40-spot Field day – Inala November 2020

Amongst the towering white gums on Inala, Bruny Land for Wildlife owners saw, heard and learnt about the cryptic Forty-spotted pardalotes from Dr Sally Bryant and our very own Tonia Cochran.

Hosted by BIEN, this training day marked the beginning of an exciting citizen science project that will focus initially on helping the 40-spots survive and thrive.

About 20 people from all over the island first learnt how to identify 40 spots and differentiate them from their two cousins – the Striated and the Spotted pardalotes – and also to identify the Manna or White gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) on which these little dears are completely dependent.

The 40-spots are very unusual animals in that they actually farm their food source. Close-up filming has revealed that these tiny birds use their hooked beak to wound the stalks of the Manna gum to promote manna – a sugary secretion that they eat.

The hooked beak of the 40-spot is used to farm crystal ‘manna’ on white gums

Over the past 40 years, the population of the 40-spots has plummeted by 60%. Being completely dependent on Manna gum makes them very vulnerable and Manna gum is very sensitive to drought.

Huge swathes of Manna gum habitat has declined due to climate change and many former strongholds of the 40-spot are now empty of birds.

Off-shore islands now hold most of the 40-spot populations, and Bruny is of critical importance.

This is why BIEN is engaging with citizen scientists to help the birds survive and thrive.

We have reasonable ideas of where the 40-spots have been in the past, where people have put up nest boxes for them, and where people have planted white gums to encourage new colonies, and we are now asking people to monitor populations using the nest boxes and in suitable habitat.

We’ll feature here the best information about the 40-spots, how to:

  • identify 40-spots
  • identify Manna gums
  • monitor for 40-spot presence and upload data
  • build your own nest boxes (or purchase them)
  • plant and protect new planting for habitat

Community trapping of stray cats

Assistance is being offered to Bruny Islanders to trap stray cats on private land.  By arrangement, traps can be borrowed and cats taken to the Cat Facility at Alonnah for assessment and care. We will particularly welcome help in our priority areas which include North Bruny and the Simpsons Bay, Alonnah and Adventure Bay areas.

For further information, or to loan traps please contact Kaylene Allan on 0439 885 803 or kallan@kingborough.tas.gov.au

If you are trapping feral cats in more remote areas then Conrad Daniels from Bruny Farming (ph 0409 804 340) can assist in their management.

Please remember that there is now a ban on the feeding of stray cats. This is an important part of the Bruny Island Cat By-law. Feeding stray cats can result in dense populations of unowned cats.  So if you see any stray cat, please get in touch and we can arrange to trap and assess them. This is the best way to protect their welfare and to manage their numbers and impact.

Bushfire preparedness

Friends of North Bruny are hosting an event – Dennes Point Community Hall Saturday 1 August 10.30-12.30 – focusing on reducing fire risk, preparing properties for the fire season and seeking to better protect lives and property in the event of a bushfire.

Speakers include:

  • David Bowman – Professor of Pyrogeography & Fire Science, UTAS
  • Peter Middleton and Salina Young – Tasmanian Fire Service
  • Leigh Blackwell – our RFS Brigade Captain and
  • Belinda Loxley – Kingborough Council

             

Feral cat trapping season starting again

Federal funds will soon be released to continue the fantastic work on controlling the impacts of feral cats on Bruny.

Whilst the release of funding has been slow, that has not stopped Tonia Cochran and her team at Inala from continuing to trap feral cats, with four being caught in autumn 2020.

Late autumn through winter is the peak of the trapping season, and Conrad Daniels and his team at Bruny Farming can start working the highest impacted areas of the Neck and Cape Queen Elizabeth bird colonies.

They are also available to deal with feral cats elsewhere, so please contact Conrad on 0409 804 340 to seek help.

The new three year project will be coordinated through NRM South.  Kaylene Allan from Kingborough Council, who has steered this project for the last four years, will coordinate community engagement in the program and the management of domestic and stray cats.

Cyril Scomparin from the University of Tasmania is currently exploring how the different carnivores – the native eastern quoll and the introduced cat and black rat, interact, and what this may mean for cat control.

Multi-faceted and firmly based in science, this program leads the world in understanding how, and if, feral cat eradication on a large, populated island may proceed.

It is supported by a huge range of organizations, including the local businesses Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Bruny Island Coastal retreats, and of course BIEN.

For further information see the Kingborough Council website.

 

Energy Forum Presentations

The forum held on March 14th was a very interesting and informative session. TasNetwork presenters Laura Jones and Michael Verrier elaborated on their prepared slides, that related sometimes quite technical details, in a manner that was accessible to every one present and clearly demonstrated their professionalism and expertise. Questions after each presentation afforded more clarification and quite a deal of general discussion around renewable energy and the payback time for battery storage, assured electricity supply via cable and in the case of disasters such as bushfire, by diesel generators.
The main takeaway messages from the forum were:
1. The Bruny Battery Trial was a success across several measures as has been previously related on this site .

2. The replacement cable for the one damaged by a boat anchor and which crosses from Tinderbox to Dennes Point will be approximately 3 times the capacity of the original. Amazingly the original cable has been in situ and operating since 1949.

3. There is still much analysis and research to undertake before the cable can be ordered and it is unlikely to be replaced before Feb 2021. Meanwhile additional diesel generators and remote switching upgrades will ensure supply in power outages or should a problem develop with the other cable.

4. The second cable to Woodcutter Point  is due for renewal in the next few years and TasNetworks are committed to consultation with the community in those decisions.

5. There is potential for renewable energy development projects and or community based electricity generation.

It was agreed to hold a further forum in 4 to 6 months time – COVID -19 circumstances allowing.

See the presentation slides here.

presentation

Bruny Energy Futures Forum

Public Forum at Adventure Bay Hall
Find out more about the Bruny Battery Trial results and implications.  Hear about plans for replacement of the damaged cross channel cable and future planning for Bruny electricity supply. Presentations will be followed by a Round Table Discussion.

TasNetworks presenters: Laura Jones –  Bruny Battery Trial
Michael Verrier, Asset Strategy Engineer – Cable replacement.