Belair Bush Buddies

Who are we?

Belair Bush Buddies is aimed at the upper primary school age group who live near Belair National Park and have an interest in the natural environment. It is run by a dedicated group from the Friends of Belair National Park - Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice and Barbara Raine. All Bush Buddies need to become members (or be part of a family membership) of the Friends group to participate. Meetings are held monthly on a Sunday and include a guest speaker and an activity. For more information please contact Craig Baulderstone at

Next Meeting: Sunday September 18th 2pm.
"Bush Buddies for September, we will join Pete Raine for a nature walk on Sunday 18th. Pete is a wealth of knowledge and entertaining guide and it is a fantastic time of year to be walking through nature with everything coming into flower and the bush coming alive with activity.

Meet at the Green Shed near the entrance to the Park at 1.45 for a 2pm start. Go through the ticket office, tell them you are doing the walk and with Bush Buddies for free entry, then turn left and follow signs to 'Main Oval' and you will see a smaller green shed at the end of the carpark. "
Any queries contact me via or 0421 910 935 Craig Baulderstone

Meeting #50

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 50th meeting on Saturday 20th August 2022

August Bush Buddies was a Biodiversity Treasure Hunt, with Ferox Australis and part of Science Week. No rain, but sunshine (don’t always believe the weather forecasters!). A small group of eager hunters that made 228 observations, capturing 116 species. You can see what we found at Observations iNaturalist and its amazing that all that was found in just a couple of hours, in walking distance of the Volunteer Centre. So many plants in flower already, lots of fungi and an impressive collection of birds. It also shows the versatility of iNature where recordings of frogs have been made. Some photos you can see the small cards that can be used for scale and also comparing shades for real colour. I'm really impressed with the photography and even capturing images of tiny birds like Striated Thornbill and Eastern Spinebill. I say I always expect to see something new whenever I go out in nature and today is was a beautiful White-faced Heron, just near the volunteer centre. It was a great event and I think this would be a great way for us to participate in the Great Southern Bioblitz (October 28-31), where we compete with other countries to see just how many species we can find and contribute to citizen science by demonstrating what biodiversity we can find each year. More details to follow on that.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


At Volunteer Centre - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


At Volunteer Centre - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


White Faced Heron - Observer - Carolynavaisabel


Kangaroo Thorn (Acacia paradoxa) - Observer - Carolynavaisabel

Meeting #49

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 49th meeting on Saturday 9th July 2022

Great Bush Buddies for July with Native Bee Specialist Katja Hogendoorn. Katja started by explaining the importance of the native Golden Pea Bee, that is particularly vulnerable to habitat loss and extinction. It relies for its reproduction on certain native pea species, but also pollinates these pea species but also the beautiful Donkey Orchids, which are food mimics of peas.

Our eager helpers soon had the 70 plants in the ground with tree guards, which were mainly Narrow-leaf Bitter-pea, but also included some Gorse Bitter-pea and Austral Indigo. It didn't take long for our eager planters to get those in the ground, so we followed with a walk to look at nearby mature examples of the seedlings we had planted. We found budding Austral Indigo getting close to flowering. Golden Pea Bees nest in the ground and we found holes in the ground that we compared characteristics to holes of spiders. Many species of fungi were seen and we found Maroonhood orchids in flower.

Many thanks to all the help that made this happen, including Barb, Alan and Steve Raine who did most of the organising and ranger Brent and Parks crew doing work preparing the site. And of course Katja for growing and nurturing the plants. A sign will be made and displayed at the site to help educate others. .

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Holes - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Plants - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Fungi - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


ALL DONE ! Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Native Bee Specialist Katja Hogendoorn - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Austral Indigo - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Fungi - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #48

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 48th meeting on Saturday 7th May 2022

May Bush Buddies, we had another great session from James Smith (zoologist) from fauNature on the topic of 'The Importance of Hollows'. It was great to combine with the Junior Field Naturalists and we had a good turn out for the talk and then a walk outside looking for hollows and signs of them being used. So much was talked about that I wouldn't be able to scratch the surface here and interesting that much of the information was contributed to by participation of all the clever young people in the audience. Some key points are that none of our vertebrates make hollows. Branches fall, termites eat heartwood etc, but all this takes a very long time. The example was given that brush tail possums are likely to become extinct in our area in the very near future. The tree hollow large enough for them to breed in takes around 300 years to develop, and how many trees do we have left that have lived longer than that? Looking closer at the hollows in the trees around the Volunteer Centre, you realise just how incredibly old they must be. Lots of questions and lots of answers about what James and fauNature do best - understanding the needs of wildlife and how to improve the habitat for the wildlife around us.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Kookaburra Photo by Bevin Scholz


Sulphur Crested Cockatoo Photo by Bevin Scholz


Rosella Photo by Bevin Scholz

Meeting #47

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 47th meeting on APRIL 2022

April Bush Buddies participated in a Moth Night at Mylor Oval, by Ferox Australis and the Adelaide Hills Science Hub. There was a great start to the night with a picnic and kids given a sheet for a scavenger hunt. Stephen Fricker ran through the use of iNaturalist and encouraged everyone to look around and make some observations while waiting for it to get dark. It was interesting to find young yabbies in the creek next to the oval. There was great resources to help in identification and also great knowledge in the people there. Unfortunately, illness saw us dragged away before darkness, but I have added some photos from the Ferox Australis website. Anytime you see 'Moth nights' advertised I can highly recommend the experience and a great chance to get out there to see parts of nature you have never seen before. And check out Ferox australis | Citizen Science for future events.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #46

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 46th meeting on Saturday 19th March 2022

What a great and timely topic for March Bush Buddies - Mosquitoes! Our speaker Larissa Braz Souza has recently completed a PhD with Uni of SA on Mosquitoes, previously living and studying in Brazil. Not all mozzies are the same and there are a lot more than you would think... and they are still discovering new species through citizen science. Lots of information like they don't all bite and some just feed on pollen and nectar, play a role in the ecosystem as pollinators and look pretty - a bit like birds! Generally only females bite for protein to develop eggs. Males have feathery antennae that assists them in finding females. Different species are in different habitat, including salt and fresh water, but also can lay eggs in dirt and moist ground and hatch after rain. They are an important part of the ecosystem, including being food for fish and bats for example and we also saw a photo of one attempting to feed on a sundew but then itself being consumed by these carnivorous native plants. We learnt how we can be part of the internationally important Mozzie Monitors citizen science project that has been going for four years. It's too late for this year but you can apply for next year to host one of the official traps for the program. Although you can input your own observations through iNaturalist and although it might be hard to find one to photograph, you can give them a gentle slap to stun them and then get your photos. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and so traps will often use dry ice or you can use yeast. You will find trap designs and information on the internet. We talked about disease and how certain species will carry certain diseases and so it is particularly important for us to monitor and know where different species occur. For example Ross River Virus is spread by a species that lives in salt water but not fresh water. Another good reason for monitoring is for changes influenced by a changing climate. If we do become warmer and more humid, then northern species can move and with it, diseases we have not experienced in the past. So I am still learning with a bit more knowledge on a part of nature that I knew little about!.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #45

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 45th meeting on Saturday 19th February 2022

Thankyou to our very dedicated and very patient young scientists taking part in Bush Buddies last night. Always a bit tricky timing for the transition to darkness and when things like bandicoots and scorpions come out to play. The bandicoots weren’t partying where I had often seen them but lots of evening birdsong and then lots of microbats. With darkness and UV light it is like looking through a different set of eyes or feeling like you’re on a different planet. Patterns from fungi for example coming alive and insect eggs looking like some sort of alien would emerge. But still none of those amazing scorpions. Then as we decided to head home, some young ‘eagle eyes’ found one and then many more.
First photo shows a scorpion under white light and how you may have seen them at your home. Second photo is the same individual, unmoved, but under UV light.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Photo by Craig Baulderstone

Meeting #44

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 44th meeting on Sunday 12th December 2021

It was a small but enthusiastic group giving their Christmas gift to the bush for Bush Buddies. I was so enthusiastic I forgot to take photos! But I did manage to snap a photo of what looks like a Sac spider but I have entered it into iNaturalist and see if I can get a species confirmed. It was great to have Bush Buddies along that planted these plants all that time ago and great to see so many have survived. It was interesting that lots of native grasses, particularly weeping rice-grass, has done really well and producing lots of seed, hiding away from hungry roos in the treeguards. This area was totally dominated by broom six years ago but lots and lots of care, by many people, is really seeing it start to turn a corner and more and more native species growing and recruiting and lots of natural Manna gum recruits doing well that came up after the ecological burn done several years ago. It was good to see some onion orchids still out and Cullen still in flower. The most important gift we gave the bush was cleaning up the sparse broom that was there, but some of it was heavy in seed and our work has saved potentially thousands of new plants next year. It was a hot day and very reasonably, I am sure that kept some people away, particularly with younger kids. But a big thank you to those that braved the conditions and gave this huge gift to our patch!

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Flat Spider believed to be in the Trochanteriidae family of spiders, first described by Ferdinand Karsch in 1879 containing about 180 species in 21 genera. Most are endemic to Australia. - Photo by Craig Baulderstone

Meeting #43

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 43rd meeting on Sunday 14th November 2021

A very rewarding Bush Buddies today. Very small numbers but inspired by new participant with a very switched-on young bush buddy brain that will no doubt go on to do great things as a scientist. In search of our enemy (broom!) we climbed the hill to a location that my family adopted some 6 or so years ago and has cared for ever since. I said to my now 14yo son, did he remember when we first started weeding in this patch, when it was dominated by tall broom. He said yes and remembered having itchy legs from walking through it, helping to remove it. Along the way we have had some clever burns from DEW fire, a bit of 'contractor' control, but mostly lots of pleasant hours with friends and Friends and family (who happen to be all Friends). I don't remember any time leaving there when I didn't feel better than I arrived. It's like a booster shot for my physical and mental health.

