Sunday, 1 December 2013

Identifying a Mystery Nighttime Visitor

Riddells Creek Landcare recently purchased several Scout Guard trail cameras for use by members interested in photographing and identifying nighttime visitors and other camera-shy creatures. There have been a few mystery creatures on my property that that I have not been able to confidently identify. This is the account of one of these mysteries that I finally solved with the help of the trail camera. I'll give a more complete report on usage of the camera in a later post after I've resolved a few more things and when I'm ready to return the cameras for others to use.

One of the Scout Guard Trail Cameras. The front face of the camera has the following features from the top down: Infra-red LED flash unit for low light and night photography. The camera lens (note that it is protected from rain and direct sun by an "eyebrow". An infra-red motion detector that is used to trigger the camera. The easiest way to deploy it is simply to strap it to a tree or post using the supplied strap.

The camera contains an internal clock and control computer and has several user settings: date and time (to be recorded on the images), video/camera, number of pictures to be taken in a sequence when triggered (3 is the default, with an interval of ~1 sec. between each), delay following a trigger (one minute is the default), and trigger sensitivity.

My mystery began when my wife and I heard a strange animal noise as we were going to bed between as hiss and a faint scream followed by something zipping past the bedroom window that I couldn't properly make out. Whatever it was, it wasn't a rabbit or a cat - of which we have far too many. When the house was built, we laid pebble mulch along the side of the house - which happens to provide a nice path for animals to follow. So, one of the first uses of the camera was to set it up looking down the path to try to identify what the animal might be.

You can just make out an ear and forehead to the right of the second post behind the overexposed grass in the foreground facing towards the camera.

Note the sharpish nose and long running legs. Might it be a fox?
Look at the skinny tail, either hairless or covered by very short hair. Couldn't be a fox.
Given the frequency with which we see foxes passing through the property during daylight and the number of chickens and even a full grown goose taken in the night, we know there is no scarcity of foxes in the neighbourhood, but the foxes we have seen all have luxuriantly bushy tails. This looks like no fox I have ever seen. Except for its long legs, it is also not much larger than a prowling cat which conveniently posed in the same spot (the stake the camera was on was moved slightly further back before the cat sequence was taken).

Not a cat I have seen before during daylight.
Note the position of the cat relative to the vine twisting around the post. Although it stands higher off the ground, the body size of the unknown creature is only slight larger than the cat's.
I have had one or two cameras out now for three weeks looking for unknowns. I lost a week on each of the two cameras. One because I partially ejected the memory card in the process of turning the camera on (one week of camera time wasted!), and the other when I forgot to turn the camera on before I tied it to a stake (another week of camera time wasted!).

However, I have several more pictures of the mystery animal, both by the bedroom and on the bridge out to the small island in our dam. Coming towards the camera.

Going away from the camera 10 minutes later:

Far end of bridge walking away from camera. This guy might have a fox tail.

Definitely a small fox in the above sequence

More cats to establish size:

Another one I have never seen during daylight.
Yet another cat not seen during the day

To resolve my questions, I scrolled through numerous fox pictures on Google Images ([IR "red fox"], ["trail camera" "red fox") and got lots of hits, including many with comparable lighting to mine. The notable thing about all of these is the luxuriantly bushy tail - which definitely does not fit my unknown culprit. Wikipedia "red fox" finally solved the conundrum, with a daylight picture. Following are a couple of shots from that page of what foxes should look like:

The last shot removed any doubt that all of the fox-like creatures photographed by the trail cameras were in fact foxes:


This guy is suffering from mange! According to Wikipedia "The mite Sarcoptes scabiei is the most important cause of mange in red foxes. It causes extensive hair loss, starting from the base of the tail and hindfeet, then the rump before moving on to the rest of the body. In the final stages of the condition, foxes can lose most of their fur, 50% of their body weight and may gnaw at infected extremities. In the epizootic phase of the disease, it usually takes foxes four months to die after infection."

My wife hates foxes (we have given up trying to keep chickens on the property), so says Hooray! that at least one fox is suffering.

