mammals

Flutter by Butter Fly

Swordgrass Brown butterfly

The butterfly pictured above was photographed at Kinglake last week and is the Swordgrass Brown Butterfly (Tisiphone abeona albifascia). Keep your eyes open for the many species active now the warmer months are here.

The Great Victorian Koala Count took place in early November. One Koala was reported by a member of our group and was added to the survey. This was Ted, (refer;  If you go down in the woods today ) who shows up every few months for a snooze in one of his favourite trees and then wanders off again. Ted hadn’t been seen since March and we feared he may have become road kill or died of old age- great to see him again. More Koala stories can be found in March is Koala month or Snippets or visit Great Victorian Koala Count

Flowerdale Landcare Newsletter, November 2015

Engaging with Our Community, Our Environment

Next event;

Sunday December 13th; Coonan’s Reserve, Flowerdale

Breakfast, Bird and Brook, End of year Celebration.

8:30 a.m.

Hi everyone,

There hasn’t been a newsletter issued for some 6 months, so bringing you up to date is well overdue. In case you missed our Annual General Meeting,-  the committee is now;

President – Derek Hall

Treasurer – Claude Baxter

Assistant Treasurer – Rick Wheeler

Vice President – Paul Michael

Secretary – Pam Watson

Ordinary Committee – Steve Brennan, Steve Joblin, Carol Stadelmann, Wayne Watson

We have since engaged in National Tree Day and Schools National Tree Day plantings as well as a successful Broom Busting day at Moore’s Reserve. These activities as always were followed up by a BBQ lunch and beverage. Since then a volunteer blackberry spraying day was again undertaken by the group. Thanks to Paul Michael, Derek Hall and Steve Joblin who put in around 20 hours on this project.

Flowerdale Landcare has now turned 3 years old and held the 2nd Great Flowerdale Duck Race last weekend. Last year we had a turnout of 23 people and a real fun day on both the Silver and King Parrot Creeks. This year the Landcare Group decided to have a Picnic on the Lawn at Flowerdale Community House in the hope of attracting locals as part of a Fire Awareness initiative.

Long time resident and CFA Fire education officer Judy Baker presented information on developing a family fire plan and staying safe through the fire danger period.

Our lunch was provided through grant support from Kinglake Ranges Foundation, which meant that any donations received on the day could be presented to the Flowerdale CFA. Thanks to Viv Phelan for the tasty sandwiches and cakes prepared for us. Flowerdale Landcare president Derek Hall was proud to present Judy Baker with a cheque for $115 which will assist our CFA community volunteers who put in many hours of training on our behalf. (By the way, Madam Secretary Pam Watson’s duck was first under the Bridge which gave her the prize of a meal voucher at the Flowerdale Hotel!). Thanks to our supporters and members Steve and Viv Phelan proprietors of Flowerdale Hotel , for their support.

Flowerdale Landcare years end will be officially celebrated again at the Coonan’s Reserve with a breakfast at 8.30 a.m. on Sunday December 13th. Come along and celebrate the achievements of the year, you might even be lucky enough to see a platypus or rakali as we did at lunchtime last year. This gathering will also be the opportunity to confirm events planned for the next 12 months.

In 2016 we will have access to 5,000 plants supplied by Fifteen trees  and we are grateful to our corporate sponsors for their continued support. In 2015, Flowerdale Landcare assisted in the planting of 4,250 seedlings which I believe was the greatest effort by any of the 16 groups in the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network. This effort was supported by Fifteen Trees and Pana Chocolate

Cleaning Up Flowerdale

 

Members of the Flowerdale Community and Flowerdale Landcare are meeting on Sunday, March 1st at the Community House to take part in a Clean Up Australia Day event. Registration takes place at 10:00. The event finishes with lunch supplied by the Murrindindi Shire. Come and give us a hand and enjoy the camaraderie of your community.

The kids are doing their bit too. Flowerdale Primary are holding their own Clean Up event tomorrow (Friday).

