Author Archives: robertread762

Abrolhos Trip

Whale.jpgA group of ANN Field Naturalists 2016, visited “The Abrolhos”. The Abrolhos is sited in a sanctuary and the waters surrounding the islands are protected.  The trip included the history of the Abrolhos – the shipwreck Batavia and the mutineers.  Activities such as snorkelling, fishing, glass bottom boat viewing, visiting islands and rock pooling were included.

Some of the islands are breeding grounds for different bird species such as Lesser & Brown Noddys, Terns, Ospreys, Cormorants and Sea Eagles.  Many birds nest on beaches, be on the lookout for eggs as they are easily trodden on.  Sea Lions were spotted on the islands and close to shore.  Refrain from getting too close to all birds and animals and avoid being between parents and their babies.   Sit or kneel when taking photos so that you are not a threat and you will go home with some great memories.

I indicated that I would love to see a whale close up.  One day, whilst sailing between the islands we had a fantastic encounter with a whale – just beyond the bow that also came up to the side of the boat.  A WOW moment!  Not to be outdone, a pod of dolphins decided to put on a live show surfing, jumping and bumping each other just below the bow and to the stern of the ship.  Whales are rather slow in comparison to surfing dolphins.  Neither are easy to photograph as it is extremely difficult to judge where they will surface and on a boat that is rocking side to side/up and down.  For me, this was the highlight of the trip.

Marilyn

Southwest Australia’s Global Biodiversity Hotspot

 

2016

400th anniversary of the first European Landing in Australia

The Western Australian Naturalists’ Club cordially invites naturalists over Australia to attend the eighth Australian Naturalists’ Network Get-Together to be held at Woodman Point, near Perth, in 2016.

This circular gives;

  • an introduction to the Southwest, (botanical and historical),
  • dates of the ANN2016 and associated tours,
  • details of location, format, accommodation and catering,
  • details of pre and post tours,
  • cost of events and accommodation,
  • enrolment form, and
  • details of timing and payment options.

Introduction to the Southwest

The unique biogeographic region of Southwest Australia, stretching from Shark Bay in the north to Israelite Bay in the south, covers over 300 000 square kilometres and is recognised as an international biodiversity hotspot. https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/conservation/hotspots. Briefly a Global Biodiversity Hot Spot is one where there are over 1500 endemic plant species and where 70% of the land has been cleared.

The Southwest of Western Australia has over 5710 plant species and some 3000 (52.5%) are endemic. The uniqueness of our flora is the result of growing in an area which has been exposed and uninfluenced by glaciation or volcanism for at least 290 million years, which has been totally isolated by seas and deserts for 30 million years and which has had a drying summer climate for 10-15 million years. Professor Stephen Hopper (UWA and former Director of Kew Gardens, London and Kings Park, Perth) termed it OCBIL – old climate-buffered infertile landscape. This region also has 12 species of mammals, 13 species of bird, 27 reptile species and 28 species of frog that are endemic.

(http://awsassets.wwf.org.au/downloads/wa006_swer_jewel_of_the_australian_continent_1apr06.pdf)

Western Australia also has played a significant part in the European discovery of the Great South Land. http://museum.wa.gov.au/maritimearchaeologydb/maritimereports/findingancientlandillustratedresearchessay.

On the 25th of October 1616, Captain Dirk Hartog arrived on the Dutch East India Company vessel the

Eendracht at Shark Bay. By nailing an inscribed pewter plate to a wooden post at the site now known as Cape Inscription on Dirk Hartog Island, he and his crew made the first recorded European landing on Australian soil – 400 years ago this year. http://museum.wa.gov.au/explore/dirkhartog.

In 1697, after exploring the Swan River and collecting some plants, William de Vlamingh landed at Cape Inscription and removed the original plate and replaced it with one of his own. Hartog’s plate is now housed at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Vlamingh’s plate is on display in the Shipwreck Gallery of the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle. ANN2016 participants will have an opportunity to see the plate during one of the scheduled tours.

