Thursday, July 4, 2019

CLUB MEETING: Friday 05 July at 7.00pm at St. Anthony’s Community Centre

Kemp Killerby from Flora4Fauna, will be our speaker for the July meeting.
PLEASE NOTE: We are reversing our usual plan and will have the speaker first this time. He will bring plants for sale and anyone may purchase them in the break.

Kemp Killerby
Having grown up in and around Australia's number one (Internationally recognized) 'Biodiversity Hotspot', the love of nature came easily for Kemp Killerby, who conducted his first plant sale and eco tour at the tender age of 10 years. On both occasions, success in the field came naturally, as did the appreciation for the natural surroundings, growing up on a 120-acre Vineyard in the pristine Geographe Bay area of South-West Australia.
Kemp is a third-generation citizen conservationist and a second-generation Bushfood & Biodiversity Tour Operator. Named after his grand-father who during his years in charge of a Government portfolio, managed to save the picturesque and now critically endangered 'Tuart Forest' of the Ludlow region, approximately two and a half hours South of Perth, West Australia. Kemp's Grandfather then continued public life as a long serving Mayor of the historic town of Busselton, WA, culminating in being awarded the O.B.E (Order of the British Empire) by the Queen for his long-standing services to the community.
Ever-enthusiastic to learn more about sustainable food production and our place in the natural world, Kemp spent nearly a decade researching, learning about and practicing Permaculture in both Northern and Southern NSW, before studying Horticultural Management at the University of Sydney. It was at this time, when Kemp had an 'epiphany' that for human civilization(s) to (sustainably) feed themselves (and others), a radical change in their approach to food production and their attitudes towards the environment would be required.
During his tenure at the Department of Agriculture, Kemp was fortunate to meet and learn from an Indigenous Australian Elder, Dr. Noel Nannup, who expanded his knowledge and understanding of Native Australian Bushfood, local Indigenous Australian philosophy, culture and religion and how to read the signs in the landscape to find water, food and places of cultural significance, etc. This (ever-increasing) long-term interest in Native Australian Bushfoods, spurred Kemp to move to South-East Queensland, the country's second (Internationally recognized) biodiversity hotspot, where he currently resides in Brisbane, acclaimed as the most biodiverse capital city in Australia.
Kemp spends his time developing sustainable 'Bushfood & Biodiversity' Projects, holding regular Native Plant Sales, giving talks and workshops about using Native Australian Bushfoods to increase biodiversity, hosting Bushfood & Biodiversity Eco Tours in and around South-East Queensland and indulging in amateur wildlife and natural world photography.

OUTING REPORT: Sunday 09 June, for our World Environment Day event at Dr Eric Donaldson’s koala food tree plantings in Oakey

The early birders assembled at Dr Donaldson’s place in Stanley St at about 8.40am to walk to his nearby recently scraped large dam, which was perhaps only about 10% full. The feature was a flock of about 50+ pink-eared ducks which were on land at the water’s edge. They took flight, circled for several minutes and, thank-fully for those arriving later, landed back on the water.
At Shooter Park, the Mugga Ironbarks were still in flower, though no longer in fresh blossom; however the musk lorikeets were still in attendance to delight the photographers. We made our way to Oakey Urban Land-care’s HQ by 10.00am for morning tea with Dr Eric and Trevor Cockburn and six or seven of their volunteers – and polished off some more of Julie Statham’s over-supply of biscuits and slices from the Friday night supper and toasted her good health.
Then to work. This working bee was at the project that had impressed us on our April outing – and was our homage to World Environment Day. We had 11 Field Nats by morning tea, plus our two guests from England, Jim and Myra Holt, who joined us for the day. The 20 of us formed ourselves into two teams of mulch spreaders, being supplied by two utes, and two of our members’ trailers (thanks, Mike). The day was mild with mainly clear skies, and the work was mostly not hard – though the jumpers soon started coming off. The atmosphere was most convivial, and we finished our task in the neat two hours. We were pleased with the nature and purpose of our day and several said we should continue to observe WED in such a way.
After lunch, we finished our outing with a drive along Boah Waterhole Road – off the Oakey-Cooyar Road, about six kilometres north of the Oakey Showgrounds. Trevor had earlier advised us that we might see koalas along the roadside here. Jim and Myra had expressly desired to see some in the wild. So, six of our Nats went looking for koalas, but it was left to Jim to spot a large koala for himself!
A good day was had by all. Thanks to Trevor and his volunteers for their hospitality and Landcare displays.
BIRD LIST for Shooter Park and Dr Donaldson’s
Waterbirds: pink-eared duck; maned wood duck (with very young ducklings); black duck; black cormorant; spur-winged plover; straw-necked ibis; Pacific heron; white-faced heron. Parrots: rainbow, scaly-breasted and musk lorikeets; short-billed corella; galah; sulphur-crested cockatoo; pale headed rosella; quarrion; (possibly two red-winged parrots, flying away from us). Others: pied butcherbird; peewee; magpie; noisy miner; crow. At Boah Waterhole Road - black-faced cuckoo shrike; grey butcherbird; superb fairywrens; apostlebirds; wedge -tailed eagle; and also, of course, our koala!
Ferals on the day:  rock pigeons, a goose, and two Indian mynas losing a dispute over a nesting hollow with a galah. Also, a fox that Jean flushed from cover at Boah Waterhole, for the rest of us to see as it took to the road.

