Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Nature News March 2017 – Feng Shui in the Muckleford Bush

Posted on 5 April, 2017 by Connecting Country

For this month’s Nature News on page 42 of this week’s (4th April) Midland Express, Muckleford Landcarer Beth Mellick describes her family’s journey of living with nature they settle into life on a ten acre bush block in Muckleford – birds, plants and all.

A few years ago we found a beautiful wooded property in Muckleford and had a rammed earth house built so that it nestles into the bush. We’ve since grown to love the dry forest, the crackling leaf litter underfoot, and the fields of wildflowers in spring.

Many properties like ours have dams that are no longer used for stock or irrigation. These dams now act as wetlands to support biodiversity, and there are simple things that can be done to increase habitat for frogs and birds, as well as protecting the edges and caring for water quality.

Despite our freshly filled dam drying out fast, we’ve had groups of White-necked herons appearing on dusk, we’ve seen the illusive Painted Button-Quail running around, and several families of ducks have bred up there.  A healthy, wildlife-vibrant dam is good ‘feng shui’ for your property.

Another delight is a birdbath tucked under a Cherry Ballart that we can watch from the dining table. Busy little Thornbills, Weebills, Pardalotes, Silvereyes, and Wrens love the mornings, while Wattlebirds, Rosellas, Choughs, and Bronzewings fight for space in the evenings. It is so popular a drinking spot that we’ve had to place a second birdbath underneath to keep everyone happy.

Coming up to planting season this year, we are preparing to put in some small shrubs like tree violets and a little Sheoak and Banksia grove – all important species that have ‘dropped out’ of the system.

My family and I are lucky to work with terrific local groups like the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club, Friends of the Box Ironbark Forests, Connecting Country, and Muckleford Landcare who all run field days and workshops, and produce useful resources about the box ironbark forest in which we live.

We’re a pretty busy family, and it’s hard to do everything.  But we know it’s crucial to make time to take care of the bush. Landowners have a duty of care for the land – to ensure that what native habitat we have left is protected and enhanced to support a whole range of critters.  Clearing properties leaves you with an ugly slab of dirt and, eventually, a lot weeds to combat – certainly not good property ‘feng shui’!

Muckleford Landcare will be running a workshop on how to restore habitat in wetland areas soon. CLICK HERE to  see their website for more details. You could also attend Connecting Country’s Water in our Landscape workshop series in April and May. CLICK HERE for more information and bookings.

Beth’s kids enjoying the dam almost as much as the White-necked Herons do. Photo taken by: Beth Mellick


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