All the latest news about bushcare in Hornsby Shire.
Bushcare eNews March 2021
Your Hornsby Shire Council Bushcare Newsletter for volunteers.
We look forward to seeing you at our many events for 2021.
2020 Bushcare Photo Competition Winners
Equal First © Petra Holland – Berowra Creek - Crosslands
Misty winter mornings are magical down at Crosslands and every morning you go down there the atmosphere is different. This morning had the perfect light and mist for a good photo.
Equal First © Helen Smith – Misty Morning
Taken on Beryl Fire Trail in Mt Colah in July 2020. The low light, soft colours and sparkling spider webs made it a magic scene. This image became my most relaxing computer background during this strange year.
Equal Third © Marie Kobler – Eastern Yellow Robin
This photograph always makes me smile because the Eastern Yellow Robin was in good light and looks so pleased with its spidery meal. Eastern yellow robins often perch on the side of tree trunks, about a metre off the ground, patiently waiting for their prey to appear. This robin on the firetrails at Cherrybrook seemed quite happy to show me its catch.
© Marie Kobler – Sacred Kingfisher
There are a few pairs of sacred kingfishers with territories along the Cherrybrook firetrails. In springtime I can hear them calling to each other, which alerts me to their whereabouts. Sometimes you just see a dash of blue as they zoom past. I climbed up off the track, over rocks and fallen tree branches to get this shot.
© David Hooper – Bushfires are no laughing matter
Fires like the Apocalypse threatened my Aussie backyard from August 2019 to February 2020...the East Coast on fire like never before. Backing onto Berowra Valley National Park, we waited on edge for the Gosper’s Mountain Fire to jump the Hawkesbury River and race up the gorges and gullies to threaten our home. The bushland behind our home had been bird, slither, insect heaven the year before. A lone kookaburra cried as he surveyed the scene.
© Helen Smith – Breakfast at Oxley Reserve
There is so much happening on this one young eucalypt leaf! Psyllid nymphs (aka lerps) are providing a sugary breakfast for a fly and a Polyrachis Yellow-tailed ant. One nymph, almost naked, is making a new protective shell, and a batch of psyllid eggs will go on to provide breakfast for the ants and flies of the future.
© Sue Patterson – Surface Tension Byles Creek
I’m always fascinated by tiny details in nature & it was the surface tension of this leaf that grabbed my attention for this photo. Especially the concentric circles around the leaves and twigs as they meet the water and the contrast between the leaf above and below the water surface. And then there’s the ethereal white plant material that floats above the surface, too light to break the surface at all.
© Anne Hadgraft – The gift of rain
After several days rain in July 2020 I was taking my usual walk through our Bushcare site at Burns Road South Beecroft. The vegetation is usually quite green on this walk and the flash of white from the fungi caught my attention. It looked so delicate I took a photo to show the rest of the team who work on the site.
© Ana Rubio – Coming out for air
Few plants can live in salty and fresh environments but to do this they need some special adaptations/features. Dig below the surface where mangrove live and you will find smelly black mud a sign of anoxic sediment (i.e.sediment that is depleted of oxygen) but plant roots need oxygen to thrive. Grey mangroves, like the ones you can find in the Hawkesbury, have solved this problem by developing snorkels. These lateral roots that grow upwards out of the sediment are called pneumatophores and they play a number of roles in the biology of mangroves allowing them to tolerate broad ranges of salinity, temperature and soil moisture. I am fascinated by the strategies that mangroves have developed in addition to the incredible important role they play in our waterways offering habitat for juvenile fish and prawns as well as establishing natural structures in the foreshore protecting from erosion.
© Dayani Powter – Diamond Slug
While slowly walking along the track, I noticed the tree before the slug, it took me by surprise - it was Big but camouflaged well at a glance.
© Verena Burkhardt – Hanging Swamp, Quarry Road Trail
A peaceful place where water features are forever changing, from tiny tadpoles to small frogs.
© Verne Mantova – Hawkesbury River Wisemans Ferry
I walk often along my road which is adjacent to the Hawkesbury River where this photo was taken in Wisemans Ferry. I also observe how the river and surrounds change through the seasons. I took this photo as the reflections on the water at the time were particularly beautiful. They also show the renewal of the bush post the November December bushfire 2019.