We walked past weedy areas with the same trees and the same soil type and I said "that's what the area we are going to once looked like". Then we stood at the boundary of the burn area and could see the same trees and shrubs, but this explosion of colour from the carpet of wildflowers on the previously burnt side. On the unburnt side I have done weed control with my Urrbrae student helper this year, but already many young recruits have established. This follow up will continue for many years but I hope we can get one of those clever burns done, that trigger the native recruitment as well as the weed seedbank and we can remove the young weeds and take away that competition from the natives. Then the natural system can go from strength to strength, thickening up, becoming more diverse, creating more diverse habitat for more diverse fauna and making it harder for the weeds to return. It was so rewarding to walk through our cared for area and finding a very small number of weeds among the tremendous diversity of native plants, returning back down the hill past the dense broom and knowing what this area can be like. The land needs more carers, like it had for thousands of years and led to the very special and unique biodiversity that we have in much of our Park.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Australian buttercup with large spotted ladybird - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Blue pincushion - Brunonia australis - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Button everlasting - Coronidium scorpioides - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Goodenia geniculata - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Ajuga australis - Australian bugle - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


- Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Bluebell and Fanflowers - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Carpet of fanflowers and creamy candles - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Boneseed and broom removed with Marlow, young seedlings already much reduced species diversity and flowers and habitat value. - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Same location as previous photo, this one in direction of past burnt ground with masses of wildflowers and diversity and structural habitat for different species. - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Weedy broom area like our area once was - Photo by Craig Baulderstone

Meeting #42

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 42nd meeting on Sunday 24th October 2021

Beautiful weather and beautiful nature to record - perfect conditions for our involvement in the international citizen science project called the Great Southern Bioblitz. After meeting at the Volunteer Centre, we progressed to our special 'secret location' and it didn't disappoint! Our small group that participated, made up for it in enthusiasm, with over 100 records 'captured' to show the rest of the world the amazing biodiversity in our Belair National Park.

I want to make special mention of the incredibly professional approach of two young scientists, collecting some amazing records. As always, it was a great opportunity for me to share what I have learnt and of course I learnt new things from others and my new observations. Always something new!

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


At work... Great Southern Bioblitz - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Chocolate Lily - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


King Spider Orchid - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Western Grey Kangaroo - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Moth - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Twining Fringe Lily - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Creamy Candles - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Pink Eyed Susan - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Tall Sundew - Photo by Craig Baulderstone

Meeting #41

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 41st meeting on Sunday 26th September 2021

We had the perfect spring day to be outside for September Bush Buddies! Stephen Fricker from Uni of SA introduced us to iNaturalist and the amazing tool that it is. It is incredibly easy to use but I hadn't realised how effective it is in using 'artificial intelligence' to help identify plants and also how its records can assist you to learn more about the environment around you. It solves one of my problems too, taking photos of nature and then not being able to find them again. Using iNaturalist, my photos get filed under my name, with a date and location and get verified by experts!

Biodiversity loss should be our greatest concern. Climate change will give us lots of challenges and is essential that we tackle it but the greatest threat is to biodiversity loss. Once the genetics of a species is lost and extinct, you can't get it back and all species interact and loss of one species usually means loss of more. But we don't have full knowledge of all the species out there and often miss trends where a species is in trouble and nearing tipping points that may lead to extinction. This is something important we can all do, right around the world, to get to know and understand our biodiversity and help to monitor what is where and when.

Out in the sunshine we found many orchids but most impressive for me was the carpets of brilliant yellow bulbine lillies that I have never seen in such numbers on 'our patch' and is a long way from the dense broom that was there many years ago when we started. The fanflowers that have been coming back and competing with weeds were in flower. Stephen Fricker also encouraged us to record weeds because this can monitor presence and spread. Attached are the photos I took of broom and sweet pittosporum. I thought the App would need close up of flowers and weeds to identify, but both of these were instantly correctly suggested. We even had a bearded dragon pose for the camera! So much out there to see and record and this is just a start.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Sweet Pittosporum - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Broom - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Bulbine Lillies - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Fan Flower - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Bearded Dragon - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Grasshopper - Photo by Craig Baulderstone

Meeting #40

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 40th meeting on Sunday 14th August 2021

Here is a reminder of the August National Science Week Events... There will be two events run by University of Adelaide at The Bee Hub in Brownhill Creek. The first is a free event called Habitat Hedgerows from 3 to 4.30pm, where you will learn about Bandicoots and help to create habitat for them. Then there are two night walks called Wildlife Nightlife, one starting at 5.30 and one starting at 7.30pm, where we will also be using UV torches. The walks are free for 12 and under and $35 for adults, with proceeds to bandicoot conservation. More details can be found at these links and you will need to book for the limited spaces: Habitat Hedgerows - National Science Week   and   Wildlife Nightlife - National Science Week

Now my Report .... August Bush Buddies, I missed 'Habitat Hedgerows', that was booked out in advance anyway, but I heard from a 'buddy' that it was a great event with lots to see and learn and a highlight was that Kaurna elder Aunty Lynette was involved.

I was there for both the nightwalks and it was great to rediscover the area, that strangely I haven't' been to in a very long time. Great work has been done by the Friends of Brown Hill Creek and Adelaide Uni Bandi Bunch, in restoring the landscape and in a way sensitive to the threatened Bandicoot residents. We headed off on the walk armed with the knowledge of University of Adelaide researchers and bat expert from the Museum and thermal imaging camera, three different types of bat detector and a range of torches with different filters and UV. We 'acknowledged country' next to a magnificent ancient Kaurna shelter tree and paused to think about the estimated 150 or so people who lived in this area. The focus was not just on wildlife but on the other signs of wildlife, like diggings, scats, tracks and their shelter.

We stopped to see some trapdoor spider holes and reminded that they live extremely long lives (20 yrs) and dig holes as juveniles that they live in their whole life. If the hole is destroyed the spider dies. Two species of bat were detected including southern forest bats.

We looked at a bandicoot habitat restoration exclosure, where we could see their activity in diggings and told females with pouch young had been observed in the vicinity. It was interesting what the thermal imaging camera could pick up and we found possums in tree canopy that we couldn't see with torch light due to being hidden by leaves. I had our UV torches there but disappointed we didn't see any scorpions at all, particularly after seeing so many in our session earlier in the year. I can only imagine it was temperature related being extremely cold, but worth some further investigation on that and I plan to compare the two sites when things warm up a bit. What the UV torches did pick up were some fungi. Most interesting was what appeared to be a fungal growth on the leaves of a common weed species called Scabiosa. It wasn't on all of them but distinctly on some but no other species. I can't help wondering if there is a role there for a biological control when characteristics are species specific. But once again, something i have never seen before and confirms my enthusiasm to get out in nature whenever I can!

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Bandicoot refuge site - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Trying to see possum that thermal imaging camera clearly showed - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Scabious Leaves with us fungal growth - Photo by Craig Baulderstone

Meeting #39

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 39th meeting on Sunday 18th July 2021

It was the end of a dreary, wet second week of school holidays, but what better conditions for finding fungi! It was great to see Kate Grigg, the Wild Food Huntress, and realised it was way back in September 2017 when she first talked to Bush Buddies. I started by commenting on the recent panic buying of toilet paper yet again and I know I would be much better finding Kate who could feed me just on what is growing around us! We were reminded of just how important fungi are and that all life would not survive without them. They are not plants and are their own 'kingdom' and they are actually more related to insects than to plants. They are some of our earliest lifeforms and formed the soils our plants could grow in.

Most of our time was spent exploring and 'hunting' and asking Kate "what's this?" Kate's knowledge is amazing, not just identification but interesting features of the different species. The range of fungi we found in small area and small amount of time was amazing. Just the ones I managed to get photos of was 25 quite different looking fungi from bright coloured 'jelly', to patches of 'fur' and all these different colours and shapes from the small to the very large. I always say that I get excited every time I walk out into nature because I expect to see something that I have never seen before - I lost count of how many new fungi I discovered!

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Fungi - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Fungi - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Fungi - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Fungi - Photo by Craig Baulderstone - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Fungi - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Fungi - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Fungi - Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Fungi - Photo by Craig Baulderstone

Meeting #38

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 38th meeting on Saturday 20th June 2021

Not your average 'tree planting'! June Bush Buddies had us assisting in the annual BioR Frahn's Farm Planting Festival at Monarto and doing our bit for 14,000 plants in the ground over four days. We had a great intro and demonstration why this sort of revegetation, at this scale, works and contributes to stopping biodiversity loss, where most traditional methods of revegetation have failed. Before we arrived, vast areas of old cleared land had been skimmed of their topsoil, which is full of weed seed and built up nutrient that is not ideal for our native plants. Then as a 'base crop' to compete with weeds and ideally suited to the skimmed ground, native grasses are direct seeded. Then holes were dug with auger and plants distributed based on combinations of complimentary species, each one chosen for its significance in providing habitat features for our threatened fauna and not just on 'aesthetics'. We planted very few actual trees and the plants were spaced to replicate an open landscape without competing with the ground layer species that are important for habitat. Then all we had to do was put them in the ground....but four days later I am still feeling the aches! We used a technique where we formed a bowl with the plant set down about 150mm. The bowls are formed and shaped to collect and hold water. Monarto is relatively dry and these bowls concentrate runoff from any rainfall and also watering that will occur during their establishment. The last two years of planting have demonstrated over 95% success rate and in stark contrast to the many dead plants in the nearby traditional 'best practice' revegetation from a few years ago at the same site. This youtube clip explains the day much better than I can Frahns Farm Planting Festival | BioR - YouTube:

