Thursday, November 18, 2010

Toadbust 3 - 12/11/10 - Yamba

This was the night of the Junior Landcare members!! Check out these groovers...

CIA junior Landcare members on a Yamba cane toad hunt.
Their eyes are so good and being closer to the ground, I find junior Landcare members can pounce on cane toads quickly!

We were a bit disorganised and a large storm threatened to throw us into a spin, but we still ended up picking up 190 cane toads in a few hours, all from Carrs drive and the Yamba Sportsground. CIA members were met with words of encouragement (and a little laughter) from the exercise group leaving the sports centre at 10pm!!

Funniest moment of the night was when Simone bought me 2 toads stuck together (you know what I mean). I said "Oh look. They are in amplexis". Simone said "what does that mean?" It only takes a look and then she said "eeeeewwww" and dropped them into the sack. Simone was even more grossed out when I told her about the cane toad Kath got last season who was in amplexis with a female who ahd obviously been dead for at least 2 days!! Any minute....

So thank you to the standard crew - Bevan, Rob, Simone, Kath and Judith. We need some more people out so warm up those gumbbies CIA vols! We need you!! If my 5 and 7 year old children can do it, come on... do something!

Supermodel in Hi-Vis

Legend Junior Landcare Lehmanite
And top marks to poor Sharon D who found the Lawrence ferry out of action, then tried to take the Tullymorgan road, missed the turn and finally decided it was not meant to be. We hope to see you next week Sharon.

Cheers, Sharon Lehman.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

23/10/10 - University of Sydney, Matt Greenlees tours CV toads

Last night I met with Matt Greenlees, from the Shine Lab, University of Sydney, to take him on a tour of our Clarence Valley cane toad population. This photo of Matt sums up how we spent most of the night, huddled over our cameras taking photos of the beautiful native frogs out and about.
I showed Matt Angourie, Yamba and then visited some of our favourite haunts in Mororo. Matt is interested in studying the NSW cane toad population (hallelujah!!) and we spent most of the night discussing experimental design, how we can assess if the CIA is effective and how we can make the most difference.
Tyler's Tree Frog, Litoria tylerii calling in the ladies.
Like David Newell last fortnight, Matt was very positive about the possibility for valid research opportunities with the numerous farm dams in the Mororo area. One of our wonderful landholders who has done many nights of manual control has done some work around a few of the dams, which also presents some research opportunities to see if cane toads move into a dam previously not conducive to toads.

Mixophyes fasciolatus leaving the dam - with tail still attached!
OK. Gotta move from nocturnal to diurnal for holiday with family. Good night!

Warregah Island 22/10/10 - is it too early to get excited?!

A keen group of 8 CIA volunteers laughed at the rain and thunderstorms and trekked to Warregah Island to see what we had to face this season. Kath and Judith were there as usual...

and then Sharon D joined the party. Soon after, Bevan's rent-a-crowd turned up with Rob, Simone and Marie. Our first exciting find was a frog on a stick! How cool is this??
but the most exciting thing of the night was to find only 61 toads, 40 of which were sub-adults, that is, the metamorphs we missed last year. We still got a few large toads, but I'm quietly confident we can make a big difference in this isolated population this season. Local landholder Graham is also doing a great deal of control many nights.
This is an important area to control and until we return in January, I wont call it, but I was very excited to see our tally sheet for the night. Actually, no, the best thing of the night was seeing Kath doing ballet in the muddy drain, one gumboot stuck in the mud, one socked toe pointing out behind her while I clutched her and pulled the gumboot out. Bevan had to get Kath off her bot and she had the mud to prove it! Kath, you make us laugh every time, but I know I wont get you back to Warregah!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Team Gecko

I just read tonight a claim that the Asian House Geckos are the most invasive reptiles in the world and now has the widest range of any lizard in the world. That's amazing. And most people do not realise that the "chuck, chuck, chucking" of the gecko on their verandah is actually the sound of an invasive pest.

Well, the good news is that a few CIA volunteers have started a small group to start investigating how big a problem it is, if there are any control measures and whether this would be effective at all. Once this has occured, we can look at whether we need to do any education on the issue and whether control is an option.