More to the point is that the trail cameras have shown beyond a doubt that our 5 acre property is overrun with nocturnal predators that don't belong in Australia - at least three different cats and two different foxes, not counting the occasional sightings during daylight hours. Hopefully they are at least keeping the growing rabbit population under some kind of control.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

RMIT student strategies to make Riddells Creek Landcare stronger

We're some months on from our project with RMIT, where students doing a strategic management unit used RCL as a case study. They invented strategies for us. We sat and listened to some of their presentations, then read some of the better reports.

What did we learn? There were three big messages—

  • support our members,
  • invite in more members,
  • form alliances for protection of Barrm Birrm.

 Support our members

  1. Give your members opportunities to do the things they want to do. Keep the focus on protection of native flora and fauna, and education.

  1. Support members in forming into teams around specific projects that they manage themselves.

  2. Make the most of the skills and innovations within RCL, in particular its knowledge of and tools for recording flora and fauna.  Do a skills audit to understand what members can bring to RCL.

  1. Keep track of how happy members are in their projects, because enthusiastic people will spread the word about RCL, and bring in new ideas.

Invite in more members

  1. Reach out to residents of Riddells who aren’t yet members, and invite them into your activities.

  1. Emphasise the values and beliefs behind what you do – that we have a responsibility to look after our environment, and that learning about the flora and fauna of Riddells is enjoyable and part of being a true resident of this place.

  1. Learn from what we do, feeding back from each project to all members and to the community – think of ourselves as a learning organisation.

Form alliances for protection of Barrm Birrm

  1. Find corporate partners willing to fund you (or resource you with their expertise eg RMIT) for several years to make BB part of a wider wildlife corridor. Don’t wait for government funding to start this process.

  1. Build alliances with other groups working on large scale landscape protection, like Deep Creek Landcare & Australian Wildlife Society.
This gives us plenty to work on as we head into the new year (after our AGM). Thanks to all at RMIT, and especially Jason Downs, who believed in the value of giving students real-world experience and supported the students right through. Thanks also to Russell Best and Ross Colliver for presenting Riddells Creek to the students, to Bill Hall for making the connection with RMIT School of Management, and to Gill Best for urging us on and coming to the final presentation of strategies.

Friday, 18 October 2013

A 4mm long peacock may be lurking in your backyard

It is not a bird and it is not a flea

Male peacock spider (Maratas pavonis), the species known from Victoria / Jurgen Otto photograph 

Following on from an episode in tonight's ABC Quantum program (17/10/2013) on Jurgen Otto's studies of the marvelous courtship displays of the tiny little peacock jumping spiders of the genus Marata, I had to learn more about them. The name of the Victorian species, pavonis, refers to Pavo - the peacock (bird). The video below is one of a series of 9 showing the behaviors of several different species that Otto has placed on YouTube, so you will see why my sudden interest.


My first question was, are these fascinating creatures likely to be found in Riddells Creek? So, I checked Natureshare and found only two observations of Maratus pavonis: One by Wendy M from Murray Street, Coburg, and the other by Jody Jackson from near Malcolm Creek in Cragiburn:

Exploring further, I found that peacock spiders are only known from Australia and range in size from 3.5 mm to 7 mm. Mosquito sized males have a multicolored wing-like flaps that they normally hold wrapped around their abdomens.

Darlington's peacock spider from the Stirling Ranges, WA on someone's finger (Jurgen Otto). His wing flaps are wrapped around his abdomen

Spider with his cape extended and gesturing with his third legs..

For more than 100 years, it was was popularly believed that these flaps were used to help the spider fly or glide. Waldock (1993, 2007) discovered that the cape was actually used like the male peacock's tail as a display to females.

The World Spider Catalog lists 35 species. Otto and Hill (2011) provide fabulous diagnostic photographs of 11 species, including 3 that have not yet been formally described. Otto and Hill also note that Julianne M. Waldock of the Western Australian Museum, who is reviewing and revising the genus, has said that there are probably around 15 more species from Western Australia that still have not been described.

