Hollows are important

If you don’t make a lot of noise when you take a walk in the bush you may be rewarded by seeing a bird using a hollow. In this case it was a young Crimson Rosella. Quite a few birds need hollows to raise their young so it was pleasing to see this hollow being checked for size.

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Don’t miss the whales at Warrnambool

At this time of year  Logan’s Beach, Warrnambool, is the place to go to see Southern Right Whales. It is where this species of whales comes to each year to calve and this year has been a bumper year. The site is easily accessed by tourists and the whales come in close to the shore.

The best view is gained from overhead, however visitors have to make do with a viewing platform and binoculars.  Last Friday there was a special project underway using unmanned aerial vehicle (drones) photographing the whales.

There is strict legislation controlling activity around whales but Threatened Species Initiative Funding was made available from DELWP, to undertake the photographing of the markings on the new calves. This research required a special permit to be issued to allow the flights over the whales and their calves.

Each Southern Right Whale has its own unique pattern of markings covering the head and once recorded, it makes the tracking of the individuals easier in the future. These whales are listed as Critically Endangered and being able to track them assists in knowing how the population numbers are progressing. Here is a link to more information.

There are also birds and plants to see.

 

 

Spotting a pardalote

Male Spotted Pardalote

In the Brisbane Ranges National Park on Sunday, I noticed a Spotted Pardalote busy on the ground. They are one of our smallest birds and the male is brightly coloured and as they spend most of their time high up in the tree canopy searching for insects we don’t often get a good look at them.

Female Spotted Pardalote and the male is in the hole

Next there were 2 birds and they were busy excavating for a nest. It was very strange to see a small bid disappear into the ground and then see a lot of soil coming out of a hole. They build a nest at the end of a horizontal tunnel dug into soil, in places such as creek banks or a quarry wall. Some people also find them nesting in a pile of sand left over from a building project. They will also nest in a specially made nest box if it has a pipe leading into the entrance.

Pardalote hole that may be a decoy nest site

Both birds share the nest excavation, the incubation of the eggs and the feeding of the young.

Look out for Phascogales

Phascogale photo by Bianca Fammartino

Recently Wombat Forestcare hosted a talk about Brush-tailed Phascogales, Phascogale tapoatafa tapoatafa, at Trentham. by La Trobe University student Jess Lawton. Jess is conducting research on this threatened arboreal mammal, which inhabits dry eucalypt forests and woodlands.

They are secretive animals but easy to identify due their small size and big brush like tail. Continue reading

Another stage in the life of a tree friend

We have a very large tree on our property and even though it is  dead, it was there when we purchased the property and is almost like a friend. It provided a place to attach a bat box and for birds and bats to roost. The trunk even without bark, has an interesting texture and the size of the tree makes it a dominant feature in our bit of bush.

This tree probably has a story to tell. Someone ring-barked it but it never was felled, and it has been through a fire. In the gold era nearly all the trees were harvested within a ‘5 mile’ radius of the town, for use in mines and to fuel furnaces. This tree is probably a messmate, Eucalyptus obliqua.

A few weeks ago in one of the storms, there was a big crash and half the tree fell to the ground. The bat box survived to be reattached elsewhere.

An opportunity for firewood you may think, but after such a long life it will be left to rot down and disappear back into the soil. We still have half a habitat tree which for us, is a valuable asset.