Belair Bush Buddies

Who are we?

Belair Bush Buddies is aimed at the upper primary school age group who live near Belair National Park and have an interest in the natural environment. It is run by a dedicated group from the Friends of Belair National Park - Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice and Barbara Raine. All Bush Buddies need to become members (or be part of a family membership) of the Friends group to participate. Meetings are held monthly on a Sunday and include a guest speaker and an activity. For more information please contact Craig Baulderstone at cbaulderstone@hotmail.com

Bush Buddies for 11am, Sunday 14th April 2019,

This year we are trying to focus on our 'buddies' getting to know your Park better. So for April we have Brent Lores, who is acting as the Senior Ranger for Adelaide and Central Hills for the Department of Environment and Water. He will chat about what Rangers do - a day in the life of a Ranger if you like! After the talk we have some very important work to do and assist the Park in pulling some Montpelier Broom out near the Joseph Fisher picnic ground. You will be using interesting tools called a tree puller and should actually be a bit of fun! This all ties in with a significant re-vegetation project that Bush Buddies will assist with in the coming months. This work was suggested and planned by a long term Ranger of over 30 years called Tim Fuhlbohm. Sadly Tim passed away last week after a long battle with cancer and so it is more important than ever that we see this through and finish his good work.

Craig Baulderstone
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Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 18th meeting on Sunday 10th March 2019

March Bush Buddies started with a nature walk of areas that were the centre of the first European use of the Park. In the very early days it was the Government Farm and was used with the aim of producing income and not conservation. In particular we looked for what were native species and what was introduced and how each of these provided habitat or limited it. Along the way we saw Rainbow Lorikeets nesting in a hollow in an old dead tree and compared what makes Adelaide rosellas different to crimson rosellas. We saw the site of the first farmhouse and an old fig tree from the 1830's that was planted in its garden. Nearby was the tallest tree in the Park and wondered why it wasn't cut down when so many were harvested back at that time. We also saw one of four old Aboriginal shelter trees that are left. An enormous old trunk that has had the centre burnt out but still alive and providing habitat. We examined a number of wattle species and their differences.

Then it was back to Old Government House to learn more about early use of the Park by the Governor. We were fortunate to have Dene Cordes OAM and Tina Gallasch lead us on a tour and share their extensive knowledge built over the many years they have been associated with the Park and caring for it. Originally it was used mainly as a hunting lodge and there are early records that show over 500 possums were killed in one night. The House and the servants quarters are now carefully restored to represent the different classes in the Victorian era and with lots of interesting artifacts and items of specific local history. It was a great insight into how they all lived. Most interesting being Australia's first indoor swimming pool that was spring fed and remained beautifully clear and clean. Well worth a visit!

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935

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Introduced Australian wattle leaf - Cootamundra Wattle, *Acacia bailyana. Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Aboriginal shelter tree near Adventure Playground. Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Tallest tree in the park, a Red River Gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Old Government House tour. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 17th meeting on Sunday 10th February 2019

What a lovely February day for a walk it was! In the middle of a hot dry summer and yet we saw flowers everywhere including a beautiful little lobelia with brilliant colour and intricate detail - what an interesting flora we have in Australia. Our walk took us through stringbark woodland. We learnt how to tell apart some important native plants from similar looking weeds. We looked for how many different plants we could find of a group called 'sedges' that throughout dry seasons stay green and provide ground cover and habitat and food without adding to the fuel load of the bush and competing with weeds that do add to that fuel load. Then snotty gobble (named because that's what the fruit is like and is in fact quite yummy) was nearly flowering and we saw how this native plant will grow over and smother plants, killing some weed species, but not native plants. There was a plant called pink ground berry that bandicoots love, but the fruits are not where you would expect to find them. We saw common brown butterflies and how well they camouflage themselves and learnt how to tell apart the girls from the boys. And as we walked we looked at the history of controlled burning and the plants that have regenerated as a result of those burns including a huge patch of hop goodenia which is an important 'butterfly plant'. The kids did a great job of filling in a question sheet and some great drawing, with a sweet reward at the end.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935

