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Bits & Pieces


Swans & Cygnets  ~   A little story.

For many years I've lived near Cockrone Lagoon and have seen many swans but never cygnets.  On good authority from an ornithologist I was told that the lagoon was too small and too brackish.  The swans would come to feed there on the green weed but would later go  elsewhere  to nest.

This year 2006 was different.  Perhaps the rains deepened and enlarged the lagoon but also rendered it less salty.  For whatever reason Bruce and Thelma (our names for the Swans) decided to nest and produced four cygnets.





Proud parents: Bruce & Thelma

 show off their four cygnets just behind the fragmytis reeds





They now face some dangers.

  • Foxes

  • Ferral cats

  • Domestic cats on night patrols

  • Eels

  • Sea Eagles

  • Finally because the lake is very deep it may either be opened by council or it may open naturally to the sea emptying the lagoon.  Of course the cygnets are still too young to fly.  Apparently they need to be almost 8 months old.


Unfortunately on 9th September 2006 the Lagoon was opened to the sea and all the water went out.

Water has gone out to the sea leaving the sea grass to dry out.






There were three swan families.

This picture shows the largest with five cygnet











There were two others family groups with 3 and 4 cygnets respectively making it 12 cygnets in total but on the last count there were only 9 cygnets left.

Above you can see that one family of 2 cygnets is reduced to feeding in little more than small quagmires.

The green freshwater grass is rapidly drying out.    Note the third male swan hanging around and nonchalantly walking past.   Would they harm cygnets which they did not father?


It is now November and finally some of the surviving cygnets (only 7 left) are starting to look like little swans (not ugly ducklings) but it will be at least February 2007 before the young swans will be able to fly.

They get their 's late in swan culture.  Perhaps we could learn from them.

I am writing the final bit of the Swan Saga  now in January 23rd 2007.

The weather has been hot and dry with Cokrone Lagoon loosing much water to evaporation and there has been a huge amount of algae growth.



Here you can see a stilt walking on the algae.



  What few cygnets are left are now difficult to distinguish from their parents.

  Soon they'll be gone.

   Disturbing News for Lorikeets


The following article copied from Hunter Valley Group February newsletter serves as a warning
 to all people who think they are helping the native bird population by supplementing their diet
 with commercial wild bird seed.




  • From Tuckeroo Times, Australian Plants Society Gold Coast newsletter September-October 2005.

  • There are increasing reports that many Rainbow Lorikeets have no brush left in the tip of their tongues.

  • Research has shown this occurs when the birds have access to commercial bird seed.

  • Continually eating this type of seed will wear off the nectar collecting brush on their tongue so that they can never collect their natural food supply.





Frog Friendly PondFrogs on tree 2.gif (5083 bytes)

Create a frog friendly pond in your garden.   Your local garden centre is able to provide everything you need to establish a water feature.  Put it away from bedrooms and your neighbours' houses as frogs can be noisy.

Plant native plants that attract insects for frog to eat and provide shelter in the form of damp mossy crevices of stones or bits of bark and reedy plants. 


If a pond isn't practical, keep one area in your garden moist - this will attract all manner of wildlife.

By courtesy of "Flora for Fauna".       



     Date & Walnut Slice         Yum!

This slice was on our supper table at our July Monthly Meeting and following many requests June, our cook extraordinaire, has obliged with the recipe for all members.


  • 250gram Butter 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg (beaten) 1 teasp Vanilla
  • 1 pkt Marie Biscuits (Milk Coffee or Arrowroot) - BROKEN NOT CRUSHED
  • 250gram Chopped Dates 1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts 1/2 cup Coconut
  • Slice tray:  Grease a slice tray and sprinkle with half the coconut or alternative.


  • Melt butter and sugar in a large saucepan. Add dates, egg & vanilla. Cook till dates are Mushy, stirring frequently. Add biscuits & walnuts. MIX WELL.

  • Place mixture in prepared tin. Press down well & smooth out as much as possible

  • Sprinkle with remaining coconut. Refrigerate. Cut into pieces when set.
  • This slice keeps better in a container in the fridge.

As I don't like coconut I use ground almonds.

