From the Editor

Welcome to the Autumn newsletter. We seem to have collected a variety of items of interest once again. Unfortunately we are missing an article from Dave Roberts. He is taking a break with his family over the school holidays after a hectic time juggling two roles with Graham Parkes retirement (see below). I’m sure he’ll have plenty for us next issue!… Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Autumn Newsletter, From the Editor

President’s Report

The first quarter of the year tends to be quiet as far as FOGG meetings are concerned.

But on the two occasions we have got together we found plenty to talk about as you will read in the two activity reports. And Wendy and I have been attending Round Table and Advisory Group meetings, as you will see in our reports.

And of course plenty has been happening in the wider scene. The new state government has just announced changes to the controversial camping fees introduced by the previous government, and made some good decisions for the Alpine National Park and Pt Nepean. But whether our parks system will get any improvement to its budget, and what will happen to the plan to open up our parks to commercial development is yet to be seen. In the meanwhile no proposals for development inside our park have been put forward.

This … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Autumn Newsletter, President Report

Green Army in the Grampians

April 13th will mark the commencement of the Grampians first Green Army team working to remove satellite populations of Sallow Wattle in the park, led by supervisor Joshua Brown. The group of 10 is made up of a supervisor and 9 young locals who will be working in the park for 6 months and accessing isolated areas in the park to eradicate the introduced plant species. The aim is to work on individual populations of the weed close to areas such as the Wartook Basin to keep it from spreading further into our waterways and becoming much more difficult to track and control.

As well as working on Sallow Wattle removal the group will be helping to create, install and monitor nest boxes in our local reserves where Brush-tailed Phascogales and Squirrel Gliders have recently been detected by the Hamilton Field Naturalists.

This group will be an excellent asset … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report

Birds and Mice in the Grampians

February Saturday 21st 4pm

FOGGs donated some money to the Museum of Victoria some time ago to help with student research projects. Phoebe Burns and Kara Joshi are a couple of these students, working on Smoky Mouse and bird detection. They came and presented their findings to a good group of FOGGIES and other interested locals.

BIRD DETECTION METHODS

Kara’s presentation was on her work trialling a new bird detection method using an audio recorder. Currently bird surveys are carried out by live humans listening to, and looking for, birds out in the field. It is usually very accurate, but time consuming and depends on people having easy access at suitable times of day. It is hard to make it comprehensive and unbiased. Is there a way to use the technology of recording bird calls and then machine reading them? Kara set up recorders and got many hours of bird … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report, Natural Values

Clean Up The Pinnacle

FOGGies gathered on Saturday 21st March for our contribution to Clean Up Australia.

Garbologists

The Garbologists

A nation this big needs more than one day a year to keep it clean, so our dedicated group gathered on a day of our own choosing to do our bit. 7 of us met at Wonderland car park, left a few vehicles there and shuttled on to the Sundial carpark. Armed with packed lunches, sustaining fluids, garbage bags, gloves and various tools for picking up any unpleasantness we were yet to learn of, we set out. A beautiful morning, good company, on a very picturesque walk. What a great way to spend an autumn day.

TOTEM POLES (MELALEUCA DECASSATA) IN FLOWER

TOTEM POLES (MELALEUCA DECASSATA) IN FLOWER

We dawdled along to The Pinnacle, picking up the occasional can and bottle, tissues and other small items. Along the way various plants and flowers were spotted, to be photographed and discussed. … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report

Guides To The Grampians: What New Ones Are Needed?

As you probably will have read in Rodney’s account of our walk and cleanup day in the Wonderland area, we started to discuss whether there was a need for a new book on the Grampians, and if so what format, what would it encompass, and whether a book is now old hat and we need to look at tablet or phone appliances. The discussion emerged out of frustration some of us had in what books we use when out walking; there are several backpack size books but all are quite old, and each has its strengths and shortcomings. But it is also true that no comprehensive book on the Grampians has appeared since Jane Calder’s “The Grampians: A Noble Range” was published in 1987 but long out of print. Clearly before we start thinking whether we, together with other local interested groups, could seek funding  to produce a new resource, … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Autumn Newsletter, Book Review, Newsletter

Platypus in the Wimmera River

Two related interesting articles in local papers.

April will see a survey in the McKenzie river by the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority. Among others they hope to find the two baby platypuses first recorded last April, the first time in a decade that juveniles had been detected. The survey will also provide valuable information about the impact of environmental water releases in the river.

The researchers will also be trialling a new technique called eDNA  which tries to pick up traces of DNA in the water (from hairs, faeces etc) . This can indicate the presence of platypus without actually trapping them or even seeing them. At this stage it can’t pick out individuals, or how recent the activity is, but it can be a basis for where it is worth taking a closer look.… Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Autumn Newsletter, Natural Values

Advisory Group Report

The Advisory Group met on 18th March with the new convenor Kevin Bolwell in the chair. Once again we had a full agenda.

We first looked at how things are going with fire recovery works from last summer’s fire in the northern part of the Park.

McKenzie Falls Precinct

There are currently no plans to re-open the kiosk, but the option for someone to apply to do so will remain open. In the meantime, a mobile coffeecart has permission to serve coffee there when it is busy. The cottage will not be rebuilt. The toilets will be repaired, where they are currently. Power and telephone will be restored. (Currently there  is no mobile reception so a fixed line will be needed- how best to do this is still to be decided). The question of parking is a real problem and we looked at some of the options. The current … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Autumn Newsletter, Meeting Report

Round Table Report

Wendy Bedggood

The last roundtable was held on 24 March and we had a full and varied agenda. Just a few of the topics covered follow:

  • Russell Manning gave details of the last six months fire season. The Wimmera had a very busy fire season with more individual fires than we have experienced for many years. The dry conditions since winter last year lead to the country being very dry and high fire risks even under relatively mild conditions. Between September and November there were 30 fires. Fortunately we had a fairly mild late January, February and March. However the start of January saw DELWP managing 51 fires between Jan 2 & 7. With only 8 dozers and 8 aircraft, resources were stretched. The 2 big fires which impacted on the Grampians Region were the fire at Moyston and near Rocklands. As we had our meeting at the Moysten CFA
Read the rest
Posted in 2015 Autumn Newsletter, Meeting Report