On our July excursion led by Emily Noble, we visited some of the bushland areas included in Discovering Ballarat’s Bushland*, published by the Club in 2002.
Mt Buninyong in the fog
A group of 11 gathered at the Blackberry Lane car park on a cold morning with low cloud covering Mt Buninyong. We walked past mature Messmate and Manna Gum, some with hollows. As we climbed higher the weedy species grew fewer. The ground cover was mainly Common Tussock-grass and Weeping Grass. Herbs among the grass included Bidgee-widgee, and Prickly Starwort. A variety of fungi were seen. Continue reading
Following the excursion to the Melton Botanic Gardens some members headed off to the Trench Reserve in Bacchus Marsh. It is located in Tramway Lane and is listed as a geological reserve and is highly significant. Here are some photos I took back in May.
view from top of reserve
The last site on the May excursion for most of us, was the old Mt Doran Recreation Reserve, which is a BEN (Ballarat Environment Network) Reserve. While is very good condition we did notice several mature sugar gums on the back fence and someone has been removing fallen timber. A member with access to a handsaw took the opportunity to fell an environmental weed, Sallow Wattle, Acacia longifolia. Mt Doran Recreation Reserve Flora
back of fallen tree
close up of lichen
Horse Dung Fungus
inside a horse dung fungus
open grass area in the reserve
possibly part of the cricket pitch
tree that has split and fallen over
Three of us continued on to the Mt Doran Scenic Reserve and undertook some weed control on cape broom and bluebell creeper.
In Lal Lal State Forest off Flagstaff Hill Road and up a short steep track, is Mt Doran. Before you get too excited there is no view from this mount. It is quite a rocky site and a keen eye noticed a parson’s band orchid.There were also large patches of Pultenaea pedunculata so this site would be worth visiting in the spring. Mt Doran flora list
track up to Mt Doran
no view from Mt Doran
lichen on rocks
large patch of Pultenaea pedunculata
The May excursion lunch stop was beside a lovely small dam on Flagstaff Hill Road in the Lal Lal Forest. There were many orchid leaves and Emily spotted the first flowers of Tiny Greenhood Pterostylis and then a Red-tipped Tiny Greenhood. The native heath was abundant in shades of pink and we spotted the red leaves of sundews. There were quite a few fungi including ghost fungi. Flagstaff Hill Road Flora list
Strolling around the dam through the bracken
Scented Sundew leaves
Red-tipped Tiny Greenhood
The next site on the May excursion was off to the well-appointed facilities and sheltered gazebo at the Navigators Hall, for morning tea. While driving between the sites were experienced the only shower of rain for the day. After a short break and a look at the new, much publicized bird book, it was onto the , in Pound Creek Road near Yendon No 1 road.
Banksia marginata flowers
tree guards past time for being removed
large old tree with hollow
This reserve managed by Parks Victoria, has a sedgy vegetation community, listed as endangered. Over twenty years ago, the Lal Lal Catchment Landcare Group planted more indigenous trees as part of a project and we completed their project by removing the plastic bags, which were almost to the stage of strangling the trucks. Banksia marginata was flowering, a yellow robin was observed and we think we heard a Bibron’s Toadlet, described as sounding like marbles in a glass.
We also spotted a dead frog in a large puddle, so after the hearing the talk by Ray Draper about frogs and chytrid fungus on the Friday night, we made sure to disinfect our boots before we moved on. Pound Springs Reserve Flora list.
The next few articles will cover several different sites of interest to Field Naturalists. The May excursion was to some areas that are less regularly visited by our group. Seven Field Nats began at Pryor’s Park, at the top end of Eureka Street in Ballarat. This reserve managed by City of Ballarat and includes an area revegetated by the local friends group, after some pines and conifers were harvested.
The other section is still pine plantation but has more indigenous understorey than you would expect to see under pines. Part of the official reserve boundary is taken up with the golf course and the management there is supposed to contribute funds to the upkeep of the reserve.
Amanita muscaria – Fly Agaric
Cherry Ballart with conifers
Pines with native understory
top of Amanita
view to Mt Warrenheip
It didn’t take long to see several types of fungi including the Fly Agaric. Years ago when this reserve was visited by the club it was possible to see glimpses of the city of Ballarat, especially if you stood on the seat but the revegetation has now increased in height blocking the view. On the way out of the reserve, Emily spotted a clump of dried seed heads of the African Weed Orchid, so if you visit in the spring take precautions not to spread this invasive species. Pryor Park flora list.
On 3 September about 30 Ballarat and Geelong Field Nats met up for an excursion to Clarkesdale at Linton. This is a favourite site for birdos and there are always an interesting selection of birds to see. When the ‘bird paddock’ was first planted out many native plants were included that were not local to the area but provided great bird habitat and food.
view from the bird hide
Here are a few photos from yesterday’s excursion which looked at some of the remnants the gold mining days and forestry history. Some of us hadn’t visited/noticed these particular areas before so it was an eye opener. Next time you are out in the forest take a closer look. This forest was very popular on the weekend, with campers, a four wheel driving club, people fishing and looking for gold.
Near Selkirk’s pit
Oaks on the La Gerche Trail
Oaks on the La Gerche Trail
Wall on Eaton’s Dam
Cassinia arcuata – Chinese Scrub
Chinese Puddling Mill
Bernado’s sluice box
Our June excursion was to Sanatorium Lake at Mt Macedon. It is quite a while since we ventured to this area as a club and there were a large variety of fungi. The foggy surrounds added to the atmosphere and despite an interaction or two with leeches, it was well worth the trip.