At the very minimum, it seems we are at the bottom end of the distribution of this pest and at least monitoring and reporting our sightings could be beneficial. Go the CIA Team Gecko!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The first toad mission this season - Mororo 8/10/10

I was so excited to get back out and see what toads we would find this season, as were quite a few others, I know. The rain stopped for our mission and then started just as we pulled up stumps at 11pm - how cool. The nights are still a little cool, so we were not too sure how many toads we would find, but we went to Mororo to see what we would find.

I spent 2 hours pre-dark taking Dave Newell from SCU on a tour of Mororo toad sites and discussing toads generally in the Clarence Valley and what options we might have for some meaningful research sites and data gathering ideas. I saw his shoulders slumping further as we went on our tour, but it was great to share our experiences with him and talk toads and frogs. Dave said he is going to do some thinking about our situation and get back to me with some ideas. Thanks Dave for your time while on holidays.

Then we met at the Lewis Lane cane pad, where I presented everyone with a spiffy new vest! Thanks Caring for Country, CMA and Landcare!! Sure beats the texta writing and orange garbage bags some of us had last year. I just need to get better at taking photos of Hi-Vis vests at night!

A big crew of 17 meant we could form 3 teams, which was great. Scott, Hannah, Sophie and I were lucky enough to score Dave for a few hours, who gave us some great instructions on how to sex sub-adult toads. we will pass this on next time out in the paddock. Our team hit Banana Rd and then Nicola's and Archie's place on Mororo Rd. We had only 43 toads by the end of this, but I then went to Ben's and scored another 30 (plus 2 dead tortoises who are awaiting dissection).

Kath's team went to Harry's, McCondell Island Rd and then Brian's and picked up a great 58 toads, many juveniles but also some big ones at Harry's. However, the prize for the night, as usual, went to Bevan's rent-a-crowd. This small gun team of Bevan, Rob, Sharon and Bernie picked up a whopping 247 toads on just 2 properties at the end of Lewis Lane. 123 of these were juveniles on Glen's place, but well done guys. Thus, our total for the night was 378. Not bad for our first effort.

It was fabulous to get back out for my exercise and I loved racing around at night in gumboots, with torch, chasing toads. Doesn't everyone?! I know Kath does, but I'm not too sure about Sophie... even lollies failed to raise her fading spirits. Good on you Sophie and Hannah for helping out the Clarence Valley fauna. Keep checking the calendar on the CVCIA website for our next planned toad outing. Cheers, Sharon.

CVCIA AGM - our first meeting without gumboots!!

On Wednesday15th September 2010, the CVCIA had our first ever sit down proper Landcare meeting, in a room, without torches, no cane toads present. I was actually nervous that noone would show up as I had hinted that I was looking to perhaps disperse some of the coordinating load or at least a few jobs on my To Do list. I even had a good friend (and member) say they were not coming as they were worried they would come away with some jobs!

So I was absolutely delighted to have 12 members attend. Some I had only met via email so it was nice to put a face to a few and others I had only met out in the dark covered in mud (Simone sure scrubs up nice!). It was a good mix of cane toadsters and common myna trapsters, and a great opportunity to swap stories about what each group is doing and our objectives.

I gave a run down on state and federal issues re cane toad directions and was pleased to lay these issues out on the table for the whole group to consider. It was also encouraging and lovely to have members overwhelmingly endorse continued toad operations at this point in time. We also discussed the need to stay focused on our tasks at hand (ie. mynas and toads) and to avoid being dragged into other areas when we do not have the resources or time to commit to them. The shell is there though, should someone feel strongly enough about a local issue and want to run with it within the framework of the CVCIA.

I still need to do up the minutes, which will go out to all members, including actions and calls for position nominations, but overall, I was humbled and touched by everyone's support of my original vision. I now feel confident that the CVCIA is a robust Landcare group that will continue should something happen to me.

Thank you everyone. Cheers, Sharon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

All of last season's mission reports!

I am currently upgrading the cvcia website and the intention is to move mission reports to here so I'm about to try and load all our old mission reports and photos here so we don't lose them. Here goes!!

2010 Mission Reports

19/03/10 - Mororo

As a reward for scouring Townsend, I took rent-a-crowd to Mororo. Metamorphs were everywhere and Bevan's crew bagged 410 toads. Not that it is a competition, but Sharon's crew hit McCondle Island road and bagged 121 toads - 553 all up. Great tallys gang! 14 volunteers again meant we could split into 2 teams, so wonderful numbers, guys.

