Monthly Archives: March 2018

Planned burns scheduled for March 29 – POSTPONED

UPDATE (28/3 15:24): Planned burns have been postponed due to too much moisture in the soil.

Burns may go ahead on April 3 instead.

 

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) has scheduled two planned burns near North Warrandyte and Eltham tomorrow, March 29.

There will be a 5.5 hectare burn near Laughing Waters Road and a 15.5 hectare burn near Overbank Road.

FFMVic Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Dan White said: “These burns are an important part of our planned burn program and will reduce fuel loads in the area.

“Smoke may be visible in Eltham, North Warrandyte, Templestowe and Warrandyte.

“We aim to reduce the impact of smoke on communities from planned burning and continue to invest in new technologies and systems to help us better understand the dispersion of smoke.”

Clearning, slashing and planned burns are an important part of managing fuel and reducing the risk of bushfire to communities in bushfire zones.

But, as Mr White explains, weather is an important factor when authorities are preparing for a planned burn.

“We work closely with the Bureau of Meteorology to assess weather conditions – such as humidity, temperature and wind speed — and will only carry out burns when conditions are suitable.

“Until the recent rainfall it had been too dry to conduct these burns,” he said.

If the weather conditions remain favourable, the planned burns will commence around 10am Thursday morning, but if the conditions change the planned burns could be postponed or cancelled.

The Diary will stay across this and provide an update if anything changes.

Warrandyte Bridge closure POSTPONED

URGENT UPDATE

The Diary has just been informed that the schedule weekend closure of the Warrandyte Bridge IS NOT going ahead.

In an email sent to the VicRoads project team and the emergency services, VEC, the engineering team have requested more time to prepare the beams which they were going to installed this weekend:

Hi all

The planned closure of the Warrandyte Bridge this weekend has been postponed.The works and closure of Warrandyte Bridge to install beams will not go ahead as originally planned from 10pm Friday 23rd March – 5am Monday 26th March. We will advise of the rescheduled date for the closure asap.

VEC Civil Engineering, the contractor, has requested more time to prepare to install the beams which VicRoads has granted.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

The Diary has spoken to VicRoads media who cannot, at this time, confirm if any work is going ahead this weekend.

VicRoads are yet to set a new date for the full bridge closure, but the Diary will keep you informed on any further developments.

Saturday’s Festival program cancelled

Due to the SEVERE Fire Danger rating and a Total Fire Ban in place, the SATURDAY program for the Warrandyte Festival has been cancelled.

The Warrandyte Festival Committee have released the following statement.

It is with regret that the Warrandyte Festival Committee has decided, in accordance with our Cancellation Policy, to cancel all festival activities and performances for Saturday 17th March.

This decision was made in consultation with the CFA, Victoria Police, the SES and Manningham Council.

Prior to this decision, the Victorian Education Department had already issued a directive prohibiting local government schools from participating on the Saturday.

Our decision is not taken lightly, but community safety is our priority.

All Friday evening and Sunday activities and performances will proceed as per the published programme.

Thank you for your understanding, and please stay safe.

The Warrandyte Diary is across all Warrandyte Festival updates and will post here and on our Facebook page if there are any further changes to this plan.

Information on the current and Fire Danger ratings and when and where Total Fire Bans are in place can be found here.

Warrandyte runs around the Pound

THE FIRST WEEKEND in March was once again a busy one as over 600 people flocked to Warrandyte Reserve for the eighth iteration of the community running event to either run or volunteer.

A little rain overnight kept the morning temperatures down which was a welcome relief to most who would have been training in the weeks leading up to the run where average temperatures were around the high 20s–low 30s.

This year, the run organisers managed to negotiate a tweak to the existing courses which made the run both easier to manage and a more challenging run.

For the 2.2K runners, this meant they only had to run one lap, instead of two as in previous years but saw them climbing all the way up Everard Drive and Pound Road, alongside the 5, 10 and 15K runners.

For the longer distances the course still looped through the Pound but thanks to the cooperation of Parks Victoria and property owner Jan Day, runners passed through her property after exiting the Tank Track and joined the bushland trail which follows the river between the Ranger Station and the Tunnel carpark.

Despite what was viewed by the run committee as a more trail-like and technically challenging course, and the fact that each lap of the longer runs were around 150 metres longer than five kilometres, the feedback on the finish line and around the event village was extremely positive.

