G’day Nature Lovers,
Earlier this week a small band of Heyfield Birdwatchers scanned the canopy of the Stockdale Forest as part of the survey for Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters. The survey was for the Woodlands Birds for Biodiversity project, (link), conducted by Birdlife Australia. (An 8 page pdf document containing an update can be downloaded from the link I’ve given).
To shorten a long story, we didn’t see any of either species. Lots of other honeyeaters and sundry bush birds, but no regents or swifts.
We did have some nice sightings of autumn/winter orchids however and today I ducked back to explore in a bit more detail.
In the adjacent pine plantation there were quite a number of Fly Agaric fungi. This formerly northern hemisphere fungus has become well established here, mainly associated with introduced trees, but apparently is beginning to displace some indigenous fungi associated with native trees!
Although the literature describes this species as poisonous, there is evidence of tinctures made from this fruiting body being used as a herbal remedy for various ailments, from down through the ages to this day. Hmmm, dunno?
We found some nice colonies of Fringed Helmet-orchids too. In Victoria, these weird looking orchids are thought to be confined to the south-east of the state, where they like damp shady places in healthy woodlands, heathlands and scrub.
The Cobra Greenhood is another winter orchid that, in Victoria, is confined mostly to the south-east. Earlier in the week we saw just one or two of these beautiful greenhoods, but this morning I came across several colonies, one consisting of around 50 plants.
Glad I went up there this morning. Found some nice subjects for the camera, and now back at home the rain is pelting down!