Feathered Friends of Whittlesea

The City of Whittlesea has 3 upcoming bird events on the weekend 6-8th of October. All events are family friendly and free and provide an opportunity to learn about our  feathered friends. You don’t need any level of expertise to come along to the two bird walks- just an enthusiasm to learn from our guides from Birdlife Melbourne. Click below to download the flyer with links to register.

Bird_Events_Capture

Have you seen the Long-nosed Bandicoot?

Did you know that the Whittlesea municipality supports habitat for Long-nosed Bandicoots? This medium-sized nocturnal marsupial (about the size of a rabbit) has grey-brown fur, a short thin tail, pointy ears, and as the name suggests, a long nose.

 

You may never see this shy species but their presence may be detected through characteristic foraging signs- small cone-shaped holes in bushland and sometimes lawns and gardens. These holes are dug with the front feet and the snout is used to reach in and detect insects and other small invertebrate prey and hypogeal fungi.

Long-nosed Bandicoots were once widespread and common in forests, woodlands, and heaths of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria but their range and distribution has greatly reduced and in some areas they are now locally extinct.

This reduction in population abundance is occurring despite their capacity for reproduction (females can produce up to four litters per year and have a gestation period of only 12.5 days, one of the shortest known of any mammal), due to numerous threatening processes including, habitat loss and fragmentation, introduced predators (foxes, cats, and dogs), road kill, wildfires and inappropriate burning regimes. The Victorian population is considered to have declined but it does not have threatened species classification, most likely due to insufficient data.

Long-nosed bandicoots rely on a mosaic of vegetation, using open areas for foraging at night and requiring dense understorey vegetation for nesting during the day. The nest is usually made from grasses and other plant material in shallow depressions on the ground amongst thick vegetation. Maintaining areas of low dense understorey cover is critical for their survival.

Whittlesea has very few records of this species and the state-wide flora and fauna database (the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas) lists only seven records of this species between 1971 and 2013.

Long-nosed Bandicoot VBA records
The seven records of the Long-nosed Bandicoot in Whittlesea

 

Foraging signs have been observed recently in our municipality by Council staff and recent footage was captured by a Kinglake West resident- click here to view the footage.

You can help conserve this species and other native fauna by keeping your pets confined to your domestic area, particularly at night, and by not allowing them to roam into areas of potential habitat. If you’re one of the lucky residents that have them within your property, you could consider setting aside areas that provide habitat for native wildlife and establishing a separate area for your pets.  Undertaking integrated pest animal control (including foxes) across the landscape will also benefit this species and many other wildlife species.

If you see this species (live or dead animals) or indirect signs of its presence, please report the sightings (including the location description with GIS coordinates if possible, date and any other notes) to Ruth Marr, Council’s Biodiversity Planner, on 9217 2025 or ruth.marr@whittlesea.vic.gov.au. Records of this species can be submitted on your behalf to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.

Juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle sighting

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This photo was recently sent through from a landowner north of Whittlesea who stated that “This young eagle has appeared over the last few days. The photo was taken at the dam just east of the house. This morning he was accompanied by two Magpies who appeared to be giving him a hard time. Lovely to see him at the farm. Hope you enjoy it”

We certainly did enjoy it- thankyou for sending through!!

This young eagle has probably recently left the nest as young eagles depend on their parents for food for up to 6 months after hatching and only leave the nest when the next breeding season approaches (June-Oct).

The presence of a Wedge-tailed Eagles often causes panic among smaller birds, and as a result, aggressive species such as magpies, butcherbirds and noisy miners are often observed aggressively mobbing eagles to get them to move on somewhere else.

Wedge-tailed Eagles are Australia’s largest bird of prey with a wingspan of almost 3 metres and they are found across mainland Australia and Tasmania and into southern New Guinea and Indonesia across all habitat types.

We encourage you to send through your photos of local flora and fauna sightings with a few words – email to Mark.Williams@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

Call For Applications: Environmental Works Grant Program Now Open!

Is your property greater than two hectares and zoned for rural land use?

If yes, then you are eligible to apply for Council’s Environmental Works Grant Program 2018.

