Hakeas, clubmoss and lots of fallen timber

Hakea decurrens ssp. physocarpa

Sometimes the best plans come to nothing when there are track closures. The path we usually take to look for fungi near the Garden of St Erth in Blackwood is still closed, as is the one that we take off Lerderderg Road. The gardens are still open and attracting a lot of visitors. The closures are a result of storm damage and it is taking a while to remove the many fallen trees.

We did find an open path along an old water race to take a short walk and were surprised to find a patch of bush clubmoss on the return trip along Lerderderg Road. It is not a new record and is recorded on VicFlora.

Lycopodium deuterodensum, Bushy Clubmoss

Hakeas are flowering and there is still patches of Common Heath adding colour. This area also has at leas 3 different types of fern and lots of lichens and moss.

It is a while since we have been to Blackwood and the track that led out of the carpark at the Garden of St Erth onto Lerderderg Road has been reduced to a walking track beside a newish fence, as the previous carpark exit apparently crossed private land.

Lexton Nature Conservation Reserve

This reserve was accessed from Leys Road just out of Lexton on the Lexton-Talbot Road. It is Box-Ironbark and has really big stands of Gorse Bitter-pea. Golden Wattle is begining to flower and there were lot of kangaroos. A visit in the spring should be rewarded with lots of flowering lilies and orchids. One road that runs diagonally through the block has a super speed hump/drainage mound that means it isn’t suitable for a 2WD vehicle to drive from end to the other.

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A walk to The Blowhole

Another much visited place to visit in Hepburn Regional Park is The Blowhole near Daylesford. Silver Wattle is flowering, there is still fungi appearing and Purple Coral-pea is beginng to flower. The more sure-footed types will enjoy the walk from Bryce’s Flat Crossing Picnic Ground that follows a narrow track above Sailors Creek. It begins with a creek crossing and the best stepping stones ever.

Those  inclined towards less walking may park closer to The Blowhole and take the shorter walk and miss the scenic route and plant discoveries. Whichever way you choose to get there it is best to view when there is water rushing through the hole. The infrastructure has undergone a major upgrade since our last visit and some less safe aspects of the area have been fence off and revegetated.

A walk amongst Golden Grevilleas

Grevillea chrysophaea

Bert Boardman Reserve up the road from the court house in Steiglitz is a well visited site in the Brisbane Ranges National Park. It is a pity there isn’t a well signposted walk to take but if you know where to look you may find a path that leads in the direction of the Steiglitz Cemetery. Golden Grevillea is flowering along with lots of Dusty Millar and orchid leaves are appearing.

Take care and disinfect your footwear before entering and after leaving the area. Phytophthora is an invasive pest that causes dieback and spreads in the mud on footwear, vehicles and by other means.  Dead grass trees are the best indicator in this park of its presence.

Charlesford Diggings and Green Correas

Correa reflexa – green flowered form

Continuing our visits to various places to visit  within 50 km of Ballarat as part of a review of our club bushland book, we ventured out to Hepburn Regional Park last Friday. We began at Charlesford Diggings which are located off Basalt Road in the Basalt/Kooroocheang area. It is not an area that we remember visiting on an excursion although we have been in the general vicinity.

A note to anyone following the directions from our  book, go in via Charlesford Road and not Boats Track.  Correas are flowering along with Woolly and Rough Wattle. There are still some interesting fungi about and it was exciting to find some clumps of yellow brain fungus growing on the roots of long-leaf box.


Discovering local bushland

In 2002 the Ballarat Field Naturalists’ Club published a guide to 34 selected natural places in the wider Ballarat Region. There are no copies left and time has come to update the guide and review new and old places. One place on the list was Lexton Streamside Reserve, now mapped as Burbank Creek Streamside Reserve on the corner of the Beaufort-Lexton Road and Jack Smith Lane.

While a visit just to see this site may not be worth the trip on its own, if you add in Lexton Nature Conservation Reserve and Talbot Reservoir you have a great day trip.


Fungi Identification for Beginners

Our last club meeting was all about fungi. There is so much to learn  and we enjoyed the wide range of slides by our local expert. The followup excursion is delayed until there is a suitbale break in the weather. For those who need an extra fungi hit here is a link to an excellent fungimap video called fungi identification for beginners. 

Next ‘You, Me & Biodiversity’ talk

The Wombat Forest is in the news for all the wrong reasons. We are not celebrating a new national park but are dismayed about the impacts of salvage logging. On the positive side we can look forward to another ‘You, Me & Biodiversity’ talk. See booking link below.
These photos were taken on Friday in an area that suffered only very minor storm damage, along the 4.5km, 2 hour walk beside the Werribee River in Wombat Forest.

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Keeping up with name changes

If you like to keep up with plant name updates then according to a recent communication from  iNaturalist, Cranberry Heath, Astroloma humifusum, is now Styphelia humifusa. Here is a link to Vicflora –Flora of Victoria

Take a walk in Kyneton

Campaspe River at Kyneton

Field Naturalists often range far and wide in search of something of interest to see in nature. This is probably more the case now as we have been restricted or limiting ourselves to areas closer to home. This field report is from Kyneton, which is an area that is probably a bit too far for a club excursion. Continue reading