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Weeds commonly found in Stringybark Woodland - Montpellier Broom* (Genista monspessulana*) and South African Daisy (Senecio pterophorus*). Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Large-leaved Bush-pea (Pultenaea daphnoides) - can be confused with Montpellier Broom*. Both have Pea Flowers (from the Plant Family called Leguminosae), but the native Bush-pea has flowers that are orange, and those of Broom are yellow. Just one of the differences to help tell them apart. Leaf shape is another. Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Messmate Stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua) - the bark of this tree is dark grey-brown and rough; the barrel-shaped fruits have valves that stick in (unlike another Stringybark called Eucalyptus baxteri where the tea-cup shaped fruits have valves that stick out); and the sides of their leaves join unequally ("obliquely", or at an angle) to the leaf stalk. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Hills Daisy (Ixodia achillaeoides) - this native plant could be confused with the weed South African Daisy* with both having narrow flat wings extending from their leaves; and both having daisy flowers (from the plant family Compositae) however one easy way to tell them apart when they are flowering is the Hills Daisy has white flowers, and those of the South African Daisy* are yellow. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Snotty Gobble is the name commonly given to this type of twining plant with sticky snot-like fruit - this one is known as Slender Devils Twine (Cassytha glabella) - its flowers are white with six petals. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Stringybark woodland in Belair National Park - Bush Buddies found many interesting plants found in this vegetation association. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Tall Lobelia (Lobelia gibbosa) - a small native herb that flowers in summer.) - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Common Brown - this Butterfly was nicely camouflaged in the leaf litter, and remained very still while we were able to have a close look at it. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Hop Goodenia (Goodenia ovata) - we were lucky enough to be shown an area with hundreds of these native plants that regenerated after a prescribed burn.- Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 16th meeting on Saturday 8th December 2018

Pete Raine provided this comment on facebook about the December meeting.... "We were very fortunate to have Tamaru (Karrl Smith) take us for a Cultural walk around the site, talk about Kaurna language on plants medicine and food plants and then a talk on sustainable culture. Tamaru does lots of work with kids in schools and you can check out some of this on his facebook page. Our Bush Buddies group is going ahead in leaps and bounds! Huge props to Craig and Jo for organising an awesome Bush Buddies session this afternoon/evening with Kaurna elder Tamaru. Their formal report will follow, but here's a sneaky pic or two of today's activities. So much knowledge shared! Thanks all!Pete

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935

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Tamaru - Photo by Pete Raine

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Tamaru - Photo by Pete Raine



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 15th meeting on 10th November 2018

Bush Buddies for November was all about bats with Terry Reardon from the SA Museum and so we had an evening session on a Saturday instead of our usual Sunday.

I don't know if it was the bats or not competing with sport and things on a Sunday, but we had our biggest turnout yet. We started with Terry telling us lots of interesting things about bats, from tiny micro bats the size of a matchbox through to mega bats like our grey-headed flying foxes with up to 1.5m wingspan. We have 70 species of bat in Australia. 25% live in caves but most live in tree hollows and under bark etc. So next time you see someone 'tidying up' a tree you can tell them all about the importance to bat habitat.

Bats are important to our ecosystems from insect regulation, pollination, and seed dispersal and even fertilizing. Bats eat half their body weight every night and that makes lots of poo! But then there is a lot we don't know about bats, like how amongst millions of screaming bats on a cave wall that the mothers all manage to find their own young. We learnt about the different types of trap that are used to catch and study bats and also bat detectors. Bats in SA can be heard from 10 to 60 Hz, most above 26.

Then we did a test of what we can hear with most of us lucky to get to 15, but a bat detector can pick up what we don't hear. We used a couple of different ones outside and also did other exercises like using funnels and a special microphone to hear more. There was also another special device we used in a fun exercise to replicate how bats use echolocation.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935

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Terry Reardon talking about "Bats" - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Talking about and listening for bats" - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Listening for bats and other sounds - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Bat detector - used to listen for bat calls - Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 14th meeting on 14th October 2018

'October Belair Bush Buddies' saw us learning about the frogs in our Park. We had a great turn out with lots of new faces. We were fortunate to have someone with Steve Walker's level of knowledge, not tell us everything he knows, because that would take too long, but what we need to know to identify them and lots of interesting facts revealing how special they are.