Ginger Slice


  • 60g Dates

  • 65g Glace Ginger

  • 125g butter

  • 1/2 cup raw sugar

  • 3 cups corn flakes - lightly crushed

  • 250g milk cooking chocolate

  • 65g Copha


  • Chop dates & ginger finely

  • Melt butter & sugar over low heat

  • Add dates & ginger and stir until dates absorb butter.

  • Add melted mixture to lightly crushed corn flakes.

  • Melt cooking chocolate with Copha over a low heat.

  • Pour over date/ginger mixture and refrigerate.



June's Mini Cheese Cake Recipe

At the March meeting many people requested a copy of June’s delicious Mini Cheese Cakes recipe so June has kindly supplied the recipe for inclusion in the newsletter. 


  • Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.   Heat oven to 200deg.


  • 200gr biscuit crumbs (Nice, Coconut or Butter Nut Cookies).

  • 100gr melted butter.

  • Mix together in bowl.   Spread equally between paper cases.   Push down firmly with fingers or back of a spoon.


  • 250gr cream cheese

  • cup sour cream

  • cup condensed milk

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 large eggs

  • Mix well together with a mixer.   When smooth, put in a jug and pour into the paper cases that have been filled with the biscuit base.

  • Bake on 200 deg. until set.   When cold pull the paper cases off gently.   Decorate with whipped cream and strawberries or glace cherries.

  • If worried about fat content replace with low fat cream cheese, condensed milk and sour cream.

June not only made and decorated our celebration cake she also brought along a Lumberjack Cake for morning tea and many people who attended Katandra on the day requested a copy of the recipe.

June’ Recipe for Lumberjack Cake

June not only made and decorated our celebration cake she also brought along a Lumberjack Cake for morning tea and many people who attended Katandra on the day requested a copy of the recipe.

Lumberjack Cake Recipe can also be found in Bits & Pieces along with other recipes from June.

  Lumberjack Cake  Ingredients    
2 large (400g) apples, finely chopped 1 cup (200g) chopped dates
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1 cup boiling water
125grams butter 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup caster sugar 1 large egg
►  1 cups plain flour    


  Topping Ingredients    
60grams butter cup brown sugar, firmly packed
cup milk 2/3 cup shredded coconut


Lumberjack Cake Method

  1. Grease deep 20cm square cake tin and line base with baking paper.

  2. Combine apples, dates, soda and water in a bowl, cover, stand until warm.

  3. Beat butter, essence and sugar in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and creamy, add egg and beat until combined.

  4. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, stir in sifted flour alternately with apple mixture and spoon into prepared tin.

  5. Bake in moderate oven (180 deg.) for 50 minutes.   Spread with topping and bake about a further 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Topping Method

  1. Combine butter, sugar, milk and coconut in a small pot.   Stir over a low heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolved.

  2. Cake stored in a covered container will keep a week.   (Suitable to freeze)

  Fox Management Program

The National Parks and Wildlife Service together with Fox.gif (2993 bytes)the Gosford City Council are to undertake a Fox Specific baiting program from mid May till early July 2004, in Bouddi National Park, Kincumber Mountain, Rumbalara and Katandra Reserves, also in Kincumber sewerage treatment works and the tip area at Kincumber.

The baits used are supplied by the Rural Lands Protection Board of N.S.W. and are Fox Specific 1080 poison. It is a synthetically produced sodium salt of the naturally occurring mono-fluoroacetic acid which occurs naturally in several species of Australian plants.

These baits will be buried greater than 10cm underground in sand plots and studies show that most native animals are immune to it as well as are not interested in, or capable of eating buried bait. The very small amount of 1080 poison used is most effective against the Urban Fox.

To help in this program.

  • Never feed foxes, always bring leftover pet food in at night.
  • Cover all garbage and compost bins.
  • Build robust cages for domestic animals, eg chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits,
    to protect from fox predation.
  • Cooperate with and support local fox control programs.
  • Take note of all fox sightings and report to:-

National Parks and Wildlife Service- Gosford (Ph: 43204200)
Gosford City Council’s Environment Section (Ph: 43258847)
Wyong Shire Council (Ph: 43505555)




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