Eleven members joined the September excursion which began at St Georges Lake, Creswick. It was cool with a chilly wind as we walked down the new pathway to inspect the big engineering changes at the spillway.
An impressive amount of rock and the excavation of 20,000 cubic metres of soil has produced a new spillway to replace the old compacted earth wall. According to the Parks Victoria’s website, the new wall removes the risk of the old wall failing during future heavy storm events. The ability to walk over the new dam wall is retained so visitors may still complete a circuit of the lake if they wish.
It was a surprise to those of us who had not been to the site for a while, to see the extent of the works. Combined with the harvesting of the plantations, the works have made a major change to the site. The design of new dam wall means less water in the lake than previously so that even in high rain events, the water will flow more slowly. It is about 2 metres lower.
There have been a few other works to the picnic ground such as new fencing to prevent vehicles driving right up to the water edge. There jetty like structure at the other end of the lake is now closed off and about to be demolished as it is in such poor condition with trees growing through it. It will also no longer be in the water due to less water held in the lake. Before we left, we began the wattle count for the day with some local and planted wattles.
The next stop was the Newlyn Reservoir, which is located on Birch’s Creek. Water is used for irrigation, domestic and stock supplies and some urban use. We made a small list of water birds observed but we did not linger, as it was still a cool wind blowing off the water.
Deep Creek Streamside Reserve at Eganstown was the morning tea stop with bright sunshine with no wind. A grey mistletoe, Amyema quandang in a silver wattle, provided some discussion and the cameras came out.
There was also a close examination of the root system of a eucalypt exposed when the tree blew over in a storm. As we walked down the path to the spring, we heard quite a few birds as they flew in and around the silver wattles and eucalypts.
Access over the bridge to the pump house is closed, so after a brief look around including looking if the swallows were nesting under the bridge, we went back up the hill to the vehicles.
We continued the excursion by taking the Werona Road, which is off Basalt Road. This road winds through pine plantations but we did stop at an area where the replanted pines were only small to enjoy the views across to the ‘lollipop’ on Mt Beckworth, the Waubra wind towers and Mt Kooroocheang (known also as Smeaton Hill).
Driving to the next stop, we had glimpses of Mt Franklin while passing through more young pines. The sides of the road were colonised by Cassinia arcuata, Chinese Scrub. Eventually we were back in the bush and noticed that the vegetation had changed to survive a drier aspect. There was a quick sighting of Acacia pycnantha, Golden wattle. At this stop, earth tongues were the main interest. These fungi are like short thin narrow tongues poking up out of the earth and are black.
The lunch spot was near a dam so there chance of seeing some birds but only a fan-tailed cuckoo came close. We did not see the wedge tailed eagle that Bill and Paul had observed take flight when they were checking out the site in the previous week so we settled for some interesting plants. At our last stop in the bush, we added Acacia gunnii, Ploughshare wattle to the list.
Finally heading home, we stopped to admire a bridge built in 1883. Many people who travel on the Kingston Kooroocheang Road probably have never given this bridge much thought. The creek is choked with willows but a gap in the blackberry allows a photo of the bridge, which looks in good condition. It would be great for a group to take over the management of this site.
some of the plants seen on the day
Acacia acinacea s.l. Gold-dust Wattle
Acacia aculeatissima Thin-leaf Wattle
Acacia aspera Rough Wattle
Acacia dealbata Silver Wattle
Acacia gunnii Ploughshare Wattle
Acacia lanigera Woolly Wattle
Acacia melanoxylon Blackwood
Acacia mitchellii Mitchell’s Wattle
Acacia paradoxa Hedge Wattle
Acacia pycnantha Golden Wattle
Acaena echinata Sheep’s Burr
Acrotriche serrulata Honey-pots
Amyema quandang Grey Mistletoe
Briza maxima Large Quaking-grass
Brunonia australis Blue Pincushion
Bursaria spinosa subsp. spinosa Sweet Bursaria
Carex appressa Tall Sedge
Cassinia aculeata subsp. aculeata Common Cassinia
Cassinia arcuata Drooping Cassinia
Cerastium glomeratum s.l. Common Mouse-ear Chickweed
Coronidium scorpioides s.s. Button Everlasting
Correa reflexa Common Correa
Cymbonotus preissianus Austral Bear’s-ear
Daviesia leptophylla Narrow-leaf Bitter-pea
Dianella revoluta var. revoluta s.l. Black-anther Flax-lily
Drosera auriculata Tall Sundew
Eucalyptus dives Broad-leaf Peppermint
Eucalyptus goniocalyx s.l. Bundy
Eucalyptus macrorhyncha Red Stringybark
Eucalyptus melliodora Yellow Box
Eucalyptus polyanthemos Red Box
Eucalyptus rubida Candlebark
Exocarpos cupressiformis Cherry Ballart
Geranium solanderi s.l. Austral Crane’s-bill
Gonocarpus tetragynus Common Raspwort
Hardenbergia violacea Purple Coral-pea
Hovea heterophylla Common Hovea
Hydrocotyle laxiflora Stinking Pennywort
Hypoxis spp. Yellow Star
Lissanthe strigosa ssp. subulatus Peach Heath
Luzula meridionalis var. flaccida Common Woodrush
Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides Weeping Grass
Microseris scapigera s.l. Yam Daisy
Oxalis perennans Grassland Wood-sorrel
Pelargonium rodneyanum Magenta Stork’s-bill
Pimelea humilis Common Rice-flower
Pteridium esculentum Austral Bracken
Pterostylis meglagramma Tall greenhood
Pterostylis nutans Nodding Greenhood
Rytidosperma pallidum Silvertop Wallaby-grass
Senecio tenuiflorus spp. agg. Slender Fireweed
Solenogyne dominii Small Bottle Daisy
Stylidium graminifolium s.l. Grass Triggerplant
Tetratheca ciliata Pink-bells
Viola hederacea Ivy-leaf Violet
Wurmbea dioica Common Early Nancy