|The introduced Spotted Turtle Dove|
|Building dove traps|
Breeding season (now!) is a great time to target feral doves, so if you’re not involved in the trapping program and would like to be, contact Chris, Matt or Jesse at Land for Wildlife. And remember to send us your catch figures so we can update our data to!
If you’re not thrilled about the idea of trapping birds, there are more passive methods to deter Spotted Turtle Doves from your backyard. If you have thick shrubbery and vegetation at your place, have a look around for any nesting doves. Turtle doves love to build their nests in dense, non-native vegetation such as palm fronds, rank Bouganvillea thickets and Pepper Trees. By removing such habitat and replacing it with native trees and shrubs, you can transform your garden from a haven for feral pests to a paradise for native birds and wildlife.
|Turtle Dove nest and egg. Photo; J.M. Garg|
Alternatively, if you enjoy the shade your Pepper Tree provides in the hot weather, simply carryout regular ‘nest inspections’ in likely places. If you find a Turtle Dove nest (a very simple platform of sticks placed on a branch), remove it. Tip out any eggs that might’ve been laid. After several attempts and constant disturbance, the birds will soon get the message and move elsewhere.
If you find any Turtle Dove nests or eggs, let us know. The information will help us build a picture of where the strongholds of this introduced species are in Alice Springs.
Hi there Land for Wildlifers.
Well, it’s been a while since our last post, with a busy field season taking up most of coordinators’ time over the past few months. LfW has been recording a few milestones in Alice Springs however, with a third coordinator, Matt Digby, taken on to help ease the work load and some prominent properties, including Ayers Rock Resort and the Alice Springs Golf Club, signing up to the program.
Before the hot summer weather really hits us however, we have one outstanding project to get done – our annual LfW biodiversity survey. Every year, properties are selected from amongst our growing membership base for a detailed four day flora, fauna and landscape survey. This project involves trapping and observing wildlife on properties, recording flora species present in remnant vegetation and mapping of landscapes and land units. This data is then collated and presented in a report which is accessible to LfW and GfW members and anyone else who may be interested.
The information we collect is a valuable tool in determining if management practices carried out by property owners are effective in encouraging the diversity of wildlife and vegetation on rural properties in Alice Springs.
The 2012 survey is scheduled to take place at Fenn Gap west of Simpson’s Gap on Larapinta Drive. This year, the survey is happening in cooperation with the Arid Lands Environment Centre’s Biodiversity Matters program of workshops (http://alec.org.au/programs-2/healthy-arid-lands/biodiversity-conservation.html).
On Saturday 13th October, LfW coordinators together with ALEC will hold the final workshop in the Biodiversity Matters program, centred around surveying techniques and data collection, giving you the opportunity to be involved in important biological field work.
For more information or to get involved with this year’s survey, contact Chris, Jesse or Matt at LfW on 89 555 222 or email email@example.com If you’d like to know more about the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) and Biodiversity Matters go to alec.org.au and follow the links.
At left are some images of the 2010 and 2011 surveys. Pictured from top are Golden Everlasting daisies (Bracteantha bracteata), Red-chested Button Quail (Turnix pyrrhothorax), Silky Glycine (Glycine canescens), Euro (Macropus robustus) and the blossom of a Bush Orange (Capparis mitchellii).
|Black House Spider Badumna insignis.|
No not really. Local arachnid expert Robbie Henderson has been kind enough to identify this spider for us as the Black House Spider Badumna insignis. This is a common spider around Alice Springs.
A Guest Member Post from Buffel Free Champion, Debbie Page.
|Larva of the Four-spotted Cup Moth Doratifera quadriguttata.|
Land for Wildlife member Uwe Path has sent in another great photo from the ever-growing menagerie that can be found on his property. This caterpillar had us stumped initially but in the search for a positive identification, we found a very useful website.
The Coffs Harbour Butterfly House website has a resource for anyone trying to identify caterpillars, moths or butterflies. If you’re ever trying to pin down the identity of a caterpillar in your yard try visiting http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/
The database here is by no means exhaustive but provides a fair cross-section of the more common species that you might come across.
The Radio National archives have served up the following morsel for all the gardeners out there. This interview with Robert Pogue Harrison on Late Night Live with Phillip Adams provides some interesting perspectives on gardens and gardening. The interview dates from 2009 and serves up some interesting food for thought.
|The infamous star of the show – Oryctolagus cuniculus. Pic. JJ Harrison|
The 2012 series of Land for Wildlife workshops will commence on Saturday the 31st of March, with a workshop on rabbits and their control. The workshop will be held at Olive Pink Botanic Gardens in the meeting room beside the cafe. The information session will commence at 10am, and should run for about 20 minutes. The Land for Wildlife coordinators will be available after the information session for any questions relating to rabbits on your property.
Dr. Bill Low will be in attendance to provide an introduction to the history of rabbits and rabbit control measures in the NT.
|Gould’s Wattled Bat Chalinolobus gouldii. The prettiest of the bunch, and about the most widespread species in Australia.|
Bats are one type of wildlife which we don’t often get to have a close look at here in Alice Springs. They’re certainly about and are actually quite common. This was conclusively shown by a recent workshop that we were able to hold at the Land for Wildlife offices. Renowned bat expert Dennis Matthews was in town and had just enough time to run an information session for members and interested locals.
|Dennis Matthews explains the ingenious harp trap. The aluminium frame supports taut vertical filaments. The bats fly into these filaments and slide down to roost in the layers of canvas beneath.|
After a very educational presentation indoors, Dennis led us into the garden to demonstrate some survey techniques. We had a look at some ANABAT recording devices in action and then a couple of harp traps were set up and left overnight to see what species we have fluttering around our office at night.
|Lesser Long-eared Bat Nyctophilus geoffroyi.|
In the morning we were rewarded with 9 bats from 4 different species. On the recorders the previous night we had identified a further two species in the area that we didn’t manage to catch in the traps.
|Inland Freetail Bat Mormopterus planiceps.|
We mainly get insectivorous microbats here, with only occasional visits from the Little Red Flying Fox following particularly wet seasons in The Centre. Microbats mostly call well above the range of human hearing and can be difficult to track in a torch beam due to their fast flight and small size. So it was a genuine treat to get up so close and have a good look. Thanks Dennis!
|Spectacled Hare-wallaby Lagorchestes conspicillatus. Just north of Rabbit Flats, Tanami Rd, NT. Photo: Dave Price.|
Some bittersweet news this morning when I got into the office. Dave Price, photographer extraordinaire and regular contributor to our newsletters and blog posts, has sent in some more pics. Unfortunately, he and wife Bess found a roadkilled Spectacled Hare-wallaby Lagorchestes conspicillatus, just north of Rabbit Flats on the Tanami Road. Initially they thought it might have been a Mala Lagorchestes hirsutus, but these are sadly now almost certainly gone from the wild in this area. The Spectacled Hare-wallaby is still holding out though. This is a slightly larger animal which is easily identified by the prominent rufous “spectacles” for which it is named.
Interestingly, in 1997 a population of Spectacled Hare-wallabies was discovered in the south-west of Papua New Guinea, making it one of very few macropods that isn’t endemic to Australia.
|Spectacled Hare-wallaby. Photo: Dave Price.|
It’s always a shame to see wildlife killed on the road, but I guess it at least shows us that they’re still out there and gives us a chance to see some of these more elusive animals close up. We’d love to hear from anyone else that has found an out-of-the-ordinary roadkill. If you do a bit of driving and find anything of interest drop us a line and let us know about your discovery.