12/03/10 - Townsend

A big crew of 14 managed to collect a concerning 57 toads from Townsend and 14 from South Bank Rd.

5/03/10 - Mororo

Kathie decided to visit Mororo on her own with Chris thinking we were all out there! They bagged 50 just along Lewis Lane.

19/03/10 - Micalo Island

Bevan's rent-a-crowd turned up to hit Micalo Island hard, and we did, bagging 199 toads (can you believe it??!).

12/02/10 - Mororo

We returned to Mororo not expecting to top last Friday and we did not, but 265 toads is not to be sneezed at! One of the best things about going toading is seeing so many cool native animals and the awesome stars. We found this little cutie (Peron's Tree Frog) at Bob's place on Banana Rd.

It was wonderful to see not only some of last week's heros turn up for another stab, but also to have 3 new members along. Ten volunteers is a wonderful number - we were able to split into two teams on each property and do a dam each.

My night photos do not turn out so well, but above we have Bevan, Judith, Jhyle, Bernie, Rob, Sharon R, Genevieve, Sharon D and Stuart (nice eye shine Stuart!).

Every time we go out we are getting more skilled and more efficient. At one point I looked up and saw a line of torches heading across the paddock towards me, emu parade style, and that made me smile - we are kicking toad butt! The CIA have now picked up over 3,000 toads this season already. Thank you to everyone.

11/02/10 - Woombah

Our fabulous Woombah crew went out again and picked up another 10 toads from Woombah Woods Caravan Park. Bob's Grabber is shown below - well done Bob!

05/02/10 - Woombah & Mororo

This was a massive night. We have hit peak season and the rains have come. 16 volunteers scoured Woombah, Lewis Lane and Banana Rd and picked up a whopping 883 cane toads in one night.

I would just like to pay tribute to the hard working Woombah crew who bagged 45 cane toads. It is not much fun when your buddies are on the other side of the highway pulling 250 cane toads off one property, but trust me guys, you are doing an amazing job. It is so important to keep vigilant and reduce the spread in Woombah. Annie, David and Bob have been out eight times (one or all of them at least) and have picked up a total of 122 toads from Woombah. These areas of low numbers are not as much fun, but twice as important so thanks guys.

22/01/10 - Palmers Island

Eight volunteers turned up to spend a night with the amazing Russell Jago who is contracted by NPWS to pick up cane toads. Russell has been begging for help from the community for years so he was absolutely chuffed to find us waiting for him (OK, I was late, as usual, but some of the CIA vols were there to meet him!).

Stuart, David, Scott and Judith all jumped at the chance to spend a night toading with Russell and they had a great time. However, when we all met up, I said "where's Judith?" and all of the guys looked blankly at each other. I know who was working the hardest! Judith appeared from a garden with a hand full of toads.

It was still very dry and we only bagged 102 toads, but saw 2 ringtail possums and set up some good landholder relations. This area is crying out for attention.

I absolutely love this photo of the fabulous Bethany Van Haren catching a cane toad at Palmers Island. Good on you Bethany!

2009 Mission Reports

19/12/09 - Micalo Island - West

I turned up to Micalo Island and was met by our Micalo Island Area Coordinator, Phil Richards. Phil had the night all planned out, teed up earlier with the landowners and four of us (plus a local island youngster) just ran around and collected 49 toads. This was fabulous for me to turn up and have the whole night already planned - great work Phil!

Annie, Judith and I always have fun together, even though Kathie was unable to come along and provide additional laughs for us. We were able to visit a few new dams and found a very large female and male at the Western point of Micalo. I had them both in one hand and the male instantly grasped the female in amplexis - it was difficult to part them! True love. Can you pick the male and female below?

Phil went out 3 consecutive nights after this on the East side of the island and bagged a whopping 111 further toads. Phil and I are determined to see if we can rid Micalo Island of cane toads - you have to have a hobby!

12/12/09 - Yamba Golf Course

I advertised a big night collecting at the Yamba Golf Course thus attracting 15 keen toadhunters (what a great turnout for this time of the year!). 7 of these guys had never been before so wonderful to get some newbies.

