Members Updates

Members Updates2022-11-03T10:15:16+00:00

Reefcare update for Saturday 3 February 2024

Huge waves brought in the surfers and many onlookers.

It was a warm overcast morning as the Reefcare group eagerly met for the first session of 2024. Today was forecast to be hot and humid, so we were well pleased to be greeted by a sea breeze and clouds to keep us cool. Also present was a huge ocean swell, which brought in surfers and onlookers, adding a vibe of energy and excitement to the morning. 

Many bird spotters were also arriving, drawn by the presence of siberian sandpipers, ruddy turnstones and red-necked stints on the exposed foreshore. It seemed like Long Reef was the place to be this Saturday morning.

We were keen to start work before it got hotter, and keen to see how the site looked after the Christmas break. 

As we walked down the track past the resident fairy-wrens, we spotted a blue-tongue lizard, basking in the open, seemingly unperturbed by all the birders, surfers, visitors, and bushcarers! We gently removed some asparagus fern nearby, without disturbing her morning sunbath.

A sleepy bluetongue basked in the sun as we removed weeds nearby.

Many small birds benefit from the bush regeneration work carried out at Long Reef.

The Canavalia rosea (beach beans) are doing very well and flowering beautifully.

Des, Brad, Merrilyn and Gen stayed on the high slopes as usual, tackling the asparagus fern and any new growth of Bitou, while Julie stayed on the fence line, removing the asparagus fern that was encroaching from higher ground. She also noticed that the asparagus ferns were dropping very small red berries, unlike the larger mature ones that are normally seen, and she did her best to collect these as well. Meanwhile, further down the slope, Lisa got to work on the fleabane, asthma-weed, and bidens before moving onto asparagus fern on the slope.

Julie tackles the asparagus fern, under the watchful eye of a paraglider pilot!

John and Alex were charged with inspecting the “nest” (an area surrounded by a ring of coastal rosemary). Armed with mattocks, they went to check on the turkey rhubarb infestation, which we had worked so hard to eradicate. The good news was that there were only two small rhubarb plants, which were easy to remove. Hoorah! The bad news was that the area had been taken over by blackberry nightshade, which was full of berries! Boo! So Lisa, John and Alex carefully removed these with an easy pull to the base of the plant and bagged the whole lot, trying to avoid dropping any berries. The rest of the area was looking good with Kennedia covering most of the nest.

Further down towards the sea are some very exposed and visible native Lomandras, that are infested with the noxious weed: turkey rhubarb. Previous attempts to remove it without damaging the Lomandras had failed.  After wide consultation by Lisa, it was decided that glyphosate would be the best option, so our expert Kathy performed the scrape-and-paint operation, and also kindly showed other group members the technique.

The cooling breeze continued and by morning tea we took a well-earned break to catch up with what everyone had been doing over Christmas and New Year. We chatted about native bees, while enjoying Calippo ice-blocks which John kindly brought along and had kept in a bag of crushed ice under the Westringia. Paragliders sailed overhead, making the most of the onshore breeze, as did the usual ospreys, and even a pelican decided to do a bit of slope-soaring, gliding gracefully over us as we relaxed. Meanwhile, Brad examined a snail shell that Lisa had found near the track. It is a good chance that it is another specimen of the rare Maroubra woodland snail.

Morning tea of Calippo ice-blocks helped keep us cool.

After morning tea, we continued working, as welcome swallows flitted around, picking up insects on the wing, and more paragliders arced overhead as the onshore breeze picked up. Kathy and Lisa removed non-native pigs face from the eastern dune and the top of the Southern hill, while Alex and Josh worked on the Western side of the site.

Thank you, Lisa, Des, Julie, Kathy, Brad, Merrilyn, Gen, Josh, Alex, and John – It was a productive and lovely morning.