Field Nats and Oakey Urban Landcare members
(and Myra from Manchester, UK) placing mulch around
the koala tree plantings 

Pink-eared Duck at
Dr Donaldson’s Farm
[both photos by Jean Gundry]
Report by Ben Gundry

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Outing Report: Sunday 05 MAY to McEWAN STATE FOREST

The weekend of our May outing to Mc Ewan State Forest didn’t get off to an auspicious start. The Saturday saw the general area around Toowoomba and Pittsworth shrouded in cloud with intermittent showers through-out the day. It certainly looked like our Sunday field day was going to be put on the back burner, however it evolved into one of those magnificent autumn days; clear and brisk under a cloudless blue sky. It was one of those “great-to-be-alive’’ days that south-east Queensland can pull out of its hat this time of year. And there was a good number of Club members, family and friends on hand to take advantage of the lovely weather. I always find it a joy to join these sorts of people in the field especially when I have the privilege of being the outing’s leader although “leader” is a fairly flexible definition with this mob. Participants on a Toowoomba Field Nats excursion emulate the inhabitants of ancient Jerusalem. By their own volition they are “scattered to the four winds” and leader is really only a titular title. I managed to attach myself to a small group of about six participants, so this account is very much skewed towards our perspective of the day but, nevertheless, at most times throughout the morning I could see small knots of people scattered over McEwan’s bluegrass flats like grazing antelope on the Serengeti. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. 
We wandered aimlessly without any fixed purpose enjoying things as the presented. It’s peculiar what takes a naturalist’s fancy and our group was particularly enthralled when a lone red velvet mite put in an appearance trundling purposefully over the damp ground like a miniscule, red and hairy turtle. I love these little creatures that belong to a cosmopolitan family of arachnids, the Thrombidiidae of the order Aracina. The Aracina is very little researched and understood in Australia with just 31 described species that probably only represents about 5% of that order in our country. Many of the red velvet mites are large (for a mite), short-haired and brilliantly red, as their common name suggests. Our specimen fitted this description to a tee. It was impossible to identify our little dandy to species level, but it likely belonged to either the genus Parathrombium (11 Australian species) or Allothrombium (five Australian species). Wet weather seems to get velvet mites going and the large northern Indian species, the Giant Velvet Mite Thrombidium grandissimum is also known by the quaint moniker, the Little Old Lady of the Monsoon. It is great to come upon these peasant names that show how in touch these rural people are with their natural world, something we have lost in the hurly burly of our modern-day life. What a pity.
Our group had a good morning with the invertebrates also encountering large numbers of nymphs of the Soapberry Bug Leptochoris tagalicus. This bug can appear in its millions at times although we didn’t encounter any adults this day. Like the red velvet mite their similar colouration likely advertises their unpalatability to predators, which seemed apparent when we encountered several trundling over an active nest of the Meat Ant Iridomyrmex purpureus with impunity. The local pestiferous Velvety Tree Pear Opuntia tomentosa was getting a thorough working over by the Cochineal Mealy Bug Dactylopius opuntiae. This plant is host specific for this very effective control insect. This is not the case with the Cactoblastis Moth Cactoblastis cactorum however, and we saw both Velvety Tree Pear and Prickly (Pest) Pear Opuntia stricta being ravaged by the caterpillars of this very useful insect. Neither are likely to run out of tucker any time soon, though.
Our tally for fauna sightings for the day was 20 bird species, two species of lizard, one native land snail, one dragonfly, six butterflies including the splendid Satin Azure Ogyris amaryllis, two bug species, and one moth. The botanists appear to have had a good outing, as well, as is evidenced by Lisa Churchward’s excellent list. It was a great day and it’d be good to visit this state forest in the spring, especially if we have some good rain, for a completely different suite of its denizens.

