What do dwarf galaxias, orchids and woodland birds have in common?

23 Jul 2016 What do dwarf galaxias, orchids and woodland birds have in common?

They’re a few of the fascinating things to be found at our Maam Water Reserve project site, just out of Warrnambool!

Dwarf galaxias (Galaxiella pusillla) - image by Michael Hammer

Dwarf galaxias (Galaxiella pusillla) (image: M. Hammer)

Things have been steadily ticking along over the last few months at this small wetland reserve in Allansford. Earlier in the year, NGT’s Lachie Farrington and Lauren Veale conducted a small aquatic survey in the permanent wetland and discovered a busy world under the surface, finding the threatened dwarf galaxia (Galaxiella pusilla),  southern pygmy perch (Nannoperca australis) and long neck turtles (Chelodina longicollis) amongst other aquatic life.

The wetland supports very high quality aquatic vegetation and water year-round which makes it an oasis for birds and aquatic species. That said, it’s still a nice surprise to find these tiny native fish, and it highlights that even small, peri-urban reserves such as Maam (7 hectares) can be valuable refuges for our native species.

As for our target species the basalt leek-orchid (Prasophyllum viretrum), solid winter rains are soaking the ground and we’re hoping that after a dry spell last year, this could be a good summer for the orchid. But we’ll just have to wait and see! In the meantime, we’ve been busy dealing with invasive Yorkshire fog and phalaris that threaten the orchid habitat, as well as weedy wattles and Melaleucas, and keeping up discussions about the future of the reserve and its threatened species.

Maam Reserve event June 2016

Kevin Sparrow helping with flora ID at the launch of the Maam Biolink (image: J. Bowe)

Maam  Biolink

A few weeks back, the Warnambool Coastcare Landcare Group (WCLG) and the Warrnambool council held a field day at Maam Reserve to launch a bio-link initiative that includes the reserve. The aim is to create north to south habitat linkages in the Warnnambool municipality and increase movement of native fauna, including small woodland birds.

It was a great day out with some rare sunshine, and thanks to Jackie Bowe from Warnnambool City Council and Bruce Campbell and Lachie Farrington from WCLG for organising the day, and to Kevin Sparrow from the Warrnambool Society for Growing Australian Plants for his local flora knowledge. If you live in the area and are interested in seeing how you can be part of the project, contact Jackie on 0431 655 235 or .

It’s fantastic to have such a unique and diverse site on the doorstep of Warnnambool, and we hope to be able to show it off later in the year when the grassland flowers are out.

 

Maam Reserve wetland back in March

Maam Reserve wetland back in March – a dry weather refuge (image: J. Tuck)

Maam Reserve wetland June 2016

…and starting to grow again in June after good early-winter rains (image: J. Bowe)

Jonathan Tuck
Jonathan Tuck
jonathan.tuck@natureglenelg.org.au