Last month we planned to spend the day at Serendip Sanctuary in Lara, but rain and hail before we left caused us to change to a half-day walk at Gherang Gherang Bushland Reserve instead.
This small reserve out along Forest Road has an old aqueduct that used to carry the water supply to Anglesea. The reserve has been considerably degraded by quarrying, weeds, rubbish dumpers and trail bikes. Annual weeding by ANGAIR members has helped to reduce the weeds, especially the gorse. Parks Victoria is endeavouring to discourage rubbish dumpers and trail bikes, but the latter were clearly in evidence during our walk.
In some of the stringybark forest there are areas of reasonably intact indigenous vegetation, including some very healthy Grasstrees, providing good bird habitat.
We started up a wide track on the edge the reserve, beside farmland. In the paddocks we saw birds such as Welcome Swallows, and in the trees there were bush birds such as several species of Honeyeaters, but, surprisingly, no Wattlebirds.
We had to skirt areas of water before reaching an old quarry, and then zig-zagged through some pleasant bush tracks.
Highlights were a pair of Scarlet Robins, and a small flock of the very handsome Shelducks. The latter circled around many times, with a couple landing briefly in a tree. We never did find out why they were doing this and where they finally decided to land.
The weather turned out to be quite pleasant, so we ended up staying three hours and saw 27 species of birds, plus Blackbirds and a White-faced Heron en route, bringing us up just short of 30 species.
Below is the list of birds identified:
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.