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


BioR big bowl - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


BioR bowls - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


BioR planting - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


BioR - last year's native grass - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #37

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 37th meeting on Saturday 9th May 2021

For May we had a great talk from Pete Raine, taking us back to think about Belair 'before we were here'. We looked at the movement of Aboriginal people and how Kaurna and Peramangk people shared our Park for trade, shelter, resources and ceremony. We looked at where we were in our Park and the Aboriginal names for the hills and the watercourses around us. From there we looked at the names of plants and the wide range of 'human' uses for these plants, as opposed to the fauna uses we normally talk about. From there we went for a walk to find as many of these plants as we could and trying to remember the traditional names that would have been spoken in this same location for thousands of years.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Talk by by Pete Raine


Talk by by Pete Raine

Meeting #36

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 36th meeting on Saturday 11th April 2021

What a great bush buddies for April and thank you for all those people who turned out and made it special. We started with a talk about the different ways that things light up in nature and the difference in luminescence, phosphorescence and fluorescence. There are so many fascinating aspects to nature and how it is used for the success of different species. Later in the year we will look at luminescence in fungi, or you may have seen fireflies, these are examples of a chemical reaction that produces its own light, like one of those camping sticks that you bend the tube and mix chemicals to produce light. In nature there are substances that act like a glow in the dark watch, that act as a 'phosphor' and store light energy and radiate it back in the dark in our visible wavelengths. But the main activity on the night involved fluorescence, where short wave radiation UV light, largely out of our visible range, is reflected back as much more visible longer wavelength, particularly against a dark background. We talked about all the different creatures that use fluorescence and why that might be, but also that a lot of this knowledge has only quite recently been discovered. This is one of the great things about being a scientist and so many new things to discover. When scientist first discovered this 'biofluorescence' in mammals, they were keen to check our earliest mammal 'living fossils', the monotremes and found it occurs with platypus. Did you know the human form has been around for about 5 million years, other 'hominid' forms like apes 16 million, but platypus 120 million and the echidna one of the very first at 220 million years?

I knew that bandicoots had been found to be bio fluorescent, and so once dark we headed to a location I have often seen bandicoots. It is a tough call to sneak up on bandicoots with such a large group, even with remarkably good effort for everyone to be quiet. Bandicoots also have an incredibly good sense of smell and may have smelt us coming too! But before long everyone was finding things that jumped out at them with the light of the UV torches and most impressively the dazzling green of small scorpions. The more we looked the more we realized there was scorpions everywhere, which we otherwise wouldn't have seen. A sulphur crested cocky feather had portions that stood out, some flowers and insects on a leaf.

Thanks again for making it a great event and stay tuned for our next topic on Sunday May 9, 10 to 12.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Scorpion illuminated by UV light ... Photo by Pete Raine


Bush Buddies Group at night with UV torches ... Photo by Pete Raine


Scorpion illuminated by UV light ... Photo by Tom Baulderstone (Bush Buddy)


Feather illuminated by UV light ... Photo by Tom Baulderstone (Bush Buddy)

Meeting #35

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 35th meeting on Sunday 14th March 2021

We had a great March Bush Buddies with lovely weather and beautiful surroundings and a great turn out too. With his experience, our speaker Dr John Wamsley could have talked on so many topics, but his choice was "why are we here - why is conservation important". One of John's greatest achievements has been to raise awareness and to educate about conservation issues.
Using our location of Almanda Creek as an example, John described how when they started, it was covered in blackberry and had about 40 plant species. Now after years of weed control, there are over 200 species including rare and threatened species. We need to maximise and protect biodiversity. There was lots of thought provoking discussion about why, such as; to maximise life and our animals etc. we need to maximise our plant diversity; all life needs different kinds of food and shelter and plants are important in providing this; all food at some point comes back to plants.
We discussed how weeds can be native plants too and the main criteria is if any particular plants stops others growing and therefore reduces biodiversity. Sometimes introduced weeds can form a function, like blackberry providing refuge for bandicoots, but we still need to manage that blackberry until other native refuge is established and limiting it to areas so it doesn't take over and reduce biodiversity over larger areas. In restoring native grasses, it is best not to remove all the introduced grasses at once and by leaving some and removing gradually, the transition is much faster.

John then talked about fire, and how once upon a time the area around us would be 'grassy woodland'. Bushcare work has started to return the Almanda area to this state and there is a clear line where the fire stopped and coincided with bushcare work. Grassy woodland has a tall canopy and then a big gap to a ground layer with mainly green in summer native grasses and ground covers, so it is not hard to see why this happened. John then taught us about 'C3' and 'C4' plants (something I didn't learn until University!) but it is the best explanation as to why these native grasses are green in summer and the exotic grasses and other plants are dry and adding to fuel loads - I will let you google that one!

We talked about how the Cherry Gardens fire burnt out 2700ha (if you have a big house block it is probably 0.1 ha, so 27,000 house blocks) and with a slow burn this destroyed almost all habitat and refuge for our 'biodiversity'. Almanda Creek didn't burn and soon after the fire bandicoots were seen there that sheltered from the fires. Fires don't need to be like this if we care for the land and leave green in summer native plant areas where animals can shelter. It will also increase our biodiversity if we control the 'dry in summer' introduced plants, that compete with the natives, establishing in autumn and then competing with summer green natives trying to establish in spring, before then drying off as fuel for summer. We need more land carers to care for country like Aboriginal people did before Europeans arrived and we talked about ways you can do that by joining Friends groups and attending bushcare events.

We finished with a walk through the beautiful Almanda Creek, looking at all the wonderful biodiversity and pointing our rare and endangered species.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Almanda Restoration Site ... Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Bush Buddies Group Photo ... Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Scott Creek CP Almanda Swamp ... Photo by Jo Baulderstone


John Wamsley talking to group at Scott Creek CP ... Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #34

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 34th meeting on Sunday 6th December 2020

We had a great 'early start' Bush Buddies for December, Bird Banding in Scott Creek Conservation Park. Not the best morning with patchy rain and we had to abandon at 10am when heavy rain set in. But despite the condition we still got to see close up a number of Silvereyes, a White- browed Scrub-wren and a brilliant blue male Superb Fairy-wren. Bird banding has been carried out in the Park since 1993 with more than 7000 birds banded and 132 species identified. The first bird we caught was a Silvereye and found out that banded birds have been identified from as far as Tasmania and the Coorong and is a great example of the importance of this research. By turning the bird over and blowing on its breast it showed bare skin, which indicates the bird had been sitting on eggs and they lose these feathers to increase skin contact and heat to eggs. Many more birds were caught and measurements recorded with the opportunity to hold them and examine details up close. The blue wrens up close are amazing how 'false' they look almost like plastic feathers in perfect lines like a machine did it - and you just don't see that in photos or binoculars. The oldest recorded blue wren has been 12 years old. Other aspects discussed about what the research can tell us included movements and breeding habits and how that can guide control burns to benefit different species. Thank you to Jim Spiker and Peter Watton for their dedication to this research and teaching and guiding us on Sunday. See the Friends of Scott Creek Conservation Park website for more bird banding activities and other volunteer events.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Claire Harris


Photo by Claire Harris


Photo by Claire Harris


Photo by Claire Harris


Photo by Claire Harris


Photo by Claire Harris


Photo by Claire Harris


Photo by Claire Harris


Photo by Claire Harris


Photo by Claire Harris

Meeting #33

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 33rd meeting on Sunday 8th November 2020

Great day and great turnout particularly given there was weeding on offer! But that is the point demonstrated, what we did was bushcare to restore healthy ecosystems for animals and plants to thrive in and repeated, follow up weeding is an important tool in achieving that. Our measure of success is seeing all the native plants that have self-propagated and done so well in an area that just a few years ago was completely covered in a canopy of Cape Broom.

It was too late in the season to see lots of the flowers and orchids that we have seen earlier, but a few bluebells, buttercups and onion orchids were still there and Christmas bush and Hills daisy getting ready for their summer flowering. One thing that stood out is that all the introduced grasses had dried off and would no longer provide nutritious food for kangaroos, although there were quite large and spreading patches of Microlaena or weeping rice grass that were by contrast green and lush. Other native grasses like kangaroo grass and wallaby grass will also continue to be green into summer.

You could see these were favourite spots for kangaroo visits and these will continue to be green and provide food during summer. Hopefully a few less will run the risk of jumping over busy Upper Sturt Road to feed on our lawn! And of course any time you are out in nature is the opportunity to see new animals and insects. I found an interesting caterpillar that was busy eating all the leaves off the broom and other stripped plants that appeared to be dead, but unfortunately left my camera behind! Thanks to everyone and we did cover quite a large area, including collecting a lot of seed off the plants pulled out.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935

Meeting #32

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 32nd meeting on Sunday 11th October 2020

We had a great walk for October Bush Buddies, to retrace our steps on the Thelymitra Track, that we did about this time last year. As always with nature - some things were the same and some things different and usually some things you don't expect. It was a beautiful day and the brilliant colours made it like stepping into an impressionist painting, and while listening to a calming backing soundtrack of an orchestra of bird calls. Most brilliant were the yellow guinea flowers (three species), contrasting with the tetretheca and blue grass and chocolate lillies in the understorey and brilliant orange blooms on bush pea. Then as you walk, looking at the finer detail level you could see orchids, mainly pink fingers, little greenhoods, some purple cockatoo orchids and sun orchids, like you might expect to find on the Thelymitra track.

It was pleasing to see there were almost no weeds. Last year we found a big patch of Erica on the Bush Buddies walk. We removed some then and followed up with some Saturday bushcare crews. The area has not fully recovered yet but promising natural recruitment and most notable was lots of Yam daisies that have come up. I only managed to find three resprouts of Erica from roots that must have snapped off when weeding. Can't wait to see it again next year!

