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Amazing Fungi!

I’ve been noticing these amazing fungi – some sort of puffball I think, coming up on roadside verges through the road gravel.

I can’t wait to ask Alison Pouliot about them!

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Alison running two Fungi Workshops for Bushlinks

Sunday 22nd March at Tumbarumba (Wenoma Studio) 10 – 2.30pm

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Monday 23rd March at Mullengandra Hall 10 – 2pm

To book your place call Holbrook Landcare Network on 0260363181!

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Been stung in the bushes lately?

If you have been out in the bush lately and come out with stinging welts – this may be the culprit!

These Cup moth larvae hatched in the Holbrook district a month or two a go and have been busy communally feasting on Eucalyptus leaves. I think these are the “Black Slug Cup moth”  (Doratifera casta ) that are sometimes a pest in Eucalypt plantations, but come and go with the seasons. They have tufts of hair on them that come off on contact and can irritate the skin. My kids have been complaining abut mysterious ‘stingers’ in the bushes lately and these guys are the culprits!

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After they are fully grown, the individual Caterpillars leave the foodplant and walk up to 20 metres looking for a suitable crevice or piece of leaf litter in which to pupate. I have noticed them moving around the place, including one on our outdoor dunny seat the other day – could’ve had interesting consequences if I hadn’t seen it first!

The cocoon is a cup-like structure usually attached to a stem or leaf  and they will overwinter and hatch in the spring. The adult moth is a pretty non-descript (sure some keen Lepidoptera enthusiasts will disagree with that!) brown moth up to 50mm. I’ll look forward to seeing if I can recognise them in the Spring.

An entomologists once challenged me to find a ‘perfect’ eucalypt leaf – its a very difficult task, such is the diversity of animals and insects that have evolved with Eucalypts and are dependent on them for food and shelter. Go and have a try!

 

 

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Thinking about revegetation?

This is the time of year people are planning their projects for the next year. Through the Bushlinks project we have released some information about planning revegetation that is available here.

The key thing to remember is to set your objective at the start – is it for stock shelter, is it for biodiversity or is it for both? How much are you wanting to graze it once established? What method do you want to do – direct seed or tubestock?

The ideal design, area to include, species to plant etc could be quite different for each of these.

Have a read and start thinking…..

S2S Bushlinks has some limited funding for this financial year and applications will close in March. Contact Kylie if you have a project you are really keen to do straight away.

Another round of funding will become available in July 2015.

 

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Happy World Wetlands Day!!

In celebration of World Wetlands Day 2015, we thought we would share some of the images from wetlands in this area….these beauties are all on private land in this region, showing how farmers are able to create and maintain important habitat in the farming landscape.

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Dam wetland in Wantagong – photo Alex Knight

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Doughtys Creek near rosewood

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Doodle Comer Swamp, Henty in 2013

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Water Ribbons in a wetland in the Wantagong Valley

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Swamp on the Billabong Floodplain near Holbrook

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Gilgai swamp near Holbrook

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Another beautiful swamp on the Billabong floodplain in Holbrook

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Fish Ck wetland in the Wantagong Valley

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Look at this beauty!

Spring has been kind to some of our insects – Kylie came across this beauty the other day up in the bush on Four Mile Lane.

We are pretty sure its an Emperor Gum Moth  (Opodiphthera eucalypti) . There are pics of the caterpillars and cocoons at this link http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/satu/eucaly.html, and both are familiar, but this is the first year that Kylie has seen the moths flying around aswell.

Also saw the first Bogong Moth of the season yesterday!

 

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“Wildlife in our Landscape – are we making a difference?”

Holbrook Landcare Network hosted their Biodiversity Forum on Wednesday 18th June entitled, “Wildlife in our Landscape – are we making a difference?”

This year marks 25 years of Landcare in Australia with millions of dollars invested in the landscape for biodiversity benefits. This forum was for farmers, landcarers and the general community to hear about and discuss whether the investments that they are making into biodiversity are having an effect.

