Latest posts

Monthly blog posts describing natural events in the Wombat Forest, ecological explorations, my recent published writings, book reviews and more…
Summer wildflowers

Summer wildflowers

Wildflower season in the foothill forests is an ever-changing parade of colour. The first wave, in early August,  is purple hoveas and hardenbergia, offset by yellow wattle blossoms. Then we have a gold and orange pea party as all the ‘egg and bacon’ shrubs and...

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Spotting a Spotted Pardalote

Spotting a Spotted Pardalote

These tiny birds are only 9-10 cm in length – about the length of your finger! Spotted Pardalotes are well named, as some of their feathers are covered in white spots. Spotted Pardalotes are usually high in the leaves and branches of gum trees, or eucalypts. Here,...

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Daylesford’s Ravens

Daylesford’s Ravens

Have you noticed Daylesford’s resident ravens? These large black glossy birds may be seen perched on various shop signs calling loudly or strutting up and down Vincent Street searching for dropped food. They are Little Ravens – a funny name as they are not little at...

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Window frogs!

Window frogs!

With all the rain we have been having some lucky locals have spotted 'window frogs' – little groups of frogs clinging to the outside of the window. Kate Tunney, of Mollonghip, took some pics of a few frogs on her phone and posted them online one night a couple of...

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Local kites hat trick

Our local Square-tailed Kites have done it again - their third successive year of two healthy young kites! Mum and Dad kites must be congratulated for their excellent parenting. The nest is made of lots of thin branches, and set in a forked messmate with four...

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A Guide to the Land Snails of Australia

A Guide to the Land Snails of Australia

This fabulous little publication could also be called A Guide to the Land Snails, Slugs and Semi-slugs of Australia. And yes – semi-slugs are new to me too! Land snails have a shell that enables the whole animal to tuck itself inside and seal the entrance as a...

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A batty visitor

A batty visitor

For some of us, these past couple of months have seen a huge change – back to the office for the first time in two years! Physically getting up and getting to an office (in my case Gisborne) has necessitated some earlier than usual mornings. Last week, I was preparing...

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Hoot Detective!

Hoot Detective!

The low impressive whoo-hoo of the Powerful Owl, the cheerful boo-book boo-book of the aptly named Southern Boobook - and the strange screech of the Barn Owl are the calls I have been lucky enough to hear around me locally. Now, by listening to short clips from...

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Close encounter with Tawny

Close encounter with Tawny

The question I am most frequently asked is “I have found a bird that seems to be hurt – what should I do?” It is always the same answer – capture the bird using a tea towel or towel, and place into an appropriately sized cardboard box. Then pop the box in a quiet room...

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The bushfire crisis: how to help

The bushfire crisis: how to help

The internet and social media is awash with hundreds of ways to held wildlife and humans in this bushfire crisis, this time of climate emergency. This post is a summary, while by no means exhaustive, hopefully it will help guide you. I will be adding to it! I have...

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When eagles get frisky

When eagles get frisky

Nature Diary has a new home! After ten years, and increasing frustration with the Advocate, I am now being published in the Local, edited by Donna Kelly. Donna and Kyle have been wonderfully welcoming, and this article about eagles looks just great in this week's...

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A science journalist is born!

A science journalist is born!

A dramatic title, yes - but it feels that way! Since January this year, I have written a total of 26 articles for Cosmos Magazine! That's between 4-7 per month, and a total of 12, 422 words ( not including the June articles).  And whilst continuing my commitment of...

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Fine fungi season underway

Fine fungi season underway

In May and June, if there is enough rain, our gardens and local bushland are peppered with forms quite strange and wonderful – the sexual apparatus or fruiting bodies of fungi. Fungi are designated their own Kingdom, and their DNA is actually closer to animals than to...

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Living with local fauna seminar – Sat 19 11 am

Living with local fauna seminar – Sat 19 11 am

I am very excited to be presenting a seminar for the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network tomorrow, Saturday September 19 at 11 am. Here is is the lovely promo written by Rebekah Ritchie UCLN Landcare FacilitatorUpper Campaspe Landcare Network Inc. (and in a nice bit of...

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Silvereyes – autumn visitors

Silvereyes – autumn visitors

While the human world is in upheaval, it is lovely to see the usual autumn visitors to my bush garden – the Silvereyes. These tiny birds are a very sweet and attractive garden visitor, with olive green, bright green and grey plumage, and a ring of miniscule silver...

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Book review: The Big Twitch written 12 years ago!

Book review: The Big Twitch written 12 years ago!

