Platypus at Smith’s Bridge

There was a ripple in the water that attracted attention. (Image, M. Warren)

There was a ripple in the water that attracted attention. (Image, M. Warren)

A visitor to the Bridge to Bridge Reserve at Smith’s Bridge, Strathbogie, spied something very special in the Seven Creeks.

As the ripple got closer, the Platypus was clearly visible swimming on the surface. (Image, M. Warren)

As the ripple got closer, the Platypus was clearly visible swimming on the surface. (Image, M. Warren)

 

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Spring’s early wildflowers – Lima South

August has been so very dry; perhaps that’s helping some of our wildflowers push through. Here are some pics of Spring’s early wildflowers in the Lima South district.

 

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Mysterious Stone Walls in the foothills of the Strathbogie Ranges.

Were these walls built by early settlers and shepherds to mark property boundaries or are they pre European in origin?

A network of stone wall sections  follow the ridgelines and gullies linking the rocky north facing foothills to the plains below. They have been noted from Faithfuls Creek to Burnt Creek and are most extensive around Longwood East. The building style of each structure is unique, displaying various skill levels  . Some walls are low rubble piles , others higher, many link large boulders and there are often very heavy rocks incorporated into the stonework. These walls are not continuous but many sections stretch over 150m without a break.

Have you noticed these very old walls on you property or heard stories of where they occur?

Can anyone offer explanations as to their origin?

 

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Beware unseasonal Winter visitors

Strolling through the paddock with a two-year-old, we let him run around as he could hardly hurt himself falling over on the soft, green grass – we thought! We hadn’t reckoned on a more serious risk.

The day was cold and overcast – what was this Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) doing above ground, in the middle of an open paddock in mid-Winter? The animal wasn’t obviously damaged or sick, nor had the previous day been sunny. It’s presence was quite unpredictable – and a bit of a shock. The snake was cold and sluggish, but it still managed an aggressive posture and plenty of tongue flicking.

Interestingly, though over 1 m long, it had pale banding along the length of its body – a likely ‘hang-over’ from the banding it carried as a juvenile. Though superficially reminiscent of a Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus), that species does not occur in this district (Boho South) and this animal was clearly an Eastern Brown.

Posted in Animals, boho south, Reptile, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

A Winter’s afternoon at Sandy Creek Falls

DSCF1392The weather held; we even had blue sky on a wonderful walk to Sandy Creek Falls. About 50 people joined in as we walked in virtual silence along a track that took us north off the Barjarg Rd and down a dry, northerly spur of open forest. It was steep in places, but still fairly easy walking. Occasional boulder-outcrops, plenty of fallen timber and an understory of ferns, low shrubs, lillies and tussock grasses met us as we descended 150 m in altitude, to the valley-bottom.

Sandy Creek drains the highest peaks of the Strathbogie Granite Massif, before winding its way down to the northern end of Lake Nillahcootie. Continue reading

Posted in Community Event, Fungi, Rocky outcrops, Strathbogie | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Carnage on Strathbogie roads continues

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A road-killed Koala on the Strathbogie-Euroa Rd, just before the Creek Junction Rd intersection.

The 2002-10 drought really hit Koalas hard in the Strathbogie Ranges – numbers  plummeted. Before the drought you could always find a least a couple of Koalas when walking in the forest on the Tableland. Then the drought, poor quality feed (leaves) and water stress led to lower breeding success and increased death of Koalas, so much so that by 2008 there was no guarantee at all of finding Koalas, even if you looked hard.

They’re slowly starting to recover numbers, so it’s very sad and totally unnecessary when Koalas get hit by vehicles on our local roads. I know of many people that have lived up here for decades and that have never even come close to hitting a Koala. I can understand Koala fatalities on the Hume Freeway, but a road-killed Koala up here means some idiot is just driving too fast.

 

Posted in Animals, Mammals | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Strange atmospheric phenomenon – tree clouds!

This wisp above the canopy appears to be a water vapour trail - a little cloud.

This wisp above the canopy appears to be a water vapour trail – a little cloud.

So, this is a little weird. A colleague and I were on the road north of Shepparton at 0930 a few weeks ago, when we noticed these little chimneys of ‘gas’ above the canopies of the roadside Grey Box trees (Eucalyptus microcarpa).

At first unable to grasp what on earth we were seeing, we stopped for a closer look.

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These little vapour-trails were on the lee side of the canopy and showed the direction of the light breeze blowing at the time. I can only guess that it’s condensed water vapour, trapped in a sort of slip-stream on the lee side of the tree and in the shade of the canopy – making them seem dark. It was a sunny, cool Autumn morning.

But what’s making the water condense and why at specific points and not all over the lee sides of the trees?

And now for a closer, though grainier, look. One reader comment, below, suggested they might in fact be bees. I’m not convinced, but neither do I have a better explanation.

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