering to spray the fence line or a friendly chat about what you are trying to do and they have weeds is a good start.

Absent neighbours could be private landlords but also Vacant Crown Land or Council Land and reserve On Litchfield Council Land. These departments have stretched resources, but if a weed issue is pointed out and they are made aware that you are trying hard to manage your property for wildlife, they will try and send a ground team. Find the contacts on our weed page. You can check the landholder on NR Maps.

If you feel overwhelmed, you can organise working bees with other landholders, than swap and always throw in a fun barbeque and swim at the end. The nearer they live the better, this builds relationships and connectivity.

Helpex (Help exchange) is also a great program, where in exchange for food, somewhere to stay and snap shot of rural life on a beautiful bush block, travellers can help you with tasks for 4 hours a days.

Other properties visits

A few of the participants went on to visit the nearby Land for Wildlife property of Britt, who has been trying to get on top of her Gamba grass problem. She has had her property for just over 2 years and the previous owners had slashed most of the vegetation except large trees. The native vegetation is coming back, but along with large amounts of Gamba grass. This is a good example of how disturbance leads to weed infestations.

Britt has tried to keep on top of it by spraying it and has found it quite overwhelming. We shared some hints from the workshop, and in places the vegetation is coming back really well. We also gave out some native plants that can be planted in places that weed infestations have been overcome, to create shade and stop further re-establishment.

We also plan to have some more “Landholder walk and talks” on some properties of different sizes and in other locations, which will also cover weed management strategies, amongst other topics.

Thanks again to everyone for coming, to our hosts and to Weeds Branch.

 

More Land for Wildlife near Adelaide River

A few months ago we welcomed Ingrid and David to the program who are added to the collection of Land for Wildlife properties in the Adelaide River and Robin Falls region. They have both spent their life-time as wildlife ecologists with a focus on macropods and  Ingrid managed a region of National Parks in NSW. First moving to the area in 2009 they are now committed to managing the incredible landscape they reside on permanently. Ingrid could not imagine living without a vast protected area of natural bush around her, as she has got so accustomed to this through her work. They have hosted wildlife studies on their property and hope to host LFW workshops in the future and build a network of like-minded people in the area.

Witte and Croft sign
Below are a few words that David has written about their property:

Our 427-ha lifestyle block is on scenic Dorat Road in the Robin Falls region near the township of Adelaide River in the NT. It comprises natural tropical woodland savannah that frames our multi-building habitation at the confluence of two Wet-season creeks. These are fed from the backdrop, a sandstone escarpment. We are remote and off-grid. Our challenges are wildfire, weeds and the variability of the intensity and duration of the Wet and Dry seasons.

Witte and croft view

We cycle annually from drought to flooding rain. The severity of Dry-season drought on land management is compounded by the frequent threat of wild fire from arson, whether malevolent or misguided, or failure to contain management burns on some neighbouring properties. We have therefore strengthened our bounding fire breaks by grading and annual control of overgrowing vegetation with some strategic early Dry-season burning along the inner edges. We sacrifice a broad strip of ground-cover along our exposure to Dorat Road to reduce its attraction to arsonists. As this strategy has matured we have been able to exclude fire from most of our block and aim for a fire frequency of no more than once in five or more years. The floods of the Wet-season bring a burden of weeds, including WANS like Gamba and Mission grasses. We target Gamba and Perrenial Mission grasses across the block and remove these and other weeds from a large buffer around habitations. Our success in the latter endeavour has restored riparian vegetation and improved biodiversity in flora (mid-storey vegetation) and fauna (especially birds).

Our long-term goal is to provide wildlife-friendly habitat across our block by sustaining its natural diversity bred by a variable terrain, enhancing the diversity of ground cover and mid-storey vegetation by suppression of wildfire and weeds, and protecting wildlife from harm from hunting or adverse land uses.

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Bush Care Major Day out

lagoon birdsWhat a beautiful place for a day out, tucked away in the rural area is the magnificent Mcminn’s lagoon which is a public reserve. The lagoon is home to hundreds of water birds, water plants, aquatic life and still has a good amount of water in, even now at the end of the dry season. A beautiful breeze was blowing across the lagoon, which served as a fantastic backdrop to the Bushcare Major day out, where different organisations came together to tell people about the great work being done in Land management in the rural area and host a community tree planting at the lagoon. The stalls and talks were hosted in a beautifully shaded picnic area which is raised up at the edge of the lagoon.

lagoon view

The area is one of Litchfield Council’s recreational reserves, which is zoned for conservation. There is another reserve at Knuckey’s lagoon also with a conservation focus. Mcminn’s laggon is just over 40 Hectares and is leased and managed by the Mcminn’s lagoon Reserve Association. This association acts as a Landcare group and was started by Brian Mcwilliam more than 20 years ago when he saw the area beginning to be wrecked by motorbikes and weeds. Part of the lagoon edge was also cleared when land parcels were divided up nearby. Since then hundreds of trees have been planted, signs and tracks installed and many weeds managed. At the moment The Green Army team, hosted through Conservation Volunteers, have been working at the lagoon on Land management issues, such as weed control, carrying out wildlife camera surveys, bird counts and building up their skills in many areas.

