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
The Melton Botanic Gardens have been officially opened since the Ballarat Field Naturalists last visited and another section of path has also been opened to the public. It now possible to do a loop walk across into an area that is yet to be developed. The path goes close to the freeway and is very noisy but gives a different perspective to the gardens.
Plaque commemorating the opening
new pedestrian bridge
cumbungi growing along the creek
There is still plenty to see at Lal Lal Falls Reserve if you decide you want a walk. There is no water going over the falls but still some in pools in the creek. The kangaroo grass is looking great and gives a light orange tinge. Some patches of native grass have been left un-mown in the public area which I like to see. The Hairy Anchor Plant has already dropped its seed and looks healthy despite its dry position on the bank. The clustered everlastings add a bright colour to the slopes and the scenery is still spectacular.
Hairy Anchor Plant
Dry Lal Lal Falls
Lal Lal Creek
Whist 2 car loads of Field Nats visited Trench Reserve last Saturday, two of us went for a 3km walk along Old House Track in Long Forest, near Bacchus Marsh. If you don’t know the site is it the only patch of mallee south of the Great Divide. The mallee is Bull Mallee, Eucalyptus behiana.
There a several walks to choose from and well worth considering. We came across a biological release site for a rust to control Bridal Creeper and it seems to be working well, as many plants were nearly leafless.
Old Farm machinery hinting at past use
areas of moss
view to Mt Anakie
view to Western Highway across market gardens
old house site
wattles in flower
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
Field Nats Bill and Paul, visited several sites at Dereel on Tuesday – the Dereel Stone reserve, Swanson Road and Bliss Road reserve (east side). Unfortunately there are several gorse plants, some gladiolus and at least one plant of boneseed along the northern section.
There was little out in flower at the Stone reserve, only two wattle species – Acacia paradoxa and A. myrtifolia and leaves and buds of helmet and mayfly orchids.
The other two sites had good flowering examples of two orchid species plus flowers of nodding and trim greenhood orchids.
While it might have been cold and wet early in the day yesterday, we managed to have lunch in the sunshine at the Linton Reserve. The Ballarat Field Naturalists have kept an eye on this reserve since Trust for Nature added it to their estate many years ago.
Sunshine at the entrance
We completed the usual fence check to see what branches had fallen in the recent storms and a chainsaw will be needed next time to remove some branches. We removed a bridal creeper from under a Cherry Ballart and had time to admire the correa and a few wattles in flowers. Over fifty kangaroos seem to be spending a bit of time in the reserve and we also spotted a fox and a wallaby.
As the fungi season approaches we look forward to where we will be led on an excursion. This year it was back to Blackwood and some of the tracks accessed from the carpark near the Garden of St Erth. Here are a few of the many fungi observed on the day. We thank Carol for this selection.
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.
Parks Victoria conducted a cool burn in Canadian (Woowookarung) Regional Park on 9 May 2017. The crew involved are commended for the environmental awareness.
Austral Grass-trees were individually ignited. The fuel load was reduced by burning the dry skirts without damaging Common Heath flowering near by.
Cool burn of Austral Grass-tree skirts
This should reduce the heat of future burns and prevent the damage done to hollow trees as seen in a hot burn in 2015.