Overall, I (and others) were very disappointed in the cane toad turnout. I was expecting a gazillion and we only bagged 374 - 209 of which were metamorphs. There were a few large animals bagged though and my brainwave of the garden cart was my best idea of the year (no sore shoulders!).

The golf course is just toad heaven, short mown grass, dams, leaf litter to nestle in during the day and a wonderful sprinkler system which some on randomly across the course all night! We were fine with that until Judith pointed out where the water was coming from...
But, we had a great night of fun and the Van Haren family took out the prize for most toads collected bagging a whopping 184 metamorphs! Stuart was sacked from map duties after getting the "endurance" team lost on the back green and I displayed my complete lack of knowledge on golfing terminology much to the horror of the golfers in the group. Thanks guys, a good night. I think I might stick to Mororo for big nights, though!

28/11/09 - CIA Training Day and Toad Hunt Night

This was an excellent afternoon and thank you to all of the volunteers that pitched in and made my life easier. We had 24 participants, picked up at least 10 new volunteers and sent 4 teams of toad hunters out that night straight after a ripper thunderstorm.

The Woombah crew bagged 12 toads, all but 1 around the Woombah Woods Caravan Park. Annie has been doing a wonderful job taking charge of Woombah toad operations - thanks Annie!

We had 3 teams to hit Mororo, and we still did not run out of toads! 202 toads were bagged in this area. Neil Gorring bagged the biggest toad - a whopping 404g female, of course on the way home!

And Stuart could not resist taking photos of her the next day (in his defence, we all did!). We named her Toadzilla. A great success - phew!

19/11/09 - Brooms Head

CIA legendary volunteer Kathie Johns went out toading with Mark (Harry) Watts of NPWS. It is truly wonderful to see NPWS and the CIA working together so thanks Kathie and Mark for making this work. Only 1 toad though (how cool is that?) so Kathie said she is not that keen to go again due to the lack of action.

11/11/09 - Micalo Island

I just wanted to pay dues to Phil Richards as well who has been going out once every few nights and picking up cane toads around his place. Well done, Phil. You are making a difference.

10/11/09 - Warregah Island

Roger, Kathie and Sharon finally got to Warregah Island this season. Roger and Sharon spent the afternoon knocking on doors introducing themselves to landholders not already met so all island inhabitants now know of the CIA toad busters. We spent a great deal of time checking all waterbodies and confirmed that the biggest breeding site is in the drain near Graham's house.

All up we bagged 27 toads and I came away thinking this could be an island we might be able to clean out. This is encouraging as Warregah is currently infesting Chatsworth and Ashby so ridding this island of toads (and all landowners are contributing) would be a great achievement.

I will be taking my waders next time though! Ended up in thigh high water picking up calling males. I did not tell Kathie until the end that I had seen a few eels swim past me. Always fun.

28/10/09 - Mororo

After the heavy rains, many CIA members were keen to check out toad central, ie. Mororo. I think Kathie said "as if you are going to Mororo without me!". It was an interesting night with Kathie picking up a 1yo female that spat a metamorph out of it's mouth when caught, I found one with a back leg missing from birth and Kathie also found a male in amplexis with a female that was at least 2 days deceased - eewww!!
Roger got the prize of the night with a massive 3 yo female on Lewis Lane road pavement.

4 of us picked up 195 toads. While we were a little disappointed on the night, when I punched it into the magical spreadsheet, that came up with a massive 14 toads per person hour (the next best is 7.5) so we did OK. I guess we were expecting more, but we are also starting to tentatively pat ourselves on the back a little bit in this area. Perhaps we are making a difference in these localised hotspots? Time to knock on a few more doors and tackle some new dams.
24/10/09 - Yamba / Angourie

This was the CIA's first visit to Yamba and Angourie. We met 3 landowners along Carrs Drive, a notorious place for toads. We collected 50 toads on one property alone. Bevan was finding plenty on the tennis court. We visited Blue Pools and Green Pools and as we descended the stairs we could hear males calling from Blue Pool. We think we got them all (15 just in Blue Pool) including a 2yo male and 2yo female.
At the end of the night, when the Freddo Frogs were handed out, we counted up and dang, got 99 toads! We were too tired to find another one.
17/10/09 - Micalo Island

