Mid Lachlan Landcare

Operation Orchid Observation

This season has just been amazing for orchids. I have taken my first obsessive and addictive steps towards finding all the orchids I can. What an experience!!

So far in the Conimbla National Park and surrounds 18 different orchids species have been found since June 2020. They are all fasinating in their own way and well worth taking the time to search for. It has been a huge learning curve and we thought you might like to see some of these amazing plants.

Anyone has a chance of finding some of these special plants and currently a few of them can be found if you go for a bushwalk along the Ironbark trail to Cherry Creek Lookout in the National Park. Others you might have to look a little bit harder for 😉

Australia has more than 1700 of the 25–30,000 species in the Orchidaceae family known globally, yet, regrettably, 25 per cent of orchid extinctions occur here. In part our species are vulnerable because they require symbiotic relationships with specific types of ‘mycorrhizal’ fungi to grow and germinate, and many are pollinated by a unique species of pollinator.

An example is the Pterostylis curta (Blunt Greenhood) in the pictures below. It is germinated by Certobasidium fungi and pollinated by Mycomya fungus gnats. Very specific requirements!!!

We would love to hear about any orchids you find in your travels. Contact midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com 🙂

Woodland Wonders

We have recently been visiting local farms looking at potential project sites for this years Box Gum grassy Woodland project. It has been wonderful to see so many groundcover species after the recent dry years. Did you know that there are over 400 plant species found across the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands range and in a good quality patch you can find between 60 and 110 species.

The groundcover plants, such as forbs, grasses and sedges make up most of this diversity and we thought you all might like to see some of the plants that have recently been seen. All of these photos have been taken by me from around our region. Enjoy!!

Feel free to send through any pictures to midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com and we can try to have them identified for you.

Seed collection complete for Glossy Project

During July and August we undertook our collection of Allocasuarina diminuta seed. The aim for this project is to grow out 1000 trees to plant on 6 local properties. Seed collection is always lots of fun and it is interesting to note that the Glossies prefer seed from certain trees. The aim was to collect from those trees the Glossies have already eaten from. Always, when seed collecting, you collect no more than 10% of the seed from a plant. There are also plenty of other rules around seed collecting especially if you are collecting within an endangered ecological community. If in doubt it is always best to check with relevant authorities. There is a short guide to seed collection here. When you are in search of the trees the Glossies have selected it’s a pretty easy task as they leave plenty of mess 🙂 Pictures below.

On our 1st trip we were extremely lucky to see 2 birds feeding quietly it was like this project was meant to happen and they were waiting to thank us for helping them. The recent drought has wiped out many of the trees they usually feed from unfortunately. Thanks to Jayden for volunteering to help with the seed collection and getting a couple of awesome photos of the Glossies.

The next step was to pop the pods into a paper bag and wait for them to open so we could then deliver the seed to the fantastic Weddin Community Native Nursery which we did on Friday 14th August. It was great to see the enthusiastic volunteers in action at the nursery and purchase a few lovely local plants for the garden while I was there. They do wonderful work at the nursery growing and preserving local species for the rest of us to enjoy. The Allocasuarina diminuta seeds have now been planted and the nursery has promised me they will call as soon as the seeds germinate. Can’t wait!!!

Weddin Community Nursery Volunteers taking on the responsibility of growing out our special trees for the Glossy Black Cockatoos.

Threatened Brown Treecreeper utilises Parrot nest box

We are pretty excited to report that while performing recent nest box monitoring with Kangarooby Catchment Landcare we discovered a Brown Treecreeper nesting with three eggs in one of our purpose built Red Rump Parrot nest boxes.

The Brown Treecreeper is an exciting species to find using a nest box. It is a threatened species and listed as vulnerable in NSW. The population density of this species has been greatly reduced over much of it’s range with major declines in remnant vegetation fragments less than 300Ha. It is found in Eucalypt Woodlands (including Box Gum Grassy Woodlands) Hopefully our current Box gum Grassy Woodland project will also help this species in the future.

Check out their eggs 🙂 They look big in the picture but are only 22.6 by 17.9mm. Eggs take 27 days to hatch so hopefully soon there will be some young in the nest. They prefer to nest in hollows of standing dead or alive trees.

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If you would like to find more out about Brown Treecreepers click here  Thanks to Jayden Gunn for letting us use his photograph of a Brown Treecreeper taken around Cowra.

Growing the Grazing Revolution to continue 2020 to 2022

We are excited to let you all know that our regions ‘Growing the Grazing Revolution’ project has received funding from the latest round of the Federal Governments ‘Smart Farms Small Grants’ program. This secures the project for a further 2 years until June 2022.

‘Growing the Grazing Revolution’ began in 2010 with a small group of Mid Lachlan Landcare members who were committed to actively support landholder adoption of sustainable and regenerative grazing management practices.

Since then it has grown to a large group of 120 landholders that belong to one of seven cluster groups and a further 264 landholders that are part of a wider network that receive varying levels of support.

In recent years we have received many enquires from other Landcare groups about setting up a similar project in their regions and have assisted Upper Lachlan Landcare and Boorowa Community Landcare to set up successful grazing groups which is fantastic.

A portion of the funding received is to enable us to build a simple toolkit that we can use with other groups interested in setting up similar projects.

A large part of this projects success and longevity is due to the support, oversight and direction coming from our Growing the Grazing Revolution board. This board contains local practitioners who have shared much of their experience with staff and participants over the last 10 years.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the board plus everyone who has been involved and continues to support this project. The team are so looking forward to seeing what this next 2 years brings.

