Ntaria held a march for White Ribbon Day in November, to raise awareness about domestic violence and stop violence against women—engaging men to achieve the social change that is necessary. The march was attended by the Tjuwanpa Women Rangers and Ntaria Junior Rangers and so Land for Wildlife, among others, was there to support them.
Land for Wildlife is still looking for volunteer cat owners for the Domestic Cat Monitoring and Awareness program in Alice Springs. We have a couple of remaining spaces for urban cats and are also looking for domestic cat owners in the rural areas of Ilparpa, White Gums, Connellan and Ross (plenty of spaces available). Please get in touch if you live in any of these areas, own a cat and are interested in taking part in the program to see where cats wander and what they see.
Land for Wildlife is conducting trials this week with the GPS-trackers and video surveillance camera. The first cat to trial the camera is six-year-old TeeGee. TeeGee was adopted by his owners’ pet duck and has since become a part of the family. You can see the fun pair on YouTube: Scarfy and Friend. TeeGee has been sporting the camera this week and we are looking forward to seeing his adventures.
We will be looking at running another round of monitoring in February so please let us know if you can be involved (email@example.com).
This project is supported by Territory Natural Resource Management, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
By John Tyne
On September 28th, eight volunteers assisted Parks and Wildlife to conduct a census of introduced Rainbow Lorikeets in Alice Springs. The volunteers came from a number of organizations including Birdlife Central Australia, Alice Springs Field Naturalist Club and Land for Wildlife. Thirty nine locations were surveyed for rainbow lorikeets, with volunteers recording the times, location and number of birds seen and heard at each survey point. Despite the damp conditions many birds were out and about. After reviewing the data, I would conservatively estimate that there are at least 17 individual birds. The main population of birds appears to be focused in the Gillen area near the local primary school, which then probably disperses throughout Alice Springs during the day to feed. What is especially concerning is that two nesting hollows in the Todd River and a third in town are currently being used which may indicate an imminent increase in bird numbers. I would like to thank everyone very much for their help with this survey, and please keep the sightings coming in! They can be submitted to the NT Wildwatch website (http://root.ala.org.au/bdrs-core/nt-dlrm/home.htm), E-bird (http://ebird.org/content/ebird/) or submitted to me directly (John Tyne, John.Tyne@nt.gov.au ).
~ John Tyne, Parks and Wildlife NT
Land for Wildlife assisted the Batchelor Institute last week with a feral cat (Felis catus) trapping workshop, including the use of “pongo” and baits as lures, cat trap use, camera trapping and ethical considerations. The group were successful in catching one cat in their two evenings of trapping effort and managed to capture a couple of inquisitive crows on the camera traps. Good work crew!
Land for Wildlife assisted the new Green Army team at Olive Pink Botanic Garden with a trapping workshop this month. The new team leader, Minh Nguyen, will be taking the Conservation Volunteers supported group through a feral animal trapping program this round to help relieve the pressure on local native wildlife. Team members learned how to ethically trap feral Cats (Felis catus) and Spotted Turtle-doves (Streptopelia chinensis). We will keep you posted on their progress. Thanks for having us along, team!
Land for Wildlife and Garden for Wildlife has been successful at the Northern Territory Natural Resource Management Awards, hosted by TNRM, for the second year in a row – taking out the top spot for Best Urban NRM Group. Thanks to all of our hard-working Land for Wildlife and Garden for Wildlife members for your efforts conserving wildlife habitat in central Australia! This award goes to show that your cumulative efforts are being recognised throughout the state as worthwhile contributions to natural resource management. The program relies on funding from the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the NT, Alice Springs Town Council and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme (supported by Territory Natural Resource Management) – thanks to all the support and making the work we do possible.
Land for Wildlife was up against two very worthy groups in the finals, which included Friends of the Desert Park and Ludmilla Creek Landcare Group. Other local winners include Curtin Springs for the Agricultural NRM award and Josephine Grant from the Central Land Council as Indigenous NRM Champion for her work as a regional support officer. Congratulations to all the winners and well done on all the hard work in the natural resource management space!
Sand Goannas (Varanus gouldii), also known as Gould’s Monitor and named after the prominent British naturalist, are usually quite sleek looking… Not this guy! This individual was seen sunning itself at the Land for Wildlife office this morning! What an excellent creature!
As summer is creeping up on us quickly and the last of the spring days are proving to be warm ones, your plants will need a little extra attention to get them through the fiery afternoons. Here are some hot tips to protect your plants through the summer months.
Keep the plants moist
Give the plants a deep watering before the sun comes up. This will enable the plants to take up moisture and be more resistant to the heat of the day. A top-up of water when the sun goes down doesn’t go astray if the plants have suffered and are beginning to droop. Dripper irrigation systems can be put on a timer that waters automatically and delivers water straight to the ground where it is needed. Prevent watering during the hottest parts of the day to avoid scalding the leaves, or opt for afternoon fine mist sprays for the soft-leaved plants.
Mulch the ground
It is a good idea to protect the soil with a layer of mulch, which will reduce evaporation from the soil surface and reduce the temperature of the topsoil, in turn preventing desiccation. Companion planting (locating smaller plants within the cover of taller neighbours) can have a similar effect, just be sure to avoid overcrowding.
Protection such as white shade cloth with a minimum of 50 % shading can be the extra help a plant needs on a hot day. If you can’t spring for such extravagance, old curtains or sheets can do the trick. The shade cloth can be mounted over stakes, walls or fences (or any other structure you can find from the Alice Springs Rediscovery Centre – get creative!). Keep in mind that this time of year also brings strong winds and dust storms, so make sure you fasten the items securely to prevent disaster. The side of raised beds can be protected from the direct sun by planting some hardy local natives around the edge that have dense foliage and a height to suit the purpose (or prune them appropriately so they grow in the desired fashion), such as various Eremophila species. To give potted plants some extra shade, consider moving them under a verandah, or even inside for periods of time.
Increase Wind Protection
The summer afternoons can increase the chance of strong thermals forming and therefore wind gusts, which can dry out the garden beds. Consider installing some hedge protection or fencing that will provide wind protection, avoiding metal sheet fences that will radiate heat onto the nearest plants.
Choose the right plants
Get a head start and plant local native species, which are accustomed to growing in the harsh central Australian conditions. This will mean your efforts to protect them can be minimal and they will provide habitat that is suited to the local wildlife. It’s also wise to think ahead and group the plants according to water needs, so that plants with high water requirements are grouped together and irrigated more often.
Keep cool Land for Wildlifers!