This month I want to talk about Fairyland Nature Reserve. Most ANGAIR members will know it, as it is a good-sized area (9 ha) right in the middle of Anglesea, managed by the Surf Coast Shire.

fairylandFairyland nature reserve

We have had several working bees there to control weeds. It’s had a bit of a mixed history, starting with the construction of the rock retaining wall along the Anglesea River bank—this would naturally have been gradually sloping swampy land. Wouldn’t it be nice to remove it and the gravel path, and replace them with a boardwalk through natural vegetation? Then with the development of residential areas to the east, a drainage pipeline and open channel were installed. The pipeline has grown over again, but the channel and access track are clearly visible in the aerial photo. Surface run-off from the east and the caravan park to the south are impacting the saltmarsh areas, diluting the saline waters, to the detriment of halophilic plants. Spoil from building sites around town was dumped (clearly visible on the northern boundary) to raise the soil level.

ANGAIR has recently received a Wild Otways grant (read article) to revegetate this area. Our propagation group will grow over 2000 plants for it. Finally, and very recently, a significant area has been damaged (‘mechanically treated’ for fire protection).

But enough of the doom and gloom—Fairyland is still an important and delightful reserve. It contains significant Coastal Moonah Woodland (a threatened community), and the saltmarsh areas have recently been declared as endangered.

blindcreekBlind Creek saltmarsh

Individual species too are on various lists: the Salt lawrencia, Lawrencia spicata, Rufous Bristlebird, Dasyornis broadbenti, Swamp Antechinus, Antechinus minimus, and Latham’s Snipe, Gallinago hardwickii.

There are other interesting sightings: one of only four records in Victoria of Entoloma brevispermum, the only record from the Surf Coast of Geastrum floriforme (both fungi) and six species of bats.

fairyland2

Altogether, over 270 species have been recorded there. How about going looking in spring for Pink Fairy orchids, Caladenia latifolia, in Fairyland Nature Reserve?

Neil Tucker

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