Paddy Ranges State Park

Paddy Ranges State Park on the edge of Maryborough had a range of plant flowering early in September. Interesting birds seen included Flame Robin and Striated Pardalote.

Plant names starting at top:

Acacia paradoxa Hedge Wattle

Acacia pycnantha Golden Wattle

Acacia acinacea Gold-dust Wattle

Caladenia carnea Pink fingers

Diuris pardina Leopard Wattle

Daviesia ulicifolia subsp ruscifolia Gorse Bitter-pea

Grevillea alpina Cats Claws, Downy Grevillea

Microseris walterii Yam Daisy

Pauridia glabella Tiny Star

Rhytidosperma procumbens White Marianth

Tetratheca ciliata Pink Bells

Wurmbea dioica Early Nancy

Mud nest of White-winged Chough in tall Red Ironbark

Lal Lal Falls

Heavy rainfall in August has saturated the soil, filled dams and swamps, and increased stream flows. Rainfall of about 100mm has be recorded in Ballarat this month. A picture of Lal Lal Falls on facebook prompted a visit to the falls on 24th August 2020. The car park was full of visitors cars.

Lal Lal Creek begins north of the Western Freeway. The falls were formed when the creek tumbles over 2.5 million yrear old baslt flow from Clarkes Hill. The creek has cut a valley upstream about 1 kilometre from the Moorabool River West Branch.

Water flowing down the creek above the falls had submerged the weir so it was not possible to cross to the Australian Anchor Plant. Members of FNCB helped to collect seed and plant seedlings among the remnant plants surviving on a steep bank.

Discaria pubescens Australian Anchor Plant

Western Bluff Track Ingliston

Another Moorabool trip and this time to the Western Bluff Track in the Werribee State Park on the Ingliston Road, out of Ballan. The views from the lookout take in deep bush covered gorges and across to the Pentland Hills. The track is covered in small rocks so you need to watch your step. There were still a few orchids flowering and the golden wattle and variable groundsel provide patches of colour.

Spargo Creek Mineral Springs

In the last few weeks two of us have mostly been walking within Moorabool Shire, which has many lovely natural areas to visit. These photos are from the Council managed reserve and the highlight was seeing a new fungi that has spines rather than gills. We have posted about this site before and it worth a spring visit. The spring water is refreshing and there is a small picnic shelter if you choose to take lunch.

Muckleford Nature Conservation Reserve

The beautiful sunny weather at the beginning of August was a chance for a trip to Newstead before the weather deteriorated and COVID restrictions were tightened.

The Reserve is an area of around 560 hectares of Box-Ironbark forest within the Muckleford State Forest north of Newstead.

Box-Ironbark Forest near Red, White and Blue Mine

Four species of wattle were flowering:

Golden Watte Acacia pycnantha
Spreading Wattle Acacia genistifolia
Rough Wattle Acacia aspera
Gold-dust Wattle (in Bud) Acacia acinacea

Other plants in flower:

1 Sticky Boronia Boronia anemomifola

2 Mountain Grevillea Grevillea alpina

3 Gorse Bitter-pea Daviesia ulicifolia subsp. ruscifolia

4 Dwarf Greenhood Pterostylis nana

5 Nodding Greenhood Pterostylis nutans (The patch is 1 metre across)

A variety of of birds were seen during the day including Olive-backed Oriole (a spring–summer breeding visitor) Striated and Spotted Pardlote, Scarlet and Flame Robin.

At the Red White and Blue Mine interpretive signage has been erected. The poppet head originally from the Bendigo Deborah United Mine has been painted and a steel grid placed over the 52 metre deep shaft.

Enfield State Park

After a cold dull week, the weekend sunshine provided an excellent chance to visit Enfield State Park. Winter-flowering plants are beginning to add colour to the landscape.

 

Union Jack Education Reserve

There are quite a few places to visit within 20km of Ballarat and this is one of them. There are two main entrances one off Elizabeth Street Buninyong and another at the end of Wirreanda Drive. Tracks seem to go off in different directions and this reserve would be improved with a few more directional signs. Don’t go off track unless you keep an eye open for some deep shafts. A lovely place for a walk and you may spot a robin.

Towering above the landscape

What is between 55 and 72m high and 12-16m wide and will be visible between Sydenham and Bulgana (near Stawell)? The answer is the pylons along the proposed new 190-kilometre overhead electricity transmission line north of Ballarat in the current proposal goes ahead. The Western Victoria Transmission Network Project team ‘are currently investigating to understand existing constraints and opportunities to help narrow down to a preferred corridor’.

area of interest for transmission line

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Follow the pink tape

We made a trip to Creswick Forest this week and decided to follow a trail of pink tape that run off either side of Bush Inn Road. They apparently mark one of the many proposed new mountain bike trails survey areas.

There are still a lot of fungi and lichen to find and lots of common heath in the area that has been more recently burnt. It is an interesting area with good ground cover and while there are areas of coppice regrowth, other areas are better managed and are more open. There is also lots of fallen branches from a mini tornado that went through the area a while ago.

A small nocturnal bird

Take a trip to Bannockburn Bushland Reserve and you may see an Australian Owlet-nightjar. This one was photographed in the sunshine, away from a hollow in the bushland on the golf course side of the road, an area we hadn’t investigated before. It was only spotted it because it was being harassed by New Holland Honeyeaters.