Then we walked past a recent control burn area and exciting rebirth of the area with resprouting stringybarks and spotting what new species are coming back. We had been looking out for the bright yellow waxy leaf native buttercups and only seen a few, and then 'boom' and there was a complete carpet of them covering patches of the burn area.

I love getting out into the bush and you would have heard me say that almost every time I go for a good walk, I see something I have never seen before. I was taken by all the brilliant sundews with their sticky display like glass flowers. These carnivorous plants trap insects in their stickiness and then consume them for nutrients. This particularly healthy one I noticed, not only had the normal little bugs visible but had managed to snag a relatively huge white moth. The head was buried deep into the flower and would have been a meal and a half for this plant. No wonder it looked so healthy!

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #31

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 31st meeting on Sunday 13th September 2020

It was a very small but enthusiastic group for September Bush Buddies, on a beautiful spring morning.... no place I would rather be! We started by checking on our plantings from the last session and all were doing well. A few competing weeds that have grown up within the tree guards, were removed and we gave them all a drink of water.

From here we moved to Playford Lake for the start of a walk along Moorowie, Lodge, Carawatha and Brady Gully tracks. Lots of orchids were out, including dense patches of donkey orchids and the first of the purple cockatoo orchids. Plants were flowering everywhere and it was fun spotting the little splashes of colour and then discovering the amazingly intricate detail - bluegrass lily flowers come to mind - and then the brilliant explosions of colour such as patches of twiggy bush pea absolutely covered in their orange, red and mauve flowers. We also saw the remnants of flowers, where the season is already moving on, such as the last of the flowers on the kangaroo thorn that was so brilliant just weeks ago.

The wildlife didn't let us down either with an echidna seen going about its business, lots of different birds, including rosellas nesting in one of those so important tree hollows we must protect, and many very relaxed kangaroos, from massive males that make me look small, to a number of mothers with curious joeys in pouches, happy to pose for photos. Every time I go for a walk in nature, I expect to see something that I have never seen or noticed before. This time it was two brown snakes mating. Someone noticed the movement just metres from the track, but a closer look revealed it was actually two brown snakes entangling around each other. As soon as they noticed we had destroyed their privacy, they were off in the opposite direction - definitely no interest in us! Such a treat to get these first hand glimpses of what is going on in nature all the time that we usually just see in documentaries.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #30

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 30th meeting on Sunday 26th July 2020

We had a great planting day for July Bush Buddies - sun shining and lovely moist soil. We added another 100 plants into our area near the volunteer centre, as part of a restoration plans originally started by Ranger Tim Fulbohm. Six years ago the area was dominated by Cape Broom but many years of weed control from the Friends and carers of VMU28 had significantly reduced the broom and helped the sparse native species to grow. Then 2 years ago Tim organised to have the area burnt, which triggered a lot of natural regeneration, which is continuing to increase and compete with weed regrowth. Tim had collected seed, particularly of threatened plants, with plans to propagate from this seed and plant out into areas where the species would have originally occurred. Last year Karen Lane of Growing Bush propagated a large number of seedlings that were planted near the Volunteer Centre and in the Bush Buddies patch of VMU 28. Later in the year Karen and Jeff Reid from COOTS helped us to propagate more plants in a Bush Buddies session and today has seen those plants go in the ground.

All went well with the plants going in the ground in record time and as I walked around after as a last 'quality control' check, there was nothing to do with such a good job done. One of the interesting 'problems' of today was finding spots to dig holes without small native plants growing there already. If we can keep up the weed control, the natural regeneration continues to increase. At the end of the session we checked a known patch of rare Blunt Greenhoods. It was great to see they seem alive and well and some already in flower.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935

Meeting #29

Report by Pete Raine, 29th meeting on Sunday 15th March 2020

Great morning at Belair Bush Buddies this morning! Our speaker, Sam Bywaters, gave a brilliant presentation about phenology – the seasonality of life-cycles in nature and the relationship between plants and climate change. It was a thoroughly interesting and engaging presentation about Sam’s PhD research project, which is about little things, the 66 species of native orchids in Belair and their future. Thanks Sam, keep us updated as the project develops
After a brief break, we took advantage of the glorious weather for a walk. What a great start to a Sunday

Pete Raine

Meeting #28

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 28th meeting on Sunday 9th February 2020

Great to see those of you that could make it today and we are now busy mapping out what we will do this year.

Something mentioned today in our 'what have you seen in nature since we last saw you segment", was how useful nature journaling is. We had our session some time ago with Jenny Deans (12th meeting on 12th August 2018) and that had a focus on drawing and recording aspects you see. But also just writing down what you saw and when is a great resource. We now have a cheap bound book sitting on the end of the kitchen bench where we can simply put a date and make a note when we see something.

The big trigger for me doing this was recently getting a copy of these attached papers. Tony Robinson and Julia Haska live just near the Upper Sturt shop, and these attached papers The SA Naturalist Vol 92 pt2 and The SA Naturalist Vol 93 pt1 describe 38 years of observations in our area, right down to 141 different invertebrates. It does include proper surveys with traps etc but it also includes just simple observations. It makes for fascinating reading with all sorts of things no doubt living in our backyard that we haven't seen yet...... and could possibly forget if we did! - eg. have you heard of the Mt. Lofty carnivorous snail? .......that predates on the native Bednall's snail. Tony and Julia said to pass these on to anyone you think might be interested.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935

Meeting #27

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 27th meeting on Sunday 8th December 2019

Another great speaker for December, Gil Hollamby from the Butterfly Conservation SA, who generously shared his wealth of experience with us. I always find it interesting what sets people on their path and for Gil it was his year 3 teacher that started his lifelong passion for Entomology. He chose to study Agricultural Science because it was the only degree at the time that had Entomology in it that led him into an academic career. I have studied entomology but during Gil's talk I was still left in absolute awe of these seemingly insignificant invertebrates. For example over 7,000,000 species of insects and only 600,000 of all the other animals. If insects were removed, everything would die in only a few weeks and yet if humans died, things would continue on. The weight of insects outweighs all the other animals.

Gil talked about the ecosystem services, just one of which is pollination. There has been recent concern about diseases in European bees and how that would impact our food production and this has increased interest in the over 2000 species of native bees we have and other pollinators. We spent a lot of time talking about the wonder of insects in general but then focused on butterflies, with their beauty and human interest in them, making them great ambassadors for all insects. I was reminded just how special their life cycle and 'metamorphosis' is. Starting as a creature that is good at eating plants and gathering nutrients and then inside the pupae, turning itself into a 'nutrient soup' and completely reforming into something that can move widely over huge distances for breeding and finding good places and then do it all again. It’s the stuff of science fiction! But it also highlights the importance of 'butterfly gardens' to provide not just flowers and nectar sources but also the food for the caterpillars. We finished with grabbing some nets and heading outside to see what we could find. We captured a Common Grass-blue and a male Common Brown and also seen a Painted Lady, Common Grass Dart, a Tenebrionid beetle with a strong smell as part of its defences, a black spider hunting wasp and some small Lady Beetles.

Gil also had a new book, hot off the press "Caterpillars, moths and their plants" which is a fantastic new resource in understanding the even more diverse world of Moths. Copies can be purchased through the Butterfly Conservation SA website.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #26

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 26th meeting on Sunday 10th November 2019

November Bush Buddies was our first plant propagation workshop. Earlier this year we did our first revegetation exercise, which was largely organised by ranger Tim Fulbohm. Tim had collected seed, arranged an ecological burn of the area and arranged for Karen Lane to propagate the plants. This was a great success and very sad Tim didn't get to see the plants go in the ground. So wishing to continue the good work and the memory of Tim, I thought about extending our planting next year and what better way than to add another step and propagate the plants ourselves.

I contacted Karen Lane from Growing Bush nursery, who contacted Jeff Reid from Australian Plants Society and COOTS (Conservation of our threatened species) Coordinator. The day wouldn't have happened without their great generosity and willingness to share their knowledge and it was all done in an incredibly short timeframe. Having all this great support, it just made sense to extend the opportunity to schools of our Bush Buddies and Upper Sturt, Belair, Happy Valley and Urrbrae produced plants for their own school revegetation projects. We must also thank the following for their support and sponsorship; Natural Resources Adelaide & Mt. Lofty Ranges, Konica Minolta, staff of Belair National Park, Trees for life, Woolworths Mitcham, Foodland Blackwood and special thanks to Barb and Pete Raine who as usual were crucial to keep the cogs turning!