Given that these mosquito sized guys can even be found in urban backyards in Coburg and Cragieburn, the conclusion I draw from this is that peacock jumping spiders can probably be found in Riddells Creek if you keep your eyes open for little jumping spiders. There may well even be more than one species here - especially in areas of remnant vegetation like Barrm birrm. If you find one that doesn't look like the Natureshare pictures, it is probably an undescribed species.

Keep a lookout for the little guys - they may well surprise you, and you might even get to name a new species!


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Australia's Most Annoying Pest

Not rabbits, not cane toads, not foxes. What gets up the noses of more Australians than any other pest is the Indian Myna bird. Introduced to Melbourne in the 1860s to combat insects in market gardens, they are agressive, noisy, smart and out-compete native birds.

Researcher Kate Grarock found the introduction of mynas had led to significant falls in the abundance of 11 bird species in an ruban area. Crimson rosella numbers had fallen from 5.9 per square kilometre to 2.4. Sulphur crested cockatoo numbers had fallen by 2 per square kilometre and kookaburras by about 0.4. (See The Age)

 And they're spreading here in Riddells Creek.

Riddells resident Stephanie Schabe has had enough. What was one pair has now grown to a small flock of six, and she taking action. Stephanie phoned Landcare this week asking if we were doing anything about Indian Mynas. No we aren't, but we'll back Stephanie by letting our members know about what she's doing.

To catch Indian Mynas, get a specially constructed cage (plans available, Mens Shed may build, or buy them for $50), then put food in the cage with easy access in and out, so the Mynas get used to coming and going. Then set the cage so they can get in, but not out. Last step - kill the birds, and drop them in your waste bin. It's the killing that's hardest for many people, and a big barrier to taking action. Bill Hall has pointed me to a workshop program that Wollongong City Council offers its ratepayers on how to dispose of caught mynas, and asks if Macedon Ranges offers similar. Not that we know of, but no harm in asking. 

If you want to get rid of Mynas around your residence, and claim back space for native birds, contact Stephanie Schade on 0419366117, or

Monday, 12 August 2013

Endangered Geranium from Riddells Creek Protected by Law

It was thought to be extinct for about 100 years until it was rediscovered in Riddells Creek a decade ago. The Large-flower Crane's-bill or Large-flower Geranium (Geranium sp. 1) was listed on the State's Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (FFG) in May 2013. This means the species is now protected by law.

Anthers cream to (pale-)yellow.
Pics by Russell Best from plants at Riddells Creek.Pale-yellow anthers mostly on paler flowers (TBC).

Cream anthers mostly on pinker flowers (TBC).

It was first rediscovered on the Rail Reserve near Hamilton Road. This location, a small, precarious 10m wide stretch of remnant grassland vegetation is by far the largest known population of this plant species on the Planet. Riddells Creek Landcare have worked with DSE and Vline for a number of years to try and protect the population from illegal bikers and 4WDs that were breaking down DSE's protective fences to access this Vline land.

Its main distinguishing feature is its large flower, which can be twice as large as any other native Geranium. The flower size ranges from 15-25mm in diameter, whereas the plant itself can spread to 1.5m wide.

Since the plant's rediscovery, about four other tiny populations were found from Glenroy to Castlemaine but it is feared that only one of these other populations may have survived the drought last decade (two populations have not been properly confirmed). Locally, Riddells Creek Landcare have searched in most suitable areas where the plant might grow and have found two new but very small populations at different places along the rail line as far as Clarkefield.

In Riddell, the areas where the plant occurs is always poor soils on areas with underlying basalt (volcanic) rock. The areas are prone to temporary inundation after heavy rains and this seems to be a requirement for its growing cycle. Like most native Geranium species, plants die back considerably after flowering leaving only a few 'winter leaves' (in Autumn-Winter). In the worst of the worst of the drought, 2008-9, all the plants completely disappeared. As a precaution, Riddells Creek Landcare quickly applied for a special DSE permit to collect seed before the last plants disappeared - we managed to find just 12 seeds! Thankfully, we can now confirm that in extreme drought conditions, plants die back completely to a large underground tuber and leaves re-emerge after good rain. The seeds we collected were grown on and have since been planted in Wybejong Park by Greening of Riddell. Because of the very specific requirements of the plant, plants grown in pots are proving hard to keep alive. Indeed, many plants were transplanted by DSE during the 2005 rail upgrade but none of the transplanted plants seem to have survived either. Given the specific and extreme condition this species endures, the added pressures of climate change would seem to make this species particularly vulnerable to extinction. What we are also finding is that because the Victorian Volcanic Plains have been decimated over the past two centuries (and is continuing today) there are no suitable, protected places left to act as a sanctuary for this species.

