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.

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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


Making Room for Nature in Our Urban Future

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.

Urban development on previously degraded land

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October Excursion

Scarsdale – Enfield area, Sunday October 6 2019

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.

Brachyscome decipiens

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Flowering now in Creswick Regional Park

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.

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.

Ballarat Gardens for Wildlife

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.

Long-nosed Lycid Beetle

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SEANA Autumn visit to Port Fairy

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.

Griffiths Island

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