TASMANIAN FIELD NATURALISTS
Editor : Don Hird. (email firstname.lastname@example.org )
Bulletin No. 302
(quarterly) April 2001
The Tasmanian Field Naturalists'
Club encourages the study of natural history and supports conservation.
We issue our journal The Tasmanian Naturalist annually in October.
People with a range of ages, background and knowledge are welcome as members.
Contact Genevieve Gates (6227
8638) for further information or GPO Box 68, Hobart, 7001.
General Meetings start at 7.45 p.m.
on the first Thursday of the month, in the Life Science Building at the
University of Tasmania. Outings are usually held the following weekend,
meeting outside the to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery entrance in
Macquarie Street. Bring lunch and all-weather outdoor gear.
If you are planning to attend an
outing but have not been to the prior meeting, phone to check as to the
timing of the excursion (with Genevieve Gates; 62 278 638 or Don Hird;
62 344 293). Unforeseen changes sometimes occur.
Thurs. 3May. 7.45p.m.: Jenny
Whinnam from Parks and Wildlife will speak on Sphagnum Bogs and their ecology.
Sun 6 May Excurs. Meet at The Museum
at 9.00 a.m. from where we will travel to Mt Field where not only the sphagnum
but also the Fagus and berries will be close to their peak. Outdoor
clothing and footwear for all conditions are necessary.
Thurs. 7 June Maria Novy and her
husband Richard will talk on 'Caring for Reptiles' with real-live demonstrations
of this subject and film of the birth of Bluetongue Lizards.
Sat 9 June Excurs. 10.00 a.m.:
Two possibilities, details TBA. We will either visit Tas. Museum
and Art Gallery for a demonstration and practical session on knapping,
the art of creating stone artefacts from chunks of suitable stone.
Kim Ackerman, curator of antropology, will demonstrate this technology
which has been of such importance in human history. Alternatively,
we will visit the exciting but often hidden world of the microscopical
at Tas Uni. Both of these excursions are planned for the near future,
the actual one for June will depend on availability of personnel and venue
to be advised.
Thurs. 5 July. 7.45p.m.: A
talk entitled "Cockles and Mussels" will be delivered by Dr Tim McManus.
Sunday 8 July. 10.00 a.m.: MICROSCOPY
: This will be an indoor practical demonstration of the wonderful world
at the microbial level. Displays will include diagnostic spores of
fungi, planktonic animals and plants, and other curios. Bring your
own specimens if you wish. Meet at 10.15 a.m. at Life Sciences at
Uni or at 10a.m. at the Museum.
NEWSFLASH : Our latest publication;
Beetles of Tasmania, A Field Naturalist's Guide is at the printers
and will be officially launched by Dr Peter McQuillan on Friday June
the 20th in the Zoology Gallery of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
at 5.30 p.m. All members are invited; wine and cheese will be served.
SGAP Flower Show October 2001.
The time for this bienniel event is again close, volunteer
now. This years theme is Gondwana. We aim to provide a small
exhibition of our activities and specimens.
Year 2001 Committee
FEDERATION WEEKEND 16-18 MAR
|President Genevieve Gates
||Vice President Kevin Bonham
|Treasurer Anna McEldowney
||Secretary Julia Scott
|Bulletin Editor Don Hird
||Walks & Talks Amanda Thomson
|Naturalist Editor Owen Seeman
||Librarian Janet Fenton
|General Cttee Tom Terry
||General Cttee Les Rubenach
As we were interested in checking some areas for fungi
and snails, David, Genevieve and I missed some of the official program
at the recent Federation outing. We did get to see a live snake display
(starring a large but very placid reptile called Bruce), and a talk on
Tamar Valley landcare, and Genevieve led a microscopy session focussed
mainly on fungi. The Federation meeting was short with no business
except club reports. Among these, the Scamander flora reserve is
close to a major expansion, the Launceston club will be hosting an Australian
Naturalists Network conference with extended outings to the east and west
coasts next year, and the King Island club noted local concerns about the
management of the recent Lavinia Nature Reserve fire.