There is a significant discrepancy in the FFG Act (and the national EPBC Act) such that if a species is known to be extinct and isn't listed on the Act (this sometimes happens for species like Geranium sp. 1 that have been 'extinct' for a long time prior to the Act coming into existence), then if it is refound it isn't automatically protected by law until it is put through the formal processes of the Act! Madness!!

There are now nine species in Riddells Creek that are deemed to be in danger of extinction from the wild in Victoria and protected on the FFG Act. The other eight species are:
  1. Dianella amoena (Matted Flax-lily) - populations monitored by RCL members and plantings undertaken at suitable sites
  2. Stylidium armeria subsp. pilosifolium (Hairy-leaf Triggerplant) - discovered by RCL members
  3. Purple Donkey-orchid - population monitored for DSE by RCL members
  4. Amethyst Hairstreak Butterfly - population discovered by RCL members
  5. Yellow Ochre Butterfly - population discovered by RCL members
  6. Growling Grass-frog - frog heard by Melbourne Water employee a couple of years ago
  7. Brush-tailed Phascogale - RCL to soon make efforts to re-find this species in Riddell
  8. Powerful Owl - populations well known to RCL members up the Sandy Creek valley

Here is a link to the above species on NatureShare:

Birds of Riddells Creek - the complete guide!

Recently, RCL member David Francis posted a photo of a Crescent Honeyeater on NatureShare. Little did he know that this was the only species in the Birds of Riddells Creek collection that didn't have a photo on NatureShare.

So, we now have photos of 100% of the birds known to occur in Riddells Creek!

The species list for Riddells Creek was initiated from bird lists from our members Robert Blair, Ruary Bucknall, Lyn Hovey and myself, with individual additions contributed by other members (eg. Julie, Lachlan, James, Bill). A great achievement.

The full 'e-book' of our birds can be accessed here, with photos of all 84 of them:


Friday, 9 August 2013

It's all in the arm muscles

When a large male kangaroo stands tall and proud looking at me and warning me off, I am always in awe. Female kangaroos are impressed too apparently but for quite specific reasons. According to researchers at Murdoch University, the bigger the size of a male kangaroo's forearms, the greater the attraction to female kangaroos. For more detail on the study click here.

And check out this handsome male in our garden recently. Nice forearms.....

Now That's an Ovipositor!

A few more new species for Riddells Creek have been identified in the past couple of months. Many thanks to Ken Walker at the Museum for IDs (or confirmations) of insects and the scorpion, and to Ken Harris for the lacewing ID (click on the links to get more photos or details of the specific NatureShare observation).

Megalyra shuckardi. Now that's an ovipositor! Many wasps have a long, sinister-looking rear appendage that looks like a stinger but it isn't. It is an ovipositor or egg-laying device. It is not dangerous to humans but it is often used for laying eggs in other insects. Apparently this species is the largest megalyrid wasp in the world. Body length is about 2cm, ovipositor length about 8cm! ID by Ken Walker, who added "these wasps mainly parasitise wood-boring beetles."

Mictis profana (Crusader Bug). Thought to be 2nd or 3rd instar maybe. Flanged legs are a key feature.

Cillibus incisus. A type of Pie-dish Beetle.

Stenosmylus spp.. A nice-looking Lacewing. ID by Ken Harris who is currently researching a book on Victorian Lacewings.
Below is Cercophonius squama (Forest Scorpion or Wood Scorpion). This scorpion species hides under bark and in cracks in the wood and goes walkabout during the evening. In Melbourne and surrounds they are often moved into the house via firewood. It is the first scorpion species recorded for Riddells Creek on NatureShare.

