Mangalore Nature Conservation Reserve sits beside the Goulburn Valley Freeway. After initially losing 1.5ha from its western side to the construction of the freeway, it has been re-endowed and more than compensated. An addition of 14ha bushland from landholdings on the eastern boundary was made. Surprisingly, the freeway noise is relatively mute.
At 78ha, the Reserve is not a huge space. However, this area has been enough for it to qualify as an eBird hotspot where 155 species have been observed and recorded. It is also home to many flora and fauna species, including several that are threatened such as the swift parrot, brush-tailed phascogale, squirrel glider, bush stone-curlew and shiny wallaby-grass. Hope to observe any one of these. Also keep your eyes and ears open for woodland birds with statewide diminishing populations such as Gilbert’s Whistler and the Hooded Robin.
The 3.5km network of good quality tracks is distributed to make the most of a low rising forested site that squats above the undulating Goulburn River flood plains. The site is consistent with the drier of the lower slopes and plains of mainland eastern Australia adjacent to the Great Dividing Range. The soil is sandy clay based and littered with quartz pebble.
The roadside vegetation experienced along the freeway and Mangalore Rd extends into and improves significantly inside the Reserve. It consists of a Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) dominated canopy of grassy woodlands and native grasslands. The large, old gums provide plenty of hollows and, along with the light understorey, an excellent range of habitats are provided for in this compact area. The Reserve is also home to flora protected on Crown Land such as Gold Dust Wattle (Acacia acinacea).
The ground layer is open and home to numerous indigenous perennials. At any time of year wildflowers are to be found. In spring there is a profusion of species. Orchid beds are a key feature. In autumn and winter the fungi are worth a visit of their own.
Birdlife to be on the lookout for:
Swift Parrots, Painted Buttonquail, Jacky Winter, Black-chinned Honeyeaters, Dusky Wood Swallow, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike, White-browed Babbler, White-plumed Honeyeaters, White-browed Wood Swallows, White-backed Swallows, Striated Pardalotes, White-winged Chough, Noisy Miners, Eastern Rosellas, Crested Shrike-tits, White-bellied Cuckoo Shrikes, Brown Treecreepers, Gang Gang Cockatoos and Raptors.
Flora to be on the lookout for:
Native grevillias, acacias, orchids, daisies, lilies, grasses and herbs.
Fauna to be on the be on the lookout for:
Yellow-footed antechinus, echidna, goannas, eastern grey kangaroos and wallabies
Visitors must be self-reliant
Native flora and fauna are protected
Take rubbish with you
No 4WD or motor bike use of walking tracks
Drivers/riders must: use formed roads only, be licensed, be registered
The track is well defined, of easy gradients and there is room for two abreast.
Even in mid winter there are plenty of floral displays to enjoy.
Being a bee in a Flora Reserve must be a pretty good existence.
In spring the Reserve is a wildflower haven.
Reddened patches on the ground warrant a closer inspection. In this case it is caused by carnivorous Sundew.
Several small ground covers present flowers of delicate beauty.
If you can't be present in the peak wildflower season, do not despair. Gorgeous fungi displays endure right through autumn and into winter.
This is typically dry country. However, visiting when it is wet gives another perspective on the natural cycle. It is a good time to come.
Wherever you are in the Reserve, the Choughs are like to be watching. Watch this entertaining species back. They are just 1 of 155 reported at this site across the year.
It doesn't matter which point of the compass you look to, the scenery is of rolling pasture. As pretty as they may be, they make you appreciate just how valuable Reserves such as this really are.