Twlight stroll invites new members

Before the walk. Picture: DANIEL JACKSON

By Tanya Steele

The experience of the world at twilight can be special as the shyer fauna of the bush emerges for the night.

The annual twilight picnic hosted by the Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushland gave the community the chance to experience nocturnal nature and get to know the group itself on Saturday 10 February.

Longtime member Marilyn Thomas from the Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushland said the Saturday evening is designed to kick off the group for the year and invite newcomers.

“We had around thirty people to attend and there was also a family new to Upwey who came to see what we were about,” she said.

The group met to have their picnic then headed off into the bush with torches to see what they could spot.

Ms Thomas said the groups walked off down to the trails and paused now and then to listen for animals.

“We saw a couple of brushtails – who tend to sit up on the branches and stare down at you they’re easy to see,” she said.

“We were also being followed by a group of tawny frogmouths, who were swooping for bugs from the torchlight,” she said.

“We also saw a couple of very active ringtails and some sugar gliders – they tend to cling tightly on the underside of the branches when they see people because they’re very small and very shy.”

The group progressed down to the creek seeing golden orb spiders out and yellow-bellied wattle birds snoozing along the way.

“We didn’t hear too many frogs, you tend to see a lot of them in wintertime,” Ms Thomas said.

The group were also able to spot eels in the water of the creek Ms Thomas said they could hear microbats flying around.

“They’re very quick,” she said.

Glenfern Valley sits roughly between the Ferntree Gully National Park and the Birdsland Reserve and Ms Thomas said having the preserved bushland is useful as it provides a

continuous stretch for wildlife.

“Sometimes even just a line of native trees along the street will help link up to areas because the birds will move from one tree to another, and the insects and so on,” she said.

The group has weeding working bees once a month and focuses on specific areas of the reserve depending on the time of year.

“When you have new people in there, we just give them a quick demonstration of what you pull up and what you don’t,” Ms Thomas said.

Members new and old enjoyed the kick off event and Ms Thomas said they are looking forward to their first working bee on Sunday 16 November.

“They certainly enjoyed coming and learning something about the neighbourhood,” she said.

“Walking through the bush at night time is very different, it’s quite pleasant walking through the dog and trying to listen to the sounds and see if there’s anything you can identify.”