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banksia bulletin

issue number 031 - winter 2008

Friends of Bayside 2008 contact list Friends of Balcombe Park Coordinator: Mrs Joan Couzoff 26 Balcombe Park Lane, Beaumaris 3193 Phone: (03) 9589 1060

Friends of Long Hollow Heathland/ Friends of Table Rock Coordinator: Mr Ken Rendell 33 Clonmore Street, Beaumaris 3193 Phone: (03) 9589 4452

Friends of Bay Road Reserve Coordinator: Michael Norris (Abbott Ward Councillor) 5 Deakin Street, Hampton 3188 Phone: (03) 9521 0804

Friends of Gramatan Avenue Heathland Sanctuary Coordinator: Mr Ken Rendell

Acknowledgements Thank you to all the people who have contributed to this issue of Banksia Bulletin. The editors encourage people to submit articles, however Bayside City Council reserves the right to edit or omit articles. Artwork, illustrations and photographs can also be submitted to feature in the publication.

Friends of Merindah Park and the Urban Forest Coordinator: David Cockburn 72 Spring Street, Sandringham 3191 Phone: (03) 9598 6148

Disclaimer The views expressed in the Banksia Bulletin are not necessarily those of Bayside City Council or its representatives.

Friends of Native Wildlife Coordinator: Michael Norris (Abbott Ward Councillor) 5 Deakin Street, Hampton 3188 Phone: (03) 9521 0804

Editors Amy Hough, Andrea Davies and Cr Terry O’Brien

BRASCA Coordinator: Mrs Janet Ablitt 4A Fairleigh Avenue, Beaumaris 3193 Phone: (03) 9589 6646 Friends of Brighton Dunes Coordinators: Mrs Elizabeth McQuire 34 Normanby Street, Brighton 3186 Phone: (03) 9592 6474 and Ms Jenny Talbot 71 Champion Street, Brighton 3186 Phone: (03) 9592 2109 Friends of Cheltenham Park Coordinator: Mrs Valerie Tyers 65 The Corso, Parkdale 3194 Phone: (03) 9588 0107 Cheltenham Primary School Sanctuary PO Box 289, Cheltenham 3192 Phone: (03) 9583 1614 Friends of Donald MacDonald Reserve Coordinators: Mrs Alison and Mr Bill Johnston 4 Wellington Avenue, Beaumaris 3193 Phone: (03) 9589 5459

Friends of Watkins Bay Coordinator: Mrs Moira Longden

Copy deadlines 2008 Copy deadlines are set for the first Friday of the month of release: Spring 2008 Friday 5 Sept 2008 for release end September Summer 2008 Monday 1 Dec 2008 for release mid Dec

Marine Care Inc. Ricketts Point Convenor Phil Stuart PO Box 7356, Beaumaris 3193 Mobile: 0419 366 513

Banksia Bulletin is published quarterly by Bayside City Council to service people interested in enjoying and protecting the local environment.

St. Leonards College Conservation Group 163 South Road, Brighton East 3187 Phone: (03) 9592 2266

If you would like to be added to the Banksia Bulletin mailing list, please contact Bayside City Council on 9599 4444 or email: Please indicate whether you would prefer to receive your Banksia Bulletin by post or via email.

Friends of Ricketts Point Landside Coordinator: Mrs Sue Raverty 5 Rosemary Road, Beaumaris 3193 Phone: (03) 9589 2103

Friends of George Street Reserve Coordinator: Dr Val Tarrant 47 Bayview Crescent, Black Rock 3193 Phone: (03) 9598 0554

Cover photograph: Dusky blue butterfly (Candalides hyacintha) by Peter Marriott

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Corporate Centre PO Box 27 Royal Avenue SANDRINGHAM VIC 3191 Telephone: 9599 4444 Hours of business 8.30am – 5pm Monday – Friday (except public holidays) Printed on 100% recycled paper.