We live in an amazing place! 
At the time of writing this article, the Riddells Creek collections on NatureShare contain 1239 species.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

RCL AGM - President's Report

Riddells Creek Landcare's AGM - President's Report 

Welcome and Thank You

Welcome everyone to Riddells Creek Landcare’s AGM.

Firstly I want to thank all of our members, for without their support Riddells Creek Landcare would not exist.

Most importantly, I want to thank the 2012-2013 committee for their passion and commitment to ensuring the protection, monitoring and management of our local environment. Without them we would achieve nothing! Ross Colliver our vice-president, Gill Best our secretary, Jacquey Booth our treasurer, our past president Russell Best and general committee members Ian McLean and Bill Hall, and David Francis who resigned last year.


Ways we communicate with our members and the community are via our various email broadcast lists, website (, new blog ‘Nuts about Nature’, Facebook page and brochure. We also advertise our events in community newspapers, local school newsletters and flyers.

Our ‘rclmembers’ email broadcast is used within our membership to inform everyone of upcoming events, and for those without email they receive information via conventional post. Our email broadcast list is also there for members to ask questions and generate discussion on sightings, experiences and interesting facts.

This year we have introduced our new newsletter format, aka our blog, ‘Nuts About Nature’. This newsletter format allows all members to contribute their sightings, interesting stories, little known facts and tips on species identifying skills anytime and allows these articles to reach our membership as they are submitted. Thanks to Russell for getting this up and running!

 We also communicate our activities and upcoming events via our website ( and continue to archive committee documentation on our committee website and google drive.

Our Facebook page now has 56 Likes. Our Facebook pages reaches out to the wider community letting them know what RCL is up to and allows them to interact with us as well via posts onto the page. Thanks Gill for maintaining our Facebook page!

Another way we promote the group and our interest in flora has been the production of RCL’s book “Macedon Range Flora: A photographic guide to Barrm Birrm”. Produced in 2008, it is still selling copies today and I’ll leave the details of that to Jacquey in her Treasurers’ report later. Since 2008 which saw 208 native plants photographed, RCL members have increased this number to 241 and these can be viewed via the NatureShare collection ‘Barrm Birrm Native Plants, Riddells Creek’.


Riddells Creek Landcare has many projects on the go, including NatureShare, species monitoring and management, Barrm Birrm protection, community education and information which includes our walks and talks and weed eradication.


NatureShare was launched in August 2011 after a huge amount of effort and inspiration from Russell Best and Reily Beacom. Since its launch, there has been a lot of input from the wider community and in the last two years 17,626 species, 9,700 observation and 300 collections have been added, phenomenal! This data contributes to our knowledge and appreciation of our Victorian flora and fauna and is invaluable.

Barrm Birrm protection

Barrm Birrm protection was the instigation for the formation of Riddells Creek Landcare. In 2005 ‘A Statement of Significance’ was prepared by Lachlan Milne and Russell Best to characterise and clarify the importance of this parcel of land. In 2009 Stylidium armeria subsp. pilosifolium (Hairy-leaf Triggerplant) was discovered and formally named by RCL members Russell Best and David Francis along with botanist Neville Walsh, adding weight to the significance of this area. In 2009 RCL made a submission to Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s (MRSC) discussion on the inappropriate subdivision of the Riddells Ranges Estate at their council meeting. Council made 5 recommendations, two of which are of particular interest and which still require action. Firstly, that Council request the State Government to explore the possibility of the acquisition of the land in the estate to add to the other flora and fauna reserves in the area and secondly that Council refer to the next budget, consideration of a funding allocation for the purposes of an expert study of the subject land. Both of these motions still require further action and RCL will be following these up more rigorously over the next year. RCL will continue to remove rubbish and weeds, and we will continue to monitor to the flora and fauna, weeds, erosion, traffic and rubbish throughout Barrm Birrm.

