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 conservation, creighton's creek, fire, longwood east
Two trail cameras were set-up in a sheep paddock on the plains, not far from Violet Town on the NW side the Strathbogies. The cameras were secured to tree-trunks in a stand of Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa), 1 m above ground and 50 m apart. The cameras were left in position for just over one month, from 3.11.14 to 9.12.14 – guess what the cameras recorded?
It was exciting to catch curlews on film and on several different occasions – it shows they are frequenting this site regularly, most likely as a day-roost. And the sheep are to be expected – it is a grazing paddock. But the presence of foxes at the site, on several occasions, makes me nervous.
The up-shot is that the farmer, who loves his curlews, will increase his fox control in and around the paddock to give the birds a bit more breathing space.
These two photo-points were set up as part of a Trust for Nature project on Bush Stone-curlews, funded by the Victorian Government.
White-throated Gerygone (M. Dahlem)
The White-throated Gerygone (Gerygone albogularis) is one of our rarely-seen Summer migrant visitors, though you may be familiar with its delightful, tinkling, tree-top call (listen here). Also known as the White-throated Warbler or Native Canary, it migrates to our Ranges each Spring, to build a nest and raise young, before heading north or inland again in Autumn.
These small birds build hanging nests, tightly secured to twigs amongst the outer foliage of a tall-shrub or tree. The structure, with its hooded side-entrance, is safe from most predators and a marvel of design and construction, though occasionally .. the branch breaks and we get to see the nest close-up..
The end result is a masterpiece of design and construction.
The outer layer of the nest is made of strips of soft bark, twigs, down-feathers and grass.
And held firm with spider web.
Even insect wings may be part of the cladding.
The material is woven around and secured to twigs.
Looking up into the nest’s entrance.
The hooded entrance is accessed from below.
Strips of soft bark line the entrance.
Dome-shaped nest of the White-throated Gerygone, with side-entrance.
The feathers and spider web covering probably help to camouflage the nest, As well as shed water and keep the inside dry. The entrance faces down to keep the weather out. But what’s inside? Continue reading
A pair of wedge-tailed eagles have successfully reared a fledgling this season. In this photograph you can see that the chick is nearly fully grown . Fluffy down feathers can still be seen on its legs but the bird appears close to leaving the substantial nest made of sticks and fresh gum leaves in an old grey box tree. Thanks to Leslie for sharing this lovely photo . It makes me very happy to know that these iconic birds of prey continue to successfully breed in our area.
Can you spot the chick ?
During October 2014, the Euroa Arboretum delivered the first Grassy Woodland Ecology Course in the Goulburn Broken Catchment. Delivered at Dookie College, the five-day course covered a wide variety of the ecological and management issues faced by land managers (farmers, Park Rangers, ecologists). The course was well organised (& catered!) and the field activities (which included, site visits, monitoring techniques, ecological principles, cultural landscapes and more) were particularly useful – here are a few images. Continue reading
View towards Lake Eildon & The Paps from Golden Mount escarpment.
At 1028 m, Golden Mount is the second highest peak in the Strathbogie Ranges, complete with some Snow Gums on top. Immediately to the east of the peak is a spectacular and steep rock escarpment that plunges down to the valley of Clear Creek, a tributary of Brankeet Ck. In spite of the rubbish left by visitors and the illegal off-road trail-bike tracks (all too common!), it’s a glorious spot. And at this time of year there were quite a few wildflowers on show, though it’ll be better in a few weeks. If you visit on a week-day you’ll have the spot and the glorious serenity of those rocks, to yourself. Here are a few more pics; click a pic to start the slide show.
Looking north along the granite escarpment
View across the Clear Ck valley towards Mt Strathbogie in the distance
The Paps and the Mansfield Plain, with L. Eildon beyond.
Trig marker on Golden Mount
Ancient, gnarled Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) growing out of near-solid rock.
Another Snow Gum
Showy Viola (Viola betonicifolia)
Common Bird orchid (Chiloglottis valida)
Tall Daisy (Brachyscome diversifolia)
There is still time to book at place at this informative and practical field day – Day 4 of the Grassy Woodlands workshops organised by Euroa Arboretum. The outdoor program starts at 3 pm and concludes at 9.30 pm .
The theme is long-term management and monitoring of woodlands.Paul Foreman will present “Understanding Outcomes from Actions”. Monitoring techniques demonstrated include drone technology and how we can use it to enhance our reporting . Tools for measuring vegetation structure , the science of bird surveys, monitoring and recording reptile and frog species, thermal imaging of nocturnal mammals, spotlighting techniques and practicing the rare art of MOTHING .
This field day will be held in the bush at J & J Hagen’s property “Wetlandia”at Miepoll – 110 Bready Lane – off the Euroa Shepparton rd- a few kms towards Shepparton after the Murchison – Violet Town intersection . Ring Janet 0458 904268 .
Includes afternoon tea and BBQ dinner.
Bring torch , insect repellant, boots, binoculars, notebook,