Inbox and Environment News: Issue 483
February 14 - 20, 2021: Issue 483
Time Of Burran
Gadalung Marool (hot and dry) January - March
The behaviour of the male kangaroos becomes quite aggressive in this season, and it is a sign that the eating of meat is forbidden during this time. This is a health factor; because of the heat of the day meat does not keep, and the likelihood of food poisoning is apparent. The blooming of the Weetjellan (Acacia implexa) is an important sign that fires must not be lit unless they are well away from bushland and on sand only, and that there will be violent storms and heavy rain, so camping near creeks and rivers is not recommended.
Acacia implexa, commonly known as lightwood or hickory wattle, is a fast-growing Australian tree, the timber of which was used for furniture making. The wood is prized for its finish and strength. The foliage was used to make pulp and dye cloth. The Ngunnawal people of the ACT used the bark to make rope, string, medicine and for fish poison, the timber for tools, and the seeds to make flour.
It is widespread in eastern Australia from central coastal Queensland to southern Victoria, with outlying populations on the Atherton Tableland in northern Queensland and Tasmania's King Island. The tree is commonly found on fertile plains and in hilly country it is usually part of open forest communities and grows in shallow drier sandy and clay soils.
Acacia implexa flowers - photo by Donald Hobern.
Flight2Light 2021: 'How To'
Bush Blitz, is partnering with the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance to raise awareness of the impacts of light pollution on the night time environment.
The Flight2Light event aims to educate Australians about light pollution, the impact it has on wildlife and the simple ways they can reduce light pollution.
You can get involved in Flight2Light from the 6th-19th Feb 2021
Check at Bush Blitz for information about how to register to take part in this nation wide event, receive a participation certificate and the satisfaction of helping our environment.
Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA) Pittwater Nature #4 Is Now Available
- The Pittwater River and the Barrenjoey sandspit
- How Tumbledown Dick hill Duffys Forest endangered bushland has been moved there from a site at Belrose
- The Sydney Wildlife Mobile Unit looks after native animals
- Plant Families 101: the Solanaceae /Nightshade Family.
- Prey and Predators on Bilgola Plateau
- Two birds that nest in hollows.
- Cicadas emerge at night.
Upcoming Activities For Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment:
Sun 21 February 2021: 7.30 am Walk & Weed along the Narrabeen Lagoon catchment transverse walk.
Start at Oxford Falls walk for 3 1/2 hours, weed for 30min, continue 30min walk and car pool back to start.
Bring gloves and long handled screwdriver if available.
Walk grade: medium.
Bookings essential. Conny 0432 643 295
Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment are pleased to announce the next forum will be held on 22 Feb 2021 at 7 pm .
Presenter: Jayden Walsh
Jayden is a keen observer of nature and has some stunning photographs and information to share.
The focus will be on wildlife that lives near the Narrabeen Lagoon and that, if you are fortunate, you may see when on the Narrabeen Lagoon walkway.
For details on how to book for this event are on the website. At: https://www.narrabeenlagoon.org.au/Forums/forums.htm
Council's Waste Reduction Events
- DIY Beeswax Food Wraps - at the Tramshed Community Centre, Narrabeen
- Living Smart Short Course; Learn about the many ways you can reduce plastic and waste in your household, business or workplace -Tramshed Community Centre, Narrabeen
- Reusable Nappies Webinar
- Avalon Car Boot Sale
Bushcare In Pittwater
Where we work Which day What time
Angophora Reserve 3rd Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Avalon Dunes 1st Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Avalon Golf Course 2nd Wednesday 3 - 5:30pm
Careel Creek 4th Saturday 8:30 - 11:30am
Toongari Reserve 3rd Saturday 9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer)
Bangalley Headland 2nd Sunday 9 to 12noon
Winnererremy Bay 4th Sunday 9 to 12noon
North Bilgola Beach 3rd Monday 9 - 12noon
Algona Reserve 1st Saturday 9 - 12noon
Plateau Park 1st Friday 8:30 - 11:30am
Browns Bay Reserve 1st Tuesday 9 - 12noon
McCarrs Creek Reserve Contact Bushcare Officer To be confirmed
Old Wharf Reserve 3rd Saturday 8 - 11am
Kundibah Reserve 4th Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Mona Vale Beach Basin 1st Saturday 8 - 11am
Mona Vale Dunes 2nd Saturday +3rd Thursday 8:30 - 11:30am
Bungan Beach 4th Sunday 9 - 12noon
Crescent Reserve 3rd Sunday 9 - 12noon
North Newport Beach 4th Saturday 8:30 - 11:30am
Porter Reserve 2nd Saturday 8 - 11am
Irrawong Reserve 2nd Saturday 2 - 5pm
North Palm Beach Dunes 3rd Saturday 9 - 12noon
Catherine Park 2nd Sunday 10 - 12:30pm
