Matt and Kristina delight in seeing the Sacred Kingfisher that is a rare visitor to a dam on their 7 hectare property in Bradbury, a small hamlet in the Adelaide Hills. Grey Fantails are frequent visitors, flitting across the surface. Herons and the Pacific Black duck are regulars too.
“A delightful surprise recently was seeing a Bassian Thrush, and a large family of White-winged Choughs, which we had not seen since 2005,” says Matt. “And at least two species of frogs are present; I often find Ewings tree frogs in watering cans near the lower dam in summer.”
Formerly part of a small dairy farm, one third of the property is remnant vegetation, some of which is in good condition, comprising Stringybark woodland/forest with a mixed understory including Tea tree, Yacca and Lomandra. A flat area next to the remnant vegetation is showing natural regeneration of Stringybarks and Matt and Kristina are protecting it by putting a Heritage Agreement on it so the regeneration can continue.
“Weeds were, are and will be the bane of our lives at Bradbury. The main invaders are Erica, Broom Watsonia and Blackberry, Boneseed, Pittosporum and Pine trees. In the first few years, with the help of an Envirofund Grant we cleared about half the creek line of Blackberry, eliminated most of the Boneseed and planted hundreds of Sheoak, South Australian Blue Gum, Oleara ramulosa
and Blackwood. The seedlings are flourishing, and it has been good to see some Tea trees surviving on the banks of the creek.”
Unfortunately, weeds have gained the upper hand again and although Matt and Kristina are able to spend more time weeding these days, the gains have been small.
“Thus, we were pleased to receive a Revitalising Private Conservation
grant from the South Australian Government through Nature Foundation. It has enabled us to employ and benefit from the experience and skills and work of the team from Minimal Disturbance Bushcare," says Matt.
"Removing scattered Erica from the best areas of native vegetation has been a priority while we have plodded on plucking small Broom and Boneseed and ringbarking Acacia longifolia
and pine trees. With the help of Minimal Disturbance Bushcare we have made good progress having removed hundreds of Erica. Watsonia is next on our agenda.”
“Help makes a big difference to the progress that we can make so we are grateful to Nature Foundation (Claire), Heritage Agreement Branch (Karina) and Minimal Disturbance Bushcare (Danny and team) for their guidance, advice, and work.”
Photo: Flat area adjacent to the best native vegetation where natural regeneration of Stringybarks is occurring (Matt and Kristina)