David Dyason, chair of the Run Warrandyte committee spoke to the Diary about the success of the event.

“This year’s course was highly acclaimed by all participants, we have received many compliments and no negative feedback… one participant made us promise not to change the course next year ‘it was so good…’ which we have had to do for various reasons in the past,” he said.

Warrandytian Brynton Ashton placed in the top three of the 15K distance since it was introduced in 2016.

Brynton once again dominated the longer distance finishing 1:25 ahead of 2nd place Alex Tracey and despite the tougher course, only 29 seconds slower than the previous year.

After the race, Brynton spoke with guest commentator and Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith.

When asked how he was feeling Brynton said his legs were “a bit sore given the new course” but that it was overall an enjoyable run.

The buzz around the event village after the run was great with numerous medal ceremonies taking place, Run Warrandyte also had a number of runners running for charitable causes, both local and afar.

The event’s official fund raising page gave participants the opportunity to raise money for organisations including the Warrandyte Netball Club, Warrandyte Football Club, Warrandyte Junior Football Club, Warrandyte Cricket Club, Warrandyte CFA, STOP One Punch Can Kill, and Rivers Gift(SIDS).

Through the event, runners managed to raise over $2700, cementing Run Warrandyte as a great platform to inspire people to raise money for a good cause.

Mr Dyason went on to talk about the unique opportunity a fun run in Warrandyte presents and praised Parks Victoria for their assistance in making the course run a possibility.

“We think that, for a fun run, our course is truly unique.

“The mix of urban streets, fire trails and State Park single trails, with much of it having Yarra River views we think it’s an awesome treat.

“Parks Victoria are to be commended for working with us and allowing us to use these trails and we feel the responsibility of ensuring this section of Warrandyte bushland is respected and appreciated by our participants — and we think it was.”

If you ran on the day, make sure you visit the event page on GeoSnapShot for official race photographs.

Run Warrandyte will be back in 2019.

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Medals were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in an Under 8, 12-17 and Open categories for most distances, medal winning runners and their official times are listed below.

Spelling of names and official times sourced from Tomato Timing.

15K

Open Male: Brynton Ashton (1:02:50), Alex Tracey (1:04:15), Marcus Boxall (1:06:36)

Open Female: Narelle Cormack (1:08:41), Melissa Hansford (1:11:16), Eloise Thompson (1:13:53)

12–17 Male: Brown Vermeulen (1:18:10), Nicholas Alexander (1:23:22), Brown Vermeulen (1:27:56)

12–17 Female: Alicia Callahan (1:18:46)

10K

Open Male: Aron Class (41:12), Ben McKinnon (44:13), Robert Clark (48:01)

Open Female: Naomi Peters (52:15), Clare Oliveira (52:18), Atsuko Sasaki (52:48)

12–17 Male: Benjamin Reid (43:04), Max Savill-Bentley (43:36), Lucas Todd (1:09:26)

8–11 Male: Cambell Stark (54:33)

5K

Open Male: Nicholas Brooke-Anderson (20:04), Hudson Rostrom (21:42), Michael Cullum (21.49)

Open Female: Sherry Street (22.40), Veronica Bence (24.56), Nicole Lavender (25:35)

12–17 Male: Ben Munks (22:28), Adam Gillard (23:10), Jed Harrowell (23:19)

12–17 Female: Ruby Maher (22:30), Chloe Woollard (24:55), Julia Rooney-Watson (27:43)

8–11 Male: Lenny Reddaway (25:55), Wes Callow (26:36), Michell Harrison (27:23)

8–11 Female: Anni Tatten (27:19), Rose Rostron (29:21), Millie Hurley (30:03)

U8 Male: Hamish Dwyer (28:10), Archie Andrew (28:39), Ethan Sampimon (30:08)

U8 Female: Sophia Marelas (43:51), Jade Trewarn (1:14:29)

2.2K

Open Male: Luke Brewis (8:18), Charles Johnstone (8:55), Martin Baldock (10:32)

Open Female: Alice Van Rijn (11:44), Yvette Harbinson (12:01), Lynda Madams (13:03)

12–17 Male: Samuel Ferguson (9:34), Odin Harbinson (10:05), Dylan Thompson (11:00)