Elizabeth Park 1st Saturday 9 - 12noon
Pathilda Reserve 3rd Saturday 9 - 12noon
Warriewood Wetlands 1st Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Norma Park 1st Friday 9 - 12noon
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay 2nd Sunday 10 - 1pm
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay 1st Monday 9 - 12noon
Gardens And Environment Groups And Organisations In Pittwater
Sydney Water Convicted And Fined $185,000 For Sewage Overflow
Misuse Of Mouse Baits Leads To Poisoning
Rat Poisons Are Killing Our Wildlife: Alternatives
BirdLife Australia is currently running a campaign highlighting the devastation being caused by poison to our wildlife. Rodentcides are an acknowledged but under-researched source of threat to many Aussie birds. If you missed BirdLife's rodenticide talk but would like to know more, share data and comment on the use of rodenticides in Australia please visit: https://www.actforbirds.org/ratpoison
Owls, kites and other birds of prey are dying from eating rats and mice that have ingested Second Generation rodent poisons. These household products – including Talon, Fast Action RatSak and The Big Cheese Fast Action brand rat and mice bait – have been banned from general public sale in the US, Canada and EU, but are available from supermarkets throughout Australia.
Australia is reviewing the use of these dangerous chemicals right now and you can make a submission to help get them off supermarket shelves and make sure only licenced operators can use them.
There are alternatives for household rodent control – find out more about the impacts of rat poison on our birds of prey and what you can do at the link above and by reading the information below.
Let’s get rat poison out of bird food chains.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) – is currently asking Australians for their views on how rodent poisons are regulated.
Have your say by making a submission here.
Powerful Owl at Clareville - photo by Paul Wheeler
Pesticides that are designed to control pests such as mice and rats cane also kill our wildlife through either primary or secondary poisoning. Insecticides include pesticides (substances used to kill insects), rodenticides (substances used to kill rodents, such as rat poison), molluscicides (substances used to kill molluscs, such as snail baits), and herbicides (substances used to kill weeds).
Primary poisoning occurs when an animal ingests a pesticide directly – for example, a brushtail possum or antechinus eating rat bait. Secondary poisoning occurs when an animal eats another animal that has itself ingested a pesticide – for example, a greater sooty owl eating a rate that has been poisoned or an antechinus that had eaten rat bait.
Rodenticides are the most common and harmful pesticides to Australian wildlife. Though no comprehensive monitoring of non-target exposure of rodenticides has been conducted, numerous studies have documented the harm rodenticides do to native animals. In 2018, an Australian study found that anticoagulant rodenticides in particular are implicated in non-target wildlife poisoning in Australia, and warned Australia’s usage patterns and lax regulations “may increase the risk of non-target poisoning”.
Most rodenticides work by disrupting the normal coagulation (blood clotting) process, and are classified as either “first generation” / “multiple dose” or “second generation” / “single dose”, depending on how many doses are required for the poison to be lethal.
These anticoagulant rodenticides cause victims of anticoagulant rodenticides to suffer greatly before dying, as they work by inhibiting Vitamin K in the body, therefore disrupting the normal coagulation process. This results in poisoned animals suffering from uncontrolled bleeding or haemorrhaging, either spontaneously or from cuts or scratches. In the case of internally haemorrhaging, which is difficult to spot, the only sign of poisoning is that the animal is weak, or (occasionally) bleeding from the nose or mouth. Affected wildlife are also more likely to crash into structures and vehicles, and be killed by predators.
An animal has to eat a first generation rodenticide (e.g. warfarin, pindone, chlorophaninone, diphacinone) more than once in order to obtain a lethal dose. For this reason, second generation rodenticides (e.g. difenacoum, brodifacoum, bromadiolone and difethialone) are the most commonly used rodenticides. Second generation rodenticides only require a single dose to be consumed in order to be lethal, yet kill the animal slowly, meaning the animal keeps coming back. This results in the animal consuming many times more poison than a single lethal dose over the multiple days it takes them to die, during which time they are easy but lethal prey to predators. This is why second generation poisons tend to be much more acutely toxic to non-target wildlife, as they are much more likely to bioaccumulate and biomagnify, and clear very slowly from the body.