Phil Richards has been doing a wonderful job on Micalo Island last year and this year already so it was time to rally the troops and send a support team. I went up early afternoon so Phil and I drove around and knocked on doors and hunted freshwater soaks in daylight hours. It is still very dry on Micalo, which can sometimes work out good as the toads that are out are forced to the few waterholes remaining.
Stuart, Phil and I picked up only 40 toads for the night, but we also picked up a new Micalo CIA member, Nick Flett! I was able to put my GPS to good use and waypointed all waterholes. We will return after the rains!
10/10/09 - Mororo

We finished off the weekly push with 7 volunteers and bagged another 155 toads at Mororo. It was great to see the number of toads in the same dams drop over the week. I have put this on the data and analysis page. I now wait for the rains to see what happens in those areas.
7/10/09 - Mororo

As we were trying to pick as many toads as we could in 1 week, we decided to stick with Mororo. 4 people picked up 90 toads in 3 hours. The surprsie of the night was finding 20 x 1 yo males and 1 popular female in the bottom dam on Pete and Elisa's place on Mororo Road, which was relatively clear last year.
3/10/09 - Mororo

This was the first toading for the season to coincide with the NT and WA NEW weekly toad push, ie. see how many toads the community of Australia can pick up in one week. We thought it might be too early and dry for the cane toads, but were stunned to collect a whopping 189 toads for the night.
2008 Mission Reports

On Friday 6th March, Sharon Lehman and 3 new CIA members, Janet Cavanaugh, Annie Becker and Chris Johnson-Walker went toading in the Mororo area. The best news of the night was we found NO TOADS in Giovanni's dams - a huge credit to the landowners and CIA members who have been pulling toads out of the dam 4 nights in all.
We visited a few new dams and made some new contacts with neighbours. It was wonderful to see less on Warregah Island as well. We collected 100 toads in all and again, everyone who came along had fun and vowed to come out another time!

On Friday 20/02/09, a group of 6 CIA operatives visited the Mororo area again. They had just experienced 50 mm of rain in 30 minutes so water was flowing everywhere and the toads were out in force. We made some great new contacts and have plenty of dams to focus on each time we go up. We only got to 3 properties that night, but ended up with a haul of 257 toads (170 males and 87 females).
It was very heartening to revisit a dam for a third time on Mororo Rd that was loaded with males the last 2 visits and only pull out 3 males this time. The landowner had also been doing some control and pulled a further 30 toads out so I think we are inspiring some landowners to have a go. If everyone did what these people were doing on their own land (private and public) we would beat the toads (maybe with a little help from the CIA!)
We are pushing close to 750 toads now but with the NPWS Yamba Round Up on tonight the count should fly through the roof. Keep an eye on the calendar for our next group trip or get out there and let us know how many you get. Over and out.

On Wednesday 11/02/09, Leonie Blain and Sharon Lehman went out together in the rain toad hunting at Mororo again. This really is the front pushing West so all CIA toad efforts are currently being concentrated on Mororo and Warregah Island. It was a wet slippery night (Leonie had to pull me out of a dam twice!) but we managed to pick up 61 toads. Not bad! Leonie has vowed to go again and we both agreed this is good exercise while helping the environment!

On Friday 6th February I went up early to Chatsworth and Warregah Islands to meet some locals and talk toad. I found the Tree of Knowledge opposite the Chatsworth Shop - perfect! This was very worthwhile and allowed me to deliver the CIA flyers warning people of our toad efforts. I am now able to make a few phone calls from home to let people know we are coming.
Then at 8pm, 4 other CIA operatives and 3 NPWS staff came up and we hit the area hard. We only ended up with about 1.5 hrs toad collecting time but all up managed to bag 138 toads. The winners of the night were the NPWS team, but they admit their 14 year old local cane toad collector friend did most of the dirty work! They pulled 78 toads out of 1 dam - unbelievable! My dreams are coming true! It was so wonderful to have a big team together to split into 3 groups and hit the area hard.

I went up to Brooms Head on my own 3/02/09 and only got 7 toads. This is good news as it shows all the efforts of NPWS Matt Clarke, Russell Jago and Jeff Thomas have paid off. It proves to me we can beat the toad and gives me the drive to continue battling at Mororo.