Interestingly for botanists, Vlamingh’s collections would have been the earliest from Australia had they survived. Only two specimens were found in Batavia many years later, then incorrectly identified as ferns, and finally correctly named in the early 1800s by Robert Brown (naturalist aboard Mathew Flinders’ Investigator) as Acacia truncata and Synaphea spinulosa from the Swan River area. However in 1699, the British explorer William Dampier also landed at Shark Bay and explored the surrounding area and further north. Dampier was interested in the country and collected and documented many plant and other specimens; 24 plant specimens and documentation survived a ship wreck and now are in the FieldingDruce Herbarium in Oxford– the first scientific collection of plants and other specimens from Australia.

During the Get-Together and the associated tours you will have numerous opportunities to view many of the species that are unique to the Southwest and to visit exhibitions and displays relating to European discovery and exploration as well as learning about the Noongar people, the original inhabitants of the area, and their relationship to the land and sea.

 

 

Tasmanian Field Naturalist Club report

See http://tasfieldnats.weebly.com/uploads/1/7/5/7/17570703/ann_report-dtp.pdf

For photos see https://www.flickr.com/groups/tfnc/pool/tags/2014_Oct_ANN/

Hobart ANN report from Val Hocking

Sunday Mt Wellington visit. On our only cloudy damp day, we ascended Mt Wellington and my bus stopped at The Springs car park where we had a delightful walk to the Spinx Rocks passing bushes of red berries of the Pink Mountain Berry Leptecophyla juniparina and pink and purple berries of the spreading Cheeseberry Cyathodes straminea . There was also lots of white daisy bush and flowering cream Mountain Needlebushes Hakea lissosperma. Many rocks were covered in white and shades of green and grey lichens, adding more beauty in the misty day. Later we drove to the top of the mountain and had to be content to accept the lovely views of Hobart’s waterways from a picture.

Our final talk on Sun night was based around Jelly fish and how large numbers can be a sign of overfishing and other enviromental destruction.

Words of thanks from West Australia Field Nats summed up our great week together and invited us to Perth in Aug/Sept 2016

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Orange myrtle (beech) fungi Cyttaria sp. seen at The Styzx State Park

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Bartailed Godwits seen at Marion Bay. These birds migrated from above the Arctic Circle where they breed

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Spreading Cheeseberry cyanthodes straminea.

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Pink Mountain Berry Leptecophylla juniperina

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Pineapple Candle Heath Richea drachophylla seen half way up Mt Wellington

ANN Get-Together 2014 Hobart, Tasmania, an orange theme

What was the highlight of the ANN Get-together in Hobart.  After much thought and going through my diary and photos I decided that the colour ORANGE presented some amazing results.

The Fairy Lanterns (Thismia rodwayi) which is a very small herb with bright orange flowers that are likened to tiny fairy lanterns on the forest floor. They are incapable of photosynthesis but take their energy from fungus and can be found covered in leaf litter in very isolated areas. The roots are wormlike. On our forest walks several people tried to find these elusive plants but failed. Just as well we had a sample in an ice cream container.

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In the Styx Forest there were orange berry-like  fungi hanging from the trees, ground mushrooms and orange fungi attached too dead decaying tree branches on the forest floor.

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Adventure Bay, Bruny Island on the rocks out near Penguin Island rock pools was a bright orange lichen on the rocks.

Even Barb’s Hermit crab was orange.

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Lichen, AdventureBay near Penguin Island, Bruny Island

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The live-bearing sea star at the Tessellated Pavement rock pools was described as apricot-orange. This is the first sea star known to brood its young within the body. The babies leave the mother through the dorsal plates and crawl away. Apparently the larger juveniles can cannibalise the younger ones before birth.2- 018

In the Hartz Mountains there was orange dotted all through the habitats from flowering forest trees to heath in the moor lands and the mosses and lichens in the wet alpine areas.

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Even the Pineapple Candle Heath on Mt. Wellington had an orange presentation for us.

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Now to look forward to Perth in 2016 for the next ANN Get-together.

Congratulations to all who made this amazing event possible.

By Rhondda Tomlinson

MINUTES OF THE 2014 GENERAL MEETING OF ANN

MINUTES OF THE GENERAL MEETING OF THE AUSTRALIAN NATURALISTS NETWORK

Held at “The Lea”, Hobart, on Saturday 25 October 2014 commencing at 4.00 pm.

