Julie in her natural environment: surrounded by wattle, the sea and bitou!

It was a beautiful sunny day with a charm of magpies singing their morning songs, as the bushcare group assembled at the top of Long Reef car park. After signing in, allocating tools, and discussing a work plan, we made our way down the track, passing a pair of tiny red-wattlebird chicks called out plaintively for breakfast from a Tea Tree.

As we descended the track, Brad and Merrilyn peeled off to stay on the high slopes, watering new plantings and tackling the small Bitou seedlings that kept popping up on the exposed areas. Julie also worked a patch high on the western side of the Gully, checking the young banskia plants
and giving them some much-needed water. She also found quite a few Bitou seedlings growing amongst the Tea Trees. These seem to be seeding from the mature plants further downhill towards the ocean, helped by the regular sea breezes.

Merrilyn at work with the loppers on the upper slopes

There was plenty of asparagus fern around, so Brad, Merrilyn and Julie worked to remove these,
especially as they were producing berries. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the slope on the flat area, Claire and Denise worked on the Burr Medic,
eventually collecting a huge bag full. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, taking great satisfaction in removing large plants, roots and all!

Alex and Josh worked on the Turkey Rhubarb in the nest, yielding yet *more* large bulbs.  They report that the areas yielding the bulbs are quite localised now, and we hope to be able to replant the nest soon.

We had a nice relaxing morning tea, sitting on the lush flat grass, enjoying the view, snacking on Anzac Biscuits and Digestives, as Ospreys wheeled overhead. Kathy had some good suggestions on how we can promote better and faster revegetation of the areas that we have been weeding, which was really useful. Long Reef was particularly quiet of people this morning, as a surf-ski event meant that the carpark was full early, and that limited the number of visitors to the headland.

After morning tea, John tackled the Turkey Rhubarb plant on the south-eastern side of the fence, near the flat area where people pile rubbish that they have collected from the beach. This rhubarb plant was spotted by Kathy last month and will require further follow-up work. There was quite a lot of burr medic around, so Claire, Denise and Kathy continued on removing these, including the seeding plants along the track. This should help prevent further spread from the regular foot traffic.

Denise, Kathy and Claire try to shelter from the wind as they clear the track of burr medic.

Late into the morning, the wind had suddenly picked up from the south, keeping it quite cool in the exposed conditions that are so typical of this environment. At midday we headed back up the slope and back to the car park, now feeling quite warm, but satisfied and happy with a morning of good bushcare and good company.

Text and photos by John Isles