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Saturday, 09 December

21:00

Book Vintage Markets and Fairs in Ballarat

Saturday 9th Dec, 10.00am 4.00pm, St Patrick's Cathedral
Ballarat

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Thursday, 23 November

17:24

Threatened species protected on Toorongo Plateau an appreciation of the Bogong bioregion

Mt Toorongo is a magical spot: it is a mountain in the Central Highlands to the east of Melbourne. If you drive to the Baw Baw ski village from Noojee, it is the steep dark mountain that fills the skyline above you as you head through the last of the farming country at Icy Creek.

Not many people go there. Its a bit off the track, but is accessible quite easily via a number of dirt roads. As I understand the ecology of the mountain, it was burnt twice in close succession (in the 1920s and the infamous 1939 fires). So the eucalypt forest on the summit was replaced by a remarkable cloud forest of what are normally understorey species. The summit itself is a long ridge which offers wonderful views of the Baw Baw Plateau, the Latrobe Valley and distant Strzelecki Ranges to the south.

Like many forests in the region, the mountain has been relentlessly logged. Much of the cloud forest was chained down by bulldozers in the early 1990s and planted with Shining Gum (which is not actually indigenous to the area as I understand it).

But there are still pockets of cool temperate rainforest, and the forest at the treeline, composed of old wattles and myrtle beech, is a delight. It still harbours endangered animal species, too.

Recently, WOTCH (Wildlife of the Central Highlands), a volunteer group which focuses on citizens science like animal surveys, identified Leadbeaters Possums on the Toorongo Plateau, the northern slopes of the mountain. It is hard to overstate the importance of Toorongo Mountain and the plateau. Like the Errinundra Plateau, it has acted as a refugia in times of climate variation and climate change in the past, providing a place for the old Gondwanic species to retreat to when temperatures are warmer and fire regimes are stronger.

The Leadbeaters Possum was found in an area that was scheduled for logging and the discovery of the individual means that this particular section of forest will be protected. This is a great outcome, won by an inspiring group.

You can find out more about WOTCH via their facebook page.


12:49

rather large GARAGE SALE Lot19 Arts

sun 26th nov 8am-

many stall from tenants of lot19

early birds will be charged triple (please dont come early!)

07:00

Speedwell, Wallaby Grass and some of their fans Natural Newstead

Its delightful to see some of the beautiful local plants in flower at present. Diggers Speedwell Veronica perfoliata and Red-anther Wallaby Grass  Rytidosperma pallidum are not only pleasing to the human eye, they have quite a few invertebrate fans as well. The Wallaby Grass can perhaps only really be appreciated with a bit of magnification.

Red-Anther Wallaby Grass (Joycea pallida)

Red-Anther Wallaby Grass up close

By night, the Wallaby Grass provided a comfy bed for a native bee and a beetle.

A native bee sleeps on a Wallaby Grass flower

Native Bee Lassioglossum sp. perhaps sleeping on Red-Anther Wallaby Grass

Beetle on Red-anther Wallaby Grass

A beetle also rests on a Wallaby Grass flower

I was surprised when I had a close look at the Diggers Speedwell to see how many Aphids were sucking sap from the flower stalks.

Aphid

Aphids on Diggers Speedwell

Hoverfly

A hoverfly finds the flower already crowded

Native bees are really enjoying the abundance of the Speedwell flowers. I think these are Small Metallic-banded Bees Lassioglossum sp. but Im happy to be corrected. Myriad Sweat Bees managed to avoid my camera, alas.

Bees on Diggers Speedwell

Bees on Diggers...

Wednesday, 22 November

08:28

CAM Annual Report & Foundation Financials Castlemaine Art Museum

The Board of Castlemaine Art Museum are pleased to provide members with the 2016/17 Annual Report, Financial Statements and Foundation Financial Statements.

cam annual report 2017

cam financial statements 30 june 2017

caghm foundation financial report june 2017 final

07:05

Quietly, by the river bank Natural Newstead

The Rainbow Bee-eaters have come to earth.

Watching a couple of pairs along the river the evening before last, I observed one female descend to the area in front of its nest site. A bout of digging in loose sand below the nest was followed by a rapid entry into the tunnel. Both pairs were seen huddling close together on nearby perches. I suspect egg-laying has commenced.

Rainbow Bee-eaters (female at left), Loddon River @ Newstead, 20th November 2017

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