Nats at McKewan Forest (Photo: Lisa Churchward)

(Report by Rod Hobson)

Our species list for the day is:
Lizards: Boulenger’s Snake-eyed Skink Morethia boulengeri, and *Straight-browed Ctenotus Ctenotus spaldingi.
Birds: Speckled Warbler, Weebill, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Grey-crowned Babbler, Australasian Figbird, Olive-backed Oriole, Rufous Whistler, Golden Whistler, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Silvereye, Mistletoebird and Double-barred Finch. Butterflies and Moths: Lesser Wanderer, Cabbage White, White Migrant, Meadow Argus, Satin Azure, Common Grass Blue and Cactoblastis Moth. Other Invertebrates: Nomadic Velvet Snail Neveritis aridorum, Meat Ant, Australian Emperor Anax papuensis (dragonfly), Soapberry Bug, Cochineal Mealy Bug and a red velvet mite (family Thrombidiidae)
*known as Striped Ctenotus Ctenotus robustus in some field guides. Taxonomy of this skink disputed by some researchers.

Plant List – (compiled by Lisa Churchward).
Euycalypts: Eucalyptus cerebra NARROW LEAFED IRONBARK.  Dry Rainforest Trees:  Geijera salicifolia SCRUB WILGA, Pittosporum angustifolium GUMBY GUMBY, Elaeodendron australe RED OLIVE PLUM, Psydrax odorata SWEET SUZIE, Alectryon diversifolius SCRUB BOONAREE, Alectryon pubescens HAIRY BOONAREE, Brachychiton populneus KURRAJONG, Alphitonia excelsa SOAP ASH, Notelaea macrocarpa SMALL FRUITED MOCK OLIVE, Auranticarpa rhombifolia GOLDEN HOLLYWOOD, Denhamia bilocularis HEDGE ORANGE BARK. Wattles: Acacia decora PRETTY WATTLE, Acacia irrorata GREEN WATTLE.
Shrubs: Beyeria viscose STICKY WALLABY BUSH, Santalum lanceolatum NORTHERN SANDALWOOD, Rhagodia parabolica FRAGRANT SALTBUSH, Dodonaea viscosa NARROW LEAFED HOPBUSH, Dodonaea sinuolata THREADY LEAF HOPBUSH, Senna Coronilloides BRIGALOW SENNA, Cassinia Laevis COUGH BUSH, Teucrium junceum SQUARE STEMMED BROOM.
Forbs, Lilies and Ground Covers: Dianellia brevipendunculata SHORT STEMMED BLUE FLAX LILY, Eremophila debilis DEVIL’S or WINTER APPLE, Olearia elliptica STICKY DAISY BUSH, Chrysocephalum apiculatum BILLLY BUTTONS, Einadia nutans RED-FRUITED and YELLOW-FRUITED SALTBUSH.
Climbers: Jasminium simplicifolium STIFF JASMINE, Parsonsia lanceolata ROUGH SILK POD, Eustrephus latifolius WOMBAT BERRY.

Grasses: Austrostipa verticillata SLENDER BAMBOO GRASS, Cymbopogon refractus BARBED WIRE GRASS, Dicanthium sericeum Subsp sericeum QUEENSLAND BLUE GRASS.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Plea for assistance by a group of plant lovers in Toowoomba and Darling Downs region

Can you help us?
A local group of plant lovers has initiated a project to develop a field guide to the plants of Toowoomba and the Downs based around the Condamine River catchment. Our inspiration is the excellent Mangroves to Mountains by Glenn Leiper et al. Our working title is Condamine Country: A Field Guide to the Plants of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.

To that end, we are seeking photos of local flora and would be pleased to receive any good shots you might have that you are willing to share with us. The project is not a profit-making venture, so no payment for images is possible, however authorship of any images we use will be acknowledged.

