Perfect winter weather accompanied our group of 47 visitors to the Strathbogie Forest on Sunday. We came to see and pay respect to some of the grand old trees that still stand in this forest.
Two giants at the Messmate picnic area on Barjarg Rd are a continuing source of inspiration for visitors. These are perhaps the two biggest, oldest Messmate eucalypts (Eucalyptus obliqua) left in the entire Strathbogie Ranges. [Click an image to open the slide show.]
The Mountain Gum (E. dalrympleana) is another giant tree of this high elevation mixed species forest. Usually with smooth, white/pale bark from trunk to upper branches and like the messmate, it grows tall and big enough to provide nest-hollows for forest owls and Greater Gliders. Such trees are now rare and getting rarer in this forest. They take hundreds of years to grow and because of the history of logging and fuel reduction burning, numbers are dwindling.
We walked to a ridge above Ferraris Rd, on the slopes below Mt Strathbogie, where stands a gnarled Mountain Gum that surely predates the founding of Melbourne in 1835.
A few days beforehand, we found the pictured Tuan, or Brush-tailed Phascogale, roadkilled on a country road not far from the forest. These gorgeous little carnivorous marsupials occur in forest and along roadsides across the Strathbogie Ranges. Unfortunately, Tuan populations along roadsides suffer significant road trauma, particularly at this time of year, the breeding season, when these animals are particularly active. They are very rarely seen in the forest, being strictly nocturnal and moving quickly and quietly through the undergrowth or climbing in the trees searching for a meal.
This activity was part of the Strathbogie Ranges CMN Citizen Science Project and was funded with the supported by the Victorian Government.