Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Update 19 Jan: The link to a copy of my letter from the black and red pic is now fixed and you can download it to amend and send your own letter.

Grand Spider Orchid near Toodyay by Tom Carter, Mt Vernon Floragraphics Last Wednesday the environment program Understory on RTRfm radio interviewed WWF’s Southwest Australia Policy Officer Katherine Howard about a land clearing proposal at Perth Airport in Jandakot [1]. The Airport’s owner Jandakot Airport Holdings (JAH) is the second owner of a 50 year lease since privatisation a decade ago [2]. Their clearing proposal is detailed in Jandakot Airport Expansion – EPBC Reference 2009/4796 [3] and includes bushland home to three endangered species:

send Minister Garrett a letter protesting the clearing before 3 February 2010 While 40% of the proposed area is designated for a fourth runway and extension of the other runways, the other 96ha is earmarked for Jandakot City, a development which would be largest homewares complex in the southern hemisphere [1] (they must want to compete with the biggest ikea in the southern hemisphere that killed my fav swamp). WWF provide a simple breakdown of the areas proposed for clearing [4]. JAH have previously cleared 79ha of banksia woodland for a commercial precinct and there is dispute whether this was done with appropriate authority and permission. Currently 90% of this development is vacant [5].

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Flying through the mowing

long grass in need of mowing

long grass in need of mowing

I hate mowing, so I’ve been getting rid of lawn and replacing it with garden beds for vegies and native plants. There’s still a bit of lawn so mowing is still a chore.

daisies flowering after mowing the verge

daisies flowering after mowing the verge

Last year I got a push mower and mowing became so much easier. At first it took a longer time, but because I wasn’t pushing a heavy power mower, it wasn’t such hard work. Unfortunately long grass is difficult to mow with a push mower, so you have mow regularly. In winter this means every two weeks. I didn’t think this would happen with me, but after having a hell of a time with the long grass sometime in August, I’ve been mowing every second weekend. Due to the grass not being too long (and the small amount of lawn) it only takes five or ten minutes.

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Earlier this year I blogged about the insect infestation of the young tuart in my garden.

rainbow lorikeet eating insects on the tuart Unfortunately the insects that have already made homes among the tuart’s leaves are causing quite a bit of damage…The problem is the sap-sucking psyllids, also known as eucalyptus lerps, because the nymph constructs a “lerp” to hide under.

In the course of my investigations as to what insect was causing all the damage I decided it was lerps, even though the lerps I’ve seen on other gum trees looked nothing like what this lorikeet is eating in my garden (see above). I figured there must be some lerps somewhere up high that I couldn’t see. This is an example of why you shouldn’t believe everything you read on a blog (or the web) because I may have been wrong :P

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Last July I blogged about land clearing in WA. Felling of trees not only occurs in rural areas, but also the suburban areas of our cities – some local councils being rather adept at razing a tree if it’s in the way.

tuart near my house Last year The City of Stirling wanted to rezone numerous small parks from open space to business or residential. Local residents weren’t impressed and compiled petitions to save their local parks and trees [1]. One of these parks was in Wembley Downs and has mature tuarts and xanthorrhoea. It was to be rezoned for business [2] so the area could be “reinvigorated” [3], which would mean the end of these beautiful trees. Some of them could be hundreds of years old and people want to fell them to make some money. Tuarts this old can have hollows that birds such as Carnaby’s black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) use as nesting sites – rarer and rarer in the cleared land of Perth and its suburbs. A tree will only develop hollows after decades of growth and a bushfire, which doesn’t happen to the isolated trees set among houses in our suburbs.

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bee enjoying hardenbergia flowers at Star Swamp Now that summer’s almost here and my house is starting to cook during the day, I wanted a climbing plant to grow up the side of my house because the shade-giving African acacia is no more (although the stump keeps growing shoots and I keep lopping them off). My neighbours offered me a piece of wooden lattice that they no longer wanted. I’d just bought a piece (evil me) but there’s always room for more. Now I needed two locally native climbing plants to grow up the lattices. I already have Hardenbergia comptoniana starting to grow up my side fence (although it’s still very small) so I needed other ideas.

Ben from Nuts about Natives suggested some candidates:

I decided on Black Kennedia, with its stunning black and yellow flowers. Ben doesn’t propagate it, but said Lullfitz Nursery in Waneroo would have it. The trip there became a bit of a family outing. I thought my dad would want to come and my mum did too. (I think my mum came to supervise my dad so he wouldn’t buy too many plants, they have a very full garden.)

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Sheeba inspecting the new plants After planning my new native garden, it’s actually happened. I got the plants from my friends at Nuts about Natives and the new arrivals are now planted and growing for the birds and insects to enjoy. Most of them are native to Perth around the area I live.

These are the indigenous plants I now have in my garden:
Adenanthos sericeus
(Woolly bush) this is the Albany woolly bush rather than the Perth native Adenanthos cygnorum (Common woollybush).
pretty pink calytrix flower Calytrix fraseri (Pink summer calytrix) has the most beautiful flowers.
Conostylis candicans (Grey cottonhead)
Dianella revoluta (Blueberry lily) has edible roots and nasty tasting purple berries. Some people have told me that Aboriginal Australians ate the berries, but Angus, an Aboriginal man from Wagin who ate bushtucker, said no one ever would, because they taste so foul.
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part 1, got you I love Willy Wagtails (Rhipidura leucophrys). Jiri Jiri is the Noongar word for Willy Wagtails and that’s what I call them. I learnt this when a Noongar story-teller came to the library I worked at a few years ago. We sang a song about Jiri Jiri, but I can’t remember the song. (I think some other WA Aboriginal languages also use the word Jiri Jiri for Willy Wagtail.) Jiri Jiri are so fearless and will confront anything. part 2, stop wiggling They’re rarely scared away by people and so it seems like they want to be your friend because they will come so close. It’s more likely that they know insects are disturbed by our movements and activities.

The other week I saw two Jiri Jiri dive-bombing a kookaburra at the local school. The kookaburra was just sitting there, taking it for a while. It was very funny to watch. Unfortunately dusk was coming on and the photos I took didn’t work out.

part 3, down the gullet In happier photography news, when I was taking photos of the Christmas trees at Curtin University in December I saw a Jiri Jiri. He flew from his perch before I got my camera out. Not to worry, he’d only flown off to snatch an insect from the air and proudly display his meal and the eating of it for my enjoyment. I’ve always known Jiri Jiri eat insects, but I usually think of them eating flies and other small insects. Now I know they’ll quite happily take on a dragon fly for a tasty meal.

part 4, that was yum You can see more (and bigger) photos of Jiri Jiri vs the dragon fly on Flickr.

=^.^=

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