Our land is becoming more urbanised as more houses, roads and infrastructure is built to accommodate a growing population. Developments eat into the remaining native vegetation remnants. The challenge is to make these urban areas liveable and although some wildlife disappears, there areas are hotspots for other species. Dr Amy Hahs, an urban ecologist, spoke at our October meeting about ‘Making Room for Nature in our Urban Future’. Amy is a specialist consultant who works on a diverse range of projects to develop green, healthy cities and towns, and conserve resilient ecosystems.
Our day started at with a tour of building progress at our hosts Peter and Emily’s property ‘Lilwarre’, set in eucalypt woodland amid a carpet of spring flowers.
Golden Bush-pea was flowering prominently throughout, with some Narrow-leaf Bitter-pea. Small Spider-orchid, Waxlip, Leopard Orchid, Nodding Greenhood, Tall Greenhood, Maroon-hood, Common Bird-orchid, Small Gnat-orchid and leaves of several other species yet to flower. Rabbit-ear Orchids were just opening. Emily told us that the orchid list on their 40 acres is 50 species, a remarkable total indeed.
If you have a spare few hours it is worth a trip to Creswick Regional Park. Here is a selection of flowers that are out in the area near Eaton’s Dam. Only a breached stone wall remains of the dam and rainbow trout may be seen circling in the creek that flows through the broken wall.
stone in the dam wall
stone in the dam wall
stone in the dam wall
We heard a Sacred Kingfisher make its kek, kek, kek, call near the bridge on Jackass Road and there were severasl skinks enjoying the sunshine. Bossiaea buxifolia, Matted Bossiaea, which we saw on an excursion earlier in the year, is covered with yellow flowers and makes a very pretty ground cover.
Take care if walking away from the many and varied tracks and roads, as there are quite a few deep holes, some filled with people’s discarded rubbish. The area also has a few historic water races. Given all the activity that took place during the gold rush era the native vegetation has made a remarkable recovery.
At our October meeting where Amy Hahs spoke about ‘Making Room for Nature in our Urban Future’ she also mentioned a new program that is about to be trialed in Ballarat.
Gardens for Wildlife is a free program designed to support local residents to provide wildlife friendly habitat in their gardens. This community based program began in 2005 as a partnership between the Knox City Council and Know Environment Society aims to encourage and recognise the benefits of wildlife-friendly gardens and environment-friendly practices in urban areas. Many Councils now support the program.
The South East Australian Naturalist Association (SEANA) Autumn gathering was held in Port Fairy on Saturday 23 March 2019. Part of these events always include tours to area of local natural interest. One guided tour covered aspects of the geology, natural history and history of Griffiths Island, Port of Port Fairy. Excursion notes and follow up research by iur club member Andy Arnold.
Some of our club members attended the SEANA meeting at Port Fairy before continuing to the FNCB autumn camp at Apollo Bay. On Saturday morning the Hamilton Field Naturalists Club provided a very interesting tour of the coastline including features of the Port infrastructure with a guided walk around Griffiths Island. The excursion was ably led by HFNC member Diane Luhrs who focussed on the intertidal zone and was assisted by Rod Bird who identified the bird species.
Basalt shoreline of Griffiths Island showing Halocene sand deposits and marram grass covered dunes.
We gathered near the causeway to the island at 9.30 am for a 10.00 am departure. Between these times we had the opportunity to look at an excellent small display in the rotunda at the start of the causeway which interpreted features of the island especially its geology. Diane provided us an overview of our walk and the essential safety aspects we needed to observe. Continue reading →
Long Point Flora Reserve on Gillies Road near Creswick, is so pretty at the moment with an understory of Common Beard-heath and Pink -Bells against the the white trunks of the Candlebarks. Well worth a quick midweek visit.
Our August club excursion was held on Sunday 4th at Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary (located in Happy Valley near Linton) and was well supported by nineteen club members in generally fine weather. We gathered at the Clare Miller Environment Centre from where we started our exploration during the mid-morning after a brief introduction to the Sanctuary by Emily Noble who is now the Coordinator of the Bird Sanctuary for BirdLife Australia.
A trip to Mt Beckworth near Clunes on Saturday was rewarded with Wax-lips, Nodding Greenhoods and Golden Moth orchids and several species of small flora that are often overlooked.
Scarlet sundews are about to flower and there is a carpet of thousands of pale sundews, with many of the scented sundews well and truly finished and turning black. The highlight was probably seeing a pair of musk lorikeets emerging from their nesting hollow. It was a pleasant surprise to see so much water in the dams.
Millotia tenuifolia var. tenuifolia Soft Millotia
Siloxerus multiflora Small Wrinklewort
Levenhookia dubia Hairy Stylewort
Millotia muelleri Common Bow-flower
Brachsycome perpusilla Rayless Daisy
Drosera glanduligera Scarlet Sundew
A Golden Moth orchid trapped by a sundew
Thysanotus patersonii Twining Fringe-lily
A jaw bone in a field of sundews
A Musk Lorikeet emerging for a hollow
Oxalis perennans Grassland Wood-sorrel
Drosera aberrans Scented Sundew
Wurmbea dioica Common Early Nancy
A hole in the granite with a selection of waterplants
At our September meeting Colin Cook, Friends of the Brisbane Ranges , spoke about camera traps and their use in the Brush-tailed Phascogale monitoring program in the Brisbane Ranges National Park.
Colin started his presentation by outlining his involvement in wildlife survey through many different associations. He has developed his knowledge and skills in camera equipment and their application to surveys and has a business selling cameras and accessories.
In his survey work he has links with the Moorabool Landcare Network, the Friends of the Brisbane Ranges (18 years), and the Geelong Field Naturalists Club and he is also employed as education support at Wyndham Central Secondary College where the students have been involved in the camera monitoring and a nest box project. Continue reading →