 

Text by John Isles

Reefcare update for Saturday 2 December 2023

Meetup in the car park

Merrilyn, Brad and Des all went back to last month’s task of removing some huge clumps of Asparagus fern along the fence line of the upper northern western slope, whilst John and Lawson (our Supervisor for this month) worked in The Nest removing remnant Turkey Rhubarb and moving onto removing Kikuyu so that we can plant in this area next autumn. Lisa, Denise, Claire and Ivana worked on removing Kikuyu between The Nest and where the contractors have cleared the site on the main slope and undertaken some considerable planting. Reefcare believe it would be great to clear the area in between of these two patches of Kikuyu and get a good weed free area from which we can then expand up and down the slope. Underneath the Kikuyu is some really good Themeda and amazingly a huge amount of Glycine, plus sometimes some Canavalia Rosea – this is an area seriously worth working on to save the existing native vegetation; the Glycine is doing to well.

At morning tea we enjoyed the mince tarts which Claire had kindly brought along – a lovely early Christmas celebration. We also discussed the recent meeting, Lisa, Julie, John and Kim had with Northern Beaches Council people, Michael Kneipp, Victoria Adair and Pamela Bateman about what is strategy with the remaining Bitou now that Reefcare are getting close to a very steep area, prone to erosion which has a lot of Bitou and would be just too dangerous to remove (on several fronts).

Possibly a rare Maroubra woodland snail

The current situation is that Reefcare will have to stop moving westward sometime next year with Bitou removal. With what to do next is under discussion between Reefcare and NBC, with the current thought to make sure that the tip moth is always prevalent to prevent the existing Bitou from seeding. After morning tea, Merrilyn, Des and Lawson worked on Asparagus fern, Lisa and Ivana worked on the eastern dunes making sure the demarcation line between the front dune and back was being maintained – which is to stop the kikuyu getting to the fore dunes and the non-native pigs face getting to the back dune. The area which was removed last month on the eastern dune of the non-native pigs face is well covered with the remanent dead non-native pigs face and a native creeper. And it was here that Ivana found the Mattock which was lost last month!

Black-faced cuckoo shrikes greeetd us in the carpark as we gathered our tools

Claire, Denise and Maria continued to work on the Kikuyu between The Nest and the planting undertaken by Council’s contractor – Toolajooa

 

Denise, Lisa and John enjoyed the Bushcare Christmas party. Thank you Northern Beaches Council!

Text by Lisa Calder.

Reefcare update for Saturday 4 November 2023

We had a fabulous turn up of 14 people on a lovely warm sunny day. Merrilyn, Gen and Julie targeted Asparagus Fern along the top fence line (below the whale sculpture) – to an area we call the top paddock – they did this all day with Alex and Josh joining them after morning tea. Prior to morning tea, Alex and Josh worked on the Turkey Rhubarb in the nest area – this clearing is going really well, as well as removal of Buffalo and Kikuyu grass in that area. Plan is the plant this area out, as well as the flat in Autumn next year when it is cooler and we are likely to have rain.

Lisa and the team discuss replanting on the site

There was no Turkey Rhubarb on the flat, so Lisa, Stella, Annie and Claire weeded Bromus and BurrMedic along the track before moving across to the eastern dunes and removed the non-native pigs face until morning tea. Des and Ivana roamed the site for weeds, getting lots of small Asparagus Fern whilst

Josh and Alex work on the turkey Rhubarb in the “nest”

John concentrated on Burr Medic and other weeds on the flat. Morning tea was a special one being Ivana’s birthday who kindly brought along a lovely collection of little cakes in which we indulged after a wonderful rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, Kathy brought beautiful bread with two different tips, Stella brought blue berries and someone else chocolate coated pretzels and popcorn. It was a veritable picnic, sitting in beautiful sunshine. Kathy then read out the Site Work Plan for the next year to which we all agreed, a number of us signing, and she will submit this to Northern Beaches Council.

Morning tea, discussing bushcare strategy for the site

After morning tea, those not on Asparagus Fern weeded the western side of the slope, removed some of the non-native pigs face in a couple of different locations, John on general weeding and Des cutting back Bitou along the northern dunes which was encroaching on the Themeda grassland.

The area is important for ospreys

Resident male fairy wren

 

Text by Lisa Calder

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