12–17 Female: Amber Louw (8:21), Cassie May (10:50), Stella Thompson (26:17)

8–11 Male: Jacob Close (9:30), Elliot Butcher (9:37), Reve Pearce (10:26)

8–11 Female: Eva Graham (11:26), Jasmine Knowles (11:41), Zara Veal (12:38)

U8 Male: Taylor Aldenhoven (11:24), Hunter Veal (11:38), Marlon Damcher (11:44)

U8 Female: Chole Baldock (10:31), Millah Townshend (14:05), Greta Fitzgibbon (15:07)

U8s Kids Run

Open: Sophie Linden (18.54), Xavier Forsyth (19.38), Austin Stainer (19.59)

It’s a jungle in the garden

Caught in the act

IT WAS JUST on dusk.

The male blue banded bees were erratically flying near the stems where they usually roost.

They should have begun to settle by now.

Only one or two had settled near the end of a stem that seemed to have an unusual bit of bright green foliage further down the stem.

This foliage was swaying and it was not from the wind.

I realised I was seeing an adult false garden mantis, usually enchanting to me, but this one was preying on one of my male blue banded bees.

Was I ever torn!

Should I take photos and let nature take its course, or save my special bees?

Perhaps as a compromise I took a quick photo then gently grasped the mantis and removed it from the area to discourage it from becoming a serial bee killer.

I felt a bit guilty that I caused it to drop the bee in its grasp which was already dead.

I guess a mantis has to eat too.

Philosophically, I might think that near the end of the season for blue banded bees most of the females may already have mated.

So perhaps one could say that the males had served their life purpose and that feeding a mantis could be their last remaining service.

Just two days ago I was marvelling at the lovely sight of the roosting blue banded bees.

I photographed them quickly before the sun touched them with a magic wake up call.

They were like a string of precious beads to me.

I had seen scattered ones earlier in the season but on this day I counted 17.

Each used its yellow jaws to clasp an arching dried stem where it would spend the night.

Their wings and hair on their bodies appeared undamaged so I assumed they had recently emerged from their nests.

Near the same spot last season, I first watched males jostling for the best roosting position in my garden.

That year I never counted more than nine.

I believe the population is growing as my pollinator garden develops.

Females must be nesting nearby but so far I have searched for their nesting burrows in vain.

If anyone in the greater Warrandyte region has discovered the female blue banded bees’ nests on their patch, please tell me.

My first leaf-cutting bee

Before I leave the topic of native bees I want to announce I have at least one leaf-cutting bee species in my garden.

This one is almost as large and its buzz is nearly as loud as the blue banded bees.

It is unlikely to use my bee posts where, closely related, the resin bees are quite at home.

I now search the broad-leaf plants in my garden for the perfect circle these bees cut out to line the cells of their nests.

Of course this may be occurring in my neighbours’ gardens.

Rose bushes, not found in my garden are a favourite.

However, they must have used indigenous plants in the past.

So far, my photos of them aren’t good enough for the Diary.

Finding the nests and getting better photos are my next challenge.

Caught in the act number two

“What is this very colourful bug on my eucalyptus tree?”

I’m often asked this time of year.

Hearing, “It is yellow-orange with blue diamonds on its back”, I suspect a juvenile of the aptly named eucalyptus tip wilter bug, amorbus species, as seen in my photo.

The adult in the next photo is larger with impressive looking hind legs but a rather drab brown by comparison.

Many are in my garden but little harm has been done.

Yellow-spotted epicoma moth

These notodontid moth caterpillars are very hairy and may be processionary as they move from one place to another.

Their hairs can cause a painful allergic reaction in people.

The larvae feed on the foliage of casuarina, eucalyptus, leptospermum and melaleuca species.

They are dark grey and hairy, but the head capsule is white with red sides bordered with black.

Pupation takes place in a sparse elliptical cocoon amongst the leaves or leaf litter of the food plant.

Some of the irritating hairs are attached to the pupal case.

The adults are frequently seen in summer to early autumn around Melbourne.

The month ahead

Until we have good rain, remember to leave drinking water at ground level for a range of small animals as well as keeping the birdbaths clean and full.

Honey bees may also visit but native bees get the liquid they need from nectar.

March is still a good month to watch for interesting insects including butterflies.

Let us know what you observe in your area.