RESOURCES AND BASIC GUIDING PRINCIPLES
PROTECTED NOT IMPACTED
Top priority is looking after people AND other life around us…
PLEASE CONSIDER THESE GUIDELINES:
Remember to treat other creatures' homes in the same way you’d like a strange giant to treat your home... Lift the roof off? Break the front door? Snap the stilts? Surely not!
CLEAN YOUR SHOES BEFORE YOU WALK
You may be carrying weedy seeds and pathogens such as cinnamon fungus which has the capacity to destroy entire forests.
LET ALL LIFE BE
Plants put lots of energy into making flowers… and they need them!
Damaging a plant can make it sick, even kill it.
Please be respectful of animals and their habits in their habitats.
If you find injured wildlife, please help them by keeping your distance as they can become very distressed and call Wildlife Victoria for on the spot advice.
If you see a wombat looking sickly, this great group helps: Mange Management
STICK TO THE TRACKS
Making new tracks through the bush damages vegetation, compacts the soil, introduces weeds and can alter the flow of water, often leading to erosion and other problems.
Plenty of good reasons to stick to the tracks!
REMEMBER YOUR SIZE
Your feet are HUGE, even if you're size 5 or less! Fragile plants and tiny creatures live here.
There are critters so small we cannot see them without a microscope.
Anything you move - a stone, leaf, bit of bark - is likely someone's home.
Think before you touch! Think while you walk! And remember, fungi, lichen, mosses & more
rely on much that you can and can’t see, and in turn, provide for life around them.
You'll be buzzing if you offer your full attention to the environment around you.
The closer you listen and look, the more you’ll discover about how to
care for your place. What great reward - share it around!
Get familiar with various resources such as iNaturalist, Birdata, FrogID and much more.
Practice using your sound recorder and camera if you’re not a sharp shooter... as you probably know, focused pictures really help when identifying what you've found.
TOP TIPS FOR TOP RECORDS
Take a close look at what you've 'found', with awareness of Protected not Impacted Guidelines above.
Tiny details often tell the story...
for example, identifying Chilean Needle Grass [a notorious weed] is relatively easy if it's bearing seed.
You'll find a distinct little 'crown' at the base of the seed.
Be careful, the plant is often mistaken for our wonderful spear grasses!
Take note of such details - tiny hairs at the 'elbow' of a blade of grass, textures at the back of a leaf, or little thorns.
You'll probably find all sorts of amazing life forms - from surprisingly tall and slender mushrooms to delicate insects, brightly coloured bracken and stunning reptiles. It's all about paying attention.
WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS, you can look for:
- size, shape, texture, and colour of leaves
- their placement on a stem
- the form of branches
- the shape and colour of nuts/seeds/flowers according to season.
- the colour and texture of the bark, and if it changes seasonally.
Be sure to check if the bark is the same for the full height of the tree
[binoculars can be handy!] as this can often be a useful clue.
If the leaves look as if they're from two different plants, it's likely one form is its juvenile leaves. Many Acacias, our beloved wattles, often have dainty leaves as youngsters, maturing to large leathery ones.
Some eucalypts grow roundish young, with slender 'adult' ones.
Where a plant is growing can also provide some guidance.
WHEN IDENTIFYING BIRDS, you might feel a little frustrated if your view of them is obscured, and many do flit about!
Don't despair... and try to look out for
- colour and form of any markings on their face, throat, wing tips,
crown of their head, belly ...
- shape, colour and size of their beak - this is a great indicator!
- size and colour of their legs, and if they are feathered.
Listen to their call, make a recording if you can.
Of course, never touch nests or eggs.
If you find a baby bird on the ground it's likely the parents are around and will help. Best you can do is keep watch from a distance - too close and the parents might not return - and call Wildlife Victoria for advice.
EASY-ACCESS CONTACTS FOR WILDLIFE HELP
Phone numbers and web addresses are active for your ease - just click
Injured or distressed wildlife:
Phone Wildlife Victoria: 8400 7300
Fill a form: https://www.wildlifevictoria.org.au/wildlife-information/report-a-wildlife-emergency
WOMBATS that you think may have mange or be unwell:
Fill a form: https://mangemanagement.org.au/report-a-wombat/
You can pinpoint where the wombat is, what might be wrong with it and provide other details
Phone: 0431 600 125
Domestic animals causing stress to wildlife or entering sensitive areas [eg hooved animals in waterways]
Nillumbik Council: 9433 3111
After-hours: 9433 3334
ROADKILL: To report an animal killed on the road, contact Council [above number].
PLEASE NOTE: When safe to do so, ALWAYS check if the animal has a pouch [kangaroos, wombats,
possums, echidnas]. If it has testicles, it won't have a pouch.
Obviously, birds don't have pouches, nor do turtles, reptiles, or frogs [except for the hip pocket frog... but
they don't live in Nillumbik, and you'd have to have very steady hands to help them!]
IT MIGHT BE HARD TO SEE THE POUCH.... but making the effort could save the life of a joey who's
sheltering inside. It might be tiny and not obvious from the outside. It might be wriggling and obvious.
If you notice an elongated teat, have a good look around for a young one who's starting to live out
of the pouch but unlikely to survive on their own! If you can't find them, be sure to call Wildlife Victoria.
For a helpful document, see here
In addition, you can add relevant data via this app: https://roadkillreporter.com.au/about
MORE RESOURCES COMING SOON
Binoculars are very useful. If you have a dusty pair, practice using them!
A little mirror can provide another view, such as the underside of mushrooms and flowers. This can also enable two perspectives in one photograph. The gills of mushrooms help with identification, and the underside of flower petals are often different from the sun-facing side. Importantly, a mirror allows looking without handling.
If you are in a sensitive area, or have found uncommon species, you may want to consider potential unwanted impacts of sharing your location.
Tips for how to use iNaturalist