Talks

Gerry Wood opened the day and talks were given by Parks and Wildlife on being Crocwise, Emma from Greening Australia about the Land for Wildlife program and the importance of conservation in the rural area, Patrick Skewes from NT Fire and rescue about Fire Abatement.

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Those attending the day could give a gold coin donation for trees, grown by Greening Australia and plant them on the opposite side of the lagoon, enjoying a walk around.

People and plants

Greening plants

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PLants

lagoon walk

Tree plantings

PLanting

more plantingThe Green Army students who had worked for 6 months, mainly on the reserve also graduated.

Land for Wildlife coordinator, Emma Lupin was assisted on the Greening Australia tree stand and stall by long term nursery volunteer Mirielle Santoni and new Land for Wildlife volunteer Kritika Kurung.

At the stall

The lagoon is in the process of registering as a Land for Wildlife Educational member and the LFW program will work with the new Green Army intakes to show them how a land assessment is done at the lagoon in the coming months.

Brian and Em

Brian, Em and Meegan

If you would like to help Brian at Mcminn’s lagoon phone him on (08) 8988 2381 or email mcminnslagoonnt@gmail.com

 

Wildlife Encounters Workshop

 

Group shotJust recently the Land for Wildlife program hosted a members’ workshop in partnership with the Territory Wildlife Park  with a focus on wildlife, in particular mammals. Above are just some of the 37 participants we managed to grab at the end to pose for a photo. It was a really good day, where members got to meet each other, learn from some presenters, very experienced in wildlife handling or research and some of the animals themselves. The workshop was designed for land mangers signed up to the program to find out more about the mammals likely to be found on their properties, their habitats and food sources and how best to manage landscape for them.Agile Wallaby

It is well known that mammal (and reptile) numbers have declined in the region and across northern Australia. There is a lot of research carried out to find out exactly why, but there are some basic management practices that enhance habitat and protect fauna.

There are 50 species of mammals in the Darwin Region and over 80 species of reptiles, including lizards, snakes, turtles and frogs. Some of the most common mammals found in the Darwin region are the Agile Wallaby, the Common Brush Tail Possum and the Northern Brown Bandicoot and  the flying fox and other bats. Many mammals have decreased in numbers over the last 20 years including the Northern Quoll and Black footed Tree Rat.

The workshop started with a quick introduction to the Territory Wildlife Park and its function in environmental education and  conservation. The park actually encompasses more land than just the area in exhibits, which is vast anyway and encompasses many landscape types. The Territory Wildlife Park is a Land for Wildlife member and partner and has a focus on Wildlife education, housing an array of native Top End species within their natural setting.

Participants then took a lovely dry season stroll through the mixed woodland area, lined with Turkey Bush and into the woodland walk area which is home to many tame Wallabies that have been taken in after being rescued, often after being found in the pouches of mothers hit by cars. Park keeper Rob Mcgregor met us in the area and gave an informative talk about the mammals in the Top End , their distribution, behaviours and habitats, while some wallabies joined the discussion.

Rob talks too

Rob describes the behaviour of Wallabies in the enclosure (above). He stresses that one of the most important aspects to conserve Top End mammals is to conserve habitat, by managing woodlands well, eradicating weeds, keeping out frequent fire, which allows a mid fruiting layer to be prominent, which is an important food source for many mammals. Having corridors of intact landscape and reducing fragmentation is also important. So if you are managing an area for conservation, encourage neighbouring land managers to also conserve habitat and manage it well (and join Land for Wildlife!)

Most mammals are active at night, so the best way to spot them is by spotlighting. Even if you try some are shy and very small, so the next best way is to be able to recognise their scats. We looked at an array of samples and matched them to common mammals (and pests) found on rural properties. To see a copy of this, click here.

Poo dunnit LFW Member KAte Kilgour and her son examine mammal scats, an easy way of detecting what species are in the landscape. Kebin describes wildlife on his blockLand for Wildlife member Kevin Maxwell describes the behaviour of mammals on his property (with some great hand actions) and other members discuss mammals seen on their block.

Kernick After this great hands on (poo) activity, members exchanged stories of different species on their blocks and then Brooke Rankmore of Greening Australia gave a presentation.

Brooke had carried out a PHD in Land Fragmentation in The Top End. This was a few years ago, but she found that many mammal species were more plentiful in the rural area than in Kakadu at the time. Some of this she attributed to firebreaks and the absence of fire in areas in subdivisions.

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Brooke talks Brooke described the species of mammals that are now in decline and listed at an NT level. You can find that list here.  We are working on more fact sheets in Land for Wildlife that cover many more fauna species that are also more common.

