Tasmanian Christmas Bush

While walking around Baranduda roadsides at the moment you may catch a delightful aroma of the Tassie xmas bush in flower – sweet bursaria or bursaria spinosa. This is one of my favorite local plants. Its a haven for insects and small birds and so plays a crucial role in local ecology.

Sweet bursaria in flower on the Yackandandah roadside Dec 24 2013

I only just discovered that you buy Tassie Xmas bush honey from Beechworth honey would have made a great Christmas present.. if I hadnt left my shopping so late. Havent even got time to drive to Beechworth!

Nov 23 Swainsona sericea update

On Nov 23 in the late arvo Johno and I went up the range via Burgess Lane off Boyes road for the annual collection of pods from the known swainsona sericea plants (about 24)

The road had been graded and there was a bit of confusion about where we normally park – we ended up parking about 100 metres from our normal location – a stroke of luck as it turned out

We checked all plants on the north side of the road that had flowered in late September and pods were scarce – some pods still immature were collected anyway and kept moist so they have a chance to mature.

Pods found outside the mesh guard

Swainsona sericea greenish pods maturation in water

Despite the meagre collection of pods we were satisfied thats all we could do and headed back to the car. Nearly back at the road and we started to take an interest in some flora on the north side of the road on steep ground close to the car. Eagle eyed Johno spotted a small swainsona sericea and elated we searched some more and I found another one. We gps’d and recorded data and it was getting late and we decided to call it quits.

Just as we were at the car Johno suggested we have a quick look on the south (high) side of the road that had been burnt in autumn 2012 – to our amazement we found another patch dubbed Site 10 of plants with pods as well as a number of individual plants. We collected 50 pods and recorded locations – not all data has been finalised yet but this find just about doubles the number of known plants. And most significantly it reassures us that the fuel reduction burn planned next autumn is likely to deliver more positive outcomes for this plant we have been monitoring for the last 6 years.

Site 10 habitat post autumn 2012 burn view above road.

Site 10.1 habitat view to road edge

Site 10.5_seed pod s prior to collection.jpg

Fuel reduction strategy

On Sunday 24th November Johno and I drove up the Trig Point track from Burgess Lane access from Boyes Road to Baranduda Regional Park. A fuel reduction burn had taken place in autumn 2012 on the high (southern) side of the track leaving the low (northern) side of the track unburnt.

View of Trig Point track Baranduda Regional Park

View of Trig Point track Baranduda Regional Park

On the ground the difference in vegetation was pronounced

High side of Trig Point Track burnt in autumn 2012

Low side of Trig Point track - unburnt

Low side of Trig Point track – unburnt

It looks as if the burn off on the high side has resulted in more vigorous wallaby grass regrowth and flowering – and its tempting to conclude therefore making the fire risk worse. But the real purpose of the fuel reduction burn is to minimise the likelihood of a fire wicking up the loose and highly flammable bark on stringybark and to a lesser extent box trees potentially leading to a crown fire – upon examination of the blackened tree trunks in the photo below it would appear that this outcome has been achieved.

Fuel reduced eucalypt trees

Fuel reduced eucalypt trees

But the real purpose of the trip was to collect seed pods from the silky swainsona sericea plants we have been monitoring over the last 5 years. More about the outcome of that in the next blog entry.

Nestbox Observations

BLC have been funded by the 25 years of Landcare initative and have acquired two cameras now – one is designed for the front opening no baffle boxes (right angle camera) and the other is mounted on a stiff but flexible cable for use in natural hollows, burrows etc – I bought a 3.6 metre pole for mounting the right angle yesterday – the cameras are on the charger and will be ready to go soon. cheers Tony
Posted by Tony Marsh at February 25. 2012

Previously Tony Marsh wrote:

BLC have been funded by the 25 years of Landcare initative and have acquired two cameras now – one is designed for the front opening no baffle boxes (right angle camera) and the other is mounted on a stiff but flexible cable for use in natural hollows, burrows etc – I bought a 3.6 metre pole for mounting the right angle yesterday – the cameras are on the charger and will be ready to go soon. cheers Tony

So I took the right angle camera out this arvo to check the boxes at my place and bing o the first box I checked had a ringtail possum in it. This box has had a range of fauna use it over the years including eastern rosellas and brush tail poossums.

I checked two more boxes that showed strong evidence of use by gliding possums (free nest of green leaves). As I wandered past a bat box I noticed something furry slightly protruding from the entry slot. I touched it with the pole camera and it moved!

So I rushed off to get the ladder to climb up and undo the latch. Then I descended the ladder and grabbed the pole top camera – and this is what I found!


