Deep Creek: a visit in Nov – and a bird walk on Jan 9 2021

by | Jan 20, 2021 | eucalypts, wombats | 4 comments

In late November I visited a couple of landholders in Eganstown – and discovered a new lovely spot! Sue has been getting into permaculture and bee-keeping in a big way, and got in touch wondering if I could visit their property and identify the local eucalypt species. When I looked at the location on satellite imagery I realised I had never explored Deep Creek, just zoomed on over the bridge on my way to Ballarat all of these years.

After admiring Sue’s chook palace and apiary, Sue, Melissa and I were joined by Karen, and we set off down the road, with bush blocks on our left and the creek to our right. The eucalypts lining the creek were mainly large old Manna Gums, Eucalyptus viminalis. I could tell by the characteristic hanging strips of bark collecting in the trees’ “armpits” but I was 100% sure when I finally saw some juvenile foliage and it was narrow leaved rather than round ( as in juvenile Candlebark.)

The other Eucalypt present was Narrow-leaved Peppermint, E radiata – and like the manna gums – some were of considerable age and size. These were located outside of the gully , on people’s blocks and on higher side of the roadside.

The creek itself is actually Maclachlan Creek at this point, and a very narrow creek, aptly named, and cutting along basalt! The rocks on the steep gully banks were basalt also, and while not formed at all, reminded me of the basalt columns at Loddon Falls or even Organ Pipes National Park. The side we were on had extensive swathes of Poa labilardei, while the opposite side was covered in blackberry and Hawthorn.

And while gazing at this opposite bank – we saw a Common Wombat feeding among grass tussocks and blackberry! A good healthy specimen and of course unconcerned by our presence as he or she was quite far away. Just the third live Wombat I have seen in the Wombat Forest – in 18 years. This forest and surrounds would be more suitable named Wallaby Forest : )

Deep Spring Road is a dead end – ending in the Deep Creek Streamside Reserve. The site was formerly a spring for Coca-Cola back in the day, then managed by Hepburn Shire Council, and then taken over by Parks Victoria.

My dad was a geologist, and I love geology in that the formative processes of the earth are the literal bedrock of the flora and fauna we know and love today.

A search online of “Daylesford geology” came up with a fabulous article from a blog called Weekend Geology, by a geologist called Lauren who has recently traded in her “hard-hat for a laptop, heading back to university to study a Master of Teaching”. I learned so much from this great post!

According to Lauren, the basalt flows we can see at Deep Creek are part of the so-called Newer Volcanics Basalt.

“The basalt flows are termed ‘Newer Volcanics’ to differentiate from the ‘Older Volcanics’ Group which was deposited 42-57 million years ago (Ma). The Newer Volcanics correspond to a peak of volcanic activity which began seven million years ago (Ma) and has the potential to continue to the present. Bet you didn’t realise there could still be magma bubbling beneath the surface of Victoria!

There have been over 75 eruption points identified mainly from aerial photographic interpretation – a few of these have been included in the map above! Basalt lava flows are highly viscous (runny), filling valleys and rivers as well as their tributaries. This accounts for their dominant northerly-trend.”

According to the map below – at Deep Spring, we have one spring and three volcanic eruption points! Just amazing. Also important to note how the farming areas in our region correspond almost exactly to the Newer Volcanics areas, thanks to the rich soil created by the lava flows, especially in comparison to our good old clay and rocky Ordovician sediments that are literally ancient!

Well, this is supposed to be a post about flora and birds so before I descend into a glorious geological rabbit hole I will end it there 🙂

Map from Weekend Geology Map highlighting the distribution of the Newer Volcanics Basalt (including eruption points) with respect to the position of the Mineral Springs, waterways and major Muckleford Fault.

When reached the end of the road, to the open area I was absolutely thrilled to spot two Blue-winged Parrots foraging on the gravel road area! These gorgeous little parrots are very closely related to the Critically Endangered Orange-bellied Parrot.

So when my friends as Castlemaine and District BirdLife asked if I wished to lead a walk in January – I just KNEW that Deep Creek Reserve was going to be the spot 🙂

Female Satin Flycatcher by Albert Wright – definitely Bird of the Day on our walk – the male was magnificent and showed his satin blue colouring beautifully

Here is Judy Hopley’s fabulous write-up of the walk:

Deep Creek Streamside Reserve, Eganstown, Saturday 9 January.
Forty-two bird watchers, led by Tanya Loos, enjoyed a wonderful walk on a beautiful morning along the road by Maclachlan Creek through manna gum forest until we reached the reserve at the end of the road. We then wandered down to Deep Creek to visit the old spring. A walk through Messmate forest completed a terrific outing.

Approx. 25 species of bird were seen or heard with several highlights including firstly a female Satin Flycatcher and later a male of the species. A juvenile Brown Treecreeper was observed fluttering among tree trunks attempting to find insects, whilst a keen eyed birder noticed a White-naped Honeyeater fly from its small open cup nest constructed of grass, bark and spider web, high up in a tree in the forest. Along the same forest track a Grey Fantail was observed sitting on a small compact cup nest, of fine grasses bound with spider webs, suspended from a dead tree fork, the bottom of the nest drawn out into a long stem.

Thanks to Albert Wright for the bird photos.

Thanks to Tanya for suggesting this beautiful area for our first walk for 2021 and for sharing her wealth of bird knowledge with the group.

I also want to add – thanks to Kerrie Jennings for keeping a list for us in Birdata – which may be found here

Jane Mitchell captured this lovely image of a covey of birdwatchers down by the spring

Thanks to Sue messaging me on Facebook about eucalypt ID, I had the pleasure of meeting some nature loving locals – Sue, Melissa, Karen and Pete. I discovered a new gorgeous place ( as did nearly 50 other folks!) and for several walk attendees – a lifer – the Satin Flycatcher! And while writing this blog, I learned a little bit more about our region’s fascinating geology! A nice way to start 2021 indeed…

4 Comments

  1. kentlburgess

    Makes me want to visit! I love seeing the blue winged parrots in the gullies of the Wombat and surrounds.

    Reply
    • Tanya Loos

      They are such a delight! Thanks for reading – and yes! Let’s go!

      Reply
  2. Sue Boekel

    Mmm nice bird list! Beautiful gully, I’m sorry I missed the walk.

    Reply
    • Tanya Loos

      Not bad eh! Well worth a visit – hope to see you on another walk. Thanks for reading 😍

      Reply

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