Friday, 27 August 2010

Floating Islands Reserve

Whenever we travelled to Melbourne when I was a kid dad would stop half way for a break at Floating Islands Reserve in Stony Rises near Colac. It's about an hour west of Geelong.

The islands in the little lake really did float, blown around by the wind. They weren't small either - they had trees growing on them. The theory is that in 1952, a very wet year, the lake filled and some peat detached from the bottom of the swamp. The reserve still exists but the islands no longer float because the lake dried out. The trees have now rooted into the lake bed.

The Stony Rises is an area of basalt rocks and swamps that was a lava flow in the recent past and, in parts, the original vegetation remains because it was so difficult to clear and farm. The flora in Floating Islands Reserve is relatively intact with an overstory of Eucalytus viminalis and Acacia melanoxylon.

This week we set up fifty mammal traps to see what what living there or, to be honest, I should say Trevor set up the Elliott Traps. He has the licence and the expertise. First he mixed up a mess of oatmeal, peanut butter and Golden Syrup and rolled it into small balls. One ball was placed in each trap along with a crumpled sheet of paper towel to provide shelter. Each trap was placed in a likely spot roughly ten metres apart along a transept.

This morning we checked the traps - and found one house mouse, and one Dusky Antechinus. The latter was a female with young in her pouch which Trevor said was right and proper because the males all died a month or so ago after exhausting themselves during frenetic sexual activity and fighting. She was weighed, measured and released. Tomorrow morning we check the traps again.

1 comment:

Gouldiae said...

Lovely looking spot Boobook. Great work.