Species most at risk from poisons
Small mammals including possums and bandicoots often consume poisons such as snail bait, or rat bait that has been laid out to attract and kill rats, mice, and rabbits. Poisons such as pindone are often added to oats or carrots, and lead to a slow, painful death of internal bleeding. Australian possums often consume rat bait such as warfarin, which causes extensive internal bleeding, usually resulting in death.
There is a very poor chance of survival. Possums are also known to consume slug bait, which results in a prolonged painful death mainly from neurological effects. There is no treatment.
Small mammals can also be poisoned by insecticides. Possums, for example, can ingest these poisons when consuming fruit from a tree that has been sprayed with insecticide. Rescued by a WIRES carer, the brushtail possum joey pictured below was suffering from suspected insecticide poisoning. Though coughing up blood, luckily the joey did not ingest a lethal dose as he survived in care and was later released.
Despite their size, large mammals including wallabies, kangaroos and wombats can also fall victim to pesticide poisoning. Wallabies and kangaroos have been known to suffer from rodenticide poisoning, while poisons often ingested by wombats include rat bait from farm sheds, and sodium fluroacetate (1080) laid out to kill pests such as cats and foxes.
Australian mammals are also impacted by the use of insecticides. DDT, although a banned substance, has been reported as killing marsupials.
Birds have a high metabolic rate and therefore succumb quickly to poisons. Australian birds of prey – owls (such as the southern boobook) and diurnal raptors (such as kestrels) – can be killed by internal bleeding when they eat rodents that have ingested rat bait. A 2018 Western Australian study determined that 73% of southern boobook owls found dead or were found to have anticoagulant rodenticides in their systems, and that raptors with larger home ranges and more mammal-based diets may be at a greater risk of anticoagulant rodenticide exposure.
Insectivorous birds will often eat insects sprayed with insecticides, and a few different species of birds may be affected at the same time. Unfortunately little can be done and death most often results.
Organophosphates are the most widely used insecticide in Australia. Birds are very susceptible to organophosphates, which are nerve toxins that damage the nervous system, with poisoning occurring through the skin, inhalation, and ingestion. Organophosphates can cause secondary poisoning in wild birds which ingest sprayed insects. Often various species of insectivorous birds are affected at the same time as they come down to eat the dying insects. After a bird is poisoned, death usually occurs rapidly. Raptors have also been deliberately or inadvertently poisoned when organophosphates have been applied to a carcass to poison crows.
Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are persistent, bio-accumulative pesticides that include DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor and chlordane. OPC’s have been used extensively in the agriculture industry since the 1940s. Some of the more common product names include Hortico Dieldrin Dust, Shell Dieldrex and Yates Garden Dust. Although no OCP’s are currently registered for use in the home environment in Australia, many of these products still remain in use on farms, in business premises and households. OCP poisons remain highly toxic in the environment for many years impacting on humans, animals, birds and especially aquatic life. They can have serious short-term and long-term impacts at low concentrations. In addition, non-lethal effects such as immune system and reproductive damage of some of these pesticides may also be significant. Birds are particularly sensitive to these pesticides, and there have even been occasions where the deliberate poisoning of birds has occurred. Tawny frogmouths are most often poisoned with OCP’s. The poisons are stored in fat deposits and gradually increase over time. At times of food scarcity, or during any stressful period, such as breeding season or any changes to their environment, the fat stores are metabolised, and with it, the poison load in their blood streams reaches acute levels, causing death.
Although herbicides, or weed killers, are designed to kill plants, some are toxic to birds. Common herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) will cause severe eye irritation in birds if they come into contact with the spray. Herbicides also have the impact of removing food plants that birds, or their insect food supply, rely on. Birds can also readily fall victim to snail baits, either via primary or secondary poisoning.
Reptiles and Amphibians
As vertebrate species, reptiles and amphibians are also at risk of pesticides. Though less is known about the effects of pesticides on reptiles and amphibians, these animals have been known to fall victim to pesticide poisoning. Blue-tongue lizards, for example, often consume rat bait and die of internal bleeding. A 2018 Australian study also found that reptiles may be important vectors (transporters) of rodenticides in Australia.
How to keep pests away and keep wildlife safe
Remember, pesticides are formulated to be tasty and alluring to the target species, but other species find them enticing, too. It is safest for wildlife, pets and people for us to not use any pesticides, and prevent or deter the presence of pests practically, rather than attempt to eliminate them chemically.