Details for photo submission
·We are seeking photos that are in focus and show the features of the plant clearly.
· Ideally photos should show flowers, foliage and any other features of significance for identification.
   (The field guide is aimed at ordinary people with no particular botanical expertise. The most suitable photos for our purposes are the ones which show the feature/s of the plant which are most likely to attract the attention of a curious amateur.)
· Photos should be as high resolution as possible and in JPEG (jpg) or TIFF (tif) format; we may need to crop or otherwise adjust images.
· Photos should be of wild plants only (not garden specimens)
· Photos can be of introduced as well as of native species.
 (We intend to include a selection of introduced plants.)
· Please name any files you send us in this way:
o [Genus] [species] [your given name] [your surname] [the location of the plant] [month taken] [year taken] (e.g. Acacia blakei Fred Neurk Clark Rd Chinchilla Feb 2018)
o Omit any of the detail above that is unknown; if the plant itself is unidentified, please replace  [genus] and [species] with the word [unknown] (e.g. unknown Fred Neurk Clark Rd Chinchilla Feb  2018)
o If you are submitting more than one photo of a particular species, please add a number at the end (1,  2, etc.)
· Please limit your submission/s to three photos of any particular species.
If you have photos that you think would be suitable for our book that you’re willing to share, please send them by email to: (It would help if you could limit the number of file attachments to any email – say a maximum of three files per email.) We will be grateful for any help you can give us!
The Condamine Country Team:
Trish Gardner, Kerrie Rathie, Peter Macqueen, Steve Plant, Lisa Churchward, Greg Spearritt

Map of area covered by Condamine River Catchment   (supplied by Trish Gardner)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

OUTING REPORT: Sunday 07 APRIL: Oakey, Arthur Shooter Park, and Dr Donaldson’s project to replant koala food Eucalypt species.

On a beautiful mid-Autumn day, about 26°C and basically still, 22 Nats assembled at Arthur Shooter Park, with the Weir full but no longer visibly overflowing, though the pool below remained full too. Some decided to remain at the Weir, with its shaded amphitheatre and nearby picnic table – with all the activity around that wonderful old habitat tree. Different sized hollows at varying elevations attracted lorikeets to lower sites while galahs, etc., occupied higher, larger hollows. Heron species and the Royal Spoonbill worked the overflow pool, until the arrival of our numbers would have intimidated them.
The rest of us had about 1¼ hours to do our creek-side walk upstream and into the entrance area of Dr Donald-son’s house-block. Some of this was replantings (recent and long ago), but on Dr Donaldson’s land there was a small, original stand of bimble box (E. populnea) which we assumed was pretty much in its natural state.
On our way back, Janelle (a prospective new F.N. member) directed us to Musk Lorikeets actively feeding in a Mugga Ironbark (E. sideroxylon) whose lower branches were conveniently in good pink flower – most pleasing to our photographers. This was one of the top moments in our day.
Our morning-tea was at 10.15am perched around that habitat tree. We then moved nearby to meet our hosts for the day, scheduled for 11.00am. This was at a house on Dr Donaldson’s land, beside the disused abattoir. This land was formerly “Hamlyn’s holding paddock”, Hamlyns being the butchers in Oakey in earlier times.   
Our venue is now the HQ for the Oakey Urban Landcare Group, where we were addressed, in comfort, by Trevor Cockburn, co-ordinator for 25 years of this group, and by Dr Eric Donaldson, who is keen for this large area on the N-E outskirts of Oakey to be revegetated in order for koalas to be drawn back to the town periphery.
Trevor spoke on several themes of interest to our Club:
-          ***his junior membership of TFNC, starting in 1962 and costing 75 cents for annual membership! Postage then was probably 4 cents (5 pence);
-          ***he recalled that part of each outing was to record plant identifications and to assess whether rare or plentiful;
-         *** his childhood growing up on Brookvale Park near Jondaryan (established by his father, Lance, in the 1950s) and having to spend time each morning locating where the resident koalas were, for the convenience of the tourists/patrons;
-          ***his father’s participation in 1969 of the first expedition, east to west, across the middle of Australia (Cape Byron to Steep Point). This encountered the 1100+ sand dunes which had to be negotiated by going up the steep east-faces, shaped by the Westerly winds. (I was part of the audience that packed St. Stephen’s Hall to hear of such a modern adventure by this party of six naturalist expeditioners. One other of this party was Malcolm Wilson, ornithologist, of Dalby, and a long-time early member of TFNC, and who joined us on our Lake Broadwater outing in 2017.);
-          ***his Landcare Group’s first project of creek enhancement in town, which also focused on koala habitat, with 60 species of food tree plantings, and other species as “rest trees”. Wilgas are a favourite, with their denser canopies for hot days.
Koala Project - 300 seedlings (photo: Lauren Marlatt)
Dr Donaldson started by telling us of his first night in Oakey when his children were little, when all of the family were concerned over the growling and carry-on by the koalas just outside. He then gave us details of his new project and his vision for the future. In October 2018, there was a planting of 300+ trees, into five main rip lines – by Trevor’s group of Landcare volunteers.

