Lerderderg State Park was an interesting place to be on Saturday as the weather was fine and the roads were dry. There was no Field Naturalists excursion organised for the weekend as many members were attending the SEANA weekend at Marysville.
We decided to drive from Bacchus Marsh through the forest to Trentham. Blue Gum Track runs most of the way through the park into O’Brien’s Road and then taking Firth Road we ended up in Trentham.
There was more flowering this weekend than last weekend when we were in the forest around Mt Doran and Lal Lal. If you are planning on driving through the forest remember that some roads such as Blue Gum Track are classified as dry weather only and are subject to seasonal closures from the long weekend in June.
Starting at the Bacchus Marsh end of Blue Gum Track accessed via Lerderderg Road then Cameron’s Road, we passed various vegetation communities first Box Ironbark, then Shrubby Dry Forest, Heathy Dry Forest and finally Shrubby Foot Hill Forest. If you are interested in learning more about which ecological vegetation classes are present in a particular area then look at the biodiversity interactive maps on the Department of Environment and Primary Industries website – here is the link
The pale yellow flowers of the shrubby Banksia marginata (Silver Banksia), with green flowers of Correa reflexa (Common Correa) and drifts of pink Epacris impressa (Common Heath) contrasted with the white of Monotoca scoparia (Prickly Broom-heath). There were several different species of lichens recovering after drying off over the summer. We only noticed one fungi, Laetiporus portentosus (White Punk) on the blackened trunk of a eucalypt.
Work has begun in the Lerderderg for planned burns and some burning has already occurred. In some areas the burn was quite hot and the canopy is reshooting. If you are wondering what yellow (sometimes pink) dots and crosses on trees beside the roads indicate, it relates to whether the trees need to be raked around or removed for safety reasons. Long sections of roadsides have been cleared prior to burning.
Lerderderg State Park is over 14000 hectares and has a variety of things to do besides looking at the vegetation. There are a few walks from the short easy ones to the more challenging overnight ones. In the past the Field Naturalists have visited O’Brien’s Crossing and areas in the adjoining Wombat Forest. Be aware that some areas contain Cinnamon Fungus and take appropriate precautions but don’t let this stop you from visiting another one of our parks that is relatively close to Ballarat and has plenty to see and enjoy.