My most successful snail site on the weekend was Notley
Gorge where I found 13 species including some not previously recorded from
the Gorge. The most surprising of these was the uncommon Thryasona
marchianae. I also found Pernagera kingstonensis in the
Gorge, making this only the second locality in the state (St Columba Falls
is the other) where P. kingstonensis and its dry-forest relative
officeri have been found together. Another interesting
snail find was a striking albino form of Planilaoma luckmanii, which
may have been responsible for false records of the Cataract Gorge snail
jungermanniae from Notley Gorge in the past. The other sites
we surveyed did not have as many snails, but I did find the undescribed
Skemps snail (a listed rare species) at Lilydale Falls. This was
the second specimen which I have found there.
Bruny Island Trip 6/7/8 April 2001-04-10
report by Anna McEldowney
Those of you who like abalone will be sorry you missed
the trip to Bruny Island this month! When Genevieve, Mark and I arrived
at the Forestry house at Adventure Bay late on Friday night we were greeted
by Don cooking abalone freshly caught in the bay.
David, Gilbert and John arrived next morning by the early
ferry and we set off for Mt Mangana. The rainforest is very interesting
and exists as an understorey to the eucalypts. It had obviously suffered
in the drought this last summer with the most affected species appearing
to be the young celery top pines. In true Field Nats style it took us about
4 hours to reach the summit- Kevin found the hunting to be successful
and recent rains had brought the fungi out including some fine Agaricus
we collected for dinner. Echidnas had been digging alongside the track
and although the day was very warm the only snake seen was a very small
whip snake. There were not a lot of birds about, even in the more open
parts of the forest. From the summit the views would have been splendid
if it wasn't for all the smoke from the regeneration burns but it was a
chance to have lunch and for Luis to have a nap! Having looked at everything
on the way up it only took us 25 minutes to get back to the vehicles!
We had arranged to meet Tonia Cochran at her property
"Inala" between Lunawanna and Cloudy Bay. Tonia runs an ecotourism business
(Inala) based on the birdlife, orchids and interesting plant communities
on her property and she includes tours of Bruny Island and the rest of
Tasmania according to the interests of her visitors. "Inala" is home to
about 70 forty- spotted pardalotes and is a nesting site for swift parrots.
It is fast becoming a desirable destination for bird watchers from all
over the world. Tonia took us for a walk over her property and we were
able to see where she is replanting the E. viminalis which is the
preferred tree of the pardalotes and fencing areas of the farm to make
them exclusively wildlife habitats.
More abalone for tea that night before we were reminded
about the realities of life in the country when the water tanks ran dry-
it was a good thing there were only nine of us staying in the house.
Sunday morning saw us running the gauntlet of the leeches
on the Mavista falls track in search of fungi and birds then it was out
to Fluted Cape before the cold change made some of us wish we hadn't worn
our shorts. It was still too dry for any fungi along the coast track
and we were mindful of David Leaman's warnings about edges of cliffs suddenly
collapsing as Luis, Patrick and Mark played games of brinkmanship.
With excellent timing the rain was just beginning to
set in as we boarded the ferry.....
Footnote: The "egg" of the starfish fungus Aseroe
rubra "hatched" when I got it home and fully expanded in about an hour.
While it is very beautiful it is not a good thing to have in the kitchen
as it has the smell of a teenage boy's socks!
SNAILS OF BRUNY ISLAND
Bruny Island has a rich native land snail fauna.
