Category Archives: General

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?

August Bushcare – Community Tree Planting at Else-Mitchell

The local community gathered for a wonderful morning of tree planting and bushcare on 17 August at Else-Mitchell Reserve.

Reserve neighbours – young and not-so-young – and bushcare volunteers joined forces to plant a number of Eucalyptus deanei (Mountain Blue Gum) saplings, grown from seeds by Mike.

Gathered amongst the gums

After an introduction from council officer Karen, Mike and Malcolm gave a short history of the Reserve and the twists and turns needed over the years to ensure that the Park is maintained and continues to be of such value to the community.

Mike shares decades of experience

Some of the long-term neighbours added to the history with their own memories from over the decades. Such as the time the area was called “Steam Roller Park”, until the steam roller burnt down.

Planting in full swing
Under the tall trees
Many hands make things grow

After the trees were planted, the group was rewarded with a generous morning tea full of tasty treats. Many thanks to all those who participated in bringing new life to Else-Mitchell Reserve.

The ideal way to celebrate a good day of tree planting

June Bushcare – Piles of Trad

The new revegetation area appeared to be doing well and was checked and watered.

Trad removal around the creek continued to create nice big piles of the pest, while Japanese honeysuckle was also targeted.

Thanks to Chloe and Carol for returning for a second bout of Else Mitchell bushcare.

A satisfying pile of Trad
Tradding amongst the trees

May Bushcare – Revegetating and Weeding

A great work session expanded the revegetation area on the south slope with new plantings. Under Karen’s expert direction, the team dug holes and planted Pittosporum revolutum, Indigofera australis and one Bursaria spinosa.

Let the planting begin

Of course, the weeding can’t be ignored, and more progress was made on clearing out the Trad around the creek bed.

Back to the Trad

Welcome to Chloe and Carol for their first session, and thanks to park neighbours Rhiannon and Daniel and family for providing a fantastic morning tea. A pair of White-headed Pigeons looked on approvingly.


Our resident fungi expert Liz Kabanoff has spotted quite a few examples of beautiful fungi coming up at Else Mitchell this month. 

Gymnopilus junonius was seen growing in clusters on buried wood. 

Russulas are ectomycorrhizal fungi. They are a food source for native slugs and snails. Russula viridis, the green russula, was a bit dried out when observed. All were growing in soil under Allocasuarina.

Oudemansiella gigaspora, a tall, elegant mushroom with a brown cap that is slimy when wet, was growing in soil but apparently attached to underground wood. Six specimens observed.

Oudemansiella gigaspora

Strobilomyces is a genus of bolete mushrooms (mushrooms with pores on the undersurface, rather than gills). Boletellus and Strobilomyces are both boletes (spongy porous undersurface).

Amanita xanthocephala forms ectomycorrhizal relationships with Eucalyptus. The specimens pictured were growing under Eucalyptus deani. 5 specimens were found. Amanita punctata was growing in soil in the woodland area among native grasses, Eucalyptus deani, Angophora, Allocasuarina. Three specimens were found.

Coral fungus, greyish-brown, was seen growing under Angophora costata and Allocasuarina torulosa.

The bioluminescent ghost fungus  Omphalotus nidiformis, was observed growing on a tree stump.

Omphalotus nidiformis

January Bushcare

Luckily, the previous day’s 42 degrees had passed, allowing us to start 2019 with a good session focusing on Trad and Japanese Honeysuckle.

Mike put his trusty rake to good effect and other team members filled up several bags of the green weeds.

Raking it in

In wildlife sightings, Mike spotted a juvenile Eastern Water Dragon, while Linda also spotted a Blue Eyed Lacewing during the month.

Juvenile Eastern Water Dragon                                                              Blue Eyed Lacewing





December sightings

Liz was able to capture some great photos of the reserve’s smaller residents. These included the Pleasing Fungus Beetle, which “because of their cryptic habits they are rarely seen except by the dedicated mushroom hunter and entomologists.” (University of Florida)


Pleasing Fungus Beetle                                              Seed bug nymphs Family Lygaeidae


Pittosporum leaf beetle                                                                             Amanita mushroom

                  Metallic jewel bug




Fauna sightings

Two interesting animals were seen by John and Madeline in late December 2018 in the park. An Eastern Water Dragon was spotted on the western boundary.

Eastern Water Dragon in Else-Mitchell

Another time, a raptor was seen flying over the park being harassed by a noisy miner. It was similar to another raptor seen over the park last year, that time being chased by a magpie. 

Raptor over Else-Mitchell being escorted by a magpie