 While some seedlings were sunburnt during our rainless Summer months (they were watered almost weekly), there was a very high rate of survival. There will be further plantings to establish corridors to the north, towards the Army Aviation Base, which was formerly a koala stronghold, and to the south to join up with the creek line (Shooter Park).
Prior to this project, there were only a few residual bimble box in this low-lying location. The recent plantings were of eight species of eucalypts at 40 of each. These include: E. moluccana - Grey Box, E. sideroxylon - Mugga Ironbark, E. camaldulensis - River Red Gum, E. blakeleyii - Blakeley’s Gum, E. nicholii - Willow peppermint, E. tereticornis - Forest Red Gum, plus two others. Holes had been dug into the rip lines, with water crystals slurried in, a week prior to planting.
All of this is to be surrounded by pest-proof fencing in the future. Obviously, the greatest threat to koala popul-ations is habitat loss to development and closer human settlement. Specifically, losses are caused by road kills, attacks by dogs and ferals, and by disease. (Chlamydia is present in koalas naturally but is exacerbated by stresses of habitat disturbance.)
Our walk around the site, with Trevor and Dr Donaldson, was edifying, giving us chances to speak with them in smaller groups. Also, despite it being the middle of the day, it gave me my second bird-watching moment of the day. A Royal Spoonbill glided in, landing in the residual swampy water-body, newly occurring since the recent rains. What I hadn’t seen was that there was a Yellow Spoonbill already in situ. These two gradually drifted together, then walked/worked together one metre apart for some time. Either this was a “star-crossed lovers”, Romeo and Juliet situation being acted out before us, or there was a mutual benefit in sweeping the still waters together to stir up their menu species. Eventually, the Royal Spoonbill took its leave, allowing the Yellow Spoonbill to resume its sole proprietorship of the pond.
I would like to thank Dr Donaldson for giving us such free access to his property and for his so commendable ambition to bring his land back to its former status as prime koala habitat. Also, our thanks to Trevor Cockburn and Betty Richter, of Oakey Urban Landcare, for the work done in setting up the venue, the Landcare boards and other naturalist displays for our convenience, let alone the sandwiches, biscuits, tea and coffee on offer. All so much appreciated.
I feel sure that our Club will appreciate further contact with this project as it evolves over ensuing years. A small number of our group trekked back to the Rotary Park in Oakey in order to have a closer look at Trevor’s project of creek enhancement in town. Also of note is that in the week prior to our outing, Dr Donaldson became the first person in Australia to receive Federal Government compensation for the escape of PFAS chemicals from Defence bases onto private land.

Leaf beetle (Paropsisterna octomaculata) Photo: Jean Gundry
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (photo: Jean Gundry)

Musk Lorikeet in pink-flowering Mugga Ironbark in Arthur Shooter Park (Photo: Jean Gundry)

Bird report and list from outing to Oakey habitats 07 April 2019 ( Compiled by Jan Veacock)

We started at Rotary Park, where we obtained an excellent view of the creek with water in it! The Oakey Urban Land Care group has done a lot of work in this park. Several species of birds were seen here, and the lorikeets were very vocal.
We then moved to the other side of the town to the weir where there was a magnificent habitat tree with lots of holes being inspected by Galahs, Corellas, Rainbow Lorikeets, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets. Pale-headed Rosellas flew from the vicinity as we arrived, but the calls of the cockatoos and the various lorikeets continued most of the time we were there. Morning tea was had here after members had walked along the path beside the weir and the creek flowing in to it. A Royal Spoonbill waded through the shallow water moving its bill to and fro and was rewarded with quite a lot of food. There was numerous Wood Duck, and both White-faced and White-necked Herons were seen at the weir site.

