Author Archives: John Papanidis

March Bushcare – Honouring Mike

Else-Mitchell’s very own Mike Purtell was honoured at the annual Blue Mountains Seniors Recognition Awards for his fantastic contribution to the environment.

Congratulations Mike, and richly deserved.

Lachlan Garland (Blue Mountains Conservation Society) and Mike Purtell.
Congratulating Mike
With thanks to the Blue Mountains Gazette

February Bushcare – Return to Else-Mitchell

After a long break for fire, smoke, and rain, it was good to return to Else-Mitchell for a productive morning of bushcare.

The varied tasks included checking out the impact of drought, cleaning up flood damage, planting new plants (thanks Linda!) collecting seeds, and Trad weeding.

Checking out the impact of a long hot summer

February Bushcare – After the Deluge

Careful what you wish for – 220mm of rain was certainly welcome, but also rearranged quite a bit of the landscape within Else Mitchell.

An ephemeral creek in full flow

The sheer volume of water was most unusual, even flowing over the top of the dam, which might have been unprecedented. Of course, the planks on the bridge were washed away, as usual.

Floating away
Big water moved big wood…and note the heavy bridge plank that ended up at top of gully
Rain impact

January 2020 Bushcare – Heat and Dust

The hot and dry summer continued into 2020 and the plants were suffering.

Multiple days of 40-plus temperatures were having an impact, with the tree ferns by the bridge in obvious distress.

Suffering tree ferns

On a positive note, the local community was doing what it could to alleviate the stress on flora and fauna. People (including bushcare members) watered plants, while others placed water bowls around the reserve.

There was even a “Wildlife feeding and watering station”, with a sign that ended “Thanks, and stay safe” – a reminder of the dangerous fire season this summer.

December Bushcare – Hot, dry, and smoky

The last session of the year was cancelled due to a severe heat warning, so no Christmas morning tea to celebrate Malcolm’s 20 years of bushcare.group.

However, a small hardy group turned up early for some watering of thirsty plants. And to have a cup of coffee in honour of Malcolm.

Buckets at the ready

Thanks to Karen and all the members of the group for another terrific year of bushcare in our special pocket park.

November Bushcare – Maintenance and More

A busy session for the group saw a variety of activities with maintenance a major focus.

The revegetation “island” and the new tree plantings were watered and re-guarded. Trad was, of course, a central focus again, with maintenance targeted at the gully area between the bridges.

An island of green

Trad search-and-destroy

More unusual activities were the cutting up of a large branch fallen across a path, and some remediation at an area showing evidence of biking.

Two types of Lomandra (also known as Mat Rush)

October Bushcare – Orchids on high

The major focus this month was Trad maintenance along the creek line at either bridge, as well as seed collection.

Bagging Trad

While everyone was concentrating on the weed at their feet, Liz’s eagle eye spotted a hidden gem above our heads: Plectorrhiza tridentate, or tangle root orchid, which is uncommon for the area. 

Native tangle root orchid

This follows on from Liz’s recent discovery of Podohydnangium austral, or “false truffle” underground fungi. Where would we be without her.

Podohydnangium austral cut in half

September Bushcare – Plant Identification Session

A wonderful plant identification session was held at Else-Mitchell Park on a sunny Sunday morning after the wild winds of preceding days relented. 

Gathered together on a sunny Sunday morning

Almost 20 people from the Blue Mountains Conservation Society Plant Study Group and local bushcare groups came together to update and extend the existing park plant list and learn about the plants of the park.

Led by Margaret, with her amazing knowledge of the site and the intricate nature of plant ID, the two groups shared their treasury of knowledge.

The morning provided an opportunity for informed discussions and led to a deeper understanding of the park and its native and introduced plant life. A Tawny Frogmouth was an extra bonus.

Australian Basket Grass (Oplismenus aemulus) on the left, with Trad (Tradescantia fluminensis)

Thanks to all those who attended, particularly the members of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society Plant Study Group. 

All eyes on the tree ferns
Getting our heads together over a tree fern – Cyathea cooperi  or Cyathea leichhardiana?