We only have six native frogs to learn about, all with their own distinctive calls and behaviours, but also one introduced species to be aware of. I learnt to listen more carefully when I think I can hear common froglets 'creaking', because if the sound inflects upwards at the end it could in fact be the rare Bibron's Toadlet. Did you know the collective term for frogs is an 'army of frogs' and that the Spotted Marsh Frog has a call that sounds like a machine gun. I think everyone in the room jumped when Steve imitated a scream from a frog being attacked. In fact many frogs will do this.

We then got a rundown on how to use the 'FrogSpotter app' - not only is this a fantastic resource as a field guide but also enables us to help collect valuable data that can assist in protecting our frogs. This is a completely free app available at the Apple App store or Google Play store. For another useful Frog Identification Key click here.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935

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Guest speaker Steve Walker talking about frogs of the Mt Lofty Ranges - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Where is the frog? - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Hearing frog calls in the vegetation - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Crinea signifera - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Here is the frog (see above photo) - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Finding frogs in the creek - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Searching for frogs - Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 13th meeting on 10th September 2018

September saw a number of new faces and that's great to see. The topic was plant identification and started by talking about its importance to understanding nature and ecology. It’s a bit like a big game or puzzle where if you understand all the 'characters', what they can do and what they need, then you can save species and the good guys (our native species) can live happily ever after! We looked at the features and what we use to identify plants and practised on samples of how we can collect information with photos, drawing and taking notes. Then we took our new skills and headed out on a walk on a beautiful day and learnt lots about the plants in our Park.
September saw many of our regulars busy but then we had lots of new faces which is great to see. The appearance of orchids in flower was the main nature observation that was mentioned. We started with a short chat about how learning about Ecology is a bit like a big game or puzzle. You learn about each species or 'character', what resources (food and shelter) they need and provide and how they interact and compete with the other species and how external factors like climate can affect them. If you get the game right then you can save species and allow the native species (the good guys!) to live happily ever after!
We divide nature into a filing system - orders, families, genus, species etc. So if we look at gum trees for example they are in a family called Myrtaceae that also has plants with aromatic leaves and gum nut looking woody fruit like the stalks on a bottlebrush. Their genus is Eucalyptus and there are lots of different Eucalypts with different flowers, gum nut shape, leaf shape and types of bark and these are the different species. So when we are walking in the bush we are looking for these clues to identify plants that can direct us where to look in that big filing system to know what species it is. Sometimes just something simple like the number of petals on a flower might direct you to certain families and make it much easier to identify what species it is.
We don't always have time to work out what a plant is when we are out in the bush and so we might want to 'collect'. There are laws though that protect our native plants and so you need to check what you can do before you start pulling up or damaging what could be very rare species. But there are lots of ways to collect information with cameras and taking notes and sketches. If you do collect a specimen you only need those parts of the plant that are needed to identify it. We then looked at some sheets Barb prepared that show us how to describe different features of a plant and using a big box of different collected leaves, described and sketched features of these.
Then it was off for a great walk outside on a beautiful day and exploring and identifying with our new skills.
Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935



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Plant press and plant identification books - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Basic Botany "Parts of a Plant" - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Looking at leaf shape and texture - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Plant identification along Lodge Track - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Guinea-flower (Hibbertia sp.) - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Using hand lens to view a flower - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Blue Grass-lily (Caesia Calliantha) - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Wildflowers emerging in a recent burnt area- Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 12th meeting on 12th August 2018

At the start of National Science Week, Belair Bush Buddies Jenny Deans showed us how to do 'Nature Journaling'. This was about writing and drawing your observations of nature, increasing your attention to detail and appreciating what is around you. It will help to identify species and describe them to others. For more detail on 'Nature Journaling' click here. After the talk we went out and observed, and recorded our observations in a note-book. Also we talked about an exciting new restoration project near the Volunteer Centre that Bush Buddies can help with.
Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 11th meeting on 8th July 2018