On the club's trip there I increased the number of species known from Bruny
from 25 to 30, and more will probably be found once North Bruny receives
more attention. The deep mixed forest leaf litter, moist mossy conditions
and abundant dolerite boulders on Mt Mangana in particular are ideal for
snails, and I found a massive 14 species during our walk there. These
included Prolesophanta sp. "Francistown", a tiny glossy yellow and
red striped snail which was previously known only from the area between
Dover, Rescherche Bay and Precipitous Bluff. The Fluted Cape walk,
featuring dry forests more reminiscent of Mt Nelson than the rest of South
Bruny, also yielded some surprises. Along the clifftops I found Pedicamista
"Southport", which is known from only a few coastal localities and has
not been recorded so high above the sea before. Walking down off
the Cape through sedgy forests I rolled several dozen rocks without finding
any snails, until one revealed Pernagera tasmaniae, a species more
at home in very wet forests and surprisingly unrecorded from the island
before. In general, South Bruny's snail fauna seems most similar
to that of far southern Tasmania, rather than the Cygnet and North Bruny
Obituary for Marcus Hurburgh, contributed by Len and
The Tasmanian Naturalist in October 1926 recorded in
the Annual Report "One aspect to which it is desired to draw attention
is the increase in membership as regards juniors. A large number
of boys from the Hutchins School have joined the club, and under the guidance
of Mr Norman Walker are taking a keen interest in natural history
the interest aroused in early life may be of great benefit in future years."
In the October 1927 Naturalist the annual report recorded
that lecturettes had been given by seven of these boys, two of which were
On a trip to Dodges Ferry, by Alan Hewer, and
On the Friendliness of Wrens, by Marcus Hurburg(h).
We are still today indebted to Mr Norman Walker for encouraging
these two valuable members who gave so much to our club.
After the war Marcus and Isa took a keen interest
in the affairs of the club, attending meetings outings and camps with their
children Heather , Pam and David, Marcus also served for a term as president.
This interest remained with him, as he and Isa attended
meetings until recent months, and he nearly always had interesting questions
for the speaker.
Marcus died on December 19th 2000. We give thanks
for his life and may the memories of his full life help Isa and her family
in this time of sorrow.
Don Hird email@example.com
see also our website http://www.tased.edu.au/tasonline/tasfield/conserv/
Two different but related notes, each on the public face
of conservation. First, recently I met some young people collecting
donations to Greanpeace at Salamance Place. On enquiry they assured
me that Greanpeace is active in local issues, but, as they had recently
arrived from overseas, they were unable to provide details of these activities.
I had previously seen work of this sort advertised by Greenpeace, no knowledge
of or commitment to conservation required, just skills in presentation
and fundraising. This reminded me of a Greenpeace activity two years
ago where they heavily criticised CCAMLR (the Commission for the Conservation
of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) for its supposedly inadequate control
of Antarctic commercial fisheries. To me the control initiatives
seemed at least a step in the right direction, but when I looked behind
the headlines on the Greenpeace internet site there was no justification
for or explanation of its stand. Both of these indicate to me the
superficiality of some conservation groups, we need critical analysis of
many environmental issues but there is a substantial risk that fundraising
and related attention-seeking mar the likelihood of constructive outcomes.
Secondly, in January I ascended the magnificent Mt Picton
from the Picton Valley. As well as being an interesting place in
itself, Mt Picton provides a fine viewing platform. Part of this
view, however, is the large-scale logging coups of the Picton Valley, some
of them in areas excised from the Hartz Mountains National Park specifically
for logging. Having seen a spotted-tailed quoll in the rainforest
on the walking track and a potoroo at the nearby Reuben Falls, and with
my general interest in marsupial ecology, I later checked the Tasmanian
fauna database for mammal records. None were evident for that large
and often heavily impacted area. Regeneration of such logging coups
usually involves use of the 1080 mammal poison, targetted at browsing and
grazing marsupials, but with the inherent potential to kill greater numbers
of non-target protected species ("collateral damage"). This is a
topic which is inadequately discussed, including with recent Sunday tabloid
newspaper reports. There is almost no evidence for the precautionary
principle being applied to mitigate this collateral damage, especially
in conservation review documents like the State of Environment Report or
in the Regional Forest Agreement documents. There are some erroneous
rhetorical claims against 1080 but these dont excuse the official silence
Lastly, having dealt out some criticism myself, as editor
I am willing to consider publishing responses a discussion we all deserve.