Monday, March 28, 2011

Another day donated to conservation....

Well, I spent today power walking the Yamba Golf Course hunting for metamorphs with two lovely researchers from the University of Sydney. We only found 3 metamorphs there! No need to go to the gym this afternoon. Then we headed down to good ol' Green Pools at Angourie and sure enough, found a heap of metamorphs for their study.

Hunting for metamorphs with Weibke and Mitchell today.
Another example of how CVCIA Landcare's knowledge of the area can really help in the bigger scheme of things. This adds weight to my letter to all toadbusters yesterday "Ten reasons to keep going". Cheers, Sharon. P.S. to add to my complete loss of dignity this week, I did a spectacular slip over onto my stomach in front of Mitchell on the golf course. Had to pick my kids up from school covered in mud. Nice.

Yay we made the paper today!

Well done Mel! Your toad in downtown Maclean made the papers print our call for more volunteers. Thanks Daily Examiner (though please ignore the part about a toad hunt this Saturday at Lake Arragan - they made a mistake). Cheers, Sharon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cane toad found in downtown Maclean

Two weeks ago I sent out a media release saying if we did not get any more help, there would be cane toads hopping down the main streets of Maclean and Iluka within a few years. Unfortunately, my media release did not get a run (something about some election or other) and we are still struggling to get more volunteers.

Well, the toads got the hop on me. On the way home from toading Friday night at Mororo, Mel found a sub-adult cane toad in downtown Maclean, Rannoch Avenue. A little sooner than I thought, but hopefully people in Maclean may now be inspired to get out and give us a hand.

CIA volunteers are struggling to reduce the spread
of cane toads in the Clarence Valley.
More information on how to join the CIA and/or control cane toads humanely can be found on the CVCIA Landcare website.

Mororo Toadbust - 25/03/11

Ten volunteers turned up for Friday night toading at Mororo, including 3 newbies, which was fabulous. We were suitably entertained all night by the amazing Campbell - 6 years old and a fantastic toadbuster!

Campbell was amazing for his first night out toading!
We headed down McCondell Island Rd again to the half moon wetland with waders. We picked up two new toadbusters in their waders on the way:- Billy Bob and Jethro....
Billy Bob has the sack wrapped around him to stop the Hi-Vis glare.
We actually look like the rat sisters...

Billy Bob makes Jethro crack up.
As I said to Mel (who tried to take these photos while we clowned around), it is just lucky that Jo and I have no dignity left! Jo's waders were nice and loose. Mine were not. Mel had to assist me to slip into my waders and I wished I had bought some olive oil. However, they did the trick (and made us laugh for hours) and we were able to get into the deeper water and retrieve those pesky males floating around looking for love.

At the end of the night we had bagged 193 toads, including 2 between the wetland and the gate to Chatsworth SCA. Thank you to all the Sharon's (3 of us) and Mel's (2 of them), Bevan, Bernie, the gorgeous Annie, Jo and of course Campbell. We had a ball and helped the environment. Sweet.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

21/03/11 - Townsend Tiger Snakes and a bucket of toads

This fabulous report (and disturbing photo!) from Jo of the Townsend Tigersnakes...

Since the wet weather has been hampering our toading activities we decided on a new game plan - RAINCOATS !! We are now armed for all toading situations.

Wednesday night Mel and I headed out to Yamba to see what was out and about. The sewer works road was fruitful with many morphs popping up out of the grass into the light. The best toad of the night was on Middle Rd Palmers with a 330gm female bagged late in the night. In all we collected 49 toads that night.

Saturday night saw plenty of rain cancel the training session so we donned our raincoats and went out anyway. Mel, Julie and I did a lap of the Red Cliff area and came up with a whopping 315 toads which is a new record for us in one night.

Cane toads collected from Yuraygir National Park by CIA Vol Jo, Mel and Julie.
There were dozens of males in the water staking their patch to call in the ladies. We just put a dampener on their plans as they now have a one way ticket to Freezer Island. It was also lovely to see so much native frog spawn in many of the water holes and no toad spawn : ) also a beautiful juvenile carpet python popped out of the bushes.

Cheers, Jo

P.S. We have caught 997 toads in 5 weeks guys – YAY!!