We had a great turn out and after a brief introduction we split into two groups. One group went with Karen and learnt how to divide and repot (prick out seedlings) and kids produced two tubes to take home. The other group went with Jeff to pack soil into the tubes. We then swapped and later as a group applied the seed, fertiliser and gravel mulch. After a break for lunch Jeff gave us a great talk about different types of plants and seeds and how to propagate them with different treatments and we finished with the issue of the fantastic workshop attendance certificates.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #25

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 25th meeting on Sunday 20th October 2019

This month the Bush Buddies we had a good size group for one of our walks in a part of the Park we haven't explored before. And such a beautiful time of year with so much in flower and plants to explore. We handed out sheets with pictures of flowers to look for that Barb had prepared a couple of weeks before. Some were no longer in flower and yet other things were. We did manage to just catch the last Austral indigo in flower there. It shows us that there is always something new to see in nature and the more we visit and look, the more we will learn and marvel at. We started at the Waverly gate and followed a circuit that included the Thelymitra track.
Click on this link to open a list of the 51 native species we saw in this relatively short walk on this particular morning.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #24

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 24th meeting on Sunday 8th September 2019

Dr Kayla Gilmore gave us a very interesting presentation on native fish. There are 300 native fish species but 40% are of conservation concern. We learnt about a range of threats for our fish and just like out of water, habitat features that help them such as snags. Fish have ears and just like us, use them for hearing and balance. The ear bones are called Otoliths and when you look at a cross section of them, they have growth rings like trees do. These rings can tell us the age, home, migration patterns and environmental change such as oxygen levels. A Murray Cod has been determined to be 52 years old. We learnt about a range of features to identify fish and then used this to play a game of 'what's that fish' from a wide range of images. Following this it was heading outside to use nets and different magnifiers to sample what we could find in our creek. Lots of great skills learnt and in the future we should do more sampling in the Railway Dam and get a better idea of what is in our water in the Park and not just on our land.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Native Fish


Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Photo by Craig Baulderstone


Photo by Craig Baulderstone

Meeting #23

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 23rd meeting on Sunday 11th August 2019

It was looking like a cold and wet Sunday morning for August Bush Buddies but right on queue the sun came out for our 10am start! We started by looking at the other recent plantings around the Volunteer Centre. It was interesting to see the different plants and overall they were healthy and happy. There had been heavy rain and fast flows in the creek that had taken out a few tree guards and plants, but we managed to find these and rescue them, replanting them. It emphasised the importance of checking back after a planting event to make sure everything is ok. These were 'sedges' and I am sure will survive, especially now they have their roots back in soil. Then we ventured over the road to check out our plantings from last month and once again, there was really good survival. A few competing weeds were removed and tree guards straightened that had no doubt got in the way of roos, but overall looking great. We looked around for more native plants that may have come up after the control burn and anything flowering. Our rare greenhood orchids look to have really increased in numbers but still not in flower.

Then we walked up the Kaloola Track to the control line of the area burnt last year. The area that we have managed to keep weeded is doing fantastically with dense native understorey of hills daisy, sundews, fanflowers, chocolate lillies and many other species. We also observed lots of 'epicormic shoots' from the trunks of the Eucalypts, which is an interesting survival adaptation to fire for these plants. Areas that we have not been able to keep up with weeding have very dense cape broom seedlings in patches and of course the unburnt area has lots of matures weeds. Before flowering time for the broom we will slash these, hopefully leading to many not making it through summer and opening up light resources to the native recruitment. Hopefully this will allow us time to catch up with weeding without producing more weed seed in the system. This will be an interesting area for us to observe the changes over time.

Along the way we observed wattles in flower and collected some samples that we pressed. We also used identification books to work out what they were and start a herbarium. We also had a chance to observe striated thornbills up close, their movements and listening to their call. Someone also found a large puffball fungi.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #22

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 22nd meeting on Sunday 14th July 2019

July Bush Buddies I think was the wettest we have ever had and one of the most important jobs to do that didn't have an easy plan B. Despite our school holiday timeslot and the weather, we had a good size group turn up. We started indoors by describing the importance of the plants we were planting and the process we followed right through to grouping and placements and all the things you need to consider for a successful planting. It was soon apparent that our group had come to plant and it was going to take a lot worse weather than this to stop them!

The hardest part was looking for the right place to put the holes, with so much natural recruitment that has been triggered by the control burn done earlier this year. It will be exciting to see this patch in a couple of months as all the orchids, lillies and other flowers bloom. There is also a lot of native weeping grass that has come up. Our team took less than an hour to get the 50 plants in the ground and water them.

This planting, from collection of seed, burning of site and the involvement of the Bush Buddies kids, was driven by Ranger Tim Fulbohm, who sadly died earlier this year and I am sure he would have been really pleased to have seen the result.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #21

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 21st meeting on Saturday 15th June 2019

For June Bush Buddies we had our very special guest, David Paton give us a great insight into the world of birds and what makes them different to all the other life we have been learning about. One challenge is that unlike other animals and plants, there is no 'dichotomous' key to help us identify them. So instead we worked through a number of features that we use to identify birds and talked about why these features and adaptations are important for survival of these birds. So for example there are lots of different shape beaks, feet, wings how big are their eyes etc. and also different colours and markings. But then there are so many other things that help us to identify birds like where it lives, a woodland or a swamp, how it flies and how fast, their calls, are they alone or in flocks and how they behave.

So with this new knowledge we moved on to a game where half the room turned around and the other half were shown a picture of a bird in its typical habitat, but only for 20 seconds because birds don't usually hang around long. Then the people who saw the bird had to try and describe the bird, so the rest could identify it. Then David could help us in indicating what features to describe that would uniquely identify that bird. Lots of fun and something you could do at home!

The last part of the session was spent looking at specimens of birds and parts of birds like wings and feathers, allowing us to see up close the different features of birds and how those adaptations work to the benefit of different birds and how they live. And bird identification books were available to try and identify these birds.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #20

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 20th meeting on Saturday 11th May 2019

May Bush Buddies was another nature walk. I think these walks provide us our best 'classroom' and an opportunity to explore new areas of the Park, this time an area with Grey Box Woodland. It was a rainy day and a time you might normally think to leave your walking to another day, but to walk at these times you see different colours and smells and different plants stand out. Not good for some of the very green weeds that might normally be hiding and a number of these were pulled out along the way and others noted for follow up. Our walk started at Playford Lake and followed the Moorowie Track, then Carawatha Track. So much to see and talk about, and with time passing and rain increasing, at the junction of the Brady Gully Track, some of the group took the short cut back to the cars while the others continued on around the Lodge Track for an extended walk. We handed out a sheet with "10 Treasures of the Park" on it, with the challenge to find as many as we could. Not many plants in flower but we did see blue gum covered in flower at the start of the walk and a reminder that many of our gums flower at different times and this broadens the time when this resource is available to the type of species that use it. We did get to see Parsons Bands in flower, an orchid that flowers in autumn, and Native Cranberry, a ground-hugging small shrub with star-shaped bright red flowers held upright. We also saw fruit on the Native Cherry and Snotty Gobble plants. And while not in full flower, we did manage to find the very rare Blue Devil. Along the way we could compare different areas that have had different management and we could compare how diverse the number of species were and the habitat values. On return we passed through an area where Bandicoots are known to live and discussed creating a Bandicoot Bungalow to provide shelter to help them move between areas of greater cover.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #19

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 19th meeting on Sunday 14th April 2019

For April we had the District Ranger for our area, Brent Lores talk to us about what a Ranger does. Lots to do and after that we went out to see an area recently burnt as part of Park management and to help Brent and the Park by doing some weeding. We practiced using a special tool called a tree popper that makes easy work of the bigger plants. It was interesting timing to be talking about being a Ranger and Park management because in the last month we lost a Ranger of some 30 years to cancer and he had set up a revegetation project for Bush Buddies before he died. We will carry that out in the coming months and will especially be great to see as many as we can in July to do planting. Tim Fuhlbohm worked in a number of areas in the state but he spent a lot of his time with Belair and he knew the Park like the back of his hand. Bush Buddies is about learning about nature but we also hope that knowledge of the Park will see the kids appreciate it and want to care for it and be its Buddy into the future. I explained how we might have lots of good friends and then we have a much smaller group who are our best mates that we know everything about and would do anything for. Tim was one of the Parks best mates. So it’s great that we have this project where we can carry on Tim's work. In the last couple of weeks the area near the VC has been burnt and this will help to prepare the area for revegetation by burning back competitive weeds and hopefully encouraging natural regeneration of native species that are adapted to fire. We will continue to follow up and pull weeds and reach a stage where the native species are dominating. Tim also collected seeds of rare plants that occur in this area and he had these propagated and these will be ready for us to plant out at our July Bush Buddies meeting.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Ranger Brent with Bush Buddies group. Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Prescribed burn near volunteer centre. Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Prescribed burn of Bush Buddies patch. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Before weeding with tree poppers. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


After weeding with tree poppers. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Tree Popper pulling out a Montpellier Broom. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Montpellier broom with seed pods. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Montpellier Broom leaves. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


9 Weeding near Joseph Fisher Picnic Ground. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Lampropholis guichenoti. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


11 Native cherry with a green unripe fruit. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #18

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 18th meeting on Sunday 10th March 2019

March Bush Buddies started with a nature walk of areas that were the centre of the first European use of the Park. In the very early days it was the Government Farm and was used with the aim of producing income and not conservation. In particular we looked for what were native species and what was introduced and how each of these provided habitat or limited it. Along the way we saw Rainbow Lorikeets nesting in a hollow in an old dead tree and compared what makes Adelaide rosellas different to crimson rosellas. We saw the site of the first farmhouse and an old fig tree from the 1830's that was planted in its garden. Nearby was the tallest tree in the Park and wondered why it wasn't cut down when so many were harvested back at that time. We also saw one of four old Aboriginal shelter trees that are left. An enormous old trunk that has had the centre burnt out but still alive and providing habitat. We examined a number of wattle species and their differences.

Then it was back to Old Government House to learn more about early use of the Park by the Governor. We were fortunate to have Dene Cordes OAM and Tina Gallasch lead us on a tour and share their extensive knowledge built over the many years they have been associated with the Park and caring for it. Originally it was used mainly as a hunting lodge and there are early records that show over 500 possums were killed in one night. The House and the servants quarters are now carefully restored to represent the different classes in the Victorian era and with lots of interesting artifacts and items of specific local history. It was a great insight into how they all lived. Most interesting being Australia's first indoor swimming pool that was spring fed and remained beautifully clear and clean. Well worth a visit!