Important Event for your Diary;

Our Annual General Meeting is scheduled for 23rd of August (Sunday). Our guest speaker is one of our members who has been involved with the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Program . Whet your appetite by clicking on the following link – http://www.zoo.org.au/werribee/animals/eastern-barred-bandicoot

Platypus watchers  may want to click on the following link for some video footage taken by Wayne Watson http://youtu.be/AoBXfonRsG4

 

Snapshot 2 (24-02-2015 8-17 AM)

Snippets

 

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.DSC_0167

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

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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.

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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.IMG_6014

Endangered!!

Photo: Pete Richardson

Photo: Pete Richardson

BARBED WIRE!   Great War trench defence.

BARBED WIRE!  Keeping people apart

BARBED WIRE!   Snaring little Aussies

BARBED WIRE!  Hate it with a vengeance.

This little fluff ball is thought to be a Squirrel Glider  (Petaurus norfolcensis) that had an encounter with a barbed wire fence and managed to become entangled with one of the barbs twisted into its’ gliding membrane. This fence borders a bush block of around 40 ha that was badly burnt in the 2009 fires and is now dense with regrowth. You can see how stressed the creature looks and who knows how long it had been trapped until spotted by new KPCEG member Pete. After carefully untangling the glider and seeing that there was no apparent major damage, Pete wrapped it in a warm jumper and left it in a hollow at the bottom of a tree. When Pete returned later, the animal had gone and hopefully recovers fully from the ordeal.

The Squirrel Glider is listed as endangered in Victoria and its viability is particularly affected by loss of tree hollows and fragmentation of habitat. These negative influences make the animal more exposed to predation, particularly by foxes, dogs and cats and to inbreeding of populations. Healthy bush corridors of mixed species and layers allow a food source throughout the year. Plenty of tree hollows are needed as this Glider moves camp frequently over it’s foraging territory. It feeds on insects, pollen, nectar and saps. In our area, the Long leaf Box (Eucalyptus goniocalyx) that flowers in the cooler months is important to its survival over winter.

Like its smaller cousin the Sugar Glider, the Squirrel Glider lives in colonies  – an adult male, young and a couple of adult females. The gliding membrane allows a glide of up to 50m from tree to tree and can be manipulated to allow for steering in flight. The tail is prehensile, i.e., – can hold and grasp things such as branches or in this case; wire

An animal caught in barbed wire is not a rare event which is why Natural Resource Managers discourage its use.  To keep stock in, the alternatives are an electric wire and good management. When feed in a paddock is low, stock are going to test any fence as the grass is often greener on the other side. If your paddocks border bush, waterways or remnant vegetation, consider not using barbed wire especially on the top 2 wires  and use instead wildlife friendly styles of fencing such as described in this link – http://www.wildlifefriendlyfencing.com

March is Koala Month……

Flowerdale resident Erin mailed in the following vignette……..

Hi Steve

We first saw the Koala on Tuesday morning just out the front of the house … Ben noticed it on the ground when looking out his bedroom window (how awesome living in the country!!?).  It then scaled one of the huge eucalypts at the front of the house … I have a couple of photo’s but I only had my phone on me so they’re not great.  It was also up about 30m!!  I had actually heard it grunting and growling on Monday night when I was locking up the chooks …

Then of course it disappeared and it was only this morning when I was dropping the boys off at the bus stop that I noticed it again (I presume it is the same one).  Last known whereabouts … about 20-30m along our road on the right hand side (on letterbox side of road).  It’s not on private property – there is a small grove of eucalypts on the roadside.  Hopefully it’ll stick around there in time for you to have a look tomorrow.

Don’t get mobile reception at farm (unless you stand on one leg on a ladder with your arm out the window and your tongue sticking out …).

