September 2018 Newsletter

Some of items of interest for Landcare Group members and supporters

  1. Community meeting on rabbit control on Saturday, 15 September
  2. New Rakali awareness sign at Aldgate Valley Reserve
  3. Pygmy Possum & Antechinus boxes erected by Landcare Group
  4. Trail cam results for Shanks Road Reserve

Scroll down for more information

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(1) Community meeting on rabbit control
– Aldgate Valley Community Hall, Saturday, 15 September

  • Have you noticed an increase in rabbits lately?
  • Are you concerned what impact they are having on the bush and the our gardens?
  • If so please join us for a community discussion on what we can do about it:

Aldgate Valley Community Hall
Nation Ridge Road
Saturday 15 September 2pm – 3pm

This will be a community discussion on concerns and actions we might take. We have invited Mark from the Natural Resources Management Board to talk to interested community members on possible options.

The meeting is for residents who live on Bandicoot Lane, Stevens Road and Nation Ridge Road (or nearby). If you wish more information or can’t attend but would like to keep in touch, call any of the folllowing:

•          Philip Fagan-Schmidt 0419 822 959
•          Alison Saunders 0438 072 775
•          David Mussared 0408 804 677 (Aldgate Valley Landcare Group)

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(2) New Rakali awareness sign at Aldgate Valley reserve
– Officially unveiled by Deputy Mayor Jan-Clair Wisdom


  Ed Douglas, Colin Phil Cook, David Mussared & Deputy Mayor Jan-Clair Wisdom

Adelaide Hills Council Deputy Mayor Jan-Clair Wisdom has unveiled two new awareness signs at the Aldgate Valley Reserve highlighting one of the district’s lesser-known native mammals.
Earlier this year a dead Rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster) was found drowned in a yabby net at the Reserve. Rakalis (like platypuses) frequently drown in ‘opera house’ nets, and in other forms of fish nets and yabby nets.

Rakalis, also known as ‘native otters’ and ‘water rats’, inhabit freshwater streams around Australia, including in the Adelaide Hills, where they are believed to be a threatened species.

Colin Phil Cook provided the beautiful photo used in the new sign, which is designed to alert reserve users to the existence of these beautiful aquatic animals. Jan-Clair Wisdom (who has announced she is standing for Mayor in the upcoming Council elections) has been a long-standing supporter of the Aldgate Valley Landcare Group and other Adelaide Hills volunteer conservation groups.


  Drowned Rakali found at the Aldgate Valley Reserve earlier this year (not the distinctive white tip on its tail).

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(3) Pygmy Possum & Antechinus Survey boxes
First two boxes installed by Landcare Volunteers


  Pygmy possum, Newland Head Conservation Park

Aldgate Valley Landcare Group volunteers Roger Fidler and David Mussared have installed the first two ‘pygmy possum’ nesting boxes at a conservation reserve in Aldgate Valley.

The boxes have been shown elsewhere to be an effective way of surveying for small marsupials such as western pygmy possums and yellow footed antechinuses. The boxes will be checked regularly for evidence that pygmy possums or antechinuses have taken up residence.

The Aldgate Valley boxes are part of a much larger survey effort being led by the Friends of Mylor Conservation Park and Friends of Scott Creek, which involves 75 boxes at multiple sites.

In July Roger Fidler attended a training field trip at Newland Head Conservation Park on the Fleurieu Peninsular to learn how the boxes have been successfully used in banksia woodland to discover thriving populations of the tiny western pygmy possums, and of antechinuses which also use the boxes.

Roger has also been involved helping assembling boxes from kits for the local survey.

Yellow footed antechinuses (Antechinus flavipes) are known to inhabit the Aldgate Valley area, and there are historical records of Western pygmy possums (Cercartetus concinnus) in nearby locations.


  Dead antechinus found in Aldgate Valley (cat kill).

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(4) Trail cam results for Shanks Road Reserve
– Lots of rabbits, a dog, a cat and a fox (but no bandicoots)

Trees for Life has recently adopted Shanks Road Reserve in Aldgate Valley as one of its many ‘Bush for Life’ sites, and is working with the Adelaide Hills Council and trained volunteers in a slow, careful program to reduce the site’s weediness and return it to ecological health.

Shanks Road Reserve – which is part of the Valley of the Bandicoots project – is a small, odd-shaped Council reserve about 50 metres along Shanks Road from Aldgate Valley Reserve (on the opposite side of the road). It contains an area of very high quality native vegetation, but also some very heavily weed-infested areas.

There is ample evidence of animal activity on the reserve, with numerous diggings, strongly suspected of being caused by rabbits. However, before beginning its weeding program, Trees for Life asked for help to make sure the diggings were not the result of Southern Brown bandicoot activity.

The Aldgate Valley Landcare Group placed a motion-sensitive trail cam at the reserve for two weeks. The camera was triggered 19 times by rabbits, four times by a dog, twice by a magpie and once by a cat – but (as expected at this site) there was no sign of bandicoots.

You can view a selection of the 5-second trail cam videos on YouTube here:

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