If you are interested in becoming involved in this project or you are part of a Landcare group looking to run a similar project that supports your local landholders please contact: –

Scott Hickman    ph. 0427 450 416             email- oatleigh@westnet.com.au

Peter Davis         ph. 0408 643 122             email- pkdavis66@outlook.com

For general enquiries contact midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com

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Have you seen these Dung Beetles on your farm?

As part of our new Dung Beetle project we have been talking with Bernard Doube of Dung Beetle Solutions International. We are going to focus on a winter active dung beetle that they are trying to get established in this region and we need your help.

These beetles are called Bubas bison and they are pretty amazing. They work during the winter and if you are lucky enough to have them they will bury dung 40-60cm down.  Where this beetle is plentiful they can bury a dung pad in a couple of days. Imagine the benefits these little guys can do for your soil and paddocks!!

How can you help? It would be fantastic if you could check your cattle, horse or soft sheep dung for the below signs of activity.

Snap a picture and then contact us at midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com We can then have a chat about what you can do next to confirm if you do have these particular beetles. Below are a couple of pictures we took of a Bubas bison found near Gooloogong.

Remember these guys are winter active so the time to find them is now. Come spring we can see what other varieties are found around the area.

Healthy Horses Healthy Landscapes Afternoon Saturday 25th July

Click here to view field day flyer – 25th July 2020

Why Scattered Paddock Trees?

Why plant scattered paddock trees?

With the recent fantastic response to our community tree guard mesh purchase we thought we’d ask some of our members, who have been putting in these trees over the last few years, why they do it.

Hugh & Jess (Cargo)

“We were highly motivated to plant scattered paddock trees because we could see a number of our existing and mature eucalypts dying and others showing signs of ill health due to the drought and to ongoing farming pressure.  We see established and mature trees as one of the most valuable resources on our property, they deliver benefits to our agricultural production systems, to the natural environment and to the wildlife to which they feed and provide nesting habitat. In addition they add value and beauty to our farm. Recognising that growing mature paddock trees is a long game we approached Mid Lachlan Landcare to seek some advice and got started. We’ve found that watching our trees grow and thrive has been very rewarding, we’re excited to observe our farm landscape changing and plan further scattered paddock tree plantings on a yearly basis across our property.”

Wendy (Canowindra)

“Our paddock trees aren’t getting any younger in fact most of them are senior citizens.  They are so important for connectivity and biodiversity as well as shade for stock in a world that is getting hotter.  There is no time to waste, get planting.”

Bron & Andrew (Canowindra)

“Andrew & I  first planted some scattered trees back in 2016, when we got some funding for through Mid Lachlan Landcare. We are about to take the guards off these & be able to reuse the guards for more plantings. We found that planting scattered trees gives you the ability to plant them where you want without a lot of fencing .

The trees we have planted provide a connectivity for wildlife with other areas, not just on our farm but further afield & the trees also will give shade for the future.

We have continued on with these plantings since 2016 & will continue to do so.”

Guy (Woodstock)

“The bare paddocks in the distance prevent the passage of any wildlife apart from large birds and large mammals from moving across the landscape. The planted trees in the foreground attract a diversity of species that aid in sustainability and support production. Were planting individual paddock trees on all our properties as it’s win/win for us.”

 These trees have had the guards removed now for use elsewhere

We also want to thank the ‘Saving our Species – Saving our Superb Parrot’ project for providing some funding for our community mesh purchase which has allowed everyone to recieve a further discount to help get trees into our local paddocks.

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Update : Box Gum Grassy Woodland Project

Mid Lachlan Landcare are happy to report that the sites for year one of the ‘White Box, Yellow Box, Blakely’s Red Gum Habitat on Farm’ project have been selected by the board and contracts have gone out 🙂 A couple of the projects have almost been completed already as well.

This is such a great project to be involved with. Some of the on gound works this year include :- direct seeding native understory species within remnant woodland patches, fencing of remnant areas to allow more strategic grazing and enhance the areas, scattered paddock tree connectivity planting, installation of Squirrel Glider nest boxes, guarding of young naturally regenerated seedlings, targeted weed control, and strategic planting of understory and/or canopy trees.

This project is being funded through the ‘Saving our Species’ program by the NSW Government. If you are interested in finding out more about the project, please contact us. We will begin assessing sites from July onwards for next year’s funding which can be up to $4000 to support on ground works to ensure the threatened White Box, Yellow Box, Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland survives in our region. You can also find out more information here

The included picture is of one of the remnant woodland sites that has received project funding. A gorgeous patch that regularly has Superb Parrots nesting and visiting. (Note: – photo taken in February before we had any of the recent lovely rains)

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What’s in your Backyard?

Recent trips around the farm and in the backyard at Gooloogong have revealed some amazing things that I would not usually take notice of. During this time of social distancing, having the time to wander around, is a great way to reconnect with nature. Even if you only have a small yard you can find something interesting.

Take the featured image for instance. These were coming up in the garden!!! What on earth were they? Animal, vegetable, mineral? No idea!! I managed to then waste plenty of time on google and facebook groups trying to work out what they were. Have you ever seen these?

It turns out these are call Birds Nest fungi  and the fruiting bodies are said to resemble ‘tiny egg-filled birds nests’ Further research revealed that raindrops falling into the cup dislodge the little eggs and send them hurtling away where they stick to a surface and that’s how they spread. Wow!!!

They are not edible for humans and their jobs is to decompose organic matter. They are often found in mulches.

If you’re running out of things to do at home I challenge you to go outside (maybe with the children 🙂 and find something you have never noticed before and see if you can work it out. Mid Lachlan Landcare can help to point you in directions where you might be able to get an identification.

In the meantime check out some of the other things found around here recently.

Some of these I still need to research.

Happy Easter and Happy searching everyone.