 

  1. Opening and welcome

ANN Interim Steering Committee (ISC) member John Gregurke (FNC of Ballarat) opened the meeting and welcomed those present.

 

  1. Attendance and apologies

Sixty-eight naturalists were present, drawn from the following network member groups:

Alice Springs FNC (3) Dubbo FNC (2) Qld NC & Fassifern FNC (1)
Ararat & District FNC (2) FNC Victoria (2) Sale & District FNC (8)
FNC Ballarat (8) Geelong FNC (3) Stanthorpe FNC (Qld) (5)
Bendigo FNC (2) King Island FNC (2) Tasmanian FNC (1+)
Castlemaine FNC (2) Latrobe Valley FNC (3) Toodyay NC (WA) (2)
Central North (Tas.) FNC (1) Launceston FNC (3) Western Aust. NATS (18)

Clubs represented at the 2014 Get-Together but not at this meeting: FNA of Canberra & ACT, Hamilton FNC (Vic.)

Apologies:

Bruce & Estelle Adams, Cary & Joan Breakey, Peter & Norma Garlick, Russell & Pat Green, Bob Read, Dick & Shirley Southcombe.

 

  1. Appointment of chairperson and secretary for this meeting

John Gregurke (FNC of Ballarat) took the chair, explaining that ISC Chair Russell Green (FNC Victoria) had resigned from the committee in June 2014.

ISC Secretary Phil Rayment (Latrobe Valley FNC) recorded the minutes.

 

  1. Reports

 

4.1     2012 Get-Together, held in Canberra, hosted by FNA of Canberra Inc.

Phil Rayment noted that the highly successful and rewarding 2012 Get-Together held in Canberra had drawn on its extensive range of natural history experts, institutions and field sites to provide an excellent program. The need for careful financial planning for Get-Togethers was highlighted by the fact that 61 out-of-ACT folk finally participated despite there having originally been 78 deposit-paid registrations.

 

4.2       ANN Web-master

John Gregurke reported that the ANN website incorporates the register, minutes of committee and general meetings and information about past and future Get-Togethers. He requested submissions of reports and photos from the 2014 Get-Together – photo files should be limited to approx. 200MB. Photographers would be acknowledged unless individuals expressly requested that their names not be shown.

Following discussion of the privacy issues involved, it was decided that a planned group photo of the 2014 participants to be placed on the website should be accompanied only by a list of represented clubs, and not names of the individuals.

 

4.3       ANN Register Coordinator

John Gregurke reported that the ANN Register has recently been updated and now includes information for around 56 natural history groups. Since 2012, some newly found clubs have been added and some have ceased operation. Network clubs have been provided with hard copies as an alternative to website access. John stressed the importance of regularly sending him updates to published information.

 

4.4       SEANA Treasurer re ANN Camp Account

Denis Thurgood (FNC Ballarat) explained that the ANN Camp Account currently holds approx. $4500 (mostly in a term deposit) being in the main the balance of funds from the Victorian High Country Get-Together organised by SEANA. The account was originally set up with small subscriptions when the register was first developed by Dick Southcombe. The account is being drawn on to cover steering committee expenses.

The practice has been for each Get-Together host club to forward seed funding (to cover venue deposits, etc.) to the next host, and the Tasmanian FNC is asked to forward the relevant funds via Denis Thurgood to the 2016 host club, the WA NATS.

 

Motion: That the four above reports be received.

Moved Peter Dalman, seconded Geoff Lay and carried.

 

  1. General business

            5.1       Draft statement of purposes of ANN

 

The following draft Statement of Purposes for the ANN was approved by the ISC for consideration at this general meeting, and circulated to network member groups.

The purposes of the Australian Naturalists Network are:

i       To increase knowledge of, and encourage the preservation and protection of the natural environment.

ii      To foster and promote communication and cooperation between Field Naturalists Clubs and other natural history groups from all states and territories of Australia.

iii     To initiate and encourage member clubs to host biennial Get-togethers which further the appreciation and study of natural history.

iv     Maintain and publish a register of Field Naturalists Clubs and other natural history groups from all states and territories of Australia.

v      To support and promote conservation issues, advocating well-researched strategies.

vi     To be acknowledged as a responsible apolitical voice on environmental matters.

vii    To encourage the establishment of new natural history clubs.

viii   To provide and disseminate natural environment information, at whatever level required, in pursuit of the above items.

