With the rise of information technology and social media there is now an assortment of worthy projects that volunteers or “citizen scientists” can join in with. One of the best in our estimation is www.bowerbird.org.au which is a wonderful tool for uploading any photos of flora or fauna that you may encounter. Not only can other users of Bowerbird assist you by using their knowledge to aid you with the identification of unfamiliar sightings you upload. Once fully identified to species level the sightings are then included as permanent records on the Atlas of Living Australia (ala.org.au) and which has an online searchable database with an amazing range of features, Bowerbird now has over forty thousand species records with peoples’ images from across Australia loaded onto the site and in its own right has virtually become a free online field guide.
Bowerbird users come from all over Australia with a strong representation from people in Gippsland so it is a great way of seeing what other local people are finding including a range of fascinating insects and fungi. There is the opportunity to create your own projects on Bowerbird and henceforth we have created a project for Tarra-Bulga National Park. To date we have around 320 sightings uploaded and identified with 5 different contributors. Morwell National Park also has a project which impressively has now over 1200 diverse records. So if you are a budding naturalist or just like looking at cool images of things like fungi, plants and insects check out http://www.bowerbird.org.au/projects/5665/sightings and if you feel inclined please feel free to add your own.
Seems like not only plants and animals can be invasive. Yesterday, while walking along Forest Track, I spotted an unusual Fungi fruiting on a fallen log. It was a vivid orange colour and seemed to have an unusual pore arrangement on the underside. After snapping a few photos, I headed home to consult the field guides. Seeing nothing really to match, I uploaded the photo to http://www.Bowerbird.org.au where a subscriber there quickly identified it as an exotic species, Favolaschia calocera otherwise known as Orange Pore Fungi.
This Fungi apparently is a recent arrival to Australia the first record of it is from 2005. It was first observed in Madagascar and has recently spread to a number of countries across the globe. According to Wikipedia it colonises ruderal sites (Wastelands/Roadsides) where it can become the dominate species. Fingers crossed it does not become a dominate feature of our not so ruderal forests. Not sure how you can weed out or control a pest fungi.
We had our annual “Maple Pull” at a site along the Tarra Valley Rd yesterday. The fact that we had only a small crew turnout was OK because thanks to our consistent efforts we have got to the point where the task is mainly a search mission, when we first started out we were pulling hundreds of seedlings. Yesterday after tramping around the area we managed to find and either hand pull or cut and paint forty seven young Sycamore Maple, as well as prising out some Blackberry seedlings and the odd stray bit of Ivy. The Maple is being controlled, but we still have issues with Tutsan at this site, and that will be a future war, that we may one day have the energy to take on but it will be much harder to win.
While wandering around in search of Maple it was a good chance marvel at the fresh new Fungi blooms. They are a real feature at this time of the year and thanks to consistent rain to date in Autumn, it should be a bumper season for Fungi spotters. After the work, we looked after the workers (a tradition at Friends of Tarra-Bulga) and headed down to the Fernholme Caravan Park where David provided us with toasties, hot coffee and freshly baked banana cake. We were joined at the table by a Lewin’s Honeyeater. A great way to refresh after spending the morning out in the dripping wet forest.