Tips to prevent and deter wildlife deaths from poisoning:
- Deter rats and mice around your property by simply cleaning up; removing rubbish, keeping animal feed well contained and indoors, picking up fallen fruits and vegetation, and using chicken feeders removes potential food sources.
- Seal up holes and in your walls and roof to reduce the amount of rodent-friendly habitat in your house.
- Replace palms with native trees; palm trees are a favourite hideout for black rats, while native trees provide ideal habitat for native predators like owls and hawks which help to control rodent populations.
- Set traps with care in a safe, covered spot, away from the reach of children, pets and wildlife. Two of the most effective yet safe baits are peanut butter and pumpkin seeds.
- To control slugs, terracotta or ceramic plant pots can be placed upside down in the garden or aviary. Slugs and snails will seek the dark, damp area this creates, and can be collected daily. They can then be drowned in a jar of soapy water. You can also sink a jar or dish into the soil and fill it with beer. The slugs are attracted to the yeast in the beer, fall in and then drown.
If turning to pesticides as a last resort:
- Use only animal-safe slug baits.
- Place tamper-proof bait stations out of reach of wildlife.
- Avoid using loose whether pellets or poison grain, present the highest risk, the latter being particularly attractive to seed-eating birds and to many small mammal species.
- Read the label and use as instructed.
- Avoid products containing second generation products difenacoum, brodifacoum, bromadiolone and difethialone, which are long-lasting and much more likely to unintentionally poison wildlife via secondary poisoning.
- Cover individual fruits when spraying fruit trees with insecticides.
Poisons kill dogs too
Because of their poisonous nature, pesticides pose a risk to animals and people alike, including pets and children. Roaming pets like cats and dogs are most at risk of being poisoned, with one 2016 study at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences finding that one in five dogs had rat poison in its body, and a 2011 study by the Humane Society in the United States finding that 74% of their pet poisoning cases are due to second-generation anticoagulants such as rat baits.
It is best to avoid the use of all pesticides, or otherwise use them sparingly, carefully and only after researching each poison and its correct usage. Always supervise pets and children, keep poisons locked out of their reach, and be vigilant in public spaces where pesticides may have accumulated, e.g. poisons can accumulate in streams or puddles where herbicides have recently been sprayed.
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, seek veterinary help immediately.
If you suspect your child or another adult has been poisoned, do not induce vomiting and call the NSW Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for 24/7 medical advice, Australia-wide.
Lohr, M. T. & Davis, R. A. 2018, Anticoagulant rodenticide use, non-target impacts and regulation: A case study from Australia, Science of The Total Environment, vol. 634, pp. 1372-1384.
Lohr, M. T. 2018, Anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in an Australian predatory bird increases with proximity to developed habitat, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 643, pp.134-144.
Lohr, M. T. 2018, Anticoagulant Rodenticides: Implications for Wildlife Rehabilitation, conference paper, Australian Wildlife Rehabiliation Conference, awrc.org.au
Olerud, S., Pedersen, J. & Kull, E. P. 2009, Prevalence of superwarfarins in dogs – a survey of background levels in liver samples of autopsied dogs. Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, Department of Sports and Family Animal Medicine, Section for Small Animal Diseases.
Healthy Wildlife, Healthy Lives, 2017, Rodenticides and Wildlife, healthywildlife.com.au
Society for the Preservation of Raptors Inc. 2019, Raptor Fact Sheet: Eliminate Rats and Mice, Not Wildlife!, raptor.org.au/factsheetpests.pdf
W.I.R.E.S. Poisons and baits don't just kill rats.
Barking Owl (Ninox connivens connivens)- photo by Julie Edgley - this nocturnal animal will eat mice and so become a victim of poisons through them
Bents Basin State Conservation Area: Have Your Say
Closes March 7, 2021
National Parks and Wildlife Service is seeking feedback on the draft plan of management for Bents Basin State Conservation Area and Gulguer Nature Reserve.
The Bents Basin State Conservation Area and Gulguer Nature Reserve Draft Plan of Management is currently on public exhibition.
Once adopted, the plan will replace the Bents Basin State Conservation Area statement of management intent and the Gulguer Nature Reserve statement of management intent, which were approved in 2014.
Key management directions in this plan include:
- strategies for the protection of natural values
- strategies to improve the management of Aboriginal cultural heritage and shared heritage values
- strategies to improve visitor experiences and manage increasing use.
The draft visitor facilities concept plans, including details of visitor facility upgrades, are also available for comment.