For July we had wildlife biologist Greg Johnston talk to us about Birds and their beaks. Greg has a huge amount of experience and a great sense of humour, making it a very entertaining presentation. While we know beaks are the equivalent of our mouths and used for eating, they are used for other things too. We sweat when we get hot but birds can't and can cool down through blood vessels in the beak. Birds have been around since dinosaurs and early birds had teeth 90 million years ago. Crocodiles are related to birds and we compared bird and crocodile skulls and how similar they looked except with teeth on the crocodile. The biggest beak in the world is the pelican and the smallest on the spotted pardolote and the saltwater crocodile has the biggest jaws in the world and they are all related! We learnt how birds see things different to us and can see UV light and this allows them to see patterns on beaks to identify each other that we can't see and they can do that in the dark. And of course their calls are so important to their communication and that is affected and changed by their beaks. After we went to the Playford lake to look at the birds their and talk more about their beaks. While we know beaks are the equivalent of our mouths and used for eating, they are used for other things too. We sweat when we get hot but birds can't and can cool down through blood vessels in the beak. Birds have been around since dinosaurs and early birds had teeth. Crocodiles are related to birds and we compared bird and crocodile skulls and how similar they looked except with teeth on the crocodile. The biggest beak in the world is the pelican and the smallest on the spotted pardolote and the saltwater crocodile has the biggest jaws in the world and they are all related!

Hope to see you in August.
Craig

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to cbaulderstone@hotmail.com.

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The July 2018 topic was 'Birds and their beaks - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Guest speaker Greg Johnston at the July 2018 Meeting - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Spotted Pardalote and Pelican beaks - the smallest and largest beaks in the world - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Birds at Playford Lake - Belair National Park- Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 10th Meeting on 17th June 2018

Unfortunately for June our much anticipated speaker David Paton had to cancel at late notice, but we will see David another time in the future. To replace this we stayed with our 'bird' theme and did a bird watching outing. Meeting at Karka Pavilion, we started with discussing some 'bird watching' tips such as looking for shapes and colour and movement and listening carefully for calls. We had different bird field guides to look at, a bird caller to try and also looked at the phone app called “The Michael Morcombe eguide to Birds of Australia” that is very useful for identifying birds and checking what calls different birds make. We also talked about the use of binoculars, how to adjust them and how you keep your head fixed in the position where you have spotted a bird and then move the binoculars in front of your eyes, rather than looking away and trying to find it again. We walked up the Melville Gully Road, keeping our eyes peeled not only for birds but for Bandicoots too. It was quite cold and overcast and while not a lot of birds around, some did manage to see bandicoots. We walked into the interesting Amphitheatre Rock that is hidden away. Then walking up the Melville House Track we were able to see where the native plant 'snottygoble' was smothering gorse plants and talked about recent research that is showing it to be a biological control where it is eventually killing gorse but not the native species. From there we continued along Karri Track and back down Cherry Plantation Road. We only identified a few birds in the end, but it was a great day to talk about lots of things and have a good look at our Park.

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to cbaulderstone@hotmail.com

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Bush Walk - Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 9th meeting on 13th May 2018

We had a very different Bush Buddies for May but it went great and we had a good turn out, despite being Mothers Day. We started with our normal segment of sharing nature experiences from the previous month. There was a summary of the BioR bird banding exercise with David Paton (our June speaker) that a number of bush buddies took part in. Kids were able to see up close and hold - White-browed Babbler, Red-capped Robin, Hooded Robin, Golden Whistler, Diamond Firetail and New Holland Honeyeater. We saw a mouse spider and a small marbled scorpion that were brought along and given information about. Also a story of a Rainbow Lorikeet that came into a classroom and was happy to perch on people and help itself, eating from a bag of chips. A check with Minton Farm revealed it was no doubt an escaped pet, so if you know anyone missing one, that is where it is now! Then three of our Bush Buddies did a presentation on a number of native species with the assistance of Sally Nance from the Nature Education Centre. We got to see up close the following and even touch some:

