Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Late Update

Events that took place on Australia Day and will take place during the upcoming Ficifolia Festival probably need some updating, belatedly.

On Australia Day, the Friends of Drouin's Trees received the Baw Baw Shire's Community Contribution: Environmental Achievement award.

A well deserved award for a passionate and hard-working group of environmentalists. The award will inspire the group to continue with their work - educating, lobbying, working bees, etc.

Also on Australia Day, the 'CEO' of the Friends of Drouin's Trees, Judy Farmer, had her work in many fields, including the Friends of Drouin's Trees, recognised by receiving the Shire's Citizen of the Year award. Another very well deserved award. Judy's passion and dedication are indefatigable and her work ethic is unflagging, (unlike many of those of us who try to keep up).

As part of this year's Ficifolia Festival, we will be launching the Drouin Tree Walks booklet.

This little pocket book contains notes, photos and maps of 12 walks within Drouin, featuring in particular the magnificent tree cover for which our town is renown.

The booklet is the result of hard work by many people but especially Judy and Elaine of the Friends of Drouin's Trees, Carolyn from the Shire and Helen of Helen Timbury Design. The design and printing of the booklet was kindly supported by Baw Baw Shire and the Bendigo Bank Community Bank of Drouin.

On Tuesday 6th Feb at 530pm at McNeilly Park, you can collect your free booklet, meet many of the group and hear something about our work. The launch will be followed with a walk in the vicinity. (The booklet will shortly be available at various outlets in the town and at the shire offices)

Also as part of the Ficifolia Festival, Peter will be presenting a Power Point on the Flora and Fauna of Drouin and District - Drouin Library, Thursday 8th Feb, 230pm.

In addition to all of the above, if you are a 3BBR listener, keep an ear out for some bird 'tweets' that will soon be introduced into a couple of the radio station's programs.

In the words of many famous people I believe - it's all happening!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Our 'Fics' are Forthcoming

Drouin's Ficifolias are about to perform. Some are already fully dressed with their brilliant scarlet flowers for which they are renown. Lorikeets, bees and other insects are certainly appreciative of their sweet-smelling nectar.

Princes Way west is the avenue of Ficifolias most well known and some trees on top of the hill between Longwarry Rd and Main Neerim Rd are well in flower. The trees 'in the dip' between Longwarry Rd and Albert Rd are not far behind.

It is interesting to note that a few individuals that copped some severe pruning recently have already begun to shoot from epicormic buds.

Corymbia ficifolia, (previously Eucalyptus ficfolia – DNA analysis in 2009 resulted in a change of classification), have an extremely small area of natural distribution near Albany in WA, hence the origin of one of its common names – Albany Red Flowering Gum.

Ficifolias are popular ornamental street, park and garden trees. Much research and experimentation has resulted in grafted varieties from nurseries being much truer to colour form than seedlings grown from seed.

 Don't forget Drouin's Ficifolia Festival – 4th to 10th Feb, ( The trees remember this event EVERY year!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Three Recent Birds

Our beautiful town is blessed with some wonderful bird habitat. Tall trees, remnant understorey, wetlands and even a small patch or two of grassland means that a wide range of bird species enjoy living with us, (but for how much longer?).

Three interesting sightings recently have confirmed that Drouin's bird population is relatively healthy.

European Goldfinch
The natural range for this bird is throughout European and North African countries. It was introduced to Australia in the 1860's.

European Goldfinch
The Goldfinch inhabits wasteland areas like neglected industrial sites, roadside and railway corridors and some open paddocks. It particularly likes the seeds of thistles and other introduced weeds and sometimes eats fruit and insects.

Cooling off at McNeilly Wetlands one recent hot day
Improved farming practices such as weed eradication resulted in a decline in numbers in many areas but anecdotally they seem to making a comeback, perhaps suggesting they are adapting to native habitat.

Buff-banded Rail
This cryptic bird is probably more common than we realize. The Rail is a ground-dwelling bird that inhabits the reed beds of a wide range of terrestrial and coastal wetlands.

Right beside the Two Towns Trail in Civic Park
Buff-banded Rails feed on a variety of molluscs, insects and larvae taken from wet ground. 

A worm for breakfast
The bird looks a little like a small domestic hen, particularly when it runs for cover rather than flying when disturbed.

Nankeen Night Heron
Recently one evening we briefly glimpsed a Nankeen Night Heron working the shallows of the pond at Bellbird Park.

This bird, despite its size, is often overlooked. The Night Heron is an active nocturnal feeder around our wetlands, lakes, billabongs, large dams, estuaries and tidal channels. It takes a range of fish, frogs and other aquatic species.

Nankeen Night Heron with breeding plumes (Port Albert)
Throughout the day Nankeen Night Herons roost quietly in some nearby tall trees, often in big numbers.

Communal daytime roost (Heyfield)

'Nankeen' is a yellow-buff coloured cloth that originally was imported from Nanking in China, giving rise to the naming of the bird with supposedly similar colouring.

How lucky are we human residents of Drouin to share this little corner of our world with such fascinating and beautiful animals?

Happy New Year to all followers and supporters of the Friends of Drouin's Trees