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Introduced Australian wattle leaf - Cootamundra Wattle, *Acacia bailyana. Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Aboriginal shelter tree near Adventure Playground. Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Tallest tree in the park, a Red River Gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Old Government House tour. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #17

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 17th meeting on Sunday 10th February 2019

What a lovely February day for a walk it was! In the middle of a hot dry summer and yet we saw flowers everywhere including a beautiful little lobelia with brilliant colour and intricate detail - what an interesting flora we have in Australia. Our walk took us through stringbark woodland. We learnt how to tell apart some important native plants from similar looking weeds. We looked for how many different plants we could find of a group called 'sedges' that throughout dry seasons stay green and provide ground cover and habitat and food without adding to the fuel load of the bush and competing with weeds that do add to that fuel load. Then snotty gobble (named because that's what the fruit is like and is in fact quite yummy) was nearly flowering and we saw how this native plant will grow over and smother plants, killing some weed species, but not native plants. There was a plant called pink ground berry that bandicoots love, but the fruits are not where you would expect to find them. We saw common brown butterflies and how well they camouflage themselves and learnt how to tell apart the girls from the boys. And as we walked we looked at the history of controlled burning and the plants that have regenerated as a result of those burns including a huge patch of hop goodenia which is an important 'butterfly plant'. The kids did a great job of filling in a question sheet and some great drawing, with a sweet reward at the end.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Weeds commonly found in Stringybark Woodland - Montpellier Broom* (Genista monspessulana*) and South African Daisy (Senecio pterophorus*). Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Large-leaved Bush-pea (Pultenaea daphnoides) - can be confused with Montpellier Broom*. Both have Pea Flowers (from the Plant Family called Leguminosae), but the native Bush-pea has flowers that are orange, and those of Broom are yellow. Just one of the differences to help tell them apart. Leaf shape is another. Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Messmate Stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua) - the bark of this tree is dark grey-brown and rough; the barrel-shaped fruits have valves that stick in (unlike another Stringybark called Eucalyptus baxteri where the tea-cup shaped fruits have valves that stick out); and the sides of their leaves join unequally ("obliquely", or at an angle) to the leaf stalk. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Hills Daisy (Ixodia achillaeoides) - this native plant could be confused with the weed South African Daisy* with both having narrow flat wings extending from their leaves; and both having daisy flowers (from the plant family Compositae) however one easy way to tell them apart when they are flowering is the Hills Daisy has white flowers, and those of the South African Daisy* are yellow. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Snotty Gobble is the name commonly given to this type of twining plant with sticky snot-like fruit - this one is known as Slender Devils Twine (Cassytha glabella) - its flowers are white with six petals. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Stringybark woodland in Belair National Park - Bush Buddies found many interesting plants found in this vegetation association. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Tall Lobelia (Lobelia gibbosa) - a small native herb that flowers in summer.) - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Common Brown - this Butterfly was nicely camouflaged in the leaf litter, and remained very still while we were able to have a close look at it. - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Hop Goodenia (Goodenia ovata) - we were lucky enough to be shown an area with hundreds of these native plants that regenerated after a prescribed burn.- Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #16

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 16th meeting on Saturday 8th December 2018

Pete Raine provided this comment on facebook about the December meeting.... "We were very fortunate to have Tamaru (Karrl Smith) take us for a Cultural walk around the site, talk about Kaurna language on plants medicine and food plants and then a talk on sustainable culture. Tamaru does lots of work with kids in schools and you can check out some of this on his facebook page. Our Bush Buddies group is going ahead in leaps and bounds! Huge props to Craig and Jo for organising an awesome Bush Buddies session this afternoon/evening with Kaurna elder Tamaru. Their formal report will follow, but here's a sneaky pic or two of today's activities. So much knowledge shared! Thanks all!Pete

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Tamaru - Photo by Pete Raine


Tamaru - Photo by Pete Raine

Meeting #15

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 15th meeting on 10th November 2018

Bush Buddies for November was all about bats with Terry Reardon from the SA Museum and so we had an evening session on a Saturday instead of our usual Sunday.

I don't know if it was the bats or not competing with sport and things on a Sunday, but we had our biggest turnout yet. We started with Terry telling us lots of interesting things about bats, from tiny micro bats the size of a matchbox through to mega bats like our grey-headed flying foxes with up to 1.5m wingspan. We have 70 species of bat in Australia. 25% live in caves but most live in tree hollows and under bark etc. So next time you see someone 'tidying up' a tree you can tell them all about the importance to bat habitat.

Bats are important to our ecosystems from insect regulation, pollination, and seed dispersal and even fertilizing. Bats eat half their body weight every night and that makes lots of poo! But then there is a lot we don't know about bats, like how amongst millions of screaming bats on a cave wall that the mothers all manage to find their own young. We learnt about the different types of trap that are used to catch and study bats and also bat detectors. Bats in SA can be heard from 10 to 60 Hz, most above 26.

Then we did a test of what we can hear with most of us lucky to get to 15, but a bat detector can pick up what we don't hear. We used a couple of different ones outside and also did other exercises like using funnels and a special microphone to hear more. There was also another special device we used in a fun exercise to replicate how bats use echolocation.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Terry Reardon talking about "Bats" - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Talking about and listening for bats" - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Listening for bats and other sounds - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Bat detector - used to listen for bat calls - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #14

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 14th meeting on 14th October 2018

'October Belair Bush Buddies' saw us learning about the frogs in our Park. We had a great turn out with lots of new faces. We were fortunate to have someone with Steve Walker's level of knowledge, not tell us everything he knows, because that would take too long, but what we need to know to identify them and lots of interesting facts revealing how special they are.

We only have six native frogs to learn about, all with their own distinctive calls and behaviours, but also one introduced species to be aware of. I learnt to listen more carefully when I think I can hear common froglets 'creaking', because if the sound inflects upwards at the end it could in fact be the rare Bibron's Toadlet. Did you know the collective term for frogs is an 'army of frogs' and that the Spotted Marsh Frog has a call that sounds like a machine gun. I think everyone in the room jumped when Steve imitated a scream from a frog being attacked. In fact many frogs will do this.

We then got a rundown on how to use the 'FrogSpotter app' - not only is this a fantastic resource as a field guide but also enables us to help collect valuable data that can assist in protecting our frogs. This is a completely free app available at the Apple App store or Google Play store. For another useful Frog Identification Key click here.

Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Guest speaker Steve Walker talking about frogs of the Mt Lofty Ranges - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Where is the frog? - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Hearing frog calls in the vegetation - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Crinea signifera - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Here is the frog (see above photo) - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Finding frogs in the creek - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Searching for frogs - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #13

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 13th meeting on 10th September 2018

September saw a number of new faces and that's great to see. The topic was plant identification and started by talking about its importance to understanding nature and ecology. It’s a bit like a big game or puzzle where if you understand all the 'characters', what they can do and what they need, then you can save species and the good guys (our native species) can live happily ever after! We looked at the features and what we use to identify plants and practised on samples of how we can collect information with photos, drawing and taking notes. Then we took our new skills and headed out on a walk on a beautiful day and learnt lots about the plants in our Park.
September saw many of our regulars busy but then we had lots of new faces which is great to see. The appearance of orchids in flower was the main nature observation that was mentioned. We started with a short chat about how learning about Ecology is a bit like a big game or puzzle. You learn about each species or 'character', what resources (food and shelter) they need and provide and how they interact and compete with the other species and how external factors like climate can affect them. If you get the game right then you can save species and allow the native species (the good guys!) to live happily ever after!
We divide nature into a filing system - orders, families, genus, species etc. So if we look at gum trees for example they are in a family called Myrtaceae that also has plants with aromatic leaves and gum nut looking woody fruit like the stalks on a bottlebrush. Their genus is Eucalyptus and there are lots of different Eucalypts with different flowers, gum nut shape, leaf shape and types of bark and these are the different species. So when we are walking in the bush we are looking for these clues to identify plants that can direct us where to look in that big filing system to know what species it is. Sometimes just something simple like the number of petals on a flower might direct you to certain families and make it much easier to identify what species it is.
We don't always have time to work out what a plant is when we are out in the bush and so we might want to 'collect'. There are laws though that protect our native plants and so you need to check what you can do before you start pulling up or damaging what could be very rare species. But there are lots of ways to collect information with cameras and taking notes and sketches. If you do collect a specimen you only need those parts of the plant that are needed to identify it. We then looked at some sheets Barb prepared that show us how to describe different features of a plant and using a big box of different collected leaves, described and sketched features of these.
Then it was off for a great walk outside on a beautiful day and exploring and identifying with our new skills.
Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935


Plant press and plant identification books - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Basic Botany "Parts of a Plant" - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Looking at leaf shape and texture - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Plant identification along Lodge Track - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Guinea-flower (Hibbertia sp.) - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Using hand lens to view a flower - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Blue Grass-lily (Caesia Calliantha) - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Wildflowers emerging in a recent burnt area- Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #12

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, 12th meeting on 12th August 2018

At the start of National Science Week, Belair Bush Buddies Jenny Deans showed us how to do 'Nature Journaling'. This was about writing and drawing your observations of nature, increasing your attention to detail and appreciating what is around you. It will help to identify species and describe them to others. For more detail on 'Nature Journaling' click here. After the talk we went out and observed, and recorded our observations in a note-book. Also we talked about an exciting new restoration project near the Volunteer Centre that Bush Buddies can help with.
Craig Baulderstone. 0421 910 935

Meeting #11

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 11th meeting on 8th July 2018

For July we had wildlife biologist Greg Johnston talk to us about Birds and their beaks. Greg has a huge amount of experience and a great sense of humour, making it a very entertaining presentation. While we know beaks are the equivalent of our mouths and used for eating, they are used for other things too. We sweat when we get hot but birds can't and can cool down through blood vessels in the beak. Birds have been around since dinosaurs and early birds had teeth 90 million years ago. Crocodiles are related to birds and we compared bird and crocodile skulls and how similar they looked except with teeth on the crocodile. The biggest beak in the world is the pelican and the smallest on the spotted pardolote and the saltwater crocodile has the biggest jaws in the world and they are all related! We learnt how birds see things different to us and can see UV light and this allows them to see patterns on beaks to identify each other that we can't see and they can do that in the dark. And of course their calls are so important to their communication and that is affected and changed by their beaks. After we went to the Playford lake to look at the birds their and talk more about their beaks. While we know beaks are the equivalent of our mouths and used for eating, they are used for other things too. We sweat when we get hot but birds can't and can cool down through blood vessels in the beak. Birds have been around since dinosaurs and early birds had teeth. Crocodiles are related to birds and we compared bird and crocodile skulls and how similar they looked except with teeth on the crocodile. The biggest beak in the world is the pelican and the smallest on the spotted pardolote and the saltwater crocodile has the biggest jaws in the world and they are all related!