CIA Operatives conduct their first mission - Cane Toad collecting! On Thursday 22/01/09 David Cole and Sharon Lehman went out toad hunting and picked up 74 toads!! These nearly all came from Warregah Island Road and Lewis Road, Mororo.
We will definitely let the Police know next time before we head out so they know what is going on. It looks very suspicious when you have 2 people driving slowly with torches and David and I did get stopped by the Woombah Police. Perhaps this was because some of the letters rubbed off our hi-vis vests and said "OD PAROL"!! They were very nice when we explained what we were doing. It did make me realise though that if anyone is heading out for some toading, make sure you let neighbours and the Police know what you are doing.
I am now doing up a flyer to alert neighbours to our next toading adventure in the Mororo / Warregah Island planned for either Friday 6th or Saturday 7th February 2009. Email me if you would like to go out the same night so we can coordinate and be more effective - that's the whole point of this network - come on, do something for the valley!! We had a ball, didn't we David??

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Scientist Article - are cane toads really that bad?

Wow! The New Scientist has just published an article where some of the lead researchers in Australia are claiming that cane toads have not been anything near the ecological disaster they were anticipating. Rick Shine is even quoted as saying "there isn't that much overall effect".
Check it out at:
Maybe we can all just sit at home on a Friday night with a cool drink and not worry so much! I'm still not prepared to throw the towel in. I promised we would give it a good hard go for 3 years and just 1.5 years in to that, the state and federal positions and ability to act on cane toads has changed dramatically. Do we give up? Hmmmm.... Controversial and fund-affecting.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

We made the paper!

Check out toady's Daily Examiner at for our story and photo. I would not want to mess with Marty!

And the cane toad end of season results are in!

OK CIA cane toad hunters - here it is! I have finished entering our data for the 2009/10 season and the results are....
  • Total number of toads picked up in the Clarence Valley - 11,146 (when I first came up with the tally idea I did not even dream we would hit 5 figures- I feel like a petrol station attendant where I have to squeeze in the fifth number!)

  • Number of those toads picked up by CIA volunteers - 6,003 (that's amazing!!! Well done guys!).

I have not even begun to analyse the data, but there is so much information for us to learn from our records. Thank you to all CIA volunteers who collected toads, scribbed on the nights (I know how hard it is to manage a torch, clipboard, pen, dam edge, toadsters shouting data at you and often a toad!) and those who emailed me their data (esp Annie's efforts). Cheers, Sharon.

Final toad photo of the girls.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE - CIA Gets Tough on Mynas

The Clarence Valley Conservation in Action Landcare group (fondly known as the CIA) has agreed to step in and help out in the Clarence Valley war on the feral Indian Myna.

Clarence Valley Council Environmental Officer, Martyn Swain is ecstatic the CIA is going to lend their expertise in rallying the community on invasive animal control and welcomes the backup.

"Community participation is essential if we are going to successfully reduce the population of Indian Mynas in the Clarence Valley", said Mr. Swain.

"Clarence Valley Council have been working very hard for about five years with a small number of people on this project", said Mr. Swain, "but we need more members of the community to chip in and get trapping".

Mr. Swain said he was delighted the CIA were now going to help out with the distribution and coordination of the traps and data.

"I'm only one person with a large number of projects on my plate", said Mr. Swain. "The CIA have proven they can tackle a broad, coordinated Clarence Valley wide invasive animal program with their very successful cane toad project winding down for the season".

And experienced they are! CIA Myna Coordinator, Bevan Pugh, has already trapped over 400 Indian Mynas in his backyard at South Grafton since he became interested in this clever but aggressive bird.

"These animals are very smart and it is essential that trappers network and share ideas", said Mr. Pugh. "A few CIA volunteers are making a road trip down to Coffs Harbour this weekend to see how their very successful program is set up".

"We hope to bring that knowledge back, integrate it with what we know here and come up with a coordinated plan of attack", said Mr. Pugh. "The CIA need as many people to get involved as possible so stay tuned for more details on our next mission!"