In this ISSUE

From the Mayor

Friends of Brighton Dunes Jenny Talbot


Friends of the George Street Reserve Valerie Tarrant and Pauline Reynolds Open Garden Day in Brighton



Spring Openings


Moths and butterflies in Bayside Peter Marriott


The Bushland Crew Amy Hough Mounds and swales Moira Longden

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Bayside leading the way in clean beaches Fiona Dodge


NED – new ‘Friends’ for Elsternwick Park Neil Blake


Of swallows, martins and mosquitoes Andrew Bennett


A summary of pest control in Bayside 14 - 15 Matthew Hutchins Global warming and the birds, fish and dolphins near Brighton Pier Brenn Barcan


Banksia Bulletin Mailing List 17 Working Bee Dates


As most of your will be aware by now, Bayside City Council has a new Chief Executive Officer, Adrian Robb. Adrian is passionate about community and feels very strongly that it’s through the fostering of a sense of community identity that our lives become more satisfying, safer, and happier. This is directly in harmony with the philosophy of many of our Friends groups, who feel very passionately about their local environment. “Working in local government is a tremendous privilege and it’s a great opportunity to understand communities and the forces that shape them,” says Adrian. “We can start by listening to how our communities value themselves and by supporting local organisations”.

be active in the community. In their case that means participating in soccer and rowing. Adrian enthuses about working in Bayside with the councillors, staff, and the whole community from organisations to individuals. “Collaboratively,” he says, “we’re sure to achieve positive things.” You may come into contact with Adrian as he gets to know Bayside and our magnificent coastal and bushland areas, as he is also passionate about the environment. I encourage you all to say hello and make him feel welcome.

Cr Andrew McLorinan Mayor

Previously the CEO of the Mount Alexander Shire Council and a Director for the City of Moreland, Adrian Robb describes himself as one who enjoys his work as an integral part of his life. Also well worth his attention are his two secondary school aged children and helping them to

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Friends of Brighton Dunes

It is winter, but still so dry. It is fairly cold, and sometimes there is a bit of rain. But at least there is respite from the heat until September. What European could understand the longing of the Victorian plantlover for winter? There, winter is rain, bitter cold, and misery. Here, we are joyful that it is ‘winter’, though I’m not sure that a climate where ‘winter’ days regularly reach temperatures of 17 or 19 degrees should be described as ‘winter’. At a time when no end of grim descriptions of catastrophic global warming are circulating, it is good to think of plants that will survive, like the lichens. These decorative ornamental plants which can be seen everywhere from roof tiles to the gorgeous mustard yellow on the boobialla (Myoporum insulare) branches are very very tough, resistant to heat, dry and cold. They are a combination of fungus and alga living in symbiosis. They can be grey, blue grey, white-ish, bright green, yellow, orange, lime green. They reproduce by windblown spores. We are busy planting now, and 

will be finished by mid-July. We began planting as soon as the weather got cooler, early in May, to give the plants the best chance of establishing and surviving the summer to come.

of natural bush regeneration – hand weeding, no poisons, all weeds left in situ except highly difficult and voraciously spreading ones like smilax and madeira vine. There is a remarkable amount of natural regeneration in our area because of using ‘soft’ techniques. We modify the Bradley method (of no planting), by planting on eroding sand dunes at the beachfront, and in areas where the kikuyu has completely taken over, and the peripheries, where natural regeneration is not going to happen. Occasionally we are rewarded hugely by our ‘softly, softly’ approach by a great discovery, such as the dune thistle (Actites megalocarpa) by an alert botanist.

drawing by Jenny Talbot

Any plants planted in September, officially ‘spring’, have very little chance of surviving. We seed-collect from our plants from November to February to try and keep to our genetic pool. We work by the Bradley method banksia bulletin - winter 2008

The black swans have arrived again to eat at the seagrass exposed at low tide at the south end of Dendy Street beach. On Tuesday 17 June we counted 17 of them. Finally, once again, I must thank our superb and totally supportive friends at CityWide. They never fail to come and work with us and give us everything we

need. Jo Hurse, you are such a good manager, always ready to listen and help. Mark Rasmussen, thank you for being such a totally committed carer for the environment, and support to us. You always give 110% commitment to our vegetative vision.