You can provide your written submission in any of the following ways:
Post your written submission to:
Evaluation and Assessment
Locked Bag 5022
Parramatta NSW 2124
Email your submission to: email@example.com
Make a submission online by using the online form here
Volunteers Needed For Great Inland Glossy Count: February 2021
Postponed from late last year the NSW Saving our Species program is now calling for community volunteers to become 'cockatoo counters' and help be part of the Great Inland Glossy Count this February.
National Parks and Wildlife Service Senior Project Officer Adam Fawcett said the count was set to go and anyone can be a part of it.
"Bird lovers, citizen scientists or anyone with an interest in this beautiful threatened species, are needed to survey glossy black cockatoo populations at three key sites around inland NSW.
"Listed as vulnerable in New South Wales, glossies are easily spotted with their distinctive red markings and this cockatoo count will help our scientists understand more about this threatened bird," he said.
This is the second time the Great Inland Glossy Count has occurred. In 2019 seventy volunteers participated and counted over 700 glossy black cockatoos across inland NSW.
The count is part of a wider project to conserve the species at three key sites: the Pilliga Forests, Goonoo National Park and Goobang National Park and surrounding landscapes.
The dates for the 2021 surveys of what is fast becoming an annual cockatoo count are:
- 13 February – Pilliga Forests
- 20 February – Goonoo National Park
- 27 February – Goobang National Park and surrounds
"We are hoping to get 100 volunteers this year and what a great opportunity to get out to some of our amazing national parks and state forests, sit back and watch a threatened species in its natural habitat," Mr Fawcett said.
Volunteers will need to pre-register using the Department of Planning Industry and Environment's Volunteer Portal and will be required to follow COVID safety guidelines.
Family members are encouraged to register to volunteer together and will be stationed at one dam on their chosen weekend to count glossy black cockatoos as they come into known watering holes.
"We are asking volunteers to setup at their survey site an hour or so before dusk and wait as glossy black cockatoos fly in for water.
"The only requirements are the ability to make your way to a dam allocated by the Saving our Species team and to bring a pair of binoculars, a comfy chair and a notepad.
"Many of our seasoned participants make quite an event out of the evening, with cheese platters and other goodies a regular feature. It is a pretty amazing when you get a large flock of this threatened species coming into a waterhole to drink and we love that we are able to give people this opportunity to get involved in threatened species conservation," Mr Fawcett said.
The project is funded by the NSW Government's Saving our Species program and the NSW Environmental Trust, and is led by Central West Local Land Services in partnership with National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW Forest Corporation, Dubbo Field Naturalists, Australian Wildlife Conservancy and the land owners and managers within these areas.
Shifting Attitudes To Recycling Sees 5 Billion Drink Containers Returned
Shorebird Identification Booklet
The Migratory Shorebird Program has just released the third edition of its hugely popular Shorebird Identification Booklet. The team has thoroughly revised and updated this pocket-sized companion for all shorebird counters and interested birders, with lots of useful information on our most common shorebirds, key identification features, sighting distribution maps and short articles on some of BirdLife’s shorebird activities.
The booklet can be downloaded here in PDF file format: http://www.birdlife.org.au/documents/Shorebird_ID_Booklet_V3.pdf
Paper copies can be ordered as well, see http://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/shorebirds-2020/counter-resources for details.
Download BirdLife Australia's children’s education kit to help them learn more about our wading birdlife
Shorebirds are a group of wading birds that can be found feeding on swamps, tidal mudflats, estuaries, beaches and open country. For many people, shorebirds are just those brown birds feeding a long way out on the mud but they are actually a remarkably diverse collection of birds including stilts, sandpipers, snipe, curlews, godwits, plovers and oystercatchers. Each species is superbly adapted to suit its preferred habitat. The Red-necked Stint is as small as a sparrow, with relatively short legs and bill that it pecks food from the surface of the mud with, whereas the Eastern Curlew is over two feet long with a exceptionally long legs and a massively curved beak that it thrusts deep down into the mud to pull out crabs, worms and other creatures hidden below the surface.
Some shorebirds are fairly drab in plumage, especially when they are visiting Australia in their non-breeding season, but when they migrate to their Arctic nesting grounds, they develop a vibrant flush of bright colours to attract a mate. We have 37 types of shorebirds that annually migrate to Australia on some of the most lengthy and arduous journeys in the animal kingdom, but there are also 18 shorebirds that call Australia home all year round.
What all our shorebirds have in common—be they large or small, seasoned traveller or homebody, brightly coloured or in muted tones—is that each species needs adequate safe areas where they can successfully feed and breed.
