On my weekly trip over to Willowmavin working with Chris Cobern (Fire -Recovery Co-ordinator for the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network),we often come across interesting creatures or plants in the environment. In a previous post I noted the Golden Moth Orchids on the roadside. On one property where we have been fencing off the Kurkuruc Creek, we have been watching the flowering of clumps of Xanthorrhoea minor, the small grass tree. Normally found in open woodland or heath, this clump is in an open paddock heavily grazed by sheep.
Obviously a tough customer requiring good drainage and drought tolerant, it would make a great garden specimen. Although slow growing, the foliage is attractive and when it flowers it is a striking plant. Nectar rich, it is a great bird and insect attractor. In terms of bush tucker, like Banksia species, the flowers can be used to sweeten drinks
A sunny day on the Kurkuruc Creek means snakes and plenty of them. Tiger snakes abound as well as Red-Belleid Black snakes, taking advantage of the many rocks in the creek to sun themselves. On a walk across the creek, one of our volunteers “Shorty” came across an interesting find half buried in the mud. this fresh water mussel contributes to keeping the water clean through filtering out bacteria and algae which is it’s food source. The life cycle of the fresh water mussel is interesting in that the female filters sperm released from the male through her gills where the eggs are stored and brooded. The fertilised eggs develop into larvae which need to attach to the gills or fins of fish in order to complete their development. The juvenile mussel then detaches from the fish and buries itself in the mud where it continues to grow. The advantage of attaching to fish is that the mussel population can get free transport to other locations in the waterway. Streams that have poor fish habitat therefore are not likely to have a good mussel population. Another good reason then to fence off waterways from stock and revegetate stream banks! Keep our native fish and mussel populations strong. Thanks to Shorty’s sharp eyes, I will know what to look for next time I’m down at our own King Parrot Creek.
Flowerdale Landcare committee of management met for the last time for 2014 recently. Normally a meeting is kept strictly to 1 and a half hours, but while Claude cooked up our BBQ dinner, the rest of us piled into cars for a quick trip up Spring Valley Road to locate Ted. Ted is our local Koala who pops up from time to time and was written about in an earlier post. His latest resting place is in some River Red Gums planted at the back of a farm dam that has been fenced off and revegetated. This patch is only 12 years old but has good connectivity to roadside vegetation and koala forage trees. Ted’s an old bloke that likes to sleep a lot and looks a little peeved when he is woken for a photo opportunity.