  • Barn Owl
  • Ring-tail possum
  • Children's python
  • Banjo frog
  • Brown tree frog
  • Blue tongue lizard
  • Barking ghecko
  • Little Raven
There were also specimens of young and mature Eastern Brown snakes, Echidna and skeleton of stumpy tail lizard. First was a beautiful Barn Owl that did a great job of looking around and demonstrating the explanation that its eyes are fixed but it can rotate its head 270 degrees. We got to touch it and could see the huge grasp of its talons as it moved on the handlers glove and how easily it could pick up prey such as mice. The reptiles and frogs were very well behaved but Ring-tail was very active and only distracted while being fed sultanas. The kids did a fantastic job telling us about the animals and there nothing like then seeing them right up close. We still had enough time left and we walked up the Kaloola track and along the edge of the recent control burn line of VMU28. It was interesting to see all the fresh young shoots and area completely clear of most weeds. It made the olives there really stand out and we will now work hard to get rid of these and also try to remove new weeds that come up and reduce competition for the native plants that come up. This strongly contrasted to the unburnt area that had many weeds but also the contrast in habitat quality and how this weedy area is important for refuge at this point in time. This will be an interesting place to check in the future and also the photographic monitoring sites we set up but didn't have time to check that day.

Hope to see you in June.
Craig

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to cbaulderstone@hotmail.com.

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Common Ring-tail Possum - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Children's Python - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Barking Ghecko - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Rock fern, Cheilanthes austrotenuifolia regrowth after fire - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Germination after prescribed burn - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Walking along a section of the prescribed burn boundary - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Eastern Bluetongue Lizard - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Barn Owl - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Boundary of recent DEWNR prescribed burn in VMU 28 - Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 18th April 2018 Activity

For April Bush Buddies it was decided to not have a meeting at the Volunteer Centre but suggest the Bush Buddies may like to attend either the Morialta Conservation Park MiniBlitz or the Urrbrae Wetland Learning Centre.

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to cbaulderstone@hotmail.com.



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 8th meeting on 11th March 2018

For the March Bush Buddies meeting we had Chris Daniels talking to us about his favourite animals and then talking to us about our favourite animals.

We got to meet up with Chris Daniels after all our research into 'our favourite animal' to champion. This was an idea suggested by Chris at an earlier Friends of Belair meeting. Chris started with an explanation about why our Park and the Mt. Lofty Ranges are so special and one of Australia's 14 Biodiversity Hotspots. We talked about species under threat and how our knowledge and work is important for their survival. We are so lucky that we really do live amongst wildlife in Adelaide, much more so than most other cities around world and in Australia and we should try hard to protect that and keep in contact with nature. Chris explained how the James Smith book 'Wildlife of Greater Adelaide' is a great guide on how to identify animals in our area and his book 'A Guide to Urban Wildlife' is more about the biology and stories about some of these animals. It can be overwhelming when you realise just how much life is out there so it is good to just start with one and get to know it well, spend time with it and get connected with nature. Chris' favourite animals he spoke about were the Marbled Ghecko, Barking Ghecko, Antechinus, Banjo Frog and common sandpiper. He could have gone on of course but he wanted to leave enough time for what he really wanted to hear, the kids talking about their favourites. We were all very proud of not only how well the kids talked about their animals but the amount of detail and clear understanding of all sorts of aspects. Chris was very impressed too. Some of our kids couldn't make it that day but the animals that we did cover were:
  • Yellow-tail Black Cockatoo
  • Superb Fairy Wren
  • Spotted Pardalote
  • Heath Goanna
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Echidna
  • Rakali
  • Little Raven
From our list Chris had noticed the fungus gnat and that person couldn't make it but we talked about how that is essential for the pollination of the rare and endangered Leafy Greenhood orchid. Chris described how our orchids are our most endangered flora in the Adelaide area and how they often have specific relationships with different pollinators and other physical conditions. It was a great day but we got so caught up in it all there wasn't enough time for a walk afterwards so instead we went Echidna spotting around the Volunteer Centre and found a Koala instead!

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to cbaulderstone@hotmail.com.