The Environmental Works Grant Program provides a financial incentive to rural landowners to protect and enhance Whittlesea’s biodiversity. The Program offers grants of up to $1500 for fencing projects which permanently protect remnant vegetation from livestock, fencing and planting around farm dams, and revegetation projects including shelterbelt establishment and environmental weed control within remnant vegetation.

Environmental Works Grant Program is now open for applications until 30 November 2017.

Click here to apply:

https://www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au/community-support/grants-awards-and-competitions/sustainable-land-management-grants-and-incentives/

Call Mark Williams, Council’s Sustainable Land Management Officer, on 9217 2471 for more information or to discuss a project proposal.

Environmental Works Grant Program

 

Event Wrap-up: Feral Animal Workshop

On Sunday the 6th of August, the Friends of Toorourrong Reservoir Park, supported by Council, hosted a Pest Animal Control Workshop. Here’s what Emma Bennett, Community Development Officer, had to say about the day:

“Despite windy, wet and very cold conditions at Toorourrong Reservoir Park nearly 30 people had the chance to learn from a professional (Peter Voutier from Feralex Pest Control) about the tricks and techniques employed to control pest animals such as rabbits, foxes, deer and cats. Friends of Toorourrong hosted the occasion and kept everyone warm with tea, soup and snags as well as some lovely home-made cakes.”

This might be a timely opportunity to remind community members of the importance of keeping domestic cats confined to domestic zones. This will keep your pet safe from disease, injury and other dangers associated with roaming. Confining cats will also prevent breeding with the established local feral cat population (see picture below of a recent sighting in Eden Park). Feral cats are a major problem for our local wildlife populations and are a threat to the health and safety of your domestic pets.

Hot off the Press – Eucalypts of Whittlesea

The City of Whittlesea has produced a local guide to the Eucalypts of Whittlesea. The booklet will help you identify 18 indigenous and 3 non-indigenous species commonly found in the municipality. Clear photos of key features of individual species will have you identifying eucalypts in no time!

Click here to download a copy for yourself or contact the Land Management and Biodiversity Team on 9217 2471 and we’ll post out a hard copy to you.

EucBookCover

Upcoming Events: July/August

There’s something for everyone! See below link to four upcoming events in July/ August.

Sunday 30 July-  National Tree Day: A great day out for the whole family to celebrate National Tree Day. Click here for more details.

Sunday 6 August-   FREE Pest Animal Control Workshop: Hosted by the Friends of Toorourrong, join as at Toorourrong Reservoir Park to learn more about the impacts and management of feral animals. Click here for more information and details to register.

Tuesday 15 August-   Eden Park Bushfire Mitigation Plan: A Stakeholder Engagement Workshop to help shape the Plan by building upon local knowledge, click here for more information and details on how to register your interest.

Saturday 26 August-   The Annual Agribusiness Dinner. An event not to be missed, click on the below Eventbrite link to purchase your ticket or click here for the flyer.

Eventbrite: Agribusiness Dinner

 

 

Course: Habitat Conservation and Management

This 16-week course teaches land management practises to conserve, protect and restore indigenous Australian flora and fauna.

The course presents and discusses the best planning tools and management techniques available and includes plant identification, bush ecology, weed control, soils & climate, invertebrates, the use of fire, site assessment and planning, and many more.

Presenters include Darcy Duggan, Randall Robinson, George Paras and Gidja Walker.

  • Dates: 8 August – 21 November 2017
  • Times: Tuesday evenings (6.30-9.30pm) + 8 Saturday field trips (approx. 10am-4pm)
  • Locations: La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary (Tuesday evening sessions); various locations across the Port Phillip region (Saturday fieldtrips)
  • Cost: NRM Professionals – $2,000; Friends of/Landcare Volunteers – $1,000 (plus GST). This includes course materials and light refreshments for the evening sessions)

For more information: Danny Reddan, phone: (03) 9450 5300; email: DReddan@greeningaustralia.org.au

Click here to download a flyer (pdf)

New Information Pages Available!

Our little blog Elf has been very busy of late uploading information under the various menu tabs above. While our blog elf continues to work hard bringing sustainable land management and biodiversity information to your fingertips, feel free to have a browse. Let us know if there’s something you’d like to see added (he’s a happy elf, so no job is too big).

A reminder to send any of your property photos, wildlife sightings or ‘blogs’ through so we can share it on your behalf with our growing online community.