Friday 9 July, Dr Greg Kerr, “Behavioural Ecology of the Sleepy Lizard”

Victorians will know the Sleepy Lizard as the Shingleback or Stumpytail. For our July monthly meeting, Dr Greg Kerr, Senior Ecologist, Nature Glenelg Trust, will give fascinating new insight into the social behaviour of this species. In mammal and bird species there are many advantages of monogamy, particularly where parental care is critical to successful reproduction. Sleepy lizards are socially monogamous and a male will closely follow a female for many weeks prior to mating. Greg’s research into the behavioural ecology of sleepy lizards leads to a rejection of the old idea that males are guarding the females, but rather suggests that it is the female who wears the pants in this relationship!

The meeting will be held by Zoom.  If you have not joined earlier webinars and wish to attend, please email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.au

CANCELLED – Excursion Saturday June 12 Nardoo Hills, Bush Heritage Reserve

Unfortunately the excursion to Nardoo Hills has had to be cancelled due to uncertainties relating to COVID restrictions and numbers of people at activities. 

We will try to reschedule this visit to later in the year.

Friday June 11, 7.30pm – Monthly Meeting (by Zoom)

The talk by Julie Radford of Bush Heritage on “Seeds of Resilience” will go ahead as scheduled: June 11, 7.30pm.

Email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.au for the link to join the Zoom meeting.

Excursion Saturday June 12 – ALL DAY field trip – Nardoo Hills, Bush Heritage Reserve – Orchid search

SUBJECT TO COVID RESTRICTIONS FOR THE DAY

For our June excursion, we will be privileged to visit the Nardoo Hills Bush Heritage Reserve with Julie Radford.  As we wander the hills, we will help Julie search for new rare orchids, in particular the Robust Greenhood (it won’t be in flower but rosettes are easy to find).

Meet: 8.15am at the Octopus, Duke St, opposite the Castle Motel, Castlemaine
OR 9.45am in the car park at Jacka Park, corner Chapel St and Calder Highway, Wedderburn (toilet block here).

Note: the track into Nardoo Hills is a little rough, a sedan can make it, it’s just a bit bumpy.

Bring: water, snacks, lunch and wear stout walking shoes (we will be walking over uneven ground).

Please comply with current Government COVID-safe requirements on the day. The Field Trip will be cancelled in extreme weather conditions.

Friday June 11: Julie Radford “Seeds of Resilience” – planting for the future!

The grassy woodland habitat of the Bush Heritage Nardoo Hills Reserve in Central Victoria is important for many flora and fauna species, but especially the threatened temperate woodland bird community. Over the last 10 years, it was noticed that the hotter drier conditions due to climate change were resulting in eucalypt dieback in some areas of the reserve. Julie will tell us about the experimental revegetation project that has been implemented to build climate resilience into the woodlands of the reserve. Climate modelling is being used to predict future environmental conditions. Seeds have been collected from different provenances in more northerly regions that support eucalypts adapted to a hotter, harsher environment. With the help of volunteers, large numbers of seedlings grown from these seeds are being planted in the reserve. Julie will also describe the different strategies introduced to improve the success of the plantings.
The meeting will be held by Zoom. If you have not joined earlier webinars and wish to attend, please email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.au

The grassy woodland habitat of the Bush Heritage Nardoo Hills Reserve in Central Victoria is important for many flora and fauna species, but especially the threatened temperate woodland bird community. Over the last 10 years, it was noticed that the hotter drier conditions due to climate change were resulting in eucalypt dieback in some areas of the reserve.  Julie will tell us about the experimental revegetation project that has been implemented to build climate resilience into the woodlands of the reserve.  Climate modelling is being used to predict future environmental conditions. Seeds have been collected from different provenances in more northerly regions that support eucalypts adapted to a hotter, harsher environment.  With the help of volunteers, large numbers of seedlings grown from these seeds are being planted in the reserve.  Julie will also describe the different strategies introduced to improve the success of the plantings.

The meeting will be held by Zoom.  If you have not joined earlier webinars and wish to attend, please email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.au

Monday May 17 Roadside clean-up

Meet near Tait’s Decorative Iron, Pyrenees Highway, Castlemaine at 9am  

Garbage bags and red safety vests supplied. Wear sturdy footwear and bring your own gloves and water.

Please contact Geoff Harris (mob 0418 392 183) if you can help with the clean-up.

Saturday 15 May Excursion: Campbells Creek, ‘Rakali and platypus habitat’. Leader: Geoff Williams

Meet at the Octopus at 8 am – early start for early rising animals!

Join Geoff on a field trip along Campbells Creek to learn how to look for rakali and platypus in the wild.  He will also talk about opportunities for becoming involved in the Australian Platypus Monitoring Network (APMN) to help track how these species are faring in local waterways.

Please comply with current Government COVID-safe requirements on the day.

The Field Trip will be cancelled in extreme weather conditions.

Friday May 14 Geoff Williams: Understanding Rakali – Australia’s ‘Otter’

The platypus is widely recognised as a uniquely Australian animal.  By comparison, relatively few people know that the Australian water-rat (Hydromys chrysogaster) is a genuine native rodent that was a natural part of our environment long before the arrival of its pest cousins – the black rat and brown rat.  The water-rat (also known as rakali) possesses a thick coat of soft fur, splendid whiskers, blunt muzzle, partly webbed hind feet and furry tail, all helping to create a resemblance to a miniature otter.  Geoff will outline the biology and key conservation requirements of this fascinating native mammal and provide tips on how to go about spotting it in local waterways.

The meeting will be held by Zoom.  If you have not joined earlier webinars and wish to attend, please email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.au

Saturday 10 April: Excursion, Phascogale nest box monitoring, Yandoit

Leaders: Jess Lawton, Jenny Rolland

Connecting Country has set 150 nest boxes to provide habitat for the Brush-tailed Phascogale through the Mount Alexander Shire. The boxes are monitored every two years, and volunteers are being sought to assist with continuing this important collection of data on the species’ occurrence.  For our April excursion, we will join Jess in checking nest boxes at a property in Yandoit.  Jess will explain the monitoring process and discuss how landscape attributes influence Phascogale occurrence.

Meet at the Octopus car park opposite the Castle Motel, Duke Street for departure at 1.30pm sharp. Alternatively for those coming from further west, meet at the Newstead Arts Hub (8A Tivey St, Newstead) at 1.45pm and we will travel together in convoy to the property.

Bring sunhat, block-out, hand sanitiser, water and wear stout walking shoes (there will be some walking over uneven ground). Also bring your own afternoon tea and chairs for the end of the excursion.

Please comply with current Government COVID-safe requirements on the day.

The Field Trip will be cancelled in extreme weather conditions.

April 9 – Jess Lawton, Fabulous Phascogales: survival in a modified landscape

If you live in or around Castlemaine, you may have been lucky enough to encounter the elusive Brush-tailed Phascogale, or Tuan.  This medium-sized marsupial has a large, black, bottlebrush tail and is listed as ‘threatened’ in Victoria.  At the CFNC April monthly meeting, Friday April 9 at 7.30pm, we’ll hear from Connecting Country’s Jess Lawton on the biology and ecology of the Brush-tailed Phascogale, her research on the occurrence of this species in a modified environment, and how you can help this threatened species to persist. The meeting will be held by Zoom (details on the back page of the Castlemaine Naturalist, April issue).

Sat Mar 13: Excursion – Tullaroop Reservoir, led by Peter and Rosemary Turner

Our February excursion to Tullaroop Reservoir had to be postponed due to the sudden COVID lockdown, so we will try again on Saturday March 13. Meet at the car park opposite the Castle Motel, Duke Street at 1.30pm sharp or at the Tullaroop Reservoir picnic ground at the dam wall at 2pm.

Watch out for raptors as you drive across the Moolort Plains to the reservoir!

After gathering at the picnic ground, we will take a short drive to where we will park and then walk along the shore of the lake and in nearby bushland. Afterwards we will drive back to the picnic ground for afternoon tea. There is a toilet block at the picnic ground.

Bring binoculars, sunhat, block-out, hand sanitiser, water and snacks and wear stout walking shoes.

Please comply with current Government COVID-safe requirements.

The Field Trip will be cancelled in extreme weather conditions.

There are NO excursions on total fire ban days.