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Posted by Tony Marsh at February 26. 2012

Today (Sun Feb 26) I tried out the second camera which is not mounted on a pole but has a very bendy flexible cable connecting it to the hand held power / monitor unit. This camera fits nicely unto the slot at the bottom of the bat boxes so it will be possible for a tall person to reach up enough to poke the camera into the slot (that counts me out obviously!)

I also tested it in a couple of pardalote boxes and this camera fits snugly into the opening – but once again requires a ladder in my case to get close enough. So this just leaves the side entry mammal boxes to test with the flix camera.

Posted by Tony Marsh at April 14. 2012

Today we had the first nestbox check for 2012 – a total of 19 people attended! this was designed to showcase our new poletop camera equipment. We started by having a good look at the maps and photos of the nestbox deployment and previous observations. We then had a quick demo of the tree popper recently acquired by the Kiewa Catchment Landcare Group as well as the semi automated tree planting equipment. We then moved down to the Yackandandah road and spent some time inspecting the post burnoff recovery of the roadside vegetation before inspecting nestboxes and moving up the Jamison Drive gully checking nestboxes as we went.

You can view photos of the day here

Posted by Tony Marsh at May 20. 2012

Sunday May 20 was the second nestbox check for 2012 and was conducted in the vicinity of Ellen McDonald Drive – boxes were checked in the WREN reserve that runs parallel with and west of this road and along the roadsides on the northern side of John Schubert Drive as well as the western side of the Kiewa Valley highway opposite the Valley Views estate. About 18 nestbox locations were visited – three boxes were missing and two had fallen off the trees they were attached to. All the boxes checked showed evidence of usage by arboreal mammals. One box had a pair of squirrel gliders. These observations reinforced the need for a regular maintenance program so that repairs and replacement operations can be carried out. You can view the album of photos of the day including an overview of the nestboxes monitored on the BLC website here


Interesting observations made on the day include

Sections of ironbark and forest redgum reveg about 20 years old with virtually total suppression of exotic grasses
A jackie winter on the fence line
Natural regeneration of grevillea, rock fern, daisies and hop bush on the eastern end northern side of JS drive
High quality remnant roadside vegetation on the western side of the KV Highway opposite Valley Views
An unknown plant species to be observed to determine if its friend or foe
Hand removal of at least 50 Cootamundra wattle seedlings
Successful treatment of blackberry infestation by PAW
Another blackberry infestation needs treatment in the area east of existing treated infestation

Attendance down dramatically on previous month – probably just too many things on that weekend.

Purple Loosestrife

Posted by Tony Marsh at February 28. 2012
Down on the roadside west side opposite Lindsay Lane is a patch or two of purple flowers which have attracted our attention. Initially I though wet spot, got to be weeds but closer inspection and consultations with higher authorities proved otherwise – turns out this is a native plant called purple loosestrife – what a great name – its scientific name Lythrum salicaria is not quite so endearing. You can also view some more pics in this photo album
I remembered Id seen the purple loosestrife at a visit to the Botanic Gardens in Canberra earlier this month (photo above). This place (Bot Gardens) should be listed as one of the seven wonders of the world I reckon. The latest project is the creation of a grassy woodland section only open late in 2010 – read about it here

But theyve got a long way to go to catch up with our Ridge Lane grassy woodland resplendent in spring with scaly buttons and blue pincushion plants

Fuel Reduction Burn Yackandandah roadside

Yackandandah roadside
Observations made of the remnant vegetation on the Yackandandah roadside that BLC have been involved in the management of since 1997
Posted by Tony Marsh at February 09. 2012
On Jan 29 2012 Baranduda CFA was supported by a number of local brigades in a coordinated fuel reduction burn on approximately 2km of roadside between Jamison Drive and north almost to the Kiewa Valley Highway junction

Some 55 CFA volunteers were involved. The walking/cycling track formed the east west boundary – east of the pathway was burnt and west of it wasnt. There was also a mosaic pattern of burnt and unburnt sections from about the 1.5km mark north of Jamison Drive. GPS data has been saved indicating this and a number of photos taken to further illustrate the pattern
Here is a link to the 33 photos of the burnoff

Baranduda roadside burn off Jan 29 2012

Posted by Tony Marsh at March 23. 2012

March 23 almost 2 months since the roadside burn off

The rare tick indigo plant indigofera adesmifolia has a dozen or so young seedlings around the base of the old plant. This is a great outcome – three photos attached.



Johno has advised that these are not in fact seedlings but rather suckers that have come up from the roots of the mature tick indigo plant.

Here are some photos taken on April 14 showing the growth of these suckers only 2.5 months post burnoff.

Tick indigo fire recovery