What to see in the bush

The common and widespread orchid Parson’s Bands, are flowering now but they may be tricky to spot. The flower is about a big as a five cent piece. The leaf is usually not fully developed at flowering, but appears later. The flowers are pollinated by native bees. There are lots of crane flies in the local forest too and they belong to the largest fly family in Australia with over 800 species.

February Flowers

The last site on our February Skipton excursion, was to where the rail trail crosses Spring Hill Road. We went for a short stroll and looked at a wetland that is virtually invisible from the nearby highway but may be glimpsed by cyclists. Running Marsh-flower edged the wetland and the Magenta Stork’s-bill and Yellow Rush-lily were almost hidden in the thick grass.

Naked Ladies at Clarkesdale

Did you know that the Belladonna Lily is also known as Naked Ladies? We came across a few at Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary after our last club excursion.

We popped in to have a quiet cup of tea beside the lagoon on the way home. One lily was coming up in the middle of the lawn but there are a few clumps near where there used to be  an old cottage. The pink flowers emerge well before the foliage and many people don’t even notice the leaves, hence the reference to nakedness.

A multitude of Magpie Geese

There were plenty of Magpie Geese at Serendhip Sanctuary near Lara in mid February but yesterday near Bacchus Marsh there were reportedly over 26oo feeding in a stubble paddock. A big thank you to my photographer friend who let me tag along for this special sighting. Magpie Geese are widespread in northern Australia but in Victoria they are listed as endangered. Read more on the BirdLife site.

A different view of Skipton

Our February excursion was to the Skipton area and began at the common and also included several sites we hadn’t been to before. The full report is in our newsletter. Here are some photos from Jubilee Lake, which many people would drive past, when instead they could stop and have lunch as we did and take a stroll around the lake.

The next photos are from the Skipton Historical Precinct which also includes good signage, a walk and a lookout with large red gums. Both sites are just off the main road through the town and easy to find.

The sparkle still at Spargo

A trip to Spargo Creek Mineral Springs for a drop of mineral water is just the thing to do on Christmas Day. Here are some photos from a recent trip. This is a lovely reserve managed by the Shire of Moorabool. It has very diverse ground flora.


A word from the VNPA

As we all struggle to come to terms with what is happening with so many fires burning across Australia here is a message from the Victorian National Parks Association. It contains some useful references for those who want ‘measured commentary’ in preference to some of the more prevalent rhetoric currently circulating.

Continue reading

Peregrine Family in the Devil’s Kitchen

We hope you enjoy this beautiful series of photos of a family of Peregrine Falcons taken by our club member Carol Hall. After discovering that the Peregrines were nesting last spring, these photos are taken over the period October 23-December 16, on  regular visits to Devil’s Kitchen, near Linton.

From the female incubating eggs to the three youngsters feeding, fledging and flying, this series shows the family “at home” high on the escarpment of rocks. On December 16 Carol only found one youngster – they had stopped gathering together and were presumably  learning how to catch their own prey.

Putting the shine on La Gerche

We held our final excursion for the year in the Creswick area yesterday. The first stop was at the indigenous area that is part of the Park Lake Botanical Reserve. Most of us were unaware of the existence of this area. We were met by Kevin and Rosemary Tolhurst and were led on ‘an indigenous walkabout’.

The history of the reserve dating from 1869, was outlined by Kevin and then we investigated the replanting of the northern end of the reserve and learnt about the ongoing restoration plan and how the plantings are laid out. Thanks to Kevin and Rosemary for taking time out of their weekend to show us around.

It is interesting to see the variety of native grasses and other plants are gaining a foothold on the harsh site. The plantings have been chosen for the site with care and most are making good growth. Continue reading

Riddells Creek Excursion

Ballarat field naturalists at Conglomerate Gully

Plants List observed during excursion of Field Naturalist Club of Ballarat, 3 November 2019.