Hope to see you in August.

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to


The July 2018 topic was 'Birds and their beaks - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Guest speaker Greg Johnston at the July 2018 Meeting - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Spotted Pardalote and Pelican beaks - the smallest and largest beaks in the world - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Birds at Playford Lake - Belair National Park- Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #10

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 10th Meeting on 17th June 2018

Unfortunately for June our much anticipated speaker David Paton had to cancel at late notice, but we will see David another time in the future. To replace this we stayed with our 'bird' theme and did a bird watching outing. Meeting at Karka Pavilion, we started with discussing some 'bird watching' tips such as looking for shapes and colour and movement and listening carefully for calls. We had different bird field guides to look at, a bird caller to try and also looked at the phone app called “The Michael Morcombe eguide to Birds of Australia” that is very useful for identifying birds and checking what calls different birds make. We also talked about the use of binoculars, how to adjust them and how you keep your head fixed in the position where you have spotted a bird and then move the binoculars in front of your eyes, rather than looking away and trying to find it again. We walked up the Melville Gully Road, keeping our eyes peeled not only for birds but for Bandicoots too. It was quite cold and overcast and while not a lot of birds around, some did manage to see bandicoots. We walked into the interesting Amphitheatre Rock that is hidden away. Then walking up the Melville House Track we were able to see where the native plant 'snottygoble' was smothering gorse plants and talked about recent research that is showing it to be a biological control where it is eventually killing gorse but not the native species. From there we continued along Karri Track and back down Cherry Plantation Road. We only identified a few birds in the end, but it was a great day to talk about lots of things and have a good look at our Park.

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to


Bush Walk - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #9

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 9th meeting on 13th May 2018

We had a very different Bush Buddies for May but it went great and we had a good turn out, despite being Mothers Day. We started with our normal segment of sharing nature experiences from the previous month. There was a summary of the BioR bird banding exercise with David Paton (our June speaker) that a number of bush buddies took part in. Kids were able to see up close and hold - White-browed Babbler, Red-capped Robin, Hooded Robin, Golden Whistler, Diamond Firetail and New Holland Honeyeater. We saw a mouse spider and a small marbled scorpion that were brought along and given information about. Also a story of a Rainbow Lorikeet that came into a classroom and was happy to perch on people and help itself, eating from a bag of chips. A check with Minton Farm revealed it was no doubt an escaped pet, so if you know anyone missing one, that is where it is now! Then three of our Bush Buddies did a presentation on a number of native species with the assistance of Sally Nance from the Nature Education Centre. We got to see up close the following and even touch some:

  • Barn Owl
  • Ring-tail possum
  • Children's python
  • Banjo frog
  • Brown tree frog
  • Blue tongue lizard
  • Barking ghecko
  • Little Raven
There were also specimens of young and mature Eastern Brown snakes, Echidna and skeleton of stumpy tail lizard. First was a beautiful Barn Owl that did a great job of looking around and demonstrating the explanation that its eyes are fixed but it can rotate its head 270 degrees. We got to touch it and could see the huge grasp of its talons as it moved on the handlers glove and how easily it could pick up prey such as mice. The reptiles and frogs were very well behaved but Ring-tail was very active and only distracted while being fed sultanas. The kids did a fantastic job telling us about the animals and there nothing like then seeing them right up close. We still had enough time left and we walked up the Kaloola track and along the edge of the recent control burn line of VMU28. It was interesting to see all the fresh young shoots and area completely clear of most weeds. It made the olives there really stand out and we will now work hard to get rid of these and also try to remove new weeds that come up and reduce competition for the native plants that come up. This strongly contrasted to the unburnt area that had many weeds but also the contrast in habitat quality and how this weedy area is important for refuge at this point in time. This will be an interesting place to check in the future and also the photographic monitoring sites we set up but didn't have time to check that day.

Hope to see you in June.

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to


Common Ring-tail Possum - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Children's Python - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Barking Ghecko - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Rock fern, Cheilanthes austrotenuifolia regrowth after fire - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Germination after prescribed burn - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Walking along a section of the prescribed burn boundary - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Eastern Bluetongue Lizard - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Barn Owl - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Boundary of recent DEWNR prescribed burn in VMU 28 - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 18th April 2018 Activity

For April Bush Buddies it was decided to not have a meeting at the Volunteer Centre but suggest the Bush Buddies may like to attend either the Morialta Conservation Park MiniBlitz or the Urrbrae Wetland Learning Centre.

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Meeting #8

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 8th meeting on 11th March 2018

For the March Bush Buddies meeting we had Chris Daniels talking to us about his favourite animals and then talking to us about our favourite animals.

We got to meet up with Chris Daniels after all our research into 'our favourite animal' to champion. This was an idea suggested by Chris at an earlier Friends of Belair meeting. Chris started with an explanation about why our Park and the Mt. Lofty Ranges are so special and one of Australia's 14 Biodiversity Hotspots. We talked about species under threat and how our knowledge and work is important for their survival. We are so lucky that we really do live amongst wildlife in Adelaide, much more so than most other cities around world and in Australia and we should try hard to protect that and keep in contact with nature. Chris explained how the James Smith book 'Wildlife of Greater Adelaide' is a great guide on how to identify animals in our area and his book 'A Guide to Urban Wildlife' is more about the biology and stories about some of these animals. It can be overwhelming when you realise just how much life is out there so it is good to just start with one and get to know it well, spend time with it and get connected with nature. Chris' favourite animals he spoke about were the Marbled Ghecko, Barking Ghecko, Antechinus, Banjo Frog and common sandpiper. He could have gone on of course but he wanted to leave enough time for what he really wanted to hear, the kids talking about their favourites. We were all very proud of not only how well the kids talked about their animals but the amount of detail and clear understanding of all sorts of aspects. Chris was very impressed too. Some of our kids couldn't make it that day but the animals that we did cover were:
  • Yellow-tail Black Cockatoo
  • Superb Fairy Wren
  • Spotted Pardalote
  • Heath Goanna
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Echidna
  • Rakali
  • Little Raven
From our list Chris had noticed the fungus gnat and that person couldn't make it but we talked about how that is essential for the pollination of the rare and endangered Leafy Greenhood orchid. Chris described how our orchids are our most endangered flora in the Adelaide area and how they often have specific relationships with different pollinators and other physical conditions. It was a great day but we got so caught up in it all there wasn't enough time for a walk afterwards so instead we went Echidna spotting around the Volunteer Centre and found a Koala instead!

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to

Meeting #7

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 7th meeting on 11th February 2018

February Bush Buddies we had Anthony Abley, District Ecologist for Natural Resources, Adelaide and Mt. Lofty talk about Endemic species to our region and the Park. Anthony opened our eyes as to just how special the Mt. Lofty Ranges is with so many endemic species here that are found nowhere else in the world. There is no simple source as to what is endemic and Anthony has put a lot of research into what occurs just in our region. We were presented with a range of his favourite species and information about their differences that make them special. After the talk it was such a nice day we just went outside exploring around the volunteer centre and looking for endemic species.

For March we have Chris Daniels talking to us about his favourite animals and then talking to us about our favourite animals. I have sent him a list from those that our regulars 'Buddies' have nominated. Chris responded "Wow - fantastic list!" and he is really looking forward to talking to us about those. Its not too late if you plan to come along - let me know and I will pass those on too.

Chris is Professor of Biology at the University of South Australia and Presiding Member of our Adelaide and Mt. Lofty Ranges NRM Board. He is an author and award winning science communicator and you may have heard him with his regular appearances on 891 ABC Radio.

New people very welcome to come along and listen and maybe you will discover your favourite animal that you can 'champion'. Sunday 18th March, 10 am at the Volunteer Centre, Long Gully - free entry, just tell them at the gate you are there for Bush Buddies.

Please note - March meeting is on 18/3 due to the long weekend and not our usual "second Sunday"

Hope to see you in March.

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Nature books - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Nature books - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #6

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 6th meeting on 14th January 2018

Only a small group as expected this time of year for January Bush Buddies but we had a great time. As normal we started with sharing nature experiences, including identifying a weevil from photos and a Sac Spider. That flowed on to discussions about individuals chosen animals - Yellow-tail black cockatoo, Heath goanna, peregrine falcon, Echidna, Magpie, Australian Raven and Bilby, for those that were there.

The day was not too hot so we went for a walk on the Melville Track and saw Yellow-tail black cockatoos feeding and dropping Hakea husks on the ground. Also we were lucky enough to see a bandicoot but unfortunately we then noticed a dead one. It wasn't clear why it died and the main noticeable damage was the tail was missing. Sad as that is, it was a chance to see one close up.

For our next meeting on February 11 (10am to 12), our guest speaker is Anthony Abley who is District Ecologist for Natural Resources, Adelaide and Mt. Lofty. His topic is about Endemic species to our region with lots of information and examples of why our region is so special. This will be a great prelude to us then working on our favourite animal project in the second hour and prepare for our work with Chris Daniels in March. It also means we can be cool and inside with the air conditioning if we have a hot day, but still a good idea to come prepared for some exploring outside if it turns out to be a bit cooler.