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 7th meeting on 11th February 2018

February Bush Buddies we had Anthony Abley, District Ecologist for Natural Resources, Adelaide and Mt. Lofty talk about Endemic species to our region and the Park. Anthony opened our eyes as to just how special the Mt. Lofty Ranges is with so many endemic species here that are found nowhere else in the world. There is no simple source as to what is endemic and Anthony has put a lot of research into what occurs just in our region. We were presented with a range of his favourite species and information about their differences that make them special. After the talk it was such a nice day we just went outside exploring around the volunteer centre and looking for endemic species.

For March we have Chris Daniels talking to us about his favourite animals and then talking to us about our favourite animals. I have sent him a list from those that our regulars 'Buddies' have nominated. Chris responded "Wow - fantastic list!" and he is really looking forward to talking to us about those. Its not too late if you plan to come along - let me know and I will pass those on too.

Chris is Professor of Biology at the University of South Australia and Presiding Member of our Adelaide and Mt. Lofty Ranges NRM Board. He is an author and award winning science communicator and you may have heard him with his regular appearances on 891 ABC Radio.

New people very welcome to come along and listen and maybe you will discover your favourite animal that you can 'champion'. Sunday 18th March, 10 am at the Volunteer Centre, Long Gully - free entry, just tell them at the gate you are there for Bush Buddies.

Please note - March meeting is on 18/3 due to the long weekend and not our usual "second Sunday"

Hope to see you in March.
Craig

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to cbaulderstone@hotmail.com.

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Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Nature books - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Nature books - Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 6th meeting on 14th January 2018

Only a small group as expected this time of year for January Bush Buddies but we had a great time. As normal we started with sharing nature experiences, including identifying a weevil from photos and a Sac Spider. That flowed on to discussions about individuals chosen animals - Yellow-tail black cockatoo, Heath goanna, peregrine falcon, Echidna, Magpie, Australian Raven and Bilby, for those that were there.

The day was not too hot so we went for a walk on the Melville Track and saw Yellow-tail black cockatoos feeding and dropping Hakea husks on the ground. Also we were lucky enough to see a bandicoot but unfortunately we then noticed a dead one. It wasn't clear why it died and the main noticeable damage was the tail was missing. Sad as that is, it was a chance to see one close up.

For our next meeting on February 11 (10am to 12), our guest speaker is Anthony Abley who is District Ecologist for Natural Resources, Adelaide and Mt. Lofty. His topic is about Endemic species to our region with lots of information and examples of why our region is so special. This will be a great prelude to us then working on our favourite animal project in the second hour and prepare for our work with Chris Daniels in March. It also means we can be cool and inside with the air conditioning if we have a hot day, but still a good idea to come prepared for some exploring outside if it turns out to be a bit cooler.

As part of our long term project the animal list so far: Sulphur crested cockatoo - Erin, Blue wren - Morgan, Southern brown bandicoot - Karina, Yellow-tail black cockatoo - Saxon, Echidna - Rowan, Heath goanna - Mick, Peregrine falcon - Tom, Spotted pardalote - Issy, Magpie - Poppy, And the 'big kids' (and parents feel free to pick something you want to find more about and 'champion'), Raven - Jo, Bilby/platypus - Diana/John (?) ... and i have a number that I am thinking about but haven't decided yet.

Hope to see you in February.
Craig

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to cbaulderstone@hotmail.com.

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Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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<- Location of Bandicoot and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo sightings -> - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Hakea seed pod that cockies were eating and dropping to the ground - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Random bug that someone found - Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 5th meeting on 10th December 2017

Something different for our December meeting where we touched on the very complicated issue of fire and the effect it has on nature. We had a very short talk about some of the interesting aspects of fire and the effects it has and then headed out to do our own scientific investigations. As part of DEWNR prescribed burn program, the patch next to the volunteer centre where we have been doing work, will be burnt in Autumn next year. We set up a photopoint where we put two stardroppers in the ground taking a photo from one to the other in each direction. We used GPS to record locations and compass for directions of photos. We recorded the plant species we could see and also the creatures we thought would live there and how they would use what is there as habitat. After the burn we will see the effect on habitat and species and then see how it recovers and how the habitat changes over time. We also looked at the vegetation on the other side of the track which hadn't been burnt since 2008. It was quite thick and tall and it was amazing to think that all that vegetation had grown back since being burnt. The comparison made us think about what might live in the different areas, and how that might change over time.

