The eleven participants met up at Creswick and we traveled to Sandon Forest and began our September club excursion. On a little side track off Main Track we spent about over an hour seeing what was in flower. It was an orchid garden. There were about 10 species of orchids along with masses of leaves indicating that in a few weeks the area would be taken over by chocolate lilies and blue squill. There were a few fungi and lots of sundews. Gold Dust Wattle provided additional patches of colour.
We headed out of the forest along Main Track to the Captain’s Gully-Sandon Road. Not many of the members had ventured this far into Sandon Forest before and as we travelled though several interesting vegetation types we pondered the prospect of future excursions.
After a brief stop at Newstead and a quick trip to the bakery for some, we headed off down the Daylesford Road. Before we left we observed wood ducks in the swimming pool enclosure, blue wrens on the roof of the hall, red-browed finch and rosellas in the elms on a side street.
On the way to our next stop we noticed gazanias growing en masse near the railway crossing at Clydesdale and noted the bright yellow oxalis under the River Red Gums but such is the fate of many roadsides these days as they are impacted by weeds. On a brighter side the blossom in an old orchard was looking lovely.
It was onto Ramsey Road and the Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve where we had lunch, making use of the shelter and seating provided. A jacky lizard was observed making a dash for cover which was a surprise. The local Newstead Landcare Group, Parks Victoria and others have put together an interesting self-guided walk through this site which “passes over the path of an ancient river, which flowed sometime between 5 and 35 million years ago”. Armed with additional guides provided by our leaders, we headed off for the 1.5 hour walk.
A copy of the walk notes may be obtained from here
The site had been used as a gravel quarry and it is interesting to see the vegetation gradually returning. There was plenty to see and even though it was early afternoon there were still quite a few birds about. A spider orchid was spotted by one group and there were patches of pink fingers blue caladenias.
It is always hard to say how long an activity will take especially with Field Naturalists but it was spot on for timing until some of the members wanted to see the morels that had been noticed by one member. Afternoon tea was put on hold for the few members who retraced their steps and found about twenty morels.
Here is a list of some of the orchids seen and in some cases just the leaves were observed.
Cyrtostylis reniformis Small Gnat-orchid
Caladenia carnea Pink Fingers
Cyanicula caerulea Blue Fingers
Diuris pardina Leopard Orchid
Glossodia major Wax-lip Orchid
Pterostylis cyenocephala Swan Greenhood
Pterostylis nana Dwarf Greenhood
Pterostylis nutans Nodding Greenhood
Pterostylis smaragdyna Emerald-lip Greenhood
Thelymitra spp. Sun Orchid
John’s bird list from Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve
Australian Wood Duck
Eastern Yellow Robin
Pacific Black Duck
Here are some of the things we saw