The draft was read out. In discussion, it was acknowledged that its scope is broad-ranging, and deliberately so.

Motion: That the draft statement of purposes as circulated and read be adopted by the ANN.

Moved Eddie Dell, seconded Geoff Campbell and carried unanimously.

 

5.2       Election of office-bearers for 2014-2016

Motion: That the management group for the ANN be henceforth named the ANN Steering Committee, to have the same responsibilities as earlier assigned to the ANN Interim Steering Committee.

Moved Claire Dalman, seconded Elva Letts and carried.

The meeting chair called for nominations to fill four executive positions for 2014-2016, namely Chairperson, Secretary, Web-master and Register Coordinator. (The SEANA Inc ANN Camp Account is managed at present by the SEANA Treasurer, currently Denis Thurgood (FNC Ballarat).)

Chairperson: Nominated – Pam Ghirardi, moved Eddie Dell, seconded Lucy Mandyczewsky and declared elected.

Secretary: Nominated – Phil Rayment, moved John Gregurke, seconded Jannie Lay and declared elected.

Web-master: No nominations were received from the floor.

(Note added later: Subsequent to the meeting, Robert Read volunteered to take on this role, and the executive accepted his offer.)

Register Coordinator: Nominated – John Gregurke, moved Phil Rayment, seconded Wayne Clarke and declared elected.

 

5.3       Nominations for ordinary membership of Steering Committee for 2014-2016

Steering Committee ordinary membership is at present deliberately flexible. At ANN 2012, it was agreed that the committee should preferably include at least one member from each state/ territory having clubs that have participated in ANN Get-Togethers, supplemented by past and present SEANA Committee members who have attended at least one Get-Together. It was agreed that this process should continue for the time being.

 

5.4       Arrangements for the 2016 ANN Get-Together

Roz Hart (WA NATS) confirmed an offer from the Western Australian Naturalists Club to host the 2016 Get-Together in the Perth region, to be held during the last week of August and the first week of September. The WA NATS would welcome any suggestions for the event, with contact details to be available on their website. The Tasmanian FNC will provide some feedback on what/ what not to do based on their experience.

In discussion, it emerged that participants would welcome some spare time during Get-Togethers, such as an evening off, or preferably a half-day free near the middle of the program.

 

5.5       Host Club for 2018 ANN Get-Together

Those present were asked to nominate regions suited to a future Get-Together, with suggestions including the Flinders Ranges, the Eyre Peninsula, the Grampians and Otways, the Kimberley and some NSW options.

John Gregurke indicated that the clubs based in Ballarat, Geelong, Ararat and Hamilton would in the lead-up to the 2016 Get-Together investigate the possibility of running an event in 2018 focussing on the Grampians, the Otways and the Surf Coast.

In discussion, it was agreed that there is a need to provide a range of accommodation options/levels. Also there was strong agreement that all excursion participants should travel by coach, without trailing private vehicles.

 

5.6       Natural environment issues of concern at a national level

Two issues of concern raised in discussion:

*          The absence of a Minister for Science in the current federal government, which potentially limits input on natural environment issues and implies a devaluation of issues which require a scientific perspective;

*          The possibility that the current federal government will move to hand back powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to the states, thereby limiting the possibility of taking a national perspective on conservation matters.

The secretary to write to the Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment to highlight these concerns.

 

5.7 Motion of thanks to the Tasmanian FNC

Motion: That the Tasmanian FNC be thanked for hosting an extremely well organised, rewarding and enjoyable 2014 Get-Together, with an excellent program of speakers and field trips.

Moved Phil Rayment, seconded John Gregurke and carried with acclamation.

 

  1. Next meeting

The next general meeting will be held during the 2016 Get-Together in Perth, hosted by the WA NATS.

 

 

Phil Rayment, Secretary, ANN Steering Committee

e-mail: philrayment@dcsi.net.au

phone: 03 5174 1730

 

Tasman Peninsula

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Searchers on the tesselated pavement (photo Rosalie Breen)

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