The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is managed and supported by BirdLife Australia.
This project is supported by Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Funding from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and Port Phillip Bay Fund is acknowledged.
The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is made possible with the help of over 1,600 volunteers working in coastal and inland habitats all over Australia.
The National Shorebird Monitoring program (started as the Shorebirds 2020 project initiated to re-invigorate monitoring around Australia) is raising awareness of how incredible shorebirds are, and actively engaging the community to participate in gathering information needed to conserve shorebirds.
In the short term, the destruction of tidal ecosystems will need to be stopped, and our program is designed to strengthen the case for protecting these important habitats.
In the long term, there will be a need to mitigate against the likely effects of climate change on a species that travels across the entire range of latitudes where impacts are likely.
The identification and protection of critical areas for shorebirds will need to continue in order to guard against the potential threats associated with habitats in close proximity to nearly half the human population.
Here in Australia, the place where these birds grow up and spend most of their lives, continued monitoring is necessary to inform the best management practice to maintain shorebird populations.
BirdLife Australia believe that we can help secure a brighter future for these remarkable birds by educating stakeholders, gathering information on how and why shorebird populations are changing, and working to grow the community of people who care about shorebirds.
To find out more visit: http://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/shorebirds-2020/shorebirds-2020-program
Aussie Bread Tags Collection Points
Cicadas And Crickets Still Singing In Pittwater: Late Summer Bush Songs
Have you noticed that the deafening noise of a million million Black Prince cicadas we had just a few weeks ago is not so noisy now? We had so many at our place as we have a lot of spotted gum trees - it was so LOUD some days I had to close the doors to stop my ears ringing. Durinmg the past few weeks they're a lot quieter though - I think it may be because all the currawongs and magpies are feeding them to their newly fledged youngsters - they LOVE cicadas.
This year we have seen:
Yellow Monday Cicada
Black Prince Cicada
Have you heard all the crickets singing at night?
There seems to be a lot of crickets this year, so many so that this one came onto my desk here one night during this week and then spent about 10 minutes jumping around all over the place.
Crickets live all over Australia and you have probably heard them - but maybe not seen one. The most common is the Black Field Cricket. Only the male of this species 'chirp' by rubbing their wings together. They do it to attract females, to woo them, and to warn off other male competitors. They grow to about 2.5cm long. Black Field Crickets lay their eggs around April. A female can lay up to 1,500 to 2,000 eggs and she lays them from late Summer to late Autumn. These eggs remain dormant over the Winter and hatch in Spring.
Young crickets, known as nymphs, grow slowly through 9 to 10 nymph stages as they gradually develop into adults. Juvenile Black Field Crickets are similar in appearance to adults but lack wings and have a distinctive white band around their middle.
Normally, Black Field Crickets are mostly a ground living insect, but will take to the air when numbers are too great and food becomes scarce. Crickets usually live outside but may come inside to get away from waterlogged ground after rains, or when the weather turns very cold.
Normally, crickets feed on decaying plant material and insect remains, and are prey to birds, mice, frogs, possums and many other creatures. They are an important animal in the food chain. You can tell a Short-Horned grasshopper from a cricket by the size of their antennae. Crickets have longer antennae than these grasshoppers. Most grasshoppers also feed on plant material, whereas crickets are omnivores. Also crickets are mainly nocturnal, whereas Short-Horned grasshoppers are active during the day.
Black Field Crickets are good buddies to have in your garden as they will help aerate your soil, which helps water penetrate into it.
Did you know?; Crickets have 'ears' in their legs just below their knees. The ear drums, one on each foreleg, are sensitive membranes which act as receivers of differences in pressure and can help crickets find a mate, be forewarned about predators or locate prey.
The most common crickets in backyards are the House Cricket, Mole Cricket and Black Field Cricket. The King cricket is large and flightless and can devour funnel web spiders with its enormous, terrifying-looking mouth parts. It's usually only found in rainforests. You can recognise crickets and grasshoppers by their 'song' which they make by rubbing parts of each wing together.
Photos by A J Guesdon, information courtesy of Backyard Buddies - more great stuff at: www.backyardbuddies.org.au
THE CICADA ORCHESTRA.
When the gum leaves all hang drooping,
And every bird is still,
There comes from each leafy covert,
A droning loud and shrill.
'Zum, zum, zum, I'm a Floury Baker!
Hark to my double-drum;
I can drone by the hour with ceaseless power,
And a zum, zum, zum, zum, zum.'
