Masked Lapwings at the cross-roads

Just another Euroa intersection, but look carefully ...

Just another Euroa intersection, but look carefully …

There, on the far corner, sitting in the grass, see them? A pair of Masked Lapwings (Vanellus miles), aka the Spur-winged Plover. These are conspicuous birds at home in rural and urban habitats. They are strong fliers and tend to be quite territorial, especially during the breeding season (around now).

Being shorebirds and related to waders, it’s perhaps not surprising they nest on the ground. But wouldn’t the eggs and flightless chicks be ‘sitting ducks’ for any predator, bird, mammal, or even reptile that comes along? (I hear you thinking) Continue reading

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The Top End, Central Australia, or our own Gooram Falls?

DSCF5037Gooram Falls is a series of rapids, riffles, cascades, channels and deep pools along about 2 km of the Seven Creeks, south of Euroa. In places the stream has eroded spectacular gorges through the granite which, after heavy rain, is a raging torrent. It’s a gorgeous spot and once there, you can imagine yourself to be somewhere in Central Australia. Its so special because, though it’s right on our doorstep, visitors respect and look after the area. There is one walking track along the left side of the creek between the two parking areas. If you leave the track to walk along the creek, take care – the rocks can be treacherous. Normally, at this time of year, the water level is high and Continue reading

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Grasslands & fire – Gobur workshop

06-DSCF4866Grasslands and Grassy Woodlands in SE Australia have evolved with fire for at least the last 40,000 years and likely for several million years, both as a result of natural ignition (eg lightning) and through Aboriginal burning practice. But since Europeans came and disrupted that pattern (less fire all ’round), the ecology of fire in native grasslands has changed radically. Add to this that native grasslands have been largely cleared or highly modified (heavily grazed, cultivated, cropped), you get the picture that this formerly extensive ecosystem is now threatened and in serious need of hands-on management if we want to keep the conservation values that are unique to grasslands. A major problem is that few people involved in managing grassland for nature conservation have much experience of using fire as a management tool. Continue reading

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Wild Pollinator Count – April 12-18, 2015.

Flower Wasp (Pic from wildpollinatorcount.com)

Flower Wasp (Pic from wildpollinatorcount.com)

The second citizen science ‘Wild Pollinator Count’ is on next week 12-18 April. The event is run twice a year (April & November) to highlight seasonal differences in pollinator activity. Information about the Wild Pollinator Count, including details on how to count, identification resources, a blog and other interesting links are available here: http://wildpollinatorcount.com/

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Another Tuan bites the dust

DSCF4191This fully-grown, male Brush-tailed Phascogale (aka Tuan) was killed while crossing the Euroa-Strathbogie Rd the night before last, just near the Kelvin View Rd turn-off. Such a shame these beautiful animals are so often killed on our roads. It’s also a bit surprising, as they do spend most of their time in trees, only coming to ground occasionally, when moving from tree to tree.

They are very agile climbers as can be seen from their long, sharp claws and long limbs. Had he not met this untimely end, this male would have spent the next few months exploring his patch of Kelvin View bush , leading up to the June-August mating season. Although the species is considered to be Vulnerable to extinction in Victoria, we are fortunate to have Tuans occurring over much of the Tableland. Read on for more pictures and a map of local records. Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Mammals, roadkill, roadsides, Strathbogie | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Native fish survey – Seven Creeks, Gooram

Surveying in the pool below the falls.

Surveying in the pool below the falls.

In recent years, fish ecologists from the Arthur Rylah Inst. for Environmental Research have surveyed native fish in several local streams, including the Hughes Creek and Seven Creeks. Along with discovering what’s in our streams they have also been removing pest species like European Carp (Cyprinus carpio) and Redfin Perch (Perca fluviatilis).

One of the sites they survey is the Seven Creeks below Gooram Falls. This reach of the creek is home to one of the few wild populations of Trout Cod (Maccullochella macquariensis), a close relative of the Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii). Trout Cod are a protected species in Victorian waters and for additional protection, fishing is prohibited in the Seven Creeks between Polly McQuinn’s Weir and the Galls Gap Rd bridge. This part of the Sevens also supports Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica), protected in most Victorian waters, including the streams of the Strathbogie Ranges. Continue reading

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After the fire – Longwood East, Creighton’s Creek & Ruffy

5974272-3x2-940x627 from abc net au

Image from abc.net.au

The Longwood East-Creighton’s Creek fire burnt out of control for about a week after it started from a lightning strike on Dec. 15, 2014. It burnt more than 5000 ha of farmland and bush and destroyed several homes. We’ve probably all seen spectacular images and footage of flames and fire-fighting, but what of the impact on local flora and fauna, and what now? For many landholders it’s clean-up, or rebuild time. There are burnt fences to be removed and rebuilt, stock to be feed and anxiety to be managed – these will all take time.

And for the bush too, time is what’s needed for recovery. The fire, though clearly very hot in places, generally left a patchy burn. It burnt primarily the grasses, shrubs and dry litter on the ground and only rarely burnt the crowns of trees. However, most forest trees are now shedding their leaves, which blanket the ground and go some small way to shielding the bare soil and creating some sort of habitat for ground-dwelling animals. Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Forests, Fungi, Insects, Invertebrates, Longwood East, Ruffy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments