On Sunday May 9th we held a fungi foray starting at Bulga Park. The conditions were favourable and we had a great turn out with 30 people signed up and ready to go at 9.30am. After an introductory presentation we set off for a very slow loop down to the suspension bridge, returning via the Fern Gully and Link Tracks. Understandably some families with small children and others with Mother’s day lunch commitments dropped out along the way, but even on a short walk they would have experienced a wide variety of fungi displaying their spore bodies.
It has been a big job documenting the finds, between my daugher and I we have added over 170 sightings to iNaturalist for the day https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/tarra-bulga-national-park This includes sightings from the Tarra Valley (I couldn’t resist checking out what fungi could be seen there as I was going past on my way home). Overall the total species recorded to date is 68! I wonder if anyone that attended has got photos of species that we missed? Anyway enjoy the gallery below which contains some examples of the variety of fungi seen on the day.
We will be holding a volunteer information day and get together for new volunteers to meet this Sunday May 23rd. All prospective volunteers, friends and family welcome. A BBQ lunch will be provided but please let us know by 8pm Wednesday May 19th if you will be coming. BYO Drinks, Plates and Cutlery and folding chairs. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or David on 0488 035 314.
A BBQ lunch will be provided but please let us know by 8pm Wednesday May 19th if you will be coming. BYO Drinks, Plates and Cutlery and folding chairs. RSVP to email@example.com or David on 0488 035 314. The day will kick off at 11.30am.
One of the stunning features of Tarra-Bulga National Park’s cool temperate rainforest gullies is the amazing array of mosses and liverworts. These delicate plants are often tiny and identifying them can be a significant challenge. Kara Healey was a renowned caretaker(Ranger) in the Tarra Valley in the 1950’s. She dedicated a lot of her time to collecting specimens of a wide range of lifeforms in within the park and sending them off to herbariums and other institutions to be identified and catalogued. Her efforts resulted in the Tarra Valley having one of the most comprehensive lists of its flora and fauna out of any park in the state. We have recently obtained some scans of collections she made way back in the 1950’s. It is incredible that they are so well preserved after all this time. Enjoy! and for anyone who is into studying mosses and liverworts out there – this might be a very useful resource.
Conditions were fortunately very good after a wild week of strong winds, rain and even a dusting of snow on the Wednesday. As a result of the snow many fern fronds have been crushed down and were providing an obstacle along the walking tracks. The temperature was relatively mild and although you could hear the wind in the tree-tops it was not that strong. First Light was predicted at 6:52 am and the official sunrise time was 7:21.
We had 38 volunteers which was more the enough to cover all 16 monitoring locations. After meeting at 6.15 am everyone was briefed and out into the field by 6:40. Kookaburras were the first birds to start calling and were very active and noisy for quite a while. It seemed like quite a long wait until we heard our first Lyrebird at 6:58 am. Most volunteers had vacated their sites by around 7:15 am and people started filing into the Guest House for breakfast by about 7:25.
The results were collated this year during Google Earth. The bottom of Lyrebird Ridge seemed to be quite active as well as the points around the suspension bridge and the Bulga Carpark. other sites were much quieter with only one or two calls heard.
Using our call triangulation method there ended up being a couple of anomalies with the results that made the certainty of the existence of a couple of birds 100% certain. (e.g 2 monitoring sites heard it calling but a closer one did not). Overall though we came up with a total of 9 birds calling for 2019 (which is one more than last year).
While spending a bit of time in the Tarra Valley Car Park on Saturday morning it was mind blowing to witness a significant number of touristy looking vehicles slow down, check out the place from their vehicles and then drive on without getting out of the car. One lady who had stopped for a look around, approached me and said “we have come up from Yarram and were wondering where to go for the best walks!”. She seemed surprised when I said that one of the best walks in the park is right here.
The Rainforest Walk at the Tarra Valley is certainly a must-do Tarra-Bulga National Park experience. The ancient gnarly Myrtle Beech, fresh mountain streams, lush green mosses and delicate filmy ferns are truly spectacular (not to mention Cyathea Falls). Maybe it needs better signage (VicRoads) or publicity but seriously people if you a driving through, stop, get out of the car, take a walk and check it out for yourself.
Although they are not often seen by visitors, feral and domestic cats are established predators at Tarra-Bulga National Park and our remote camera results suggest they are becoming more common.
The table below shows results from five years of remote camera monitoring carried out by the Friends of Tarra-Bulga Park. Cat numbers as a percentage of total species recorded rose dramatically from 0.7 to 3.9%.
No. of Cats Records
Percentage of Cats
The impact these cats are having on the birds, small mammals and reptiles is a real concern. Although there are many variables in the ways we set up our cameras, the general trend in the last few years is for them to be detecting greater numbers of cats and less small native mammals (e.g. Antechinus and Bush Rats). Sadly we have also been detecting less of the smaller birds such as Pilotbirds and White-browed Scrubwrens. (For a summary of sightings of others species download this Percentage of sightings per year for commonly detected species captured in remote camera photos )
The gallery below shows that cats in Tarra-Bulga range from large ferals and panther look-alikes to small (some might say cute) looking kittens, some even have collars. What is undeniable though, is that their presence has a major impact on the ecology of Tarra-Bulga National Park.
Renowned for its stunning cool-temperate rainforest, luxuriant tree-ferns and towering Mountain Ash trees, Tarra-Bulga National Park is cherished by Gippslanders and enjoyed by visitors from all over the world. The original separate small, but significant, Bulga and Tarra Valley Parks were reserved just over a century ago while the giant forests surrounding them were being laboriously hand cleared by selectors to turn into farms. Clearing this land turned out to be folly, the terrain, cold winters, bushfires, weeds and rabbits all contributed to the farmers giving up and walking away, leaving scrub and noxious weeds in their wake. Forestry and sawmilling in the area for timber and pulpwood also led to the loss of more of the original giant trees.
In recent years Tarra-Bulga National Park has expanded. New areas including abandoned farmland have been added with the goal of physically linking Tarra Valley and Bulga Parks as well as to reduce visitor pressure on significant sites, provide greater recreational opportunities and protect additional vegetation communities representative of the Strzelecki Ranges. It is recognised that Tarra-Bulga National Park has the potential to become even more spectacular and significant as cleared land is successfully regenerated.
To this end the Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park are seeking volunteers interested in helping with the regeneration process. The group holds occasional work days on weekends, undertaking activities such as planting over-storey trees and controlling noxious weeds. The next activity is scheduled for Saturday July the 23rd 30th and will focus on removing tree guards from successful new plantings. The meeting point will be at 9.30am at the Visitors Centre Car Park. For further details or to register your interest in helping out Friends of Tarra-Bulga with any of their activities email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0488 035 314.