Reefcare report – Saturday 5 December, 2020
We were lucky that the temperatures were in the low 20’s, but there was some humidity so we were a little uncomfortable all wearing our long pants and long sleeved shirts and boots = oh, arrh… the price we are prepared to pay to make Long Reef point beautiful.
We had 3 people working on the Bitou on the high western slope, and they weeded as they went along, few thistles still around, Ehrharta, hundreds of Bitou seedlings – and a weed Gladiolus species which had appeared on site a few years ago in the eastern sand dunes and is now being found on the high western slope, the flower is a lovely pink colour with hints of mauve, but to remove takes a lot of time (around 15mins per plant) as around the main bulb/corm are dozens of little white seeds, all of which need to be collected. This weed originates from South Africa, is classed as a garden escape and can spread by the wind. It can become extremely problematic like Watsonia, so it is important to remove the ones we find on site as fast as possible.
Three of the volunteers concentrated in an area alongside the eastern part of the track, targeting Bidens pilosa (also known as cobbler’s pegs and for some weird reason, Farmers Friend!) where most plants were just forming those horrible seeds, but a few plants were more advanced. Is thought this weed originated in tropical America.
“….It is also regarded as an environmental weed in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT. It is considered to be among the top 200 most invasive plant species. This species is readily dispersed by man’s activities and dense populations can out-compete native species on the exposed margins of bushland and in revegetation sites.”  There was also some flea bane, bitou seedings and that horrible asthma weed Parietaria Judaica – The leaves and stems are covered in curled hairs that feel sticky and as it’s life cycle can be 2 – 3 weeks and we come monthly, it will take some time get rid of this weed. The Turkey rhubarb keeps appearing where we initially cleared it a few months ago, but it is slowly getting less in that area – we just have to keep at it each month. One volunteer scouted the eastern part of the site for flea bane, and another worked on bitou removal on the north eastern sand dune.
Des scoured the site for Asparagus fern which he also did last month and had a bag full by morning tea. And talking about morning tea – we were like excited children in a school yard – there were so many of the small blue butterflies all over the site, it was very beautiful to see and rather exciting. Everyone was talking of them during morning tea. We are lucky as one of our members is studying entomology at University, and Genevieve Law was able to identify these as the Common Grass-blue from the tribe Polyommatini. Gen Law wrote ….These butterflies look like Lycaenidae (‘blues’) – they are generally quite small, somewhat furry and grey/blue in colour. They are often cryptic at rest, and you often can only see the blue colour when they open their wing.”
Photo by Claire Cashell
We spent some time at morning tea also discussing our plans for the work on the site for 2021 –Claire Cashell will report our plans to Northern Beaches Council as required.
Photo by Claire Cashell
After morning tea most went back to their favourite spot, but three moved to the eastern dunes, targeting kikuyu, seasonal weeds and on the far eastern side removing pigs face off Themeda and Ehrharta.
Photo by Lisa Calder
Reefcare report – Saturday 3 October, 2020
It was a beautiful warm sunny day at Long Reef, around 23 degrees, with just a slight light breeze, being slightly more on the western slope for which the Bitou clearer s were very grateful. How lucky are we working in this area of beautiful scenery. There were quite a few planes today and lots of para gliders were out. We saw Osprey and the local Nankeen Kestrel spent the whole time around us – at morning tea it caught a feed about the size of a mouse on the lower western slope near the track, and later in the afternoon the Kestrel flew over two groups of us, not more than a metre – amazing! thought I could put my hand up and touch this magnificent bird with these really beautiful colours.
The four Bitou workers on the far western slope – Julie cut and poisoned some Bitou on the top area of the western part of our site. Brad, Gen & Merrilyn worked below Julie continuing to move west and eliminating two big clumps of Bitou. They also removed quite a lot of Burr Medic. The big success of the day was Brad finding Des’ previously lost knife!
Ivana, Des and Lisa all tackled the Burr Medic on the western flat – where there were also quite a lot of thistles, which we managed to eliminate in this area. There is so much of this, that even in this one area we only removed about 50%. It is on the turn from green to brown burrs. In some places we could have done with a dustpan and brush for all the burr seeds that have fallen. The lot near the track have all seeded, we were too late for that. We really could have done with 3 times the number this month, but due to COVID, NBC are still restricting us to 10 volunteers. I am seriously worried about next year with this weed if NBC are unable to poison again.
Image 1: Group photo at morning tea
Image 2: Bitou clearers on the far western side of the side
Image 3: Clearing the burr medic- some of them are huge
Image 4: Our Weed bags at the end of the day
Clematis on site – 1st time
Wednesday 16th September 2020
I was wandering around our site this morning just checking out the work done by the contractors on the Burr Medic – and low and behold on the eastern side at the bottom of the track, we have our local native clematis – this is the first time in 25 years I’ve seen this actually on our site!
Think this is very exciting, a new plant on site and it’s not a weed!
Reefcare report – Saturday 5 September, 2020
It was a beautiful warm sunny day at Long Reef, around 21+ degrees – with just a slight light breeze – a PERFECT day for bush regeneration at Long Reef. What a wonderful place to work and all were in a light hearted happy mood. The morning was made very exciting with 3 Osprey flying around near us.