Are you interested in indigenous plants and native animals?

Thanks also to Bayside City Council for enabling our work, supporting us, and employing such good contractors as CityWide.

If you would like to come to a meeting of Bayside Environmental Network, please contact Barbara Jakob on 0408 032 963 or via email at:

Jenny Talbot Co-Convenor – Friends of the Brighton Dunes (Dr Jim Willis Reserve).

Do you have a passion for the Bayside environment? Would you like to contribute towards conserving the remnant bushland and foreshore vegetation in Bayside? Then the Bayside Environmental Network may be of interest to you! Members of Bayside’s seventeen Friends groups, and others interested in the natural environment, meet regularly at

the Hampton Community Centre to discuss their latest projects and other issues.

Friends of the

George Street Reserve Friends of George Street Reserve greatly appreciate the grant presented by the Mayor, Councillor Andrew McLorinan, which enabled us to employ Gerry Kempson to undertake expert weeding in the new burn site. The area is regenerating well and instead of blackened soil there is quite dense growth, including thriving sword sedge and ‘egg and bacon’ pea (mainly Bossiaea cinerea).

In the other heathlands, many correas are bearing pale green bells and near the fence beside the central path is a flourishing large correa with red and green flowers. From the memorial seat to Frank Stewart, it’s possible to gain a fine view across the heath to the eucalypts that survived the fire and are now reaching for the sky. We hope visitors enjoy this place and perhaps discover some of the

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birds that Frank wrote about in his illustrated book Birds of Bayside: The Inland, Bayside City Council, Melbourne, 2005.

Valerie Tarrant and Pauline Reynolds Joint Coordinators

Open Garden Day in Brighton The annual Family Life Open Garden Day is being held in North Brighton on Sunday 19 October 2008.

We have six lovely gardens open to the public, made possible by welcoming and willing garden hosts who are happy to share their gardens with the public. As always, we are extremely grateful to our gardeners for their generosity and their cheerful involvement with the planning and organising of the Open Garden Day. All money raised from the Open Garden Day goes to Family Life, a non-profit community

organisation supporting families at risk. This popular annual event allows the public to enjoy some beautiful Bayside gardens and learn firsthand from the garden owners how to keep them looking good. As in previous years, we have support from several sponsors including CityWide ParkCare and Bayside City Council. Music will be performed by local young people and yummy refreshments will be available.

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The gardens available to view in Brighton this year are: 5 Chatsworth Avenue: a lovely example of a 1960s house with a native front garden featuring a sculpture by Jonathon Leahy. 16 Cole Street: an extensively renovated Federation home with two huge gardenia plants thriving in the front garden. 6 Thule Court: a Victorian home c1885 with a pretty, traditional garden, which compliments the house perfectly.

Upcoming ‘Spring Openings’ at Bay Road and Gramatan Avenue Heathland Sanctuary The annual ‘Spring Openings’ are coming up soon so make sure you put the following dates in your calendars to take a guided walk or wander through two of Bayside’s spectacular heathlands in flower. Bay Road Heathland Sanctuary (Melway reference 77 B10) Open each Sunday from 24 August to 26 October from 2pm until 4pm.

Entry is $20 per person, or $15 concession for access to all five gardens between 11am and 5pm on Sunday 19 October.

30 Elwood Street: a late Victorian home set in traditional gardens with fascinating original stables at the rear of the property. 3 Elwood Street: a 1930s home surrounded by a large garden with lots of big trees including a huge peppercorn tree at the rear. 397 New Street (corner Elwood Street and New Street): a Federation home surrounded by an informal and well loved garden with beautifully

Gramatan Avenue Heathland Sanctuary (Melway reference 86 B6) Open each Sunday from 7 September to 28 September from 2pm until 4pm.

manicured kikuyu grass lawns and daffodils. A stunning weeping elm tree is the centrepiece of the rear garden. For further information please contact Family Life on 8599 5433 or Bayside City Council on 9599 4444 or visit .

