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Saturday, 06 October

20:00

The Creators Market Bendigo Markets and Fairs in Bendigo

Saturday 6th Oct, 10.00am 3.00pm, Bendigo Stadium
Bendigo

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Tuesday, 11 September

08:39

Cuckoos and caterpillars #2 Natural Newstead

Maintaining a current theme, here is a set of Fantailed Cuckoo images from the weekend. The bird was foraging in the understorey for insects with success. All the cuckoos spend some time close to or on the ground, searching for food or the best of an unsuspecting host.

Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Mia Mia area, 9th September 2018

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Monday, 10 September

12:52

What Weed?! in the garden

Thanks to Dawn we had a very informative session on weeds yesterday. There is no shortage of sample material at the garden! Dawn began by introducing us to the idea of a weed. Every plant has the potential to be a weed and many are useful its all about context. A weed is a Continue reading What Weed?!

08:01

Neophema chrystoma Natural Newstead

The Blue-winged Parrot Neophema chrsyostoma is an uncommon visitor to this part of central Victoria. In recent years Ive seen them a few times on the Moolort Plains, but never in box-ironbark country. A beautiful small parrot, its a relative of the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot. which it can easily be confused with in the field. Parrots in the genus Neophema are characterised by their slender profile and combination of blue, yellow and green hues.

Blue-winged Parrots (like all Neophemas) feed largely on fallen seeds of grasses, especially native species of Poa, Austrodanthonia and the like. Over the weekend I photographed a single bird feeding on moss beds in the Mia Mia on successive days. At least one more was heard calling. While their stronghold is Tasmania and coastal Victoria it is not impossible that they might nest locally. This sighting has been a real highlight of 2018.

Blue-winged Parrot, South German Track, 8th September 2018

...

Sunday, 09 September

15:36

Spring [1] a sobering forecast Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests

Its spring! Wildflowers are a bit slow to emerge this year, but there are signsplenty of orchids, for example. And we can always hope, though its been dry, and doesnt look like its going to improve. Heres the Bureau of Meteorology predictions on the chances of above average rainfall to November:

The recent VEAC Central West report puts it this way: As with most of Victoria, the Central West Investigation area has already experienced some effects of climate change. For example, since the 1950s average annual rainfall in the investigation area has declined by 100 to 200 millimetres and average temperatures have increased by approximately 1.2 to 1.4 degrees. These trends are projected to continue with more hot days, increased fire weather and more frequent extreme weather events.

15:36

Spring [2]: is this the way to get resilience? Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests

So, dry or not, its still Spring, the time to get out and see what our bush can do.

And, of course, we know that our forest managers are aware of the severe conditions, and keen to do everything they can to maintain resilience in the face of these conditions. Right?

Maybe not.

Those visiting one of our wildflower hotspots had better brace themselves for yet another experience of land managers road upgrades.

Typical section of Morgans track, September 2: This is not keeping within the track footprint.

Morgans Track has well and truly got the treatment from the grader: gouging of track edges, numerous scalped areas where machines have turned around, a tendency to widen the track, plus some intriguing vegetation removal. Its not always clear what this last is for. We are often told by managers that crews are instructed to stay inside the track footprint. This has now become a bit of a joke.

Heres a question: if road maintenance crews are given the job of cleaning the gutters in Swanston Street, would they think it a good idea to gouge a few inches, or a few feet, out of the footpath? Possibly not: but DELWP has traditionally, it seems, considered the verges of bush tracks to be pretty flexible. A gouge here, a scalp there: itll all come back OK.

Maybe: but in increasingly severe climatic conditions, managers responsibility is to improve natural resilience, not scrape away at itor at least, youd think so

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