I was looking through my old filing cabinet last week and I discovered a hand written book review: The Big Twitch, by Sean Dooley. Now I have the great pleasure of working with Sean in the communications team at BirdLife Australia, and so it was very sweet to read the...

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Wombats arrive on my street!

Wombats arrive on my street!

Coming home from work a week or two ago, I was just a couple of kilometres from my house, on Scotts Lane. The car in front of me slowed to a stop. A medium sized mammal with a distinctly square bum ambled in front of Ted’s car and disappeared into the dark forest. A...

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Nice to see Needletails

Nice to see Needletails

As thunder rumbled in gathering clouds, with patches of blue sky and impossibly white cumulus clouds edged with sunshine I thought to myself ‘ooh, I might see some swifts today’, And lo! Within minutes an incredibly athletic looking bird flew low over the property,...

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Messmates in flower!

Messmates in flower!

The Messmates are in flower! This year’s flowering event is a rich fulsome flowering, each tree covered in masses of small white flowers, and the surrounding air alive with insects and honeyeaters.  This is wonderful to see after the sad, impotent flowering of drought...

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Antechinus or rat?

Antechinus or rat?

I was standing at my window looking out at the gathering dusk when a small mammal popped out of the shrubs and darted down the rock wall, and across our paved verandah. Antechinus!  I have lived in this house on a small bush block for 15 years and this is my second...

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Beef: a book review

Beef: a book review

When trying to educate and inspire people to act you can take two routes: fact-based: a litany of facts that any sane person would want to change and then key actions to take- eg to stop pollution, ban the bag. As a wildlife advocate, my writing could consist of...

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Fallow Deer family

Fallow Deer family

A few nights ago, I spotted a family group of deer on the roadside as I drove to Daylesford.  There was a female deer, a male with small horns, and a young deer. The adults crossed the road towards Leitches Creek Bushland Reserve while the young deer stared at me with...

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Flying Dinosaurs: a book review

Flying Dinosaurs: a book review

“As you read this, an estimated 400 billion individual feathered dinosaurs, of 10,000 species, can be found on earth, in almost every habitable environment. You need only step outside and look up into the trees and the wide blue skies to find them” John Pickrell is...

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The Galaxias of Nolans Creek

The Galaxias of Nolans Creek

I am writing this article under the pergola at Nolans Creek Picnic Ground, south of Bullarto, enjoying a much needed day of rain in the Wombat State Forest. The ferns look so happy, the lichens and mosses are revived. Small birds such as White-browed Scrubwrens forage...

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A Koel comes calling…

A Koel comes calling…

Sometimes it is very obvious when the bird you can hear calling is new to the area. In the last couple of weeks a number of Daylesford residents were treated to an extremely loud ‘tee-looo tee-loo’ call – somewhat like a repetitive peacock call. Fiona McIntyre...

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Nature Diary: Grey Shrike-thrush

Nature Diary: Grey Shrike-thrush

Each month I will reproduce my Nature Diary Articles from the Hepburn Advocate - Here is this month's! : ) ( November 2015) This spring, most mornings my first waking moments have been filled with the sound of the most exquisite birdsong; a strong, mellow, melodious...

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Nature Diary: The Dusky Moorhen

Nature Diary: The Dusky Moorhen

Each month I will reproduce my Nature Diary Articles from the Hepburn Advocate - Here is last month's! : ) The wonderful thing about researching an article about very common and everyday animals is that sometimes your mind is just blown away by an insight into the...

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Recognising roosts – kookaburra and chough

Recognising roosts – kookaburra and chough

Many times in the forest I come across a patch of bird droppings - is it from an owl roost? Or other birds? How can we tell? These photos were taken on Mount Alexander yesterday, September 12. My feet are in the pic for scale. This roost had several pellets which were...

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Kangaroo clay lick in Yandoit

Kangaroo clay lick in Yandoit

Ah the wondrous benefits of the naturalist who gets to know his or her patch very well indeed! I had the privilege of heading out on a bush walk with Sharon and Dave in the Yandoit area last Saturday; with a host of other local walkers, kids and dogs. Last year at a...

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Male spider seeking lady companion

Male spider seeking lady companion

This weekend I went on a bush walk with a group of keen local walkers in the Yandoit area. A sunny September day, and we were surprised to see a small but fearsome spider walking determinedly out in the open along the track. After returning home and consulting Spiders...

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Carnage in the kitchen at Christmas

Carnage in the kitchen at Christmas

On Christmas morning I thought one of 'our' Black House Spiders looked a little strange. Too big! Maybe she was mating! Sadly, a large White-tailed Spider was clinging to her and sucking the life out of her. White-tailed Spiders are famed for their ability to cause...

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