Thanks for sending in your observation Erin. I checked the area you indicated and was able to locate the koala asleep in a grey box (Eucalyptus macrocarpa). I had a pretty good look at it and am sure it wasn’t Ted, who appears in an earlier post. There was no ear tag on your koala and no scarring. I went back again this morning but the koala had moved on overnight. The vocalisation you describe is actually the love song of the male trying to attract a mate. Consider yourself serenaded!   Click here to listen to a koala call http://youtu.be/qIuHICSahzc

March is Koala month and the King Parrot Creek Environment Group would love to hear of any sightings in the Flowerdale region this month that we can verify and map.

Call me on 0412 334 521 or email me through this blogsite and we will send someone out to photograph and gps your sighting.

Platypus results down on last year

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Our annual platypus survey continues to grow in popularity with 22 participants up from 19 last year. Members of the King Parrot Creek Environment Group took observation positions upstream from Moore’s Reserve and Strath Creek Landcarers  positioned themselves downstream. The survey involves recording observations over a one hour period and making notes every 10 minutes. There were observations that varied from King Parrots and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos and fish a’ jumpin’ to 1 platypus sighting and 1 Native Water Rat (Rakali). The water level was down on last year after a very dry summer and may account for the lack of platypus sightings compared to the 5 observed last year. Families are a welcome part of the survey; young Max was very keen to make the most of the experience and after falling  in the Creek returned home with the souvenir of a Bull Ant sting for his evening out.

As darkness descended on the last day of summer through the towering manna gums of the Coonan’s Reserve, participants gathered to collate results and enjoy a beverage and snack before a spotlight walk through the bush.  A feature of Coonan’s Reserve is a predominance of tree violet understory granting safe cover to small birds for roosting. Several silvereyes and a yellow faced honey eater were seen huddled up within arms reach. This year we failed to spot any sugar gliders or brush tailed possums but we did find one ring tailed possum whilst foraging micro bats frequently flew through the spotlight beam. The night was clear and the stars brightening as we departed the Reserve around 10 p.m.

This weekend, members of Strath Creek Landcare will be doing their part in a Clean up Australia Day activity at Strath Creek. Our King Parrot Creek Environment Group engaged in a clean up day on the Australia Day Public holiday. We managed to pick up and bag almost a tandem trailer load of rubbish in the 3km between the Hazeldene Store and the Flowerdale Hotel, before enjoying a BBQ on the banks of the Creek back at the Store. By the time we had finished it was 35 degrees, so we will probably look at running this activity next year in March.

Platypus watchers wanted

,Nessie?

Hi to all platypus watchers
The Strath Creek Landcare Group, together with the King Parrot Creek Environment Group, is holding another Group Watch survey for the Australian Platypus Conservancy on Friday 28th February. Hope you can make it – please let us know if you plan to come.

King Parrot Creek Environment Group people will meet at the Hazeldene Store at 6.30 p.m., where we will have a quick briefing and distribute data sheets, before heading off to the assigned watching points along K P Creek for a start at or before 7pm. The survey is for one hour, after which we will return to the picnic area in the Upper K P Ck Road side of Coonans Reserve for refreshments while comparing notes, and a short spotlight walk through the reserve.

The event is weather-dependent and we will contact you if it needs to be postponed or if there are any changes to the arrangement. Please bring clipboard or similar, pencil, stool, insect repellant, and binoculars and camera if you have them.

Cheers,

 
Nessie?

David and Laurie

and Steve (0412 334 521)

If you go down in the woods today…

IMG_0593 Don’t be surprised if you see a cuddly teddy bear, well Koala actually, up a tree. This male koala (Phascolarctos cinereus;  translating not surprisingly as ash coloured bear with a pouch) – let’s call him ‘Ted, was seen heading down Spring Valley Road, Flowerdale looking for a shady spot to spend the day out of the predicted heat. ‘Ted found paradise sitting on a branch of a River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) shaded by a Blackwood  (Acacia melanoxylon)sapling. Just the place to kip for an average 20 hours on a 45o day

It wasn’t long before ‘Ted was in a deep sleep and I was able to get close enough to read his ear tag. I was wondering if it was my old friend 513 who I spotted on the road one night in October 2011. The underside of the blue tag was inscribed with DNRE F.I., which meant this is an old koala as the Department of Natural Resources and Environment has gone through a couple of name changes with successive governments over the last decade or so. The top ear tag was inscribed 513, confirming that this was the same animal I had seen on the corner of Spring Valley Road and Upper King Parrot Creek Road near Coonan’s Reserve just over 2 years ago.

