It was the first time we had done one for a while, but it went very well so we are certainly going to do some more (Guided walks that is). On a damp Saturday October 29th a group of close to 30 walkers fronted up for the first Friends of Tarra Bulga walking activity for many years. The Boondarra walking group coincidentally had a posse of walkers planning to do the same walk that day so they were invited to join us which was one contributor to the healthy numbers.
It was apparent early on that the moist conditions were very suitable for small hitchhikers so regular stops were made as seen it the picture below, to stop and search and turf off any castaways.
We organised a car shuffle and the walk started from the Tarra Bulga Visitors Centre. One of the first sections you encounter is through a pine plantation which is a bit dull, but that soon gives way to some impressive forest.
One early feature of the walk was the occurrence of several rare Burrowing Crayfish. As we got further into the walk towards the Tarra Valley section the large tree ferns became a feature with many epiphytic plants on their trunks as well as a range of impressive fungi species and the massive trees that are a feature of the park. The recent rainfall meant that gullies were flowing with water and it was a great opportunity to see some waterfalls cascading next to the track.
On Saturday March the 31st the friends held their annual Sycamore Maple pull. It was very encouraging to see that although there were still quite a number of large seedlings (up to 2.5m tall) and a bit of re-sprouting from previous weeding efforts. There was only a handful of new seedling sprouting (despite the wet seasons we have had) compared to the hundreds that we were pulling out when we first started working on this site back in 2006.
The source of the infestation was from some large established trees planted on the other side of the Tarra Valley Road. The large trees for many years had blown their light papery seeds into the surrounding native forest. Thanks to our efforts in starting the work in the park and with co-operation with the WGCMA and Parks Victoria, work was done to remove these large established trees, The photo above shows a large tree maple that was ringbarked and poisoned. Now all that should be required to stop the maple from spreading into the the magnificent forests of Tarra Bulga is a quick bit of regular follow up to eliminate any seedlings that pop up from viable seed still stored in the soil or regrowth of plants that we have already pulled out.
Sycamore Maple Removal
Fortunately we did not find to many plants that had re-grown but it was apparent that the ones that did resprout were generally not cut off very close to the ground. So the lesson learnt “cutting the stems as close to the ground as possible is vital”.
While we have had some great success with the maples here we have some more significant tasks ahead. This includes efforts to re-habilitate the site (only recently discovered) of a huge infestation of around 2ha of established maples in the park. In this area of the park there are also large infestations of Tutsan and Blackberries that are of great concern.
We had a great turn out for the annual lyrebird survey on June 4thwith 28 volunteers turning up. This included 8 scouts from Sale and their leaders and it was great to see a number of new volunteers.
Fortunately the rain held off but windy conditions meant that listening out for Lyrebird calls was a little tricky. People in more sheltered positions were lucky to hear good numbers of birds calling but people in the outlying areas e.g. Ranger Craig (stationed at the depot) did not hear as much of a chorus of calls as he would have hoped. A number of the scouts were very excited at the number of birds they heard and did extremely well to locate their stations in thedark given at least one marker post had been pulled out of the ground and hidden in the scrub prior to the survey. Evidently the scouts had a great time as they indicated they would be back next year to have another go.
A superb first up breakfast was provided by the new proprietors of the guest house (Nic and Steve) as a follow up to their great effort for the annual friend’s dinner. Thank you to Loy Yang Power for donating some funds to support the breakfast. It is probably a good thing that the count only happens once a year given the early start but it is certainly a great event, with the highlight certainly being the experience of hearing the wake up calls of the birds as the sun rises in the rainforest.
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