© Kathryn Hill – Heritage Steps June 2020
During the first lockdown I went for many early morning walks, during which I discovered the Heritage Steps quite by accident. I thought their historical significance made them a worthy topic for the Bushcare photo competition. In this photo I aimed to capture the subdued early morning light.
© Xian Zeng – Leucopogon amplexicaulis
It was during last Aug and my family had a bushwalking near Berowra Creek in Ku Ring Gai. I was amazed by these flowers during this trip as they are indicators of the coming Spring. It is also a similar color as peach blossom, which is easy to find in my hometown in spring.
© Julie Green – Mist in the Valley
The photo was taken on one of the many bushwalks (for exercise) our family enjoyed during the first COVID lockdown. A positive from COVID was there was time to enjoy the beauty of our bushland. The fog made for a mysterious feeling of what lay beneath in the valleys and ridges.
2019 Bushcare Photo Competition Winners
Spotted pardalote with nesting material - Marie Kobler
I watched, mesmerised, as this beautiful female spotted pardalote hopped from one branch to another with nesting material in her bill. She may have seen me as she wouldn’t fly into her nest, a tunnel on the bank of a creek bed, until her partner returned with his bounty, and they both flew in together. I had chanced upon her by taking a few steps off the firetrail at the top of Berowra Valley National Park at Cherrybrook and waiting to see what turned up. I love looking at the amazing detail of these tiny birds. Marie
Superb Fairy wren with banksia - Marie Kobler
I love watching birds but it’s my style to just sit and wait. So I often stop in a ‘birdy’ spot and quietly pull out some weeds or pick up some rubbish. Quite often while so occupied, birds will flitter by. This day a family of superb fairywrens hopped onto a nearby banksia at a biofiltration site in Cherrybrook and it was a case of drop the bidens, point the camera and click, click, click. This photo shows how small the female fairywren is compared to the giant candles on the banksia. Marie
Peron (Peron's Tree Frog) - Danny Burkhardt
Fast Facts Peron's Tree Frog (Litoria peronii) - A common tree frog of Sydney area and eastern states (Vic, NSW, Qld) - Can change colour quickly; pale green and gray by day; reddish brown with emerald green flecks at night. Also black and yellow markings on thighs. - Lives in forest habitats but also forages in grassland and open areas. - Drill-like call, aka 'maniacal cackle'. Danny
White faced Grey Heron at the Lakes of Cherrybrook - Marie Kobler
The viewing platform on the Lakes of Cherrybrook is not only for people; it is also a popular place for birds to survey their territory. The Lakes is a rich bird habitat and I enjoy seeing locals and visitors sharing this peaceful park. This white-faced heron seems quietly contemplative as it rests on the railing. The greens and greys of this photo are soothing to the eye. Marie
He cut a few corners this Leaf Curler - Helen Curry
I took this photo on a damp, wintery morning in June. I was with some primary aged kids and we were joking about how this leaf curling spider was probably a bit lazy because he cut so many corners making his web. The sun was shining at the perfect angle to make the dew sparkle. I couldn’t get it to show up in the photo at all so I cheated a little bit and sprayed the web with some water from my spray bottle. Then I took heaps of photos of it with my iPhone. Most of them were duds! But this image jumped out at me straight away. I fiddled a bit with the filters to make the web stand out a bit more and, ta dah! Helen
Angophora in shadows - Sue Patterson
I love the way these shadows go from crisp edges from leaves close to the tree to soft, hazy edges from leaves further away. And all of this against the incredibly smooth bark of the tree, with the most wonderful colours and textures from different bark layers and resin. How lucky we are to live near such natural beauty in the Australian bush. Sue
Big brother is watching you - Ana Rubio
Each year we are visited by a pair of tawny frogmouths that sit in the tree that leans over our balcony. Some years they come for weeks other times for a day or two, always to the same nook on the same branch - who knows why? To our surprise this year they showed up with a new addition. How wonderful to see a marriage that's stood the test of time! Ana
Turpentiens to Fishponds - John Martyn