Researchers have been undertaking studies to look at this question, and the longest data set has been collected by Professor David Lindenmayer and the Fenner School of Environemnt and Society at the Australian National University. The South West Slopes Restoration project was established in 2000 and looks at how different faunal groups respond to farm plantings. The project site is very large – from Albury to Gundagai.

Professor David Lindenmayer and his team, including Dr Damian Michael and Mason Crane, presented their findings at this forum. There was a high calibre of other speakers on the day; presenting on frogs, squirrel gliders, reptiles, rocky outcrops, role of revegetation and regeneration in changing our landscape.

See below a video from Professor David Lindenmayer, Dr Damian Michael and Mason Crane from the Australian National University, presenting their key messages from their presentations from the forum.

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4 Fungi on 1 Log!

The recent moist Autumn followed by a cool and wet Winter has provided some of the most awesome conditions for fungal activity that I have seen in ages.

I was supposed to be moving a mob of ewes on the weekend, but as I was riding the bike through the long wet grass the bike tyres crunched over the wet, decomposing logs; munching them up like straw in a blender. I couldn’t help cringing, thinking of all the tiny fungal mycelium (thin, hairy root-like structures) and other microorganisms that would be living in, around and under these logs in the root zone.

As I rode through the established Murray pine woodland a bright orange, rusty coloured mushroom caught my eye, so I turned off the bike and approached slowly. I creeped up slowly on my hands and knees to find 4 types of fungus living off a single log. In hindsight, I think the first 2 mushrooms are the same species, Spectacular Rustgill (Gymnopilus junonius) but just found at different stages in their life. a bit further up the log I found a cluster of Mycena species and a large Rose-Gilled Grisette (Volvariella speciosa) close by in the grass.

Being involved with sustainable farming, I am so pleased to see fungi flourishing in our paddocks as they are an indication of the brilliant ecology at work. Most of the species I found belong to the families of fungi that break down organic matter which turns carbon into useable forms of nutrients and habitat for plants. If you see a fungus at your property, get down at eye level and have a look. Be careful not to damage the mushroom because this is the ‘seed’ for the next round of fungal activity. You can share your experiences with fungal biodiversity with us on the Biodiversity Gateway!

Elise Wenden – Project Officer at Holbrook Landcare Network

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RustgillFungi  Mycena sp.Grisette 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lessons learnt from habitat restoration in the Murray Catchment

For three decades native vegetation restoration and conservation works have been ongoing in the South West Slopes of NSWs Murray Catchment. Monitoring by researchers from ANU, in conjunction with the Murray CMA, showed early benefits of restoration efforts to biodiversity.

Read the lessons learnt report ‘Murray Catchment habitat restoration: Lessons from landscape level research and monitoring’, for more information on the benefits of habitat restoration efforts and the direction for future work.

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Professor David Lindenmeyer coming to Holbrook

A biodiversity seminar will be held in Holbrook on Wed 18th June involving leading researchers in to the status of wildlife in our landscape. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Landcare, will millions of dollars invested by both private landholders and the public in revegetation across the landscape.

Is it making a difference?

This event is for farmers, landcarers and the general community who want to know that the investments they are making are having an effect. Real data collected in the SWS region.

Researchers have been undertaking studies to look at this question, and the longest data set has been collected by Professor David Lindenmeyer and the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University. The SWS Restoration project was established in 2000 and looks at how different faunal groups respond to farm plantings. The project site is very large – from Albury to Gundagai in south eastern NSW. Throughout this region there are 23 selected landscapes, each containing 2 farms – one that has plantings and one that doesn’t. Analyses are being conducted comparing the size, shape, structure and floristic composition and diversity and the use by fauna. In addition, long-term data collection is allowing changes in biodiversity over time to be linked quantitatively with changes in vegetation cover over the same time (i.e. 2000 to the present). http://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/research/projects/south-west-slopes-restoration-study. The team will present their latest findings.

There will be a range of high calibre speakers presenting on frogs, squirrel gliders, reptiles and rocky outcrops, role of revegetation and regeneration in changing our landscape. A detailed program is available on the flyer.