Possum

All the participants then were lucky enough to have their own personal Territory Wildlife park guide through the nocturnal house to look at live exhibits of the mammals and some reptiles including The Black footed Tree Rat, the Water rat, the Northern Brown Badicoot and Common Brushtail Possum (pictured above in the hands of a volunteer).

Over some lunch everyone walked back through the woodland walk and was given a great tour of online resources that can help with land management. This was given by the very knowledgeable Brydie Hill who showed everyone the following-

NT Fauna Observations –  http://ntfaunaobs.nt.gov.au/

A site set up by The fauna division of DLRM that allows some “Citizen Science” and for landholders, or others to register and upload their native fauna sightings to the data base,. Here the records will be held and can be accessed.  To be involved you just need to set up a password and user name. If you would like more information contact us at Land for Wildlife or Brydie at DLRM.

Infonet  –  http://www.infonet.org.au/infonet2/

Infonet is a resource that has been developed with Territory Natural Resource Management and Charles Darwin University. It is a program that allows you to select an area of land on a map and generate reports about it. The reports can include as much or as little information as you wish on Soil, Flora and Fauna species, listed species, weed species, fire history and Wildlife Management. This is really quite easy to use, generates a useful and very professional looking report and is very useful for land managers. If you are interested in a small area of land (under 50 hectares) it is best to draw a larger boundary or give the area a buffer zone as the reports of species are made on held records and sightings which are not taken from every bit of land.

NR Maps –  http://nrmaps.nt.gov.au/

NR Maps is a mapping program holding different layers of Government information. If you like maps you will love this, although it is a little slow and you cannot hold your place yet. There is a side bar to the left which allows you to turn off and on different layers, including some vegetation, mining tenements and leases and Cadastre. Cadastre is who owns (or manages parcels of land). It will not tell you the name of private landholders, but will tell you whether the land is private, Vacant Crown Land, Pastoral or otherwise, how it is divided up and the size of each portion of land and its assigned portion number. This is really handy if you are wanting to know who is managing neighbouring land. If it is local council you can contact them with management issues.

NAFIhttp://www.firenorth.org.au/nafi3/

NAFI stands for Northern Australian Fire Information.

It allows you to track fires, look up fire history and fire scars and generate reports.  You can see when early or late fires are and the late ones (August on) are definitely not prescribed burning and detrimental to our landscapes and wildlife.

I hope these tools are useful and the information on mammals. Our next wildlife workshop series will focus on birds, insects and more reptiles. We would also like to encourage any members with knowledge to share this with others and help present some low key workshops or talks on there blocks. Get in touch!

Thanks again to all the amazing Territory Wildlife Park staff, including Damien, Rob,  Sarah and Jasmine and also presenters Brooke and Brydie.

Rob smilesDamien

Jacinda Brown, Bachelor wildlife photographer shares her story.

JB_Parrot_Red-winged_Aprosmictus erythropterus_20141129_04Jacinda Brown, wildlife photographer and Land for Wildlife member shares her story-

Jacinda is a well-known photographer, who captures beautiful images of our native plants and wildlife. She has been a Land for Wildlife member since 2011 and lives on a bush block, 20 kms west of Bachelor with her family. The block is just over 50 acres (22 hectares) and the Finniss River runs through it. Jacinda describes the block as a biodiversity haven amongst surrounded by Gamba grass.

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The property has been cared for, for the last 15 years by Jacinda’s partner who has avidly managed the Gamba grass and other weeds like Hyptis and Mission Grass. Now the property is pretty weed free, but it is a continuous process to maintain it. They also use mosaic burning for fire management.

Jacinda moved to Darwin from the Yarra Valley in 2002. She lived in Darwin for a couple of years before moving out bush where she works from home, making children’s books in her beautiful bush studio to educate and showcase, the beauty of nature.

The land that Jacinda and her family care for acts as habitat for a huge array of wildlife species, including reptiles, birds, mammals and insects.

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“It is always a joy when the huge olive pythons visit especially since the cane toad invasion.” Jacinda says one interesting thing in this area is that bandicoots haven’t been seen for 7 years. There are various theories why – one being that bandicoots are really sensitive to fire and Batchelor has many hot fires because of all the Gamba Grass. That and the toads, are a huge knock back for all wildlife.

She adds “I am amazed at the amount of money spent on the recent Banana eradication, when none can be found to get rid of toads and very little for Gamba grass.”

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Jacinda loves the constant learning experience, encountering new wildlife and discovering which call belongs to which creature, “Our most recent residential discovery is the oh so cute, Owlet-nightjar.” She says “Artists are always trying to represent nature, but nature is the greatest artist. Having a bio-diverse property is a true inspiration and there are daily rewards for the work required in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

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Jacinda has just launched a new website, where you can view a wonderful movie about her block http://www.jacindabrown.com/movies.html , choose the film “Nowearji, a celebration of biodiversity” and also check out the wonderful photo galleries.

Olive Python_Liasis olivacace_FV_©JacindaBrown-36