Due to the complexities and lack of action on resolving this inappropriate subdivision we decided to invite standing and running councillors to a discussion on the issues just before the last local council elections. This highlighted to those in attendance the complexities involved in this task. We have also been contacted by one of the landowners to help resolve this issue. Another idea from one of our committee members, Bill Hall (thanks Bill!) was to initiate a
collaboration with RMIT via Roger Hadgraft, Innovation Professor in Engineering Education and Sandra Jones, Professor of Employment Relations and Director of the Centre for Business Education Research (CBER) in the School of Management, to provided ~300 students from RMIT’s School of Management‘s unit ‘Strategic Management’ with complex, real-life situations as a case study. The situation with Barrm Birrm was seen to be complex enough to provide a good case.  The primary purpose was to support the students learning, build a relationship with RMIT, and of course for RCL to get some fresh ideas on how to move forward with action on Barrm Birrm Protection. During the semester the students worked on various scenarios of enhancing RCL, Ross Colliver and Russell Best presented RCL background and point of view. Thank you both for this!

The final presentation of a selection of students will be available on RCL’s website soon, but in the meantime here’s Ross’ summary on the final submission of the students...

“To make Riddells Creek Landcare stronger ......

1.  Give your members opportunities to do the things they want to do.  Keep the focus on

     protection of native flora and fauna, education, and support members’ interests and help

     them to form teams around specific projects that they manage themselves.

2.  Make the most of the skills and innovations within RCL, in particular its knowledge of,

     and tools for recording flora and fauna.

3.  Reach out to residents of Riddells Creek who aren’t yet members, and invite them in to your

     activities. Emphasise the values and beliefs behind what you do – that we have a    
     responsibility to look after our environment, and that learning about the flora and fauna of 
     Riddells is enjoyable and part of being a real resident.

4.  Keep track of how happy people are in their projects, because enthusiastic people is will

     spread the word about RCL, and bring in new ideas.

5.  To win protection for Barrm Birrm, find corporate partners willing to fund you for several 
     years to make BB part of a wider wildlife corridor. Don’t wait for government funding to start 
     this process.”

Species Monitoring and Management

Our endangered plant management project focuses mainly on the rail reserves. The threatened and endangered flora species we are trying to protect include Diuris punctata var. punctata,  Dianella amoena,  Geranium sp.1, Senecio cunninghamii var. Cunninghamii and the fauna species include  Trapezites luteus luteus and Jalmenus icilius. To date we have been unsuccessful in our funding applications to implement this management plan, but are currently awaiting an outcome from Caring for Country.

RCL conducted the yearly Diuris punctata survey in November 2012. During this survey plant numbers were again low due to low rainfall. Also towards the end of 2012 the gate restricting access to Biosite 3588 was repaired, Dianella amoena was planted on the rail reserve and Russell made a recommendation to DSE and V/Line to do their prescribed burn in two parts to protect butterfly species.

As well as keeping an eye on threatened species, we are always on the lookout for new species sightings. These are always happening and are now recorded on our blog ‘Nuts About Nature’, there are too many to mention, so I encourage you to check it out for yourself, the photography is fantastic, thanks Russell!

To assist our members monitor and record what species abide in and traverse their own backyards the committee has purchase 5 infrared digital cameras. The committee has been trialling these cameras so we can answer all your questions about how best to use. We will be holding a launch event during the second half of this year to let you know all about them.

Three great reasons why you should have a go and use them....

1. Find out what animals live at or visit your place: Focus on water points or favoured habitat. Do this at different seasons and notice how animal life (for example birds) changes with the seasons.

2. Find out what animals are passing through your place:  Look for animal pathways, breaks in fences, connections to the wider landscape.

3. Share your learning:  Write down and show us some photos of what you’ve found and learned. Post the report on the RCL blog ‘Nuts About Nature’ and share your observations on NatureShare

Here are some of the photos that have been taken on the cameras.....