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Moths and butterflies in Bayside

Varied Dusky-blue

Notodontid Moth

Yellow-banded Grass-dart

Late in August at Long Hollow Heathland in Beaumaris, this group of about half a dozen blue butterflies (Candalides hyacintha) were flying about on a warm sunny day that had the feeling of spring strong in the air. Caterpillars have been recorded feeding on downy dodder laurel (Cassytha pubescens). They can easily be identified by the two dark spots on the rear of the fore-wing. The female has very reflective blue to purple patches on all four wings. The male (approaching the female in the picture below) has more uniform upper wing

Many moth caterpillars are very dependent on a small number of species of native plants. Wherever there is remnant vegetation then there are beautiful moths to be found.

This skipper butterfly (Ocybadistes walkeri sothis) was first recorded in the Melbourne area in 1977. Now it is common in suburban gardens where its caterpillars feed on introduced lawn grasses. The photograph of the male with its feeding tube extended was taken in Long Hollow Heathland in November. However it can be seen from October until March. It is common to see it resting with its rear wings horizontal and the forewings almost vertical as in the photo below from my garden in Bentleigh.

colouring which, though less reflective, still manages to catch the light. In Victoria there will be several generations in the season through to April.

The adults of Epicoma contristis can be seen between October and February but mainly December to February. This newly emerged male was photographed at the Long Hollow Heathland in Beaumaris in early December. Elsewhere the caterpillars have been found on eucalypts, tea-tree and a species of casuarina. What their food in Beaumaris is remains to be seen – maybe the small leaved tea-trees or the eucalypts there. When the adults are disturbed they may drop to the ground, curl up and play dead. Females also have feathery antennae but the feathering of the males is more pronounced.

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Peter Marriott Local resident

The Bushland Crew

In order of appearance, from left to right and sites they are responsible for: Matthew Hutchins (Bushland Crew # 1 - Bay Rd Heathland & Balcombe Park) Matt Kovac, Leading Hand (Bushland Crew #  - Cheltenham Park, Gramatan Ave Heathland & George Street Reserve) Daniel Tobin (Bushland Crew # 1 assistant - Donald MacDonald Reserve)  Mitchell Benders (Bushland Crew # 2 assistant) Terry Nicholson (Bushland Crew # 2 - Beaumaris Foreshore - Table Rock & St Leonard’s Conservation Group site)  Mark Rasmussen (Bushland Crew # 3 - Dr Jim Willis Reserve, Ricketts Point Hinterland, Sandown Spit). This crew has an apprentice assisting each month.

Our active Friends members are probably all too familiar with these friendly faces above, but for those of you who may only occasionally see them, we thought we would introduce our readers to the Bushland Crew. The crew work alongside many of our Friends groups, offering assistance, advice and guidance.  They are dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate about the Bayside environment.  Often working

deep in amongst our heathland and foreshore vegetation, we thought it was time to bring them out in the open via the Banksia Bulletin! This also gives me an opportunity to thank them on behalf of all the Friends - as I know many speak to me often expressing their gratitude for the assistance the ‘crew’ provide.  Next time you are out and about in Bayside, be sure to say hello!

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(Missing from this photograph is Jo Hurse, our Bushland Team Leader - we’ll try and catch a shot of her next time...!) Amy Hough Editor Banksia Bulletin

Mounds and swales On a recent visit to Canberra in April, I visited the National Botanic Gardens and whilst there attended a free lecture given by a landscape gardener who had worked there for 18 years but who was now in private practice. His topic was ‘Mounds and Swales’ or how we can plant smarter to minimise the effects of the prolonged drought. Instead of laying out a garden on a flat site in the usual way, he now creates artificial mounds and plants the more water-dependent plants at the base of the mounds.

between working bees. Over summer we used two-litre milk bottles of tank water to water each of our precious baby coast beard heath each week, only

In my own garden I have a small mound made from the soil dug out from a pond some time ago. This year I planted some trigger plants and common heath at the base of the mound, which are doing well. Previously I have not had much luck with these species.

to have some of them die in March when watering ceased. Overall we had a 50% survival rate, 11 out of 22. These 11 are now showing new growth. Once established they seem to be very tough but we have not had much success with them so far with previous plantings.

