Last Saturday we held a working bee, weeding at a site (which we do annually) where an invasion of Sycamore Maple seedlings entered the Park from a surrounding property. Initially we were pulling out hundreds of new seedling and now the ongoing effort to remove newly detected seedlings is working well. Like last year there was not a lot of Maple to remove and a lot of the time was spent moving through the site to ensure that the area was clean of weeds, (although we did not get cross to the other side of the gully where there are some more Maples growing). The main area where Maple was found was an open disturbed area that also has a very bad Tutsan infestation.
It was interesting to discover that much of the Tustsan in the area was covered by rust with some foliage looking quite heavily impacted. We didn’t notice the rust last year but when I looked back at some photos I took then, I did see that some Tutsan leaves had tell tale rust spots present. Tutsan Rust (Melampsora hypericorum) is a fungus that was found to be very successful in the Otway Ranges in the 1990’s where it had a significant impact on reducing the cover of this shade tolerant invasive weed.
Our site (or somewhere in a close vicinity) had Tutsan Rust artificially introduced a couple of years back and after some follow up inspections It was thought that it had not taken. After a bit of research I found a document that suggested that Tutsan Rust was already present at Tarra Bulga, A report from 1999 describes rust taken from Tarra Bulga (as well as some from the Morwell River area) being used as part of research project. The Tarra Bulga rust was found to impact the plants in the trial to an intermediate level (i.e. OK but not great). Whether or not the rust is from the attempted introduction a couple of years ago (of which I assume was a more virulent strain) or whether it is the same rust that has been around for longer, can probably not be known without complex Laboratory analysis. But we will continue to monitor the site with interest given the threat that Tutsan presents to the park.
As well as the Maple and Tutsan there were new Blackberry seedlings that we carefully hand pulled as well as a few new outbreaks of English Ivy which we need to remain vigilant for. There were some larger clumps of Blackberry that will need to be sprayed.
Recently trekked in to monitor progress I had been putting it off until the heat wave had passed. It was four and half months since I had last seen the site so I was anxious to see how things were progressing. First impressions where that there has been a lot of regrowth of under-storey the Snowy daisy-bush (Olearia lirata) had really taken off, and it was even harder to move around the site and to spot the Mountain Ash we had planted. With careful searching the good news was that the planted trees were still there and looking healthy and mostly untouched by Wallabies although I was expecting a bit more growth over summer.
The other concern I had was how much regeneration there had been of the Sycamore Maple trees that had dominated this site until they were cut down cleared several years ago. When I had visited in October there were hundreds of new seedlings that had popped up since our planting day in August. I was happy to see that in the more open areas there were few if any Maples (I think the hot summer may have killed them off) it was noticeable however that some of the large stumps had varying amounts of re-shooting from the base that needs to be dealt with.
Made the trek out to the re-vegetation site for the first time since the planting was done which was a bit over two months ago.
From looking around the site there was both good and bad news. First the good, there was virtually no sign of any Wallabies managing to get to chew any of the new seedlings, despite the fact I heard one hopping away when I reached the site. There was good fresh new growth on all the seedlings that I found, hopefully when they become more conspicuous as they get taller the wallabies will still find them too difficult to reach. The bad news is that after seeing very, few new seedlings of Sycamore Maple
The friends of Tarra Bulga are happy to announce that they have been successful in obtaining a grant from the Victorian Government’s Communities for Nature Grants for a major restoration project in the park. The project site is one that is tucked away in a remote section of the park and was only discovered by chance when some contractors were doing some minor control of what was thought to be only a minor incursion of Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) on the edge of Diaper Track.
Once they began it became clear that the task was much bigger than first thought and in the end it was found that this plant was dominating the canopy in a large thicket about 2ha in area. Much expense was spent destroying these invasive trees but the site has now been left with no overstorey species and the potential for the weedy Maple to return.
Thankfully securing this grant will enable the friends group in partnership with Parks Victoria to work to restore this area, by establishing a wet forest overstorey with species including Eucalyptus regnans (Mountain Ash) and also allowing the understorey to recover while destroying re-germinating weed species.
The friends group are planning a tree planting working bee on Saturday August the 11th. For further details or to register your interest in attending please contact David Akers at email@example.com
To all of those people who did the Lyrebird Survey this map can give an indication of what was going on this year.Geographic Information System (GIS) software was used to plot the location of all of the monitoring sites. Then the lines coming out from each site were drawn using the information that all the volunteers recorded during the survey. Once all the lines have been drawn we can then find points where several lines from different monitoring points intersect. At these points we can be confident that there was a Male Lyrebird calling during the survey period.
It’s on again. The Friends of Tarra Bulga are looking for interested volunteers to participate in our Annual Lyrebird Survey on Saturday June the 2nd. It involves an early start, people need to be at the Tarra Bulga National Park at 6am so we can get organised to get to our monitoring positions before sunrise. The survey itself only takes half an hour and after that a cooked breakfast is on the menu. If you would like to come along you need to contact ranger Craig Campbell on 5172 2508 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Wear warm clothing, bring a watch, a torch and a compass (if you have one).
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.