Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Birds Have Returned To Basslink

Basslink is the electricity connection between Tasmania and Victoria, with an undersea component across Bass Strait. The link helps protect southern areas of the mainland from power shortages during peak times.

The overhead component from McGauran's Beach to Loy Yang in the Latrobe Valley has required a 55m wide easement for 60km, much of it through natural bush and farmland in the Stradbroke, Giffard, Willung and Gormandale areas of South Gippsland.

The environmental strategy by the company includes an ‘off-set’ of 280ha of an old and neglected farmland property that has been re-vegetated with the expertise of Greening Australia. Duncan and I have been helping GA with bird monitoring on the property for some years now and we can categorically say ‘the birds have returned to Basslink’.
Re-vegetation has been a wonderful success

One of the most delightful places to survey

Healthy Saw-tooth Banksia

 The property is always a delight to visit. Canopy trees are well and truly emerging and under-storey scrub is well established. Consequently the suite of bird species we are now seeing is quite extensive. Thornbills, wrens and finches have moved into the denser understory. Honeyeaters abound in the blossoms and insectivorous species can be found checking the bark and foliage throughout. Quail and pipits have been ticked in more open regions and we always see Emus and Kangaroos. 
Acacia Golden Green Leaf Beetle

Red-bellied Black Snake

Snakes and Echidnas are present and a sure sign that some ‘natural balance’ has been restored is the soaring raptors we regularly record.
Emus between rows of re-veg.

Richard's Pipit in an open area

White-necked Heron near one of the remnant dams

Scarlet Robin keeping a close watch on the leaf litter

The program of restoration is coming to a conclusion. Originally the property was to be returned to the status of State Forest but its future is undetermined at present. It has been a pleasure and an honour to be involved and here’s hoping the new owner/s will give the property the respect it deserves and that all the new inhabitants will prosper and survive without further disturbance.

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