For our next meeting on January 14 (10am to 12), we know lots of people go away, but we thought it would still be good to get together if anyone was interested and looking for something to do. There is a good chance it will be hot, so the plan is to spend our time in the air conditioned Volunteer Centre. As always we can share anything we have observed in nature at the start. We will explore the Friends of Belair National Park library which is available for members to borrow books from and maybe bring along any favourite nature books you want to show others. It will be a more relaxed session where we can talk about anything to do with nature and also an opportunity to talk about your favourite animal (or plant if you prefer). If it turns out to be cooler it is always nice to go for a bit of a walk and look at our 'patches' across the road. So unless it is very hot, bring along a hat, long pants and good shoes just in case we go for a walk.

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to cbaulderstone@hotmail.com.

Our next long term project where we want the kids to pick their favourite animal that lives in the Park and become a 'champion' for it. The kids will research all about their animal and become our resident expert and hopefully teach others and think about how to better manage for that species in the Park. Chris Daniels has offered to help us with this and next year will make a visit where we will work on this together and Chris knows all sorts of interesting facts.

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Fire - Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 4th meeting on 12th November 2017

November saw us take part in our first citizen science project – the national Wild Pollinator Count. Erinn Fagan-Jeffries gave us a very interesting and fun introduction to entomology. Erinn talked about her work as an entomologist, specialising in the study of wasps. We learnt the difference between a parasite, that lives off another plant or animal to survive but does not kill it, whereas Parasitoid will kill the host to complete its life cycle. Erinn told us how she loves these small wasps that lay their eggs in caterpillars and then they eat their way out killing it. We thought it was all a bit gory until we learnt that those caterpillars destroy potato crops so the wasps save them so we can have potato chips!
We spent some time looking at pictures of pollinators and how to tell the difference between the ten categories in the Wild Pollinator Count. Then outside to find flowers and ten minutes of observing. It was fascinating just how many different pollinators were discovered, including a blue-banded bee and other native wasps and very buzzy hoverflies. Our data is now entered and we have contributed to a huge dataset across the country to help discover what pollinators are where and on what plants at this time of year.
It was quite a hot day so we retreated into the cool of the volunteer centre and looked at Erinn's insect collections, putting some of them under the microscope.
We also announced our next long term project where we want the kids to pick their favourite animal that lives in the Park and become a 'champion' for it. The kids will research all about their animal and become our resident expert and hopefully teach others and think about how to better manage for that species in the Park. Chris Daniels has offered to help us with this and next year will make a visit where we will work on this together and Chris knows all sorts of interesting facts.

December Bush Buddies on Sunday 10th at 10am will be all about FIRE. There are so many views out there about where it is bad or where it is good. Hayley and Craig will talk about some of those reasons and then we will do our own exploration as scientists. We will go to an area near to the volunteer centre that is planned to be burnt soon, look at it and set up photo points that we can come back to later and compare. Then we have another area to look at that has been recently burnt and another that has been burnt some time ago that are next to areas that haven't been burnt. We will think about our own ideas and how we can test if these ideas are right or not. It is summer so make sure you bring a hat, good shoes and a water bottle. If it’s too hot we have other 'mystery activities' that we can do in the cool of the air conditioned volunteer centre. If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to cbaulderstone@hotmail.com.

We also announced our next long term project where we want the kids to pick their favourite animal that lives in the Park and become a 'champion' for it. The kids will research all about their animal and become our resident expert and hopefully teach others and think about how to better manage for that species in the Park. Chris Daniels has offered to help us with this and next year will make a visit where we will work on this together and Chris knows all sorts of interesting facts.

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Pollinator Count - Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone on the 3rd meeting on 22nd October 2017

Another great Belair Bush Buddies event for November! We started by looking at some lerps and talking about leaf skeletonising caterpillars and differences in the ecology of New Zealand that evolved with no mammals apart from a couple of bat species. Then Jenny Deans presented to us a huge number of interesting photos of different wildflowers but it was the kids that did most of the talk! Jenny cleverly arranged slides that had a combination of wildflower photos with similarities and differences that the kids then described. It was amazing the details these sharp young eyes and minds picked up and then we discovered which of these were important to determining what the plants are. Later we headed out and used our newfound skills and sharp eyes to look at wildflowers and work out their differences. Also our first patches were assigned to kids that they will now become custodians for into the future.