Thanks Jo. You guys are amazing!! And yes, I will be packing my waders for this Friday at Mororo. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

16/03/11 - Myna Network meeting in Coffs

Laura, Kevin, Pam and Pop headed down to Bongil to visit the Coffs myna trappers today. Pam sent through this report and lovely photos:

"Had a great day at the Indian Myna meeting/barbeque at Bongil National Park today. Good to share stories on Mynas and see that we 'newcomers' were able to show the other groups a good idea with the water bottle setup".

Kevin and Laura at Bongil
Laura demonstrating the water clip.
Pop swapping myna trapping stories at Bongil.
Sharing ideas and tips is very important for any invasive animal control program. Thanks for representing us in style guys and I look forward to hearing about it at the next meeting. Cheers, Sharon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Bevan and Donna caught in their myna trap this week...

A massive Blue Tongue Lizard! Lucky these traps are non-lethal. He followed Donna while she took some photos. Cute!

Friday, March 11, 2011

More Myna Inventions

I am constantly amazed at how innovative some of our members are - they have a problem and work out a solution. Here are some more photos of cheap and easy myna feeders, including one by Pam's partner which stops the food getting wet. Also note the cheap water bottle in one of kevin's clips. Make sure you guys take your inventions to next Wednesday's show and tell in Coffs Harbour. Cheers, Sharon.
Note the little awning over the food opening.
softdrink bottle for water and clip.

Angourie toadbust - 11/03/11

What a night! We had two new toadbusters which was great as Imelda knew all of the secret pathways at Angourie. Best of all, we saw 4 carpet pythons, 3 of which were gorgeous little babies. I saw a bush stone curlew and nearly fell off my perch!

Up close and personal with a baby carpet python
Oh yeah, the toads. Well, six of us bagged 117 toads for the night and as a reward for good behaviour, I released Bevan, Rob and Sharon R at Yamba Sportsgrounds and let them collect 51 toads in 30 minutes.
Large female toad caught at Angourie
Hope to see you next saturday night! Sharon L.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

6/03/11 - Myna display at Halfway Creek Markets

Last Sunday Laura, our Myna Trap Coordinator, set up a CIA Common Myna information table at her local markets (as if she isn't doing enough!). Here is her report and some lovely photos:
Most visitors, who came to the Halfway Creek markets on Sunday 6th March, showed interest in the trap even if only out of curiosity. Some took the CIA’s details including one who wanted plans so he could build his own trap. Mynas don’t seem to be prevalent here (flocks just fly through the area, not stopping long) and we would agree with this having caught only a few in the last year.  We discussed the use of callers, bird care, what food to use and disposal of trapped birds.

Laura and friends with an information stall at the Halfway Creek Markets.

Best practice cages shown at the local market. Note the clever use of an upside down cocky cage!

Woombah Wildcats - 04/03/11

Bob and Marie trekked out last Friday and in one small section of Woombah, picked up 86 cane toads in under 3 hours. They found some big animals too, as can be seen by these photos. Thanks Bob and Marie.
A large female at Woombah - and she's packin' venom!
It is concerning to see so many toads in Woombah.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Myna Bottle Clip - Kevin's bright idea

I saw a very snazzy clip that Kevin had made for a myna cage the other day and he has sent me some photos and details.

"attached is the water bottle drawing (courtesy of CIMAG) and photos of my water bottle. I fiiled it with pink water and marked around the opening so it is visible. I cut 50mm length of 90mm plastic storm water pipe, then cut out 25mm and trimmed the corners. Two sets of two holes and a bit of wire tie it to the corner of the cage 75-100mm up. This a good holder and the bottle is easy to insert or remove. I'm also experimenting with something similar for food, will keep you posted".

Remember to send any good ideas you get (and there are heaps!) so we can put it on the blog for everyone. Thanks for sharing Kevin.

Cheers, Sharon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

26/02/11 - Woombah Wildcats hit new high

Bob reports the Woombah Wildcats went out last Saturday night along Garretts Lane and picked up a massive 234 cane toads. That is both impressive and very disturbing to find that many there. Bob and Woombah Wildcats, you are doing an amazing, very important area. Well done.