EARLY winter in a landscape swept by ocean winds is not the ideal venue for tree planting but volunteers have been fortunate so far this year. Weak sunshine and windless conditions have favoured our activities – plus comradeship, a love of nature and the thought of bringing biodiversity to an almost blank canvas.
Wonthaggi’s West Area Block, formerly a cleared coastal paddock, has witnessed a second year of planting tubestock grown by the Wonthaggi Seedbank and Nursery. Seven thousand in 2014 and 7000 this year will hopefully stitch this area to the Coastal Reserve. In years to come, swathes of coastal banksias, drooping sheoak and sweet bursaria will march the hillocks, overlooking swales of swamp paperbark.
The resident black-shouldered kites have shown great interest in the work. Photo: Geoff Glare
Volunteer planters have enjoyed the wildlife: a mob of kangaroos and plenty of birdlife. A flock of blue-winged parrots wheeled and landed, yellow-tailed black cockatoos called, the resident black-shouldered kites have shown great interest in the work, a pair of wedge-tailed eagles put on a courtship display, a swamp harrier swept low and there is always the music of songbirds. As well, the flooded Powlett flats en route have put on a display of massed waterfowl.
Local ephemeral wetlands have also benefited from two planting days to complement 2014’s plantings. Although 2014 showed little or no water in these areas, the plants nevertheless responded well, golden spray and woolly teatree thriving. This year’s plants include slender knotweed, white purslane, buttercups and milfoil. It was interesting to note the presence of bush rats on site.
When West Area planting is completed, volunteers will move on to plant 3000 tubestock on the Five Brace Wetlands site to add to last year’s plant.
Thanks to volunteers from Friends of the Wonthaggi Heathland, Wonthaggi Seedbank, Friends of Harmers Haven, VCAL students from Chisholm and visitors.