Now I am not suggesting that we create mounds all over Beach Park, but perhaps when we plant we could make a little earth wall around each plant to trap water. We always used to do this years ago before the advent of the Hamilton Planter which is a very efficient tool. It would take a little longer but may minimise plant loss. It is disappointing to get plants through the summer only to lose them during a hot March such as we had this year. Of course mulching helps the plants to survive too. We are fortunate in that we can use seaweed on our beach beds, which also helps to stabilise sand movement. But there is no substitute for normal rainfall. With water restrictions it is difficult to water


P.S. There is a part of the National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, which is sign-posted as a good bird viewing area. It is up the hill towards the tower on Black Mountain on the edge of the formal laid out area. I sat there and watched the parade of small bush birds, wrens, scrub-wrens, thornbills, a grey thrush or two, some honey-eaters and parrots. A small bird with large bright eyes came through the ground litter and perched on the bird sign and inspected me for nearly a minute. It was a female rose robin. We do not get many of them in Bayside. So how did I know that it was a rose robin and not a pink robin? It was easy, because the bird list for the gardens said so.

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Epacris impressa pink form propagated at the Bayside Community Nursery Photograph by Jo Hurse

Moira Longden Friends of Watkins Bay

Bayside leading the way in clean beaches Bayside City Council ‘cleaned up’ two awards at Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria’s 2008 Sustainable Cities and Clean Beach Challenge Awards. Council won the Environmental Innovation Award for its seaweed recycling pilot program at Brighton Beach. This project involved the removal of a sample

Council was also finalists for two other awards: Zero Waste Award for Sandringham Foreshore Gardens and the Young Leaders Award for our foreshore

of seaweed that was successfully processed with other green waste into compost for landscaping.

habitat restoration program in Beaumaris, in partnership with St Leonard’s College.

Bayside also won the Friendly Beach Award for the playground and terrace works completed at Sandringham Foreshore Gardens. This section of Sandringham foreshore is now more usable and visibly more attractive.

During International Compost Awareness Week, from 4 May til 10 May 2008, Bayside was also awarded Compost Australia’s Organics Recovery Contract Innovation Award for our study on seaweed recycling.

Mayor Andrew McLorinan, Fiona Dodge, Kacie Jukes and Geoff Barden accepted the KABV Environment Innovation Award.

These awards recognised the hard work and innovation of Council in creating a more sustainable city. For more information on any of these projects, please contact Bayside’s Parks Project Officer, Fiona Dodge on 9599 4444. Fiona Dodge Parks Project Officer Bayside City Council

Fiona Dodge (far left) accepted the Award for Council’s pilot study on seaweed recycling.

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NED – new ‘Friends’ for Elsternwick Park

Since 2005, the Port Phillip EcoCentre (based in St Kilda Botanical Gardens) has engaged a disability group from Central Bayside Community Health Services in its environmental programs. The New Environment Directions group is called NED. With EcoCentre support, NED began monthly bird surveys and bird photography at Elsternwick Park lake in February 2008. The surveys have the potential to inform future management strategies for the park. In addition to the wetland habitat values, the opportunity to monitor the influence of diversified tree planting to accommodate small bush birds (which may be currently eliminated from the area by noisy miners) is of particular interest.


