Fernshaw Reserve & Dom Dom Saddle

Leaders: Cecily Falkingham and Lynn Smith. Sunday am

Eighteen people met with their leaders at Fernshaw Reserve, Maroondah Highway, Healesville. We strolled around the formal section of the Reserve exploring the beauty of the old European tress and bird watching. Birds seen were Australian King Parrots, Pied Currawongs, and a Black-backed Magpie. The leader saw Gang Gang Cockatoos, Magpie Larks, Superb Fairy Wrens, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and we all heard Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Striated Pardalotes and saw many Crimson Rosellas.

Many people commented on Mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) and the lush green forest understorey. Rough Tree Fern (Cyathea australis), Mother Shield-fern (Polystichum proliferum), the delicate Forest Starwort (Stellaria flaccida) were seen, and we discussed the important role of Forest Wire-grass (Tetrarrhena juncea) in the forest ecology.

We identified and discussed many of the plants that make the forest an interesting place to explore. One member climbed up a steep embankment to explore and found some fungi that the leader identified as Trametes versicolour, possibly over 50 of them, and some of them covered in a fine green moss. Then we found Pycnoporus coccineus growing on a small log. This and some of the Rainbow Bracket was taken back to a table and photographed, causing great interest. Bird Orchids (Chiloglottis valida) were one of the highlights.

After a short break for morning tea we then drove up the Black Spur to Dom Dom Saddle where the wildflowers were abundant. Bird orchids were seen again and many flowering plants recorded. Golden Tip (Goodia lotifolia), the tall growing Mountain Correa (Correa lawrenceana) with a few flowers still lingering, Bootlace Bush (Pimelea axiflora), Tree Ziera (Zieria arborescens), Banyalla (Pittosporum bicolor) with masses of yellow flowers, Mountain Hickory Wattle (Acacia obliquinervia), Pink Bells (Tetratheca ciliata), Love Creeper (Comesperma volubile), Handsome Flat-pea (Platylobium formosum) and thick carpets of Wiry Bauera (Bauera rubioides) were just some of the plants in the understorey.

A Golden Whistler sang a chorus in the car park as we all left in our cars to return to the Hall and a delicious BBQ lunch.

Cecily Falkingham