‘Ted had a few scars on him that may indicate there are other male koalas in the area, but otherwise seemed in good health. After my sighting of ‘Ted in 2011, I received an email from Dr. Bram Mason, Threatened Species Program Manager, Port Phillip Region as follows

Hi   Steve,I have been passed your   enquiry regarding the Koala sighting at Flowerdale. From our records this   Blue  513 tag koala was caught and relocated to Mt Disappointment in   2004.  Relocation was from French Island as part of koala and vegetation   management on the Island. We will add your sighting to our records. It   appears the koala has moved quite a distance over the last 7 years.Thanks again.Regards
Bram

‘Ted then   is at least 10 years old, and has done well to survive bushfires and the roads.   With an average life expectancy of 13, ‘Ted’s an old fellah who you may see   around the area for a little while yet.

For more information visit www.savethekoala.com

View video footage of ‘Ted on  http://youtu.be/3qQFkE3l_4Q

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Readers contributions…

Inspired by our ‘sticky fingers’ post, Anthony, a recent visitor to Flowerdale from Singapore, sent in this photo.

lizard_24072013115

This is an Asian House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) found throughout South East Asia and also Northern Australia. A successful coloniser, this gecko probably entered Australia by boat. Through competition for food, this gecko may be responsible for displacing local species. For further information  click on http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/__…/IPA-Asian-HouseGecko-Risk-Assessment.pd.

LNB Watsons Ck 2

This ghostly black and white photo was sent in by Chris from his movement activated camera. The animal in the frame is a Long nosed Bandicoot found at the northern end of the Flowerdale Valley. These animals are active at night digging for grubs and fungi, leaving cone shaped holes in the grass. They don’t venture far from dense cover as they are at risk from foxes. This one was on a creek line with dense thickets of Tree Violet in the background. Since the fires of 2009, the Long nosed Bandicoot has appeared throughout the Flowerdale Valley, often as road kill unfortunately.

Freshly squeezed

BTPh3

The entrance must have shrunk since last year!!

These photos of a Brush-tailed Phascogale or Tuan were sent in by Chris Cobern of the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network Fire Recovery (http://landcarefirerecovery.blogspot.com). This little animal is just one species that has taken advantage of the hundreds of nest boxes made by Scouts, Landcare Groups, Rotary and other community organisations. Chris organised these boxes to be installed after the 2009 fires to replace the homes that animals lost. Normally a Tuan lives in tree hollows, but many of these were burnt down.

This Tuan was photographed squeezing out of a nest box in the Flowerdale area, one of 400 that Chris monitors, using motion sensing cameras and a small camera fitted to an extension pole that can fit through the nest box entrance to photograph the inhabitants. Could it be that this rather plump individual is carrying babies? The babies are born after 30 days, usually 7 to 8 in the litter. Females of the species are lucky to be able to live to the ripe old age of 3. Males have only one purpose, after which they die!

BTPh2

Pop goes the Weasel!

Tuans are arboreal and feed on insects and juicy big spiders, as well as small mammals and birds. They are not often seen in our area, – before the fires of 2009 I had only ever seen one in 12 years. A number of Tuans have been recorded since the fires by the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network Focus on Fauna team that have been monitoring how our native animals are recovering from this dramatic event (go to focusonfauna.wordpress.com and type ‘Tuan’ into the search box). When alarmed the Tuan makes a characteristic tapping noise with it’s feet on a branch. Keep a lookout for these at night. We may even see one on our group walk  this Sunday night (2 June).

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Free at Last