Scientific name Common name Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Acacia genistifolia Spreading Wattle   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Acacia mearnsii Late Black Wattle Conglomerate Gully  
Acacia paradoxa Hedge Wattle Conglomerate Gully  
Acacia stricta Hop Wattle Conglomerate Gully  
Acacia verticillata Prickly Moses Conglomerate Gully  
Acaena echinata Sheep’s burr   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Acaena novae-zelandiae Bidgee widgee Conglomerate Gully  
Acrotriche serrulata Honeypots Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Adiantum aethiopicum Maidenhair Conglomerate Gully  
Aira caryophyllea Silvery hair grass   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Amyema pendula Drooping mistletoe Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Arthropodium strictum Chocolate lily Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Asperula scoparia Prickly Woodruff Conglomerate Gully  
Astroloma humifusum Cranberry heath Conglomerate Gully  
Billardiera mutabilis Common Apple-berry   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Bossiaea prostrata Creeping Bossiaea   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Bracteantha viscosa Sticky everlasting Conglomerate Gully  
*Briza maxima Large quaking grass Conglomerate Gully  
Brunonia australis Blue Pincushion Conglomerate Gully  
Burchardia umbellata Milkmaids Conglomerate Gully  
Bursaria spinosa Sweet bursaria Conglomerate Gully  
Calochilus robertsonii Purplish Beard-orchid Conglomerate Gully  
Cassinia longifolia Shiny Cassinia Conglomerate Gully  
Cassytha glabella Slender Dodder-laurel   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Cheilanthes austrotenuifolia Rock Fern Conglomerate Gully  
Chiloglottis valida Common Bird-orchid Conglomerate Gully  
Clematis aristata Mountain Clematis   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Comesperma volubile Love Creeper Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Correa reflexa Common correa   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Coronidium scorpioides Button Everlasting Conglomerate Gully  
Daviesia leptophylla Narrow-leaf Bitter-pea Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Dianella revoluta Black-anther Flax-lily Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Dichondra repens Kidneyweed Conglomerate Gully  
Dillwynia sericea Showy Parrot-pea Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Diuris sulphurea Tiger Orchid Conglomerate Gully  
Drosera auriculata Tall Sundew Conglomerate Gully  
Eucalyptus dives Broad-leaved Peppermint Conglomerate Gully  
Eucalyptus obliqua Messmate Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Eucalyptus radiata Narrow-leaved Peppermint   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Exocarpos cupressiformis Cherry Ballarat   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Gahnia radula Thatch Saw-sedge   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Galium gaudichaudii Rough bedstraw Conglomerate Gully  
Goodenia ovata Hop Goodenia Conglomerate Gully  
Hardenbergia violacea Purple Coral-pea   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Hydrocotyle hirta Hairy Pennywort Conglomerate Gully  
Hypericum gramineum Small St.John’s Wort Conglomerate Gully  
Leucochrysum albicans Hoary Sunray Conglomerate Gully  
Lomandra filiformis Wattle mat rush Conglomerate Gully  
Lomandra longifolia Spiny-headed Mat-rush Conglomerate Gully  
Microlaena stipoides Weeping Grass Conglomerate Gully  
Microceras walteri Yam daisy, Murnong Conglomerate Gully  
Olearia argophylla  Musk Daisy-bush   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Olearia lirata Snowy Daisy-bush   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Ozothamnus obcordatus Grey Everlasting   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Pelargonium rodneyanum Magenta Stork’s-bill Conglomerate Gully  
Pimelea humilis Common rice flower Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Poa sieberiana Grey Tussock-grass Conglomerate Gully  
Pomaderis aspera Hazel Pomaderis Conglomerate Gully  
Poranthera microphylla Small Poranthera Conglomerate Gully  
Senecio glomeratus Annual fireweed Conglomerate Gully  
Senecio odoratus Scented Groundsel Conglomerate Gully  
Solenogyne dominii Hairy Bottle-daisy Conglomerate Gully  
Stylidium armeria subsp pilosifolium Hairy-leaf Trigger-plant Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Thysanotus patersonii Twining fringe-lily   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Triptilodiscus pygmaeus Dwarf (Common) Sunray Conglomerate Gully  
Viola betonicifolia Showy violet   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Viola hederacea Ivy-leaf violet   Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Wurmbea dioica Early nancy Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Xanthorrhoea australis Austral Grass-tree Conglomerate Gully Gap Rd, Riddells Crk
Leucochrysum albicans Hoary Sunray
Stylidium armeria subsp pilosifolium Hairy-leaf Trigger Plant