The highlight of the morning was excellent views of Musk Lorikeets and Jean Gundry took a beautiful photograph of one.
After arriving at the Land Care’s building and listening to what the group is doing to bring koalas back to Oakey, members went for a walk to the area being planted with eucalyptus trees. Here a Yellow-billed Spoonbill and a Royal Spoonbill were sighted. After lunch, most members left after a satisfying outing, and some may have returned to Rotary Park. Twenty-nine species were sighted.
One of the interesting things about the day was that noisy miners and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets were about the smallest birds [in size] we saw. The lack of any substantial low shrubbery meant that small birds were not in evidence. Also, Noisy Miners which were dive bombing a pair of peewees that happened to intrude on their turf made for interesting watching.
Bird list: Plumed whistling Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Domestic Pigeon [rock dove], Spotted Turtle Dove, Crested Pigeon, Tawny Frogmouth, White-necked Heron, White-faced Heron, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Dusky Moorhen, Masked Lapwing, Galah, Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Quarrion  or Cockatiel, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Musk Lorikeet, Possible sighting of  Little Lorikeet but unconfirmed, Pale-headed Rosella, Noisy Miner, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Torresian Crow, Magpie Lark, Common Myna.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

OUTING REPORTS: Sunday 01 March 2019

Carex appressa and Michael Rooke at Goomburra
March 2019 Trish Gardner

Trish Gardner took this photo of Carex appressa because it was a nice healthy plant, and asked Michael to stand beside the plant to give the photo scale. It was seeding prolifically and demonstrating how splendidly the species can grow on a dry slope well away from water. It also grows where it is almost completely submerged and tolerates considerable flooding. In the natural environment it provides shelter for frogs, perches for dragonflies, and is a host plant for butterflies (browns and skippers). The seeds are eaten by finches and other birds.
It is a popular garden plant for ponds and dry creek beds.

Poem and Bird List for Goomburra National Park – 01 March 2019 – John Ball & Lesley Beaton
We left old Boonah town at eight,
And travelling at a steady rate,
With sinking heart, we saw the weight
Of cloud above Goomburra.

While driving in we had some doubt.
Why were these vehicles coming out?
It starts to look just like a rout
Of campers from Goomburra!

And finally, the Field Nats come
To guzzle tea at Manna Gum.
To solve the mighty con-un-drum —
What draws us to Goomburra?

So, should we go, or should we stay?
We’re made of sterner stuff we say.
We’re going to walk a track today
In soggy old Goomburra.

The weather now turned almost fine.
So walking in a single line,
Admiring epiphyte and vine,
The Nats explored Goomburra.

The bubbling creek, what a delight.
The fantail, what a pretty sight.
The lofty eucalypts, upright.
Magnificent Goomburra.

We saw the Bellbirds in the tree.
We heard the Brown Gerygone.
The Wonga Pigeon flying free.
The magic of Goomburra.

We saw the rain increase in rate
And Lesley’s cape disintegrate.
We’re leaving now before too late!
Goodbye to wet Goomburra.

Birds: Wonga Pigeon, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little Lorikeet, White-throated Treecreeper, Satin Bowerbird, Superb Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Brown Thornbill, Spotted Pardalote, Lewin's Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Noisy Friarbird, Eastern Whipbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Golden Whistler, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Rufous Fantail, Grey Fantail, Torresian Crow, Leaden Flycatcher, Eastern Yellow Robin.
Michael Rooke suggested we mime our morning's finds, so we imitated a mushroom ring.
(Trish Gardner)

SPEAKERS REPORT Marc Newman: solitary native bees

Marc Newman, former electrical engineer and former mushroom farmer became interested in Australian native bees in his retirement. Australia has 1625 known species of native bees, but there may be 2000 or more. In fact, Australia has about 10% of all world bee species. There are nine families of bees in the world and Australia has five of them. The five families of Australian native bees are: Apidae, Colletidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae and Stenotritidae. The Blue-banded bees in the family Apidae form one of the most common groups consisting of seven species.

There are 11 species of social bees (= stingless bees). They make honey. All the other species are either semi-social or solitary, and do not make honey. In solitary bees, the female makes a nest, puts food (nectar and/or pollen) in a cell and seals the cell. In semi-social bees, more than one bee will enter the nest, but they have their own individual cells.

We were shown fantastic macro photographs of some very impressive bees: Peacock Carpenter bees, Giant Carpenter bees (25 mm long), Cuckoo bees, Burrowing bees, to name just a few. There are specialised Persoo-nia bees, Resin bees, and Leaf Cutter bees that make an almost circular cut-out from a leaf to use in making a cell.
Some bees, including Blue-banded bees, practice buzz pollination, which involves the bee banging the anthers with its head, causing the pollen to fly away. We also learned about some of the flowers on which the various bees are found. Marc has made bee hotels out of bamboo, straws and holes drilled in a block of wood.

Website with Native Bees:

(Report by Mary Petr)