And with even better news, Mr. Swain announced that the Coffs Harbour Indian Myna Project Officer was coming up to Grafton to hold a Myna Control Workshop on Friday 4th June from 12 noon to 4 pm at the Council Chamber sin Grafton. Attendance is free but places are limited and filling up fast. Please RSVP for the workshop directly to Martyn Swain at CVC on 6643 0200.

If you are unable to make the workshop but still interested in getting involved in the Clarence Valley Indian Myna Control Program, please contact Sharon Lehman of the CVCIA on 0411 020 394 or email .

Clarence Valley Conservation in Action Myna Coordinator, Bevan Pugh vows to get tough on Indian (Common) Mynas with Clarence Valley Council Environmental Officer, Martyn Swain. Photo: Sharon Lehman.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Generous donation from Coffs Harbour Landcare

Last week I drove down to Coffs Harbour and spoke at the Coffs Harbour Landcare AGM about cane toads. I have travelled up north and pleaded with the groups above us to keep trying and it was interesting to travel south and show what we have been doing.

Many members were very interested and asked a great deal of questions. The most common theme was they had no idea we had so many cane toads in the Clarence. I think a few people went away a bit more concerned about the future of cane toads in the Coffs area. I was treated to a feast and given a lovely gift - so many lovely people to meet.

Then, two days ago I receive a letter thanking me for my time (I can talk toad all night!) and enclosed was a cheque for $50 as a donation ot the CIA to support our efforts. Thanks to CH Landcare - that is very appreciated and will be put to good use. I am sending a letter as well.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

CIA Sets Sights on Common Mynas

Ok, we've done toads (only joking, we have just a little more to do on that!) and Martyn Swain from CVC has been crying out for some community help on the Common Myna problem. So, we are going to tackle the mynas. We are still working out how the model might work, but it looks like the CVCIA might be taking over the management and distribution part of the traps and data in the Clarence Valley. Our experience with networking in the valley will come in handy to link people wanting and trying trap.

Some exciting developments include:
  • a road trip down to Ron (Mr Coffs Harbour Myna guru) Smith at Coramba next Saturday (let me know if you want to go so we can arrange carpooling). We will see how their model is set up and get some great ideas from Ron. He is very excited that the CIA is going to grab the myna problem by the throat (metphorically of course!).
  • Tien Phan, the Coffs Harbour Myna Control Officer is coming up to Grafton to hold a workshop!! Friday 4th June 2010, 12 noon - 4pm in the council chambers, Prince Street, Grafton. Please RSVP directly to Marty on and I think places are limited so get in early.
  • I have created a draft myna logo to help promote the CIA myna work like Terry Toad. This will go on promotional material which is currently being printed.

Mission Report - Tuesday 4th May 2010

We thought that was it for the cane toad season, but I took a phone call from a journalist visiting from Sweden doing a story on invasive animals in Australia. She wanted to come out toading one night so a few quick text messages and the promise of Harry's dams at Mororo and we had about 10 CIA volunteers turn up to do our thing.

In just 90 minutes and covering only two dams, we picked up over 250 toads. Scott and I got some great pictures and Carla from Sweden got to pick up her first toad (and squeal for her microphone interview). Thanks to all who came out that night, especially the girls. We had great fun (as usual) and hopefully Kathie's swearing on radio in Sweden will not cause an international incident!

Mission Report - Friday 30th April 2010

Kath, Judith and I had a quick trip to Brooms Head to see what we could find. All three of us were exhausted and only caught about 50 toads. Most of these were found by hanging around the garbage bin at the Bowling Club! The things we do.

So about 9:30pm, we decided to pull up stumps and call it a night. We tried to take some photos of ourselves (which I'm going to try and attach) as we thought it was our last night toading for the season. Little did we know...

Testing, testing. 21st century? Are you out there??

OK. It might just be a mid-life crisis, but I have decided I need to drag myself, and my projects, into the 21st Century, so here goes my first ever blog. While I have always thought it might be a bit self-indulgent (who would want to read this?) I have recently realised the commerical and community implications so thought it would be better to try this for our wonderufl CVCIA Landcare group as opposed to pestering everyone all of the time with emails. That way, if people want to read my jibba-jabber, they can go and look it up.

This will no doubt be easier to update for mission reports, numbers caught, etc than having to upgrade the website constantly. let's give it a go...

Cheers, Sharon.