whats been happening last 12 months from 2021 july to July 2022
restoration and Rehabilitation continues
The impact of the the 2019/20 fires and flooding is still very obvious, and the more recent exceptionally wet weather continues to hamper recovery efforts. Natural and assisted regeneration seems very slow and it will be years before the country can support pre-fire vegetation diversity and wildlife populations. We continue supporting local wildlife as it struggles with such a transformed environment. Talking with a Gundungurra elder, Uncle David, we see the country as having a severe wound that is going to take continuous multiple treatments to heal. We have spoken to Australian Aboriginal practitioners and teachers of cultural slow burning about possibilities at Rocklily, but since the fires the landscape has become so distorted and alien that there is little confidence in the application of slow burning principles. Our efforts continue to focus on helping our land live up to the name of Wombeyan, which means 'grassy valley' rather than ‘weed-infested-valley-filled-with-hundreds-of-tightly-packed-eucalypt-seedlings-and-both-standing-and-fallen-dead-trees.’
We are working slowly, bit by bit, clearing the invasive weeds and thinning the crowded saplings to allow the return of native grasses and shrubs. Additionally, we have planted close to 300 trees and shrubs in an effort to have blossom and nectar year around, for birds, possums and insects. Our European bees disappeared, despite support feeding, in early 2022 along with most of the native bee population; it was just too wet for too long with rain washing nectar and pollen away. We have planted small long-flowering ground covers under all our remaining fruit trees to entice what's left to pollinate and provide fruit for birds, bats and us. This tiring work is where our volunteers can make such a difference.
It seems we are making progress as after a fairly quiet first year we began hearing increased bird, frog and insect noises. Now, in 2022, the Eastern Rosellas, Magpies, Currawongs, Bower birds, Herons, and ducks must have been breeding as numbers are increasing. Even some of the 40-odd nest boxes we’ve installed have scratch and chewing marks around the entrance holes. We see our 2 king parrots loitering near the appropriate nest boxes. 3 Glossy Cockatoos and 6 Gang Gangs have been seen, and we have our fingers crossed that the special cocka-tubes and nest boxes setup for them encourage local breeding again. We’ve spied a pair of yellow tail black cockatoos, some Willy Wagtails, Blue Wrens, Eastern spinebills, various micro bats and we like to think its a Friar Bird we released that has returned with a mate.
There’s now a small family of mountain brush-tail possums, living close by, with a joey seen riding on mum's back. The Greater Gliders are around and we’ve heard the distinctive sound of the Yellow bellied glider only once, but we are told there is now a pair observed by survey scientists nearby. We have caught a poor image of what we think is a Glider just below a nest box, and we are still trialing a new wildlife camera before we purchase more.
There’s still much work to be done to control erosion and protect our dams and creek lines from from further silting and clogging up with debris. We seem to be constantly collecting rocks to fill retaining wall gabions and moving silt. Willing volunteers are again vital in completing these projects.
Support feeding continues for released and wild animals and it allows us to monitor their condition, such as observing the tail thickness on kangaroos wallabies and wallaroos. Medow hay is available year round at our main shed as the dense regrowth of weeds and eucalyptus seedlings is blocking the establishment of edible grass and understory. Observation through wildlife cameras and our own eyes informs our feeding regime and even though some loss of condition in winter has been noticed in wombats as well as macropods, we are heartened by the increase in joey numbers.
We sit, watch and listen to Country, hoping our work is appropriate so that Rocklily becomes a place of accelerated renewal in the larger area we inhabit. Dianna and Warwick at Rocklily email@example.com 02 48435933