As part of our long term project the animal list so far: Sulphur crested cockatoo - Erin, Blue wren - Morgan, Southern brown bandicoot - Karina, Yellow-tail black cockatoo - Saxon, Echidna - Rowan, Heath goanna - Mick, Peregrine falcon - Tom, Spotted pardalote - Issy, Magpie - Poppy, And the 'big kids' (and parents feel free to pick something you want to find more about and 'champion'), Raven - Jo, Bilby/platypus - Diana/John (?) ... and i have a number that I am thinking about but haven't decided yet.

Hope to see you in February.

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


<- Location of Bandicoot and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo sightings -> - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Hakea seed pod that cockies were eating and dropping to the ground - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Random bug that someone found - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #5

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 5th meeting on 10th December 2017

Something different for our December meeting where we touched on the very complicated issue of fire and the effect it has on nature. We had a very short talk about some of the interesting aspects of fire and the effects it has and then headed out to do our own scientific investigations. As part of DEWNR prescribed burn program, the patch next to the volunteer centre where we have been doing work, will be burnt in Autumn next year. We set up a photopoint where we put two stardroppers in the ground taking a photo from one to the other in each direction. We used GPS to record locations and compass for directions of photos. We recorded the plant species we could see and also the creatures we thought would live there and how they would use what is there as habitat. After the burn we will see the effect on habitat and species and then see how it recovers and how the habitat changes over time. We also looked at the vegetation on the other side of the track which hadn't been burnt since 2008. It was quite thick and tall and it was amazing to think that all that vegetation had grown back since being burnt. The comparison made us think about what might live in the different areas, and how that might change over time.

For our next meeting on January 14 (10am to 12), we know lots of people go away, but we thought it would still be good to get together if anyone was interested and looking for something to do. There is a good chance it will be hot, so the plan is to spend our time in the air conditioned Volunteer Centre. As always we can share anything we have observed in nature at the start. We will explore the Friends of Belair National Park library which is available for members to borrow books from and maybe bring along any favourite nature books you want to show others. It will be a more relaxed session where we can talk about anything to do with nature and also an opportunity to talk about your favourite animal (or plant if you prefer). If it turns out to be cooler it is always nice to go for a bit of a walk and look at our 'patches' across the road. So unless it is very hot, bring along a hat, long pants and good shoes just in case we go for a walk.

If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to

Our next long term project where we want the kids to pick their favourite animal that lives in the Park and become a 'champion' for it. The kids will research all about their animal and become our resident expert and hopefully teach others and think about how to better manage for that species in the Park. Chris Daniels has offered to help us with this and next year will make a visit where we will work on this together and Chris knows all sorts of interesting facts.


Fire - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #4

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone, Hayley Prentice & Barb Raine on the 4th meeting on 12th November 2017

November saw us take part in our first citizen science project – the national Wild Pollinator Count. Erinn Fagan-Jeffries gave us a very interesting and fun introduction to entomology. Erinn talked about her work as an entomologist, specialising in the study of wasps. We learnt the difference between a parasite, that lives off another plant or animal to survive but does not kill it, whereas Parasitoid will kill the host to complete its life cycle. Erinn told us how she loves these small wasps that lay their eggs in caterpillars and then they eat their way out killing it. We thought it was all a bit gory until we learnt that those caterpillars destroy potato crops so the wasps save them so we can have potato chips!
We spent some time looking at pictures of pollinators and how to tell the difference between the ten categories in the Wild Pollinator Count. Then outside to find flowers and ten minutes of observing. It was fascinating just how many different pollinators were discovered, including a blue-banded bee and other native wasps and very buzzy hoverflies. Our data is now entered and we have contributed to a huge dataset across the country to help discover what pollinators are where and on what plants at this time of year.
It was quite a hot day so we retreated into the cool of the volunteer centre and looked at Erinn's insect collections, putting some of them under the microscope.
We also announced our next long term project where we want the kids to pick their favourite animal that lives in the Park and become a 'champion' for it. The kids will research all about their animal and become our resident expert and hopefully teach others and think about how to better manage for that species in the Park. Chris Daniels has offered to help us with this and next year will make a visit where we will work on this together and Chris knows all sorts of interesting facts.

December Bush Buddies on Sunday 10th at 10am will be all about FIRE. There are so many views out there about where it is bad or where it is good. Hayley and Craig will talk about some of those reasons and then we will do our own exploration as scientists. We will go to an area near to the volunteer centre that is planned to be burnt soon, look at it and set up photo points that we can come back to later and compare. Then we have another area to look at that has been recently burnt and another that has been burnt some time ago that are next to areas that haven't been burnt. We will think about our own ideas and how we can test if these ideas are right or not. It is summer so make sure you bring a hat, good shoes and a water bottle. If it’s too hot we have other 'mystery activities' that we can do in the cool of the air conditioned volunteer centre. If you are thinking about coming and want to be put on the email list, please send your email to

We also announced our next long term project where we want the kids to pick their favourite animal that lives in the Park and become a 'champion' for it. The kids will research all about their animal and become our resident expert and hopefully teach others and think about how to better manage for that species in the Park. Chris Daniels has offered to help us with this and next year will make a visit where we will work on this together and Chris knows all sorts of interesting facts.


Pollinator Count - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #3

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone on the 3rd meeting on 22nd October 2017

Another great Belair Bush Buddies event for November! We started by looking at some lerps and talking about leaf skeletonising caterpillars and differences in the ecology of New Zealand that evolved with no mammals apart from a couple of bat species. Then Jenny Deans presented to us a huge number of interesting photos of different wildflowers but it was the kids that did most of the talk! Jenny cleverly arranged slides that had a combination of wildflower photos with similarities and differences that the kids then described. It was amazing the details these sharp young eyes and minds picked up and then we discovered which of these were important to determining what the plants are. Later we headed out and used our newfound skills and sharp eyes to look at wildflowers and work out their differences. Also our first patches were assigned to kids that they will now become custodians for into the future.

The next Belair Bush Buddies meeting will be on the 12th of November and focus on pollinators. Stay tuned for more info!


Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Meeting #2

Report by Craig and Jo Baulderstone on the 2nd meeting on 10th September 2017

Another successful Belair Bush Buddies with a couple of new faces and good to see those from last month again. We started with sharing of nature stories and Morgan and Erin brought along some pet Quails. Quails would have once lived in the Park but being ground dwelling birds the pressure of introduced predators means you are unlikely to see them. So it was great to see these examples and their small eggs. We saw some photos of an interesting caterpillar and what it turns into and talked about yellow tail black cockatoos and what they need for nests.

Then we had a great talk from Kate Grigg on fungi. So many interesting facts that i had never heard of before, such as without fungi we wouldn't be here, they were some of our earliest lifeforms that formed the soils our plants grow in, that are not plants and their own 'kingdom' and more closely related to insects than plants, that you can't digest raw mushrooms because they are made up of chemicals like those that form an insects exoskeleton.

We ventured out and found a range if different fungi and our young 'Buddies' showed what fantastic observation skills they have, finding all sorts for Kate to identify. Fungi are just everywhere with such diversity and interest.

It was so interesting that time flew and we didn't get around to assigning patches to look after, but we will do that next time. It's a different week due to school holidays and will be October 22. Wildflowers should be going crazy so that will be our topic for October.


Fungi 1 - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Fungi 2 - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Non-fungi things that look like fungi - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Animals seen on Fungi walk - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Hayley Prentice later reported on facebook some of the cool things we learnt from Kate Grigg were:

  • Without fungi we cannot survive.
  • Every tree around us has a relationship with fungi under the ground that we can't see.
  • You cannot digest raw mushrooms! They contain a chemical which needs to be cooked for humans to digest it.
  • Mushrooms are only the fruit part of a fungus.
  • There are 3 types of fungi; decomposers, parasitic, and mycorrhizal.

Meeting #1

Report by Craig Baulderstone on 1st meeting on 20th August 2017

Our first meeting for the Friends of Belair National Park Bush Buddies session was a great success with a small but enthusiastic group taking part. We started with a fascinating talk from James Smith, author of Wildlife of Greater Adelaide. It started with a very topical explanation as to why our Park is so important and also why our new group is so important. He predicted that it will be kids of this age who can take action to save a number of species or see them be lost in their lifetime . James has had a passion for wildlife from a young age and his company fauNature is dedicated to assisting people in attracting and engaging with local wildlife, so just the right person to kick us off. He talked about his book with its aim to learn to appreciate what we have and that it has covered most of what is common. So if you don't find it in the book then the Museum probably wants to know about it!

We then spent some time finding out from the kids what they enjoy and talking about future activities that they would find interesting. We had great participation and we feel confident that we have all we need to now plan the road ahead. Following this Hayley Prentice lead a short walk and we saw some rare orchids, fungi, some insects, found one of James' favourite animals (five lined flatworm), talked about native plants and generally great to see the kids really getting into it!

Special thanks to Barb, Alan and Steve Raine and Hayley Prentice for their help and ideas. I have a feeling we will make a difference with this groupand we are all very excited about the future of it.
.... Craig


Animals Found - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Orchids Seen - Photo by Jo Baulderstone


Habitats - Photo by Jo Baulderstone

Acknowledgement is given to Hayley Prentice, Barbara Raine, Craig & Jo Baulderstone for their words and photos in setting up this webpage.

Activity Reminders

For all official functions planned by The Friends of BNP ask at the Ticket Office, Belair National Park for free vehicle entry.

Public Welcome
Next Meeting
- Sunday September 18, 2pm. Meet at Volunteer Centre, Long Gully Free entry. Go through the ticket office, tell them you are doing the walk and with Bush Buddies for free entry, then turn left and follow signs to 'Main Oval' and you will see a smaller green shed at the end of the carpark. Bring hat, water, gloves, good footwear etc.Bring a friend - new recruits welcome!