When you pass north towards Fishponds out of the lush, tall blue gum forest of the Hornsby Valley volcanic rocks you might expect to pass into sandstone woodland, but actually tall forest persists. Except that it’s of turpentines now and you wander down an avenue that’s reminiscent of a European park or the tree-lined entrance to a stately home. Best do this walk in winter when the sun angle is low and it’s slightly misty: the light is best then. John
Imposing Angophora - Daniel Burkhardt
It was late in the afternoon of a lazy, hazy day. The setting sun cast no shadows but an eerie light to remind us of Nature's presence. Next time you're near a tall tree, step closer and look up. Danny
Never say die - Verena Burkhardt
The picture simply explains it all! Nature is hanging in there and will continue long after we are gone! Verena
The land that time forgot - Ana Rubio
We've yet to see any dinosaurs, but the Blue Gum High Forest along Dog Pound Creek feels like something out of Jurassic Park. The giant smooth skinned mast posts stretch to the sky from a bed of ferns. Go at sunset or sunrise and watch the sunbeams extruding through these endangered ecological community of trees. This is one of the Shire's Bio Banking sites which hopefully means that it will remain protected. How amazing to have this beautiful walk on our doorstep! Ana
Good Monring Deerubin River - Helen Curry
This image was taken early in the morning at Tipper’s lookout in Muogamarra Nature Reserve. The sun was low in the winter sky so the tree was silhouetted and the light off the river was blue and hazy. All the Aboriginal groups around this area called the Hawkesbury River the Deerubbin. I sometimes like to reflect on how it would have been to sit in this spot hundreds, or even thousands of years ago looking out over the Deerubbin, listening to the Guringai language around me, smelling the smoke of the camp fires and chowing down on some bush tucker. I wonder about the connection the Guringai people have with this incredible country that has provided everything they needed for tens of thousands of years. Helen
Triple headed Purple Flag - David-Hooper
On Armistice Day Centenary, 11 November 2018, six triple-headed three petal blooms burst forth at first light. And by dusk during The Last Post, ashes to ashes dust to dust, the blooms waved for the last time, shrivelled up and were gone. David
Love in Flight - David Hooper
Is nothing sacred in intimate moments? As hover flies demonstrate ‘Nothing’ is impossible, ‘cos where there is a will, there is a way!’ David
Nigel a pop eyed Soldier Beetle peeping over a stalk of grass - David Hooper
A skinny tiny critter 10mm long and 2mm wide climbing a pigeon grass stalk, stops, turns, heads behind the seed head, hiding from me. Then arrives at the summit, looks at me then turns to survey the view from way up there…click click. This guy is so tiny but character all over his face, eyes popping, antenna waving, looking a million dollars in his resplendent suit. Can't see his detail with the naked eye, but macro in focus…Nigel is a soldier beetle wow wow wow. David
Banksia spinulosa Verena Burkhardt - Quarry Road Dural
Banksia spinulosa (Hairpin Banksia) is my favourite Banksia to feel and touch, as well as admiring its beautiful colour. Varena
Graphium sarpedon (Blue Triangle Butterfly) - Ron Watts
Graphium sarpedon, the Blue Triangle or Common Bluebottle is a fairly frequent visitor to Eastern Australian gardens. It’s tricky to photograph because it stays in one place only a few seconds – this, after all, is its only defence from predation. A long lens is needed for such a small, skittish subject, making it hard to focus on. Any shot is a sort of fluke. I was lucky this one landed on a Correa reflexa leaf within shooting range, providing a nice image of a native butterfly on native vegetation. Ron
Gratitude - Nikki Volonte
As I watch the sun go down, I give thanks to nature. All the beauty and tranquillity that surrounds me in this moment is my meditation, a moment for me to be connected to earth without noise, chaos and expectations. This is one of my favourite little spots in the Hornsby Shire where I feel peace, contentment and gratitude. Nikki
Angophora floribunda Verne Mantova
I love to walk along the road by the river and admire trees and plants that are out and different birds visiting. I take photos of many through the seasons. l particularly like to stop by this stand of Angophora floribunda which are old and gnarled and admire them framing the Hawkesbury River. I muse that I am at one of the further reaches of Hornsby Council and a magic place within the forgotten valley of Wisemans Ferry. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful varied bushland. I love trees and it always amazes me that these come from a tiny seed like a dust spec. Verne
Find out about upcoming Bushcare events