Newsletter 266 October 2017

 

Friends of Chiltern Mt Pilot NP Newsletter 266 October  2017

 

Dear Friends

On Sunday, the first day of daylight saving, our group had much pleasure hosting visitors from the  Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists’ Club. For many of them it was their first visit to this part of the state. Despite the dry conditions many interesting plants were found and best of all the Regent Honeyeaters, a tick for all of them, put on a good show in the early morning.

The bird watchers amongst them assembled a good list. The Painted Honeyeaters, Rufous Whistlers and Western Warblers at Bartley’s Block were in good voice. A large, sluggish Red-bellied Black Snake offered great photo opportunities before slithering into a huge tussock of Sedge.

Painted Honeyeater N Bartlettok

The abundant Dainty Bird-orchids in the damp gully were still fresh and were a new species for the visitors who took many photographs.

Lunch was enjoyed at Magenta Minea accompanied by the chatter of a huge mixed flock of Woodswallows, some of which were feeding noisily in the Red Box blossom. 

Lunch at Magenta

After lunch we took a drive to Greenhill Dam to inspect some serious chewing on several of the Blakely’s Red Gums. This is the work of Koalas. Copious give-away droppings were under both trees. The purpose of the chewing  is not understood, perhaps it was tooth sharpening or maybe filling a dietary need. 

Bark chewing Blakley's Greenhill Dam Sept 2017

Koala chewing EC

This site provides  an interesting article on Koala chewing.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-21/bark-eating-koalas-destroying-gumtrees-near-canberra/6928828

There is a short camera clip at the end of the article showing a Koala in action!

Our last hours were spent at Muffler Track where we found the delicate Golden Moths Diuris chryseopsis, a few late Nodding Greenhoods, Beard Heath,  Leucopogon virgatus, yellow Bulbine Lilies and an early flower of the common Wedge-pea, Gompholobium huegelii.                            

By this time afternoon tea was welcome and everyone enjoyed our traditional Chiltern Bakery  Custard bun before we said our farewells.

Bird News

September 21st heralded the return of the Painted Honeyeaters at Bartley’s Block. The familiar and far reaching “Georgie Georgie” call was heard again on the 24th. Western and White-throated Warblers and Rufous Whistlers were also seen.

The dams on the southern boundary are good observation spots. There is still good Ironbark flowering along the adjacent roadside and an abundance of fruiting Mistletoe should they stay to breed.

White-throated Gerygone jpg 

Spring has brought with it some interesting sightings. Two beetles, a raft of eggs on a leaf edge, an unamed moth  and a nest box full of baby Tuans.

The colourful leaf beetle, Paropsitera fastidiosa, was photographed by Neil. Although common in Victoria is not often seen. It feeds on a wide variety of eucalypts. The larvae of  this beetle are pale yellow and covered with small black spots and can be found on eucalypts

Paropsis atomaria larvae NB

A strikingly marked rare ground beetle, Laccopterum macleayi was photographed at Mt Pilot by Neil Blair. There are only six records registered, this one, one north of Albury and the others in Sydney. As we were  unable to find this species in any literature the photo was sent to Dr Ken Walker of Melbourne Museum for identification.

Laccopterum macleayi N Blair

There are many species of ground beetle, some have short legs  and are more likely to be found in soil, others  like this one have long legs and may be found under bark or logs.

Katydid early phase EC

David Bird spotted a raft of  amazing eggs on a Golden Wattle leaf. They were laid by a Gum Leaf  Katydid  Torbia sp.showing eggs and and early growth phase  of a Katydid . This species feeds on a wide range of eucalypts but seemingly choose to lay their eggs on Golden Wattle.

Unidentified eggs on Acacia pycnantha leaf (res

Jan spotted this beautiful moth on  the only known bush of  Rhagodia spinescens. Presently it is puzzling the  moth experts as it seems not to have been recorded for Victoria

Unidentified Moth Jan Heywood

It belongs in the Geometridae sub-family, Sterrhinae,  Idaea.sp

Hopefully we will be able to give it a name in the next newsletter.

It is breeding time for the Tuans, Brush-tailed Phascogales, and this photo comes to us by courtesy of  Will Ford of Trust for Nature. This mother, with at least five young attached to her teats, is inhabiting a nest box on the plains. It is to be hoped that we get some rain to improve their food supply and chance of survival once they leave the nest.

Tuan and young in nest W Ford TFN

Tuan Campsite 

Parks staff  have completed the work at Tuan campsite. They have  installed the new  table provided by Friends, plus another flat table and a barbecue. The car park has been upgraded.  Friends will undertake some planting in  the coming weeks.

Tuan campsite

The Acacia doratoxylon in one of the enclosures is in magnificent flower at the moment. This wattle is the only species with catkin flowers in the box-ironbark section of the park. It is known  in two sites only, on Cyanide Road and Skeleton Boundary Track.

Acacia doratoxylon Tuan Campsite EC

Membership renewals

Thankyou to everyone who has renewed their membership. Membership now stands at 103.

Rainfall  for September

7.8 mm over  5  days. Year to date : 360  mm  One of the driest Septembers on record.

NEXT MEETING IS ON SATURDAY NOVEMBER 4TH

Meet at the Post Office at 9.00 am

Field contact  0407 486 480

2018  FRIENDS CALENDARS  AVAILABLE  FROM  MID  NOVEMBER

CalendarChiltern2018

The 2018 calendars will cost $20 plus   $ 9.70   postage This is now the flat rate for ONE calendar countrywide and includes the cost of a padded bag.  

Postage for 2 to 3 calendars in same bag in Victoria(max 3 per bag)  $14.00

Interstate for 2-3 calendars  in same bag (max 3 per bag) $17.00

Please forward your order and cheque to:

Friends of Chiltern N.P.  P.O. Box 60  Chiltern 3683.                      A limited number will be printed.

I...................................................enclose payment of  $..............    for............calendar/s

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If you wish to use electronic payment the details are:

 

Acc Name: Friends of Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park

Bank: WAW Credit Union Co-operative Ltd (Cuscal Limited)

 

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