We have recently followed up sightings of uncommon fauna such as Spotted Quail-thrush and Long-nosed Bandicoot at the ‘Hidden Valley’ site with remote surveillance camera placements. The cameras failed to record quail-thrush, but did show up a bandicoot and a range of other wildlife, including Black Wallaby, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Short-beaked Echidna, Common Wombat, Brushtail Possum and White-winged Chough, as well as the introduced pests Red Fox, feral Cat and Sambar. (Click on any of the photos below for a closer look.)
Eastern Grey Kangaroo with joey
Common Brushtail Possum
Recent bird sightings at ‘Hidden Valley’ include Peregrine Falcon, Common Bronzewing, Flame Robin (they love using the tree guard stakes as perches), Weebill, White-naped Honeyeater and Grey Butcherbird, which takes the running total of species to 48. This total is bound to rise when intensive surveys are undertaken later in the year.
A total of 521 seedlings were planted at Sue and Joel King’s property, by 17 Strath Creek Landcarers (adults) and seven juniors in 2 and 1/2 hours on a windswept slope, slippery with capeweed. Another three Landcarers were doing a fantastic job of catering, which in this case meant gourmet pizzas in the wood fired pizza oven! Joel and Sue now have 20 seedlings left to plant out of 1,000 allocated to this site by the Strath Creek Biodiversity Project. In September, the ridge top will be mechanically direct seeded.
Stakes and guards were recycled from revegetation projects the King’s have undertaken in previous years. This slope will now benefit from the fencing previously completed by the Project to lock out stock. The only browsing animals now present are the local Kangaroos. With a bit of capeweed control where possible over the next few weeks, the struggling remnant wallaby grass should begin to recover and form a good cover on the ridge top. Continue reading
NAB Corporate Volunteers enjoying a break.
Eighteen National Australia Bank Corporate Volunteers arrived at the Hubbard shearing shed for a morning cuppa. This was the second Corporate Volunteer planting day in Hidden Valley this season. And it appears to be the Battle of the Banks; a small group of ANZ volunteers planted 230 seedlings at this site a month ago and now it was time to see what the NAB volunteers could achieve.
The plan was to take the group all the way to the top of the hill and plant some of the higher ripped areas in this project site, but the previous day’s rainfall was enough to make it too risky to drive in this hill country; one of the volunteers even bogged his own vehicle before the day even got underway. Continue reading
John Hamilton’s dozer ripping the SW facing slope.
The 6.3 ha Granter site was fenced back in Feb 2013 and now it’s being prepared for planting. John Hamilton’s dozer creates three rip-lines up to 500mm deep with each pass. These rip-lines will allow newly planted seedlings to quickly get their roots deep into the rocky ground, as well as capture and store rainfall that may otherwise have run-off (see below for additional comments). It’s a strategy that, if carried out well, has few disadvantages and can give seedlings a big advantage in their first few years. Continue reading
NAB volunteers at King’s.
Planting has begun on another of our projects sites. Susan & Joel King have a long, narrow 6.2 ha site that was fenced last November and has now had about half it’s 1000 seedlings planted. As well as seedlings, planted on the steeper slopes (image at left and below), there’ll be direct seeding on the upper slope and ridge-line a little later in the season.
All indigenous seedlings planted at this and all project sites are grown locally, from seed collected in the district. Twenty-five different species were planted during this session.
Seedlings planted included (@ 20% canopy species):
Acacia verticillata Prickly moses
A. mearnsii Black wattle
A. dealbata Silver wattle
A. genistifolia Spreading wattle
A. verniciflua Varnish wattle
A. leprosa Cinnamon wattle
A. acinacea Gold dust wattle
A. implexa Lightwood
A. paradoxa Hedge wattle Continue reading
Revegetation got under way at the ‘Hidden Valley’ site on the 26th of April, with a group of six volunteers from the ANZ bank. The ANZ volunteers, assisted by Chris Cobern (Upper Goulburn Landcare Network Fire Recovery Officer), landholders Terry and Janet Hubbard and myself, managed to plant 230 seedlings at the top of the valley – made easier as a result of John Hamilton’s precision ripping. Surprisingly, some of the rip lines had moist soil about 150mm down, despite almost non-existent rainfall. We would normally not commence planting in this country until June, but as the volunteers were available we decided to start. All seedlings were planted with a soil wetting crystal and were watered in with a litre of water per plant. Continue reading
Ripping has been done with precision and care.
Managing the steep hills of Hidden Valley (Sites 3A & 3B) is being achieved with a combination of controlled grazing and revegetation. But, what is the best way to encourage woodland regeneration on steep, stony slopes, where growing conditions are tough and where access is difficult?
It took quite a few months and many conversations within the project and with machine operators, before we finally felt confident of our plan and ripping got underway in Hidden Valley. An experienced machine operator, John Hamilton from just over the range at Dairy Creek, took two days to finish the job, pulling 3 tines behind his dozer. The end result looks great and has clearly been done with precision and care. Continue reading
Mountain Brushtail Possum at Watsons’ site
Over the past few months, the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network’s Focus on Fauna team has been installing remote motion-sensing cameras to record wildlife at each of the Biodiversity Project sites . This was an attempt to establish some baseline data for future comparison so as to gauge the effects of the project’s revegetation and habitat protection works. Continue reading
Local provenance Sticky Hop Bush (Dodonaea viscosa) direct seeded and doing well.
With the first eight months of the project completed, it was time for the Steering Committee to get out into the paddock and see first hand how the project sites were progressing.
While Steve (Proj. Coordinator) and Terry & David (local volunteers and Landcare advocates), were already very familiar with the sites, having spent many hours erecting several km’s of fences and coordinating volunteers, the rest of us needed an on-site update of the project’s progress. Continue reading
New Landcarers Wayne & Pam Watson, with their new fence!
On the 18th of January, fencing began on another site (Watson’s) which has added 11.8 ha of remnant woodland to the corridor being protected and revegetated between Mt. Disappointment State Forest and the King Parrot Creek. Watson’s site joins the lower end of ‘Hidden Valley’ and includes a riparian zone along the valley floor. The seasonal creek that runs here, drains out of the ‘Hidden Valley’ site into King Parrot creek and has erosion along the banks and heavy blackberry and some pussy willow infestation along the watercourse. The weeds are being addressed by Wayne & Pam and erosion will hopefully be arrested by some of the revegetation work. Continue reading