The hot air seems to quiver
Beneath that steady drone,
And aching heads grow wearier,
With that ceaseless monotone;
"Zum, zum, zum, I'm a real Greengrocer!
Hark to my double drum;
I can make it go for an hour or so,
With a zum, zum, zum, zum."
When the still, hot day is over,
And the west wind drops at length,
The loud cicada chorus Wakens to double strength:
"Zum, zum, zum, I'm a Yellow Monday!
Hark to my double drum;
I can make it drone in its monotone,
With a zum, zum, zum, zum, zum.'
As the slow, slow hours are dragging
Through the hush of a still, hot night;
The full bush band keeps playing,
Right up to the morning light.
"Zum, zum, zum, I'm a Black Prince gorgeous!
Hark to my double drum;
All the long night through I shall play to you,
With a zum, zum, zum, zum, zum."
From the first grey light of the morning,
Till the sun sinks down in the west,
And all through the long night-watches,
The droning knows no rest:
"Zum, zum, zum, I'm a Floury Baker;
Zum, zum, zum, I'm a fat Greengrocer;
Zum, zum, zum, I'm a Yellow Monday;
Zum, zum, zum,
I'm a Black Prince gorgeous.
And each has a double drum.
So with ceaseless tone we just drone, drone, drone,
With a zum, zum, zum, zum, zum."
The Children's Page. (1926, November 18). The Catholic Press(NSW : 1895 - 1942), p. 46. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article106276154
Bird Bath Visitors
Do you have a bird bath in your yard? We do - they're great for seeing all the birds come to have a drink or have a bath. We also hear frogs at night as there is a little pond we sat the bird bath in - lovely watery sounds of feathers and splish- splashing - we have to give it a clean at the end of every day and fill it back up with fresh cool water.
This is what we've seen in our bird bath the past few weeks and months:
Dementia Care In Australia "Does Not Meet Human Rights"
- have an overarching objective to maintain positive health and wellbeing of people with dementia, their care partners and families;
- recognise dementia as a disability, consistent with the World Health Organization Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and promotes autonomy, social participation and rehabilitation;
- take into account the cognitive disability of people with dementia in accessing support and being a partner (along with their families) in planning care through supported decision making;
- be delivered by a multidisciplinary workforce with knowledge and skills around dementia;
- be accessible for all people with dementia and care partners;
- be ongoing, cost-effective and economically sustainable;
- be needs-based, not capped according to central budgets;
- be integrated for seamless experience for people with dementia and care partners, within and across primary, acute and subacute health care, aged care and social services; and
- be evidence-based.
2021 Australian Masters Games Entries Now Open
Retirement Income Review Under The Spotlight
- A keynote address by Treasurer John Frydenberg
- A lunchtime debate between Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume and Shadow Minister Stephen Jones
- Be the first appearance of the entire Retirement Income Review panel since its findings were released, with Chair Mike Callaghan AM and members Carolyn Kay and Dr Deborah Ralston
- Other expert speakers include Professor John Piggott AO, Director, Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research; Professor Hazel Bateman, UNSW; David Knox from the Mercer Retirement Index; and Jeremy Cooper, Challenger and former Chair of the Superannuation Review
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Construction Apprentice Began Her Studies During HSC
February 10, 2021
A Chester Hill local is gearing up to work on major infrastructure projects across Sydney after landing an apprenticeship with international construction company Multiplex straight after graduating from high school.
Kaitlyn Doan, 18, used her final years of high school to launch her career in the construction industry by studying a Certificate II in Construction Pathways at TAFE NSW Miller while she completed the HSC at Prairiewood High School.
She will now begin working on the $1 billion Westmead Redevelopment precinct, which is set to be the state’s largest hospital redevelopment project in history.
Kaitlyn said she was excited to help cement western Sydney’s future by working on some of the region’s biggest infrastructure projects.
“My TAFE NSW teachers were able to connect me to people at Multiplex when they delivered a talk in one of our classes. I was thrilled to find out I had been offered an apprenticeship with them all thanks to the support of my teachers,” Kaitlyn said.
“The course helped me build practical skills and industry-specific knowledge so now I am able to take a year off my apprenticeship,” Kaitlyn said.
With carpentry currently facing a major skills shortage and wage subsidy funding by the federal government designed to help more apprentices into jobs, there has never been a better time to enrol in a construction course at TAFE NSW.
Multiplex Construction Manager Troy Rakecki said the Multiplex program is geared towards forging a career pathway for apprentices.
