Our January workday was the first in 3 months due to wet weather in November and December. But all that rain has done wonders for the reserve and it’s looking green and lush after the drought. As observed before the Coral Fern (Gleichenia dicarpa) had all browned off 12 months ago but is now showing welcome shoots of green. It’s almost like the recovery from bushfire in some ways with Crinkle Bush (Lomatia silaifolia) flowering strongly in the reserve just as in nearby burnt areas.
Persoonia myrtilloides is also flowering and having sprouted well after the hazard reduction burn in 2011 is a major component of a dense head-high ‘forest’ which has grown after the fire at the western end of the reserve.
Also flowering well this month is Goodenia bellidifolia and the distinctive fruit of Billardiera scandens is ripening. The fruit turns deep purple and becomes squishy when ripe.
Another standout was Epacris pulchella with just a couple of plants spotted.
Jan has provided us with more pictures of Cystopelta astra out and about in the reserve today in the continuing drizzly weather. Nice to see it on the Crinkle Bush (Lomatia silaifolia) which is flowering very well this year, particularly in burnt areas, but also in the reserve as you can see.
If you are wondering why the ‘slug’ appears to have a distinct shell in some of these photos, apparently some native snails have their shell inside. So I should have been calling it a snail.
Unfortunately the last two work days have been cancelled due to wet weather. One positive from this is that the vegetation is thriving and showing good recovery from the drought. Even the Coral Fern which had died right back last year is showing new growth at last.
Also the slugs like the wet weather and Jan recently spotted an unusual one and had it identified on iNaturalist as Cystopelta cf. astra or Snowy Mountains Humpback Snail. Apparently it hadn’t been reported from this area before.
Jan also recently spotted a new addition to the plant list, Caesia parviflora ar. parviflora
It’s good to see such strong spring flowering after a few dry years. Only a few species at present but hopefully more to follow. At the reserve now the highlights are Acacia melanoxylon around the western entrance, Mirbelia platyloboides and Hovea linearis, the latter almost a carpet in some areas.
At the September work day Peter and Mary spent some time tidying up the fallen trees while the rest of us went on patrol, finding plenty of sprouting Montbretia, a few flowering gorse and plenty of small holly.
We were all very pleased on our arrival at the July bushcare day to see workmen relocating the post and chain gate at the Brentwood Ave entrance to the reserve. Access in this area has been a longstanding issue and in 2015 these posts were erected 50m further into the reserve. As reported in a blog on 7/9/17 the track behind the posts is regenerating well. It’s the same track we were mulching last month.
Finally with a change of ownership of the adjoining property the chain has been moved to the entrance. Also in this photo is the reset entrance sign – it had been absent for a while waiting for new steel support posts.
We were also able to take a new group photo with the restored sign and everyone present. It’s the one on the home page.
It was good to be back for our first bushcare day since the Coronavirus lockdown. Much of the day was spent moving mulch again, this time from a well composted pile near Brentwood Ave. We used it to to cover parts of the old track nearby which looked a bit bare.
Looking at the plantlist recently I noticed Banksia cunninghamii wasn’t there. There are quite a few in the NW corner of the reserve and they’re several metres tall and wide, so pretty unmissable. Just goes to show how easy it is to overlook the familiar.
They’re just coming into flower – I love the colouring of Jan’s photo. She reports the brilliant yellow Sunshine wattle and the prostate hibbertia are flowering too.
Last workday I was surprised to see 2 large trees across the large slashed area at the Brentwood Ave entrance to the reserve, 1 of them across the stone ring where we have morning tea. The canopy in this area is getting quite sparse with trees dying and much storm damage over the last few years so this was a disappointment. Happily there are quite a few saplings coming up.
We were happy to welcome Lis Bastian and 2 students from Blue Mountains Pluriversity to learn about bushcare. Josh and Wil were enthusiastic participants and helped us with some weeding and spotting fungi. One of these was the Scleroderma cepa photographed by Jan.
Fortunately the reserve hasn’t been affected by the recent fires although they did come within 50m away in Braeside. There are obvious effects of the drought though with large areas of Hibbertia intermedia and Gleichenia dicarpa browning off.
One welcome effect of this was emergent gorse being more visible in the Gleichenia which enabled us to remove another 20-30. Of course the gorse was still green, just like most of the other weeds.
It was nice to see Acacia obtusifolia in flower, Thanks to Jan for the photo.
The team spent most of this morning spreading a heap of mulch left by the contractors in June. Mulch was spread along bare areas on the southern track and the southern fenceline. A great effort by all. Thanks to Jan Allen for the photos.