The four Bitou workers – Julie, Brad, Gen & Merrilyn, continued to slowly move west, high up on the hill, but also as they moved along, they removed as much of the thistles which are flowering and some ehrharta as possible, (we need an army battalion to get anywhere to eliminate the ehrharta on site!) Filling 1.1/2 bags of weeds by the end of the day.
Judith worked on removing Bitou seedlings in the eastern side toward the primary dune; whilst Claire C. worked on thistles along the path. Lisa, Claire F. & Ivana did a follow-up in the area last month where we found Turkey Rhubarb endeavouring to clear the area of tubers and bulbs. We are pretty sure we will need a follow up in the area again next month. This took much longer than we thought and worked there until morning tea.
About 10:30 Council’s appointed photographer on a special assignment to obtain some action shots of volunteers and some shots of some of the bush regeneration beautiful sites on the Northern Beaches, which they can use for promotion material arrived – so Andrew got a few photos in before we stopped for morning tea. He then did a few group photos with the sea in the background for some and the grasslands slope in the others. After morning Andrew, moved around the site from the Bitou workers high up on the western slope and then those of us weeding on the flatter areas – and was with us until we finished at 12:00. Other sites he visited on Saturday were North Harbour and Mona Vale Basin.
After morning tea, the Bitou people took the dozen or so plants up to their area to plant (there was Westringia – coastal rosemary and Correa Alba), as the initial planting site where the Turkey Rhubarb was, will need another follow up, and we would be best with Themeda for the area anyway.
The weeders were going to clear the Kikuyu on the eastern side of our site – but once again, we had a higher priority – the thistles which are in the process of flowering. We no way got this finished, so didn’t even get to attack the asthma weed which we worked on last month.
The Burr Medic is out of control on our site, and Reefcare volunteers do not have the numbers or time to tackle this horrible annual weed. NBC were going to poison, but as soon as the signs went up about using poison, the Council were inundated with complaints from the public about using poison – I have requested Council organise a day with ACV (Australian Conservation Volunteers) to target this weed as soon as possible, as it already has green burrs, and it won’t be long until they turn brown and set a million seeds for next year.
There is also gazinea heading down the slope, so this will also need to be tackled sooner rather than later, so that it’s not a future problem on our site.
Reefcare Report for Saturday 1 August, 2020
Due to COVID-19 Reefcare was still only permitted to have 10 volunteers on site.
As last month all required procedures were undertaken which included sanitising bush tools before and after work, working at least 1.5m apart and bringing of our own morning tea, due to no sharing of food or drink.
It was a beautiful sunny day, just perfect for working and we constantly had the Nankeen Kestrel hovering in and around us over the grassland, busy looking for food. Once again we also had our mother and baby magpie circling us at morning tea looking to tip bits. They often where we are working and when leaving a spot, they dive in to the fresh soil for an easy meal.
We had three of the group working on the top north west slope removing a lot of Bitou seedlings, and bagging any other seasonal weeds, such as thistles which have been prolific this year, as well as some Bitou removal as we slowly move westward. Further up the rise another volunteer was working in a previously worked area where Bitou had been cut back, but had not been previously poisoned.
Two volunteers were on the southern east slope of the site, once again, targetting Bitou seedlings and bagging any seasonal weeds in this area, such a Ehrharta erecta
One volunteer was on the south western part of the slope weeding and 3 of us were at the bottom of the slope along side the track, targeting asthma weed – Parietaria judaica before it started to produce pollen. Also in this area we targeted Brome grass from the Bromus family. We were going to keep going in this area after morning tea, but we found a large area of Turkey Rhubarb – Rheum palmatum which looked like it was going to seed shortly. The plant produces chains of underground tubers which can be a little tedious to track all of them down – we will need to undertake a follow up next month.
The Burr Medic is in plague proportions and we are hopeful that Northern Beaches Council will be able to have this sprayed before the burrs turn brown and thus produce a mountain for more seeds on our site.
Bush Regeneration Report – Saturday 4 July, 2020
Back after 3 months due to COVID-19, there were 7 people arrived after a rainy early morning to have the dissipate whilst getting ready.
All the tools were sprayed with Mentholated spirits, and each used hand sanitizer before using the pen to sign on. Lisa read through the rules of the day as issued by Council, which included, no sharing of tools and to work 1.5m apart. Our Council appointed supervisor ensured we had all completed the COVID-19 form confirming that we did not have any symptoms.
We started on the top slope on the NW side of the site targeting bitou seedlings and thistle, where we removed the flower heads and bagged them and then the plant removed from ground and left as future mulch – we headed west along the cleared line and then north down the slope; working this area until Morning tea time at 10:30 when we had a pair of sea eagles circle around us for awhile and a magpie singing for food.
After morning tea we worked on the flat eastern area, but still targeting the same weeds, mainly Bitou seedings, thistles and then to a lesser extent Burr Medic and some ehrharta. There was so much work on the site we could have done with an army, but we covered some ground and we were all happy with the amount that was accomplished. At the top we were lucky enough to site the spray from a couple of whales that were a far way out to sea, so not able to see them breach.