NED have now registered as a Friends group in Bayside and will be planting to improve bird habitat in Elsternwick Park on Monday August 25. Quite a few members have been regular volunteers at Westgate Park over the past two years and are experienced in planting and mulching. Apart from the positive environmental outcomes, one of our aims with the program is to get the group to meet other members of the community to help develop their social networks. So local naturalists and other Friends banksia bulletin - winter 2008

interested in participating in the planting on August 25 will be most welcome. Each NED activity commences at 10am on the deck area at the north side of the lake. For further information contact either Neil Blake, Port Phillip EcoCentre Coordinator on 9534 0413; or Jo Hurse, CityWide – ParkCare, Bushland and Nursery Team Leader on 9583 6700. Neil Blake Coordinator Port Phillip EcoCentre

Of swallows, martins and mosquitoes The Amish people, a religious group that live in farming communities in America, were the subject of a recent story in ‘Furrows’, the rural newsletter of the Uniting Church in Australia. The Amish people are among the most successful and productive farmers, but their strict religious beliefs mean that their lifestyle

migrant to far northern Australia. They are almost identical with the familiar welcome swallow of southern Australia that also

the largest North American swallow. Erected on a pole, a martin house provides a series of separate compartments

and farming techniques are rather different. They don’t use electricity or motor driven equipment, and no cars, trucks or tractors are found on their farms – only horse-drawn vehicles or implements. Community and selfsufficiency are among the keys to their success.

builds its mud nests under the eves of houses and buildings. The welcome swallow, like the barn swallow, with swift flight over

for nesting pairs of birds, with each having a small individual entrance. In Ontario, for example, where mosquitoes and black flies can occur in vast numbers, the value of having a resident colony of purple martins near your home is easily appreciated.

The Amish farmers do use insecticides and fertilisers when necessary, such as when taking over a new farm, but these are phased out in favour of more natural methods. The report noted that: “One of the first things that Amish man does when he takes over a farm is to add wooden cleats under the eaves of the barn to create nesting ledges for swallows. He knows that a nesting pair collect some 900 insects a day to feed their young, a colony of 200 pairs consume some 180,000 insects per day”. The swallows are barn swallows, a widespread species throughout the northern hemisphere that is occasionally reported as a

Andrew Bennett Taken from Land for Wildlife News Vol. 1 No. 10 (1993)

Purple Martin House Design

R. Bruce Horsfall farmland or above water, feeds on flying insects. In Canada and the United States, some people also build ‘martin houses’ as communal nesting sites to attract purple martins, Swiss Chalet banksia bulletin - winter 2008


A summary of pest control in Bayside There are a number of pests found in the Bayside area. The pests that are of the most significance to the environment and therefore us as CityWide employees are the European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, the red fox Vulpes vulpes and the feral/domestic cat Felis catus (predominately domestic in Bayside). This article gives an overview of each pest and some of the control methods that CityWide, or a nominated pest contractor may employ.

Rabbits will breed year round, but the peak of the breeding season is in spring and lowest is in autumn, with gestation lasting 28-30 days. The rabbit is herbivorous, grazing on grasses, herbs, roots and seeds. They threaten the Bayside environment through the effects of soil disturbance, creating space and favourable conditions for the spread of weeds, as well as a direct negative impact to flora through feeding on vegetation. Rabbit control methods Before any control begins, rabbit numbers need to be estimated. This can be done through spotlight transects, warren counts and using the Gibbs and McLean scale of assessing scats and scratchings.

Rabbits The European rabbit is brown-grey in colour along the back and whitegrey on the underside. Rabbits are found in a variety of habitats across Australia and range from dry arid regions to the high plains. In Bayside rabbits can be found along the coast, seeking shelter in warrens and sheltering in above ground harbour such as dense boxthorn Lycium ferocissimum. Currently rabbit activity is predominately restricted to the coastal parks in Bayside. Rabbits are nocturnal but can often be seen feeding during the day in areas of low disturbance, or at dawn, feeding along the edge of Beach Road before the morning rush of traffic starts.


available from local veterinarians and can be administered to counteract the effects. Warren fumigation is also another option for rabbit control and can be conducted in conjunction with baiting. This consists of aluminium phosphide tablets wrapped in wet newspaper, which causes a chemical reaction and releases a gas throughout the warren, which humanely kills the rabbits. The tablets are placed in the entrance of the warrens and then the entrances are closed over to stop the gas from escaping. Bayside does not undertake warren fumigation for rabbits as part of the annual Pest Animal Program.