The next Belair Bush Buddies meeting will be on the 12th of November and focus on pollinators. Stay tuned for more info!

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Photo by Jo Baulderstone



Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone on the 2nd meeting on 10th September 2017

Another successful Belair Bush Buddies with a couple of new faces and good to see those from last month again. We started with sharing of nature stories and Morgan and Erin brought along some pet Quails. Quails would have once lived in the Park but being ground dwelling birds the pressure of introduced predators means you are unlikely to see them. So it was great to see these examples and their small eggs. We saw some photos of an interesting caterpillar and what it turns into and talked about yellow tail black cockatoos and what they need for nests.

Then we had a great talk from Kate Grigg on fungi. So many interesting facts that i had never heard of before, such as without fungi we wouldn't be here, they were some of our earliest lifeforms that formed the soils our plants grow in, that are not plants and their own 'kingdom' and more closely related to insects than plants, that you can't digest raw mushrooms because they are made up of chemicals like those that form an insects exoskeleton.

We ventured out and found a range if different fungi and our young 'Buddies' showed what fantastic observation skills they have, finding all sorts for Kate to identify. Fungi are just everywhere with such diversity and interest.

It was so interesting that time flew and we didn't get around to assigning patches to look after, but we will do that next time. It's a different week due to school holidays and will be October 22. Wildflowers should be going crazy so that will be our topic for October.

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Fungi 1 - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Fungi 2 - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Non-fungi things that look like fungi - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Animals seen on Fungi walk - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Hayley Prentice later reported on facebook some of the cool things we learnt from Kate Grigg were:

  • Without fungi we cannot survive.
  • Every tree around us has a relationship with fungi under the ground that we can't see.
  • You cannot digest raw mushrooms! They contain a chemical which needs to be cooked for humans to digest it.
  • Mushrooms are only the fruit part of a fungus.
  • There are 3 types of fungi; decomposers, parasitic, and mycorrhizal.


Report by Craig Baulderstone on 1st meeting on 20th August 2017

Our first meeting for the Friends of Belair National Park Bush Buddies session was a great success with a small but enthusiastic group taking part. We started with a fascinating talk from James Smith, author of Wildlife of Greater Adelaide. It started with a very topical explanation as to why our Park is so important and also why our new group is so important. He predicted that it will be kids of this age who can take action to save a number of species or see them be lost in their lifetime . James has had a passion for wildlife from a young age and his company fauNature is dedicated to assisting people in attracting and engaging with local wildlife, so just the right person to kick us off. He talked about his book with its aim to learn to appreciate what we have and that it has covered most of what is common. So if you don't find it in the book then the Museum probably wants to know about it!

We then spent some time finding out from the kids what they enjoy and talking about future activities that they would find interesting. We had great participation and we feel confident that we have all we need to now plan the road ahead. Following this Hayley Prentice lead a short walk and we saw some rare orchids, fungi, some insects, found one of James' favourite animals (five lined flatworm), talked about native plants and generally great to see the kids really getting into it!

Special thanks to Barb, Alan and Steve Raine and Hayley Prentice for their help and ideas. I have a feeling we will make a difference with this groupand we are all very excited about the future of it.
.... Craig

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Animals Found - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Orchids Seen - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

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Habitats - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

The next Bush Buddies meeting will be on Sunday, September 10th at 10am. Aimed at kids aged approximately 10-12, it's a great group for learning about and helping the environment!



Acknowledgement is given to Hayley Prentice, Barbara Raine, Craig & Jo Baulderstone for their words and photos in setting up this webpage.

Activity Reminders

For all official functions planned by The Friends of BNP ask at the Ticket Office, Belair National Park for free vehicle entry.

Public Welcome
Next Meeting will be at the Volunteer Centre on Sunday 14th April - 11am to 1pm
Bring hat, water bottle, sunscreen, sturdy footwear and sunsafe clothing

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