“Our apprentices are trained as future site supervisors so as well as being supported to develop in their chosen trade, they are given exposure to a variety of other trades and come away with a really well-rounded understanding of the different components that make up a construction site.”
TAFE NSW Carpentry teacher, Rodney Watts, said now was the time for school leavers to consider taking on a trade apprenticeship.
“TAFE NSW has over 25,000 employer connections, which allows our students to not only connect with industry but be well-positioned for job opportunities as soon as they graduate,” Mr Watts said.
“Western Sydney is currently facing a construction boom with various housing developments, the airport and hospital redevelopments well underway. It’s the perfect time to secure an apprenticeship.”
To enrol in a construction course at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au, or call 131 601.
Picture: Kaitlyn Doan completed a Certificate II in Construction Pathways at TAFE NSW Miller
Online Courses Added To Summer Skills Program
The Summer Skills program has been expanded to include seven TAFE NSW online short courses targeting school leavers from last year.
An expansion of fee-free Summer Skills training courses is now available for school leavers with new online courses on offer, as part of the JobTrainer initiative.
Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the Summer Skills program, launched in November 2020, has expanded to include seven TAFE NSW online short courses targeting school leavers from last year.
“In designing the Summer Skills program, the NSW Government has ensured the training on offer is aligned to local industry needs,” he said.
“We need to provide the opportunities that help school leavers find their feet in these uncertain times. That’s why we’re delivering practical and fee-free training opportunities commencing this summer. Online learning is a terrific way to upskill at your own pace,”
Mr Lee said all the courses come from the $320 million committed to delivering 100,000 fee-free training places as part of the NSW Government’s contribution to the JobTrainer initiative.
“There are more than 100,000 fee-free training places available through TAFE NSW and approved providers for people across NSW to reskill, retrain and redeploy to growth areas in a post COVID-19 economy.
“I encourage anyone impacted by the pandemic to see what training options are available in 2021.”
Enrolments are open for Summer Skills training in:
- Cyber Concepts;
- Introduction to working in the health industry;
- Construction materials and Work Health and Safety;
- Mental health;
- Business administration skills;
- Introductory to business skills; and
- Digital security basics.
Visit the NSW Summer Skills webpage for full details on all available fee-free courses on offer and their eligibility as part of the NSW Summer Skills program, and visit the JobTrainer webpage for more information.
NSW JobTrainer provides fee-free* training courses for young people, job seekers and school leavers to gain skills in Australia's growing industries. Explore hundreds of qualifications and register your interest today.
T.Rex: 20th Century Boy
"20th Century Boy" is a song by T. Rex, written by Marc Bolan, released as a stand-alone single. The song was recorded on 3 December 1972 in Toshiba Recording Studios in Tokyo, Japan at a session that ran between 3:00 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., according to biographers. The backing vocals, hand claps, acoustic guitar and saxophones were recorded in England when T. Rex returned to the country after their tour. The single version of the track fades out at three minutes and thirty-nine seconds; however, the multi-track master reveals that the song ended in nearly a full three minutes' worth of jamming. A rough mix of the full-length version can be found on the Bump 'n' Grind compilation.
"20th Century Boy"'s lyrics are, according to Marc Bolan, based on quotes taken from notable celebrities such as Muhammad Ali. This can be seen through the inclusion of the line "sting like a bee", which is taken from one of Ali's 1969 speeches.
Although the lyrical content of a lot of Marc Bolan's songs is ambiguous, analysis of the multi-track recordings of "20th Century Boy" reveals the first line of the song to be "Friends say it's fine, friends say it's good/Everybody says it's just like Robin Hood," and not the often misquoted "...just like rock 'n' roll."
Marc Bolan, songwriter, musician, record producer, and poet, was the lead singer of the band T. Rex and was one of the pioneers of the glam rock movement of the 1970s. He first played guitar in sc hool as part of "Susie and the Hula Hoops", a trio whose vocalist was a 12-year-old Helen Shapiro. During lunch breaks at school, he would play his guitar in the playground to a small audience of friends.
The familiar riff the song opens with you may have heard in the 2010 film Get Him to the Greek, as well as the films, Rocksmith, Guitar Hero 5 and Rock Band 3 and in the movies Lords of Dogtown, The Truman Show, Velvet Goldmine, Somewhere, and Drift. His music still sells and this song, along with 'Children of the Revolution' remains a favourite for many.
This is T.Rex / Marc Bolan performing 20th Century Boy live in Germany. NB: it's LOUD!
For those who prefer produced non-live sounds, a remastered versions run below this.
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