The first stage of rabbit control is baiting, which should commence in late summer to early autumn, when food resources are low, but can continue into winter. Baiting should commence with a free feed period. Free feeding is laying bait material without poison to acclimatise rabbits to the bait and to establish quantities of bait needed. Two free feeds should be administered over a seven to ten day period and checked daily to ensure uptake. Pindone baits are used in Bayside, which is administered in oats dyed a blue/green colour to reduce the likelihood of attracting native species. Pindone is the preferred option for an urban environment, as, if by chance non-target poisoning does occur to domestic or nontarget species, Vitamin K is readily

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Foxes The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is redbrown in colour across its body, with a whitish underside. Like rabbits they are found across most of Australia. Foxes shelter in dens, which can be above or below ground and in urban environments such as Bayside, they may be living under peoples houses or even in old sheds or wood piles. Foxes are omnivorous, with a diet of insects, reptiles, small mammals, birds, fruits and vegetation.

In urban environments foxes also feed on rubbish from bins and around shopping centres, uncovered compost heaps, uneaten pet food left outside (and the occasional pet guinea pig or rabbit left outside in unsecured cages overnight). Foxes breed in mid-winter with a gestation period of 49-55 days. They are generally nocturnal, but can be seen feeding throughout the day in areas of low disturbance. The fox threatens the indigenous fauna of Bayside through predation and can spread weed species through seed transference and soil disturbance. Fox control methods Similar to rabbits, fox numbers are estimated before control takes place. This is done with tracking stations and spotlight counts. Unlike rabbits, foxes are not baited in public urban environments in Bayside. Foxes are controlled through the use of cage traps and den fumigation. Cage traps are placed in key locations that show high amounts of fox activity, such as the heathlands and areas of the coastal parks. The cage traps are set each night in fenced off areas to prevent domestic animals being trapped, and checked each morning for any trapped animals. Any trapped foxes are then destroyed humanely. Den fumigation is conducted in a similar manner as the rabbit warren fumigation method described earlier. One of the problems associated with fox control and using cage

traps in Bayside is that this activity is restricted to fenced areas only. This is due to the potential of domestic pets to come into contact with the cage traps in unfenced areas. Keeping domestic cats inside at nighttime and ensuring dogs are retained in fenced backyards at all times reduces this risk and assists our contractors to undertake more successful fox control. Cats Feral/domestic cats can be of any colour due to their mixed species and a large range of sizes due to different breed types. They are found across most of Australia and in all areas of Bayside. Feral cats shelter in similar types of dens to foxes, including hollow logs and burrows. Cats are carnivorous, feeding on insects, reptiles, birds and small mammals. The peak-breeding season for cats is during springearly summer with a gestation period of 63-66 days. In Bayside the cat is more of a threat to indigenous fauna than the fox, and in the vast majority of cases it is domestic cats, not feral cats that are problematic in our foreshore and bushland reserves. Cats can be seen hunting at anytime of the day or night and are also likely to kill regardless of whether they are hungry or not, often ‘playing’ with their victim for periods of time before finally chewing the head off their prey. Cat control methods Cat numbers can be ascertained in the same manner as foxes, using tracking stations and spotlight counts.

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In Bayside cats are controlled through the use of cage traps. These are set in the heathlands and coastal parks. The traps are baited with chicken and set late in the day. This assists in preventing the capture of blue-tongue lizards and other non-target species. The traps are checked early each morning and non-target species are released. All captured cats are checked for registration collars or taken to a local veterinarian where they can be scanned and checked for micro-chipped identification. Domestic cats are handed over to Bayside’s Animal Control Officers or returned to their owners and feral cats are humanely destroyed. One of the best cat control methods available is public awareness and responsible pet ownership. This is a message that Bayside is continuing to promote to Bayside residents. Matthew Hutchins Bushland Manager Citywide Parkcare

