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General meeting September 2023

Tim Bickmore—An Ecological Niche in Banksia Park

Yankalilla Library Meeting Room

Originally Banksia Park was part of a larger area of scrub land known as Banksia Scrub. Over time most of the scrub land became replaced by housing and a small part of the overall housing estate was set aside as a reserve. It contains stands of the rarer form of Tree Banksia marginata (Silver Banksia) and as such was awarded a National Trust Significant Tree Classification in 1990.
Tim Bickmore lives in Normanville on the boundary of Banksia Park. His long association with the reserve began several years ago as a 'guerilla gardener', where he began staking and protecting self sown seedlings, and moving scattered debris into swales, protecting many areas from the heavy handed mowing that had been occurring up until that time.
Observing over time that there were many broken twigs on the trees, Tim investigated further and found tiny holes, which he later found were made by small grubs, as they made a place to lay their eggs. At night the moths would come out and bring a leaf in to their hole, turning it into a mixture of web and poo, as seen on the main image. The grubs would pupate and turn into a variety of moths that are abundant in the area. Many of these moths had been documented as early as 1805 by early botanists and naturalists on Banksia serrata.
Tim is documenting the birds returning to Banksia Park among them the Crested Strike Tit and Yellow -tailed Black Cockatoos. He discovered that the damage to the twigs is being caused by Yellow -tailed black cockatoos as they attempt to extract the grubs, but as the bird numbers are not large, their activity does not present a threat to the health of the banksias in the park.

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