Seventeen Field Naturalists were treated to the expansive beauty of Narmbool, a 2000 hectare farmstead operated by Sovereign Hill and located South of Ballarat. Generations of graziers had taken advantage of the fertile pastures, which when enhanced with fertiliser, produced quality wool for sale in foreign markets. With the price of wool not being what it was and the change in management in 2000, the outlook for the sheep became decidedly more culinary than crafty. Being surrounded by prospective chops, loins, racks and shanks it is perhaps fitting that Narmbool is a local Indigenous word meaning ‘fatty liver’. This local foie gras once belonged to possums that gorged on the vegetation of the volcanic soils.
View of Narmbool Homestead
On our club’s recent visit to this reserve the weather was rather cold and bleak so I took the opportunity recently to have another quick look.
Locomotive Mine Site
Path over Union Jack Creek
signage about the frogs
sign about mine tragedy
view along creek
The Union Jack Education Area is accessed at the end of Elizabeth Street, East of Warrenheip St, Buninyong, and from Wirreanda Drive off Yankee Flat Rd. The reserve is managed by Parks Victoria and the vegetation is heathy dry forest. In winter there the flowers of common heath provide glimpses of colour. There is lots of moss and lichen, occasional fungi and the leaves of orchids beginning to emerge. Many small birds may be seen flying in and out of the bracken. Continue reading
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 some say they have seen better years for fungi, there are still a lot to see. Here are some Ghost Fungi from near Mt Egerton. They would be impressive if I took these photos at night, because they glow, but that is not going to happen.
panorama of the regeneration area north of Recreation Road
Yesterday afternoon we had a quick visit into Canadian Regional Park and the common heath is looking beautiful. Don’t forget if you are interested in the latest on what is happening in our newest park come along to the meeting at the Earth Ed Centre, Olympic Ave Mt Clear at 7pm on Wednesday night. FoCC Woowookarung Regional Park forum
sunlight through the trees
Epacris impressa – Common Heath
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.
This caterpillar was spotted in some bush near Bannockburn recently.
Emperor Gum Moth larvae
Unfortunately sometimes the only way we get to see a bird close up is when it dies. In this case it was a juvenile Crimson Rosella. The colouring is beautiful.
Juvenile Crimson Rosella
At our February 2017 meeting, Susan Kruss gave a really interesting presentation about some of the club history. Susan is undertaking a thesis “A Voice for Nature”, on the various ways our club has given nature a voice.
Here is a link to the slides with notes. Just click on one of the slides to make it bigger.
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