Saturday, February 26, 2011

Feral Dove Trapping Workshop

How many have you caught?
The Feral Spotted Turtle-dove trapping workshop today has been a great success with lots of new traps out there ready to catch some ferals. We had a big turnout with around 20 people showing up to learn about the program and find out about trapping feral doves on their property. We had lots of kids this time which gave the workshop a great family atmosphere.

The dove eradication program has been attracting attention interstate this weekend. Barbary Doves have been seen in small numbers around Melbourne and at least one pair have been trapped near the suburb of Brighton. Spotted Turtle-doves continue to infest Melbourne suburbs in huge numbers. Barbary Doves are still regularly seen around the suburbs of Adelaide, and both cities have thriving populations of the highly invasive Indian Myna. I've had several emails of support from people interstate who have heard of our community-based program of feral dove control.

This is encouraging news - so congratulations to everyone who came along today - there are folks in far off cities eagerly awaiting news of our progress.

Smiling faces and busy hands - a great combination!
 It is exciting to have so many new traps out in the community now as the Spotted Turtle-doves have been flourishing in the wetter-than-usual conditions and it is important to get some level of control on their population before they are able to spread farther afield.

Thanks are due to Land for Wildlife coordinator Jesse Carpenter who delivered a presentation outlining the whole program and the problems associated with avian pests. Also a warm thank you to Anthony Molyneux who generously gave up his Saturday morning to give his explanation of how important the feral doves are as a source of natural food for captive animals at the Alice Springs Desert Park.

Every extra trap makes a difference.
By the end of the day, everyone who wanted to build a trap for their yard had worked some magic with the chicken wire and designed and built their own. Some industrious folks had even managed to build a few spares, so these will go into circulation as "loaner" traps. If you didn't manage to get along to the workshop just drop us an email at and with these new spare traps in the program we should be able to drop round a trap for you to use in just a couple of weeks.

Thank you to everyone who came along and made the morning such a great success and thanks to the good people at Bloomin' Deserts Nursery who so kindly provided us with the space to run the workshop.

Lastly, please remember to keep conducting feral dove surveys around your home and around your suburb. A crucial part of this program is monitoring the feral dove population so that we can gauge the success of what we are doing. You can email details of your dove observations to or click on the Land for Wildlife sign above to visit the website and download a feral dove survey form.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Noogoora Burr in The Red Centre.

Noogoora Burra has been discovered in Trephina Gorge to the east of Alice Springs.
Noogoora Burr, Xanthium occidentale. Distinctive size and shape of leaves. Trephina Gorge. All images by Jane Addison.

The burrs.

Spreads quickly along river systems.
This is an invasive weed from the Americas and spreads along river systems. It is mildly toxic when it is younger and may cause contact dermatitis in humans and livestock. This weed is already well established through river systems in WA and the Top End.

Just another reason to be vigilant that no river sand is brought onto your property and if you have riverine habitat on your property this is another one to be on the lookout for.

For more information visit:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mexican Poppy - BEWARE OF RIVER SAND!!!

Mexican Poppy. Remove as soon as you see these seedlings as this is a fast-growing and fast-spreading weed.
G'day folks,
                  This is a note to remind you that you need to be extra vigilant that you don't bring river sand onto Land for Wildlife properties. Often river sand seems like a convenient option for construction projects - mainly for concreting - but it is a common way to inadvertently transport invasive weeds onto your property.

We'll keep reminding you about this as it has already been a problem for a few properties this year.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Central Australian Christmas story from Dave and Bess Nungarrayi Price

This is the fruit of the bush passionfruit, or Capparis spinosa and in Warlpiri, mingkilyananga. Try saying that with a mouthful of Christmas pudding. It grows along water courses in Central Australia, flowering and then fruiting in early December usually.
It's a small shrub but can get pretty big in the right conditions. We have one growing self seeded in our back yard from river sand that I imported to replace a small patch of lawn that had been destroyed by army grubs. it flowers every year and can get pretty luxuriant.

First come the buds.

The brilliant white flowers last only 24 hours and the fruit springs from the heart of the flower.

We were watching all this happen in our backyard.

I could photograph every stage of this Summer wonder sitting in my own backyard with a cold beer and a good book. Then came the vandals.

At first we were mesmerised. There seemed to be hundreds of these beautiful, delicate little butterflies decorating the shrub like angels on a Christmas tree. Soon new life covered the leaves. We were witnessing a miracle of nature.

This butterfly is actually different to the others featured in this story. While the Caper White is known to use the Bush Passionfruit, this is an interloper to proceedings known as the Lesser Wanderer, Danaus chrysippus.
We could watch the life cycle of one of nature's most beautiful creatures unfold before us in a matter of days.

And all of this had happened naturally.

The shrub was self-seeded, the butterflies invited themselves. We were thrilled.

Then our visitors, without a shred of shame, indulged in a frenzy of sexual activity right before our very eyes and died.

Now our bush passionfruit looks like this. The little, randy bastards didn't leave one leaf, not one flower and all the fruit is gone.
All text & images are by Dave and Bess Nungarrayi Price and are reproduced here by kind permission.

Monday, February 14, 2011


A blog is born! This web page will be yet another way that you can stay in touch with all the projects that the Land for Wildlife team is involved in.

As the site grows you'll have fact sheets, feral control information, workshop news, Land for Wildlife news updated regularly and links to all the most useful and interesting websites in the universe.

If you have problems, wildlife or plant ID queries or other questions about your property we cna get our experts to answer them here so that all our members can benefit.