Community Education and Information

Thanks Russell for leading two very successful and well attended walks over the last year. On September 2nd 2012 we held our annual community ‘Wildflower and Wattle Walk’ and on October 27th we held our ‘Spring Walk through Barrm Birrm’ with RCL and Australian Plant Society Mitchell members. On December 4th 2012 we held an end of year ‘Insect Event’ with the Entomological Society of Victoria. We all joined for a BBQ dinner followed by a walk through Barrm Birrm and the Entomological Society of Victoria put up some moth sheets to attract some night visitors. Unfortunately it was a bit chilly for our insect friends that night so many decided to stay home and missed the chance to show us their glory.

Clean Up Australia Day

In March 2013 we participated once again in Clean Up Australia Day - Barrm Birrm. Thanks to 13 volunteers who spent the morning picking up rubbish to keep our bush clean and safe for both ourselves and our wildlife. We are happy to report that each year the volume of rubbish decreases, but of course there are always those who use it as a dump for household furniture and appliances. We are grateful to MRSC for removing the rubbish we collect.

Landholder Schemes

Information about schemes landholders can apply for are advertised on our website and include the Melbourne Water’s (MW) Stream Frontage Program and Healthy Farms for Healthy Waterways, Trust for Nature and Land for Wildlife. Many of our members participate and benefit from these programs. We have also promoted, and our members have been involved in, Port Philip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority’s (PPWCMA) Small Farm Planning Workshop and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries program, soon to be up and running, Riddells Creek Serrated Tussock Project.

Landholders can also become involved in programs to help MW monitor our local environment. We have members involved in both their WaterWatch and Frog Census projects. Christina Cheers, president of Jacksons Creek EcoNetwork (JCEN) compiles results from all members groups involved in WaterWatch, why not have a look While things are looking good at Riddells Creek, monitoring by JCEN members has alerted MW to contamination events which have been followed up. If you would like to become involved check out the links on our website.

Rid Riddell of Weeds

We are continuing our weeding efforts on public land in Riddells Creek. Through funding provided by MRSC we have be able to continue our partnership with Greening of Riddell to eradicate outbreaks of Carpet weed/Blanket Weed (Galenia pubescens) as they are observed by the community.  We are also tackling other weed areas.


We have been successful in receiving $800 for weed control from MRSC and $500 from PPWCMA to help with administrative costs, which we use to help cover the cost of insurance for our members. We are awaiting the results of two grants: 1. To purchase sound recording equipment and 2. To implement our Rail Reserve Management Plan.

Political Activity

RCL is a member of the Jacksons Creek EcoNetwork, a network of 11 Landcare and Friends groups along Jacksons Creek and its tributaries. This network allows us to keep in touch with other natural resource management groups more effectively so we can coordinate events, projects, political activism and funding opportunities with greater effect. It also gives us a greater voice with organisations such as MW, PPWCMA and MRSC. We also have representation in Riddells Creek Sustainability and Transition Town Riddell. RCL also has a presence at the Riddells Creek Farmers Market and at the CFA expos. RCL has also made submissions to the Urban Growth Boundary, Riddells Creek Town Structure Plan Issue Paper and NCART and have been active in meeting with councillors.

What can we look forward to over the next twelve months?

·   Barrm Birrm protection: continuing to lobby MRSC to fulfil their commitment to request the 
    State Government to explore the possibility of the acquisition of the land in the estate, to add 
     to the other flora and fauna reserves in the area and to carry out an experty study of the land.

·    NatureShare: continue to encourage community involvment and watch NatureShare evolve.

·    Community education and information: more walks and talks, Clean up Australia Day,     
     WaterWatch and Frog Census.and more involvment with local schools.

·    Species monitoring and protection: continue monitoring our local enviornment for new 
     species and changes to species populations. Source funds to implement the Rail Reserve 
     Manangement Plan.

·    Rid Riddell of Weeds: continued efforts on weed control.

·    Wildlife Corridor: continue lobbying for the establishment of a wildlife corridor from 
     Macedon Park to Conglomerate Gully.

·    Junior Landcare: to establish a RCL Junior Landcare group.

·    Grant applications: source funds to support our projects.

·    And more..........

Once again I want to thank the RCL committee, Ross, Gill, Jacquey, Russell, Ian and Bill, for all their hard work over the past year in continuing the effort to preserve and protect our local environment.

Narelle Sutton