Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bunyip State Park with Latrobe Valley Naturalists

A few days ago some Heyfield Birdwatchers joined some of the Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists for a walk around the Button Grass Walk in the Bunyip State Park and I was introduced to some new and fascinating plants. Birds too, such as the Southern Emu-wren, Brush Cuckoo and Blue-winged Parrot and Restless Flycatcher were some of the better ‘gets’ for the day.

This walk is a good place to see a representative of one of the oldest plants still living – Bushy Clubmoss, a fern ally that is a descendant of a giant tree that grew 300 million years ago and reached heights of 20 metres.
Ye olde Clubmoss

Just like a miniature conifer

Another interesting plant we ticked was Fairy Aprons. These odd little things are bladderworts  and are carnivorous – they have tiny bladder-like traps that capture minute prey that swim in water saturated soil.
How could something this attractive be carnivorous?

A small group of Fairy Aprons

The Buttongrass that the walk is named after grows in damp nutrient poor soils and is a sedge, not a grass. It has button-like flowers on the end of long stalks and is more plentiful in Tasmania where it is thought to be an important food source for the Orange-bellied Parrot.
Buttongrass tussock

Buttongrass visitor

Buttongrass flower heads

Thanks Alix, Ken, David, et al for a great day.

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