Bibliography Hutchins, M 2006, ‘Cardinia Rabbit Warren Survey’, Diploma thesis, Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, Holmesglen Hutchins, M 2006, ‘Eastern Barred Bandicoot Management Plan’, Diploma thesis, Holmesglen Institute of Tafe, Holmesglen European red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Invasive species fact sheet, Department of the Environment


Global warming and the birds, fish and dolphins near Brighton Pier This year I have observed a great reduction in the number and variety of birds and I have seen only two dolphins in the area, which were last seen on 28 May 2008. In past years as many as eight dolphins pursued fish heading north in the direction of Elwood and St Kilda. This might have happened (when I’ve been there to see it) three or four times a year. No seals, whales, penguins or pelicans have been seen. There have been none of the usual great flocks of black cormorants harassed by scavenging seagulls and only one or two or isolated individuals. Pied cormorant numbers are much reduced, sometimes fishing in pairs, but usually single. In past years grebes could be seen in companies of 18 or so, but this year there have been only single individuals or sometimes two or three. One puzzle are the birds, (which look like grebes to my inexpert eyes), but are black. Seagull (silver gulls) numbers are much reduced, with an occasional flock of maybe twenty. There have been only two black swans. Pacific gulls have visited in one’s or two’s, often perched on the radio mast of Brighton Yacht Club’s starting tower, and sometimes challenge a solitary black crow. Some of these crows have had


the audacity to perch on the platform and beacon five metres off the end of the breakwater. Tern and gannet numbers are much reduced. Even pigeons (which nest at the Middle Brighton Baths and the foreshore bushes just south of the Baths) are scarce. Another foreshore scarcity has been the magpies. Most years they could be seen in groups of four, but this year there has been only two at a time. One bonus was the two blue wrens I saw in one of the foreshore tea trees. But there have been no galahs (unless you count me as one of their number!) One of the surprises has been a musk duck. It resided just inside the breakwater near the starting tower for nearly eight weeks from March until 7 May 2008. I didn’t see it again (assuming it was the same one) until 21 May around 8am. Another surprise is 18 yellow lorikeets roosting in the Canary Island palms in front of the Baths. A possible explanation for the reduction in numbers is the prevailing drought caused by global warming. The drought has reduced river and drain flows into

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Nerm/Port Phillip Bay. These flows carry debris into the Bay, some of which might be food for the birds and for the fish on which they and dolphins and seals feed. This year birds have often been outnumbered by Ice-Bergers who swim each morning at the Baths... Brenn Barcan Local resident

Editors Note – Brenn contacted us to advise that on the morning of 25 June 2008, he saw two dolphins feeding and heading north. Brenn also advised us that other people had seen a penguin inside the breakwater, on 24 June 2008. Great detective work Brenn!

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banksia bulletin - winter 2008

Friends of Bayside

Working Bee times for September to November 2008 Time/Day




Balcombe Park

Last Sunday 10am - noon




Bay Rd

2nd Saturday 10am - noon





Contact Janet Ablitt ph 9589 6646

Brighton Dunes

Tuesdays 8am - 10am

2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th

7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

4th, 11th, 18th, 25th

Cheltenham Park

1st Sunday 10am - noon 7th



Cheltenham Primary

Contact school 9583 1614

Donald MacDonald

1st Sunday 10am - noon 7th



Elsternwick Park Lake

Contact Port Philip Ecocentre 9534 0413

George St

3rd Sunday 10am - noon





1st Sunday 1 - 3pm




Long Hollow

Last Sunday 1pm - 3pm




Friends of Native Wildlife Contact M. Norris on (03) 9521 0804

1st Saturday 9.30am

Ricketts Point Landside

3rd Tuesday 1pm - 3pm




Table Rock

Last Tuesday 12.30pm - 2.30pm




Watkins Bay

Last Wednesday 1pm - 3pm




Gardenvale Primary School

Contact Brigitta Suendermann ph. 9530 0328

Sandringham East Primary School

Contact Katrine Lee ph. 9555 5250

banksia bulletin - winter 2008


Banksia Bulletin winter 2008  
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