Fauna at Mafeking Rover Park
The indigenous fauna of Mafeking Rover Park is amazing in its variety. While exploring the park during your visit you may wish to know what to look for and where to find it. The information below will provide you with a good start.
A range of indigenous mammal species inhabit the forest areas of Mafeking Rover Park:
|Koalas||Koalas are a major attraction at Mafeking. They can be easily viewed around the park sitting in the various eucalypts upon which they feed. Koalas are easiest to find during breeding season (late in the year, particularly December). They will vocally protest your proximity to their tree during the day and will grunt at night (just as you’re about to fall asleep).|
|Kangaroos||The Eastern Grey Kangaroo population at Mafeking Rover Park can number up to 30 – 50 individuals (including pouch young and joeys at heel). The mob appears to spend a large portion of their time within the bounds of the park. They are most easily found in the open areas during dawn or shortly. However, a walk through the forest after crossing the Fern Gully or along the Discovery Trail may be rewarded with a sighting.|
|Swamp Wallabies||Swamp Wallabies are naturally timid creatures and prefer to stay close to the security of the Fern Gully Forest. If you are interested in wallaby watching the best your best opportunity is a wander through the forest early in the morning. The population does occasionally utilise the open areas close to the protection of the forest for feeding (usually after we’ve conveniently planted Silver Wattles within easy reach which are always good to munch on).|
|Possums||Two possum species have been recorded on the property: Common Brushtail Possum and the Sugar Glider. Both inhabit hollows in trees and are nocturnal, emerging about 20 minutes after sunset. The Brushtail is distributed throughout the property in forested areas, whilst only one population of Sugar Gliders has been recorded. It is unknown whether the Sugar Glider population still inhabits the park since the habitat tree blew over in a storm. If you do manage to spot one on your ramblings please make a note of the area and let the committee know.|
|Echidnas||The Echidna is one of the most visible native animals at Mafeking Rover Park. Echidna’s are usually found making their way across the open northern section of the park. During breeding season echidnas can be seen in “indian file” as the males follow the females in a single file procession. At the first sign of danger the echidna will bury itself in the ground. No attempts should be made to remove them as the stress may kill the animal.|
|Wombats||The final terrestrial mammal recorded at the park is the Wombat. These are relatively common animals at Mafeking but are rarely seen due to their nocturnal habits. The most easily recognisable signs of their presence are the many burrows throughout forest areas.|
|Brown Antechinus||These mouse-sized, carnivorous individuals are quite abundant where suitable shelter (hollow logs) and food (invertebrates and small lizards) are available. The Brown Antechinus is nocturnal, rarely seen, and may be threatened by the introduced predators such as foxes and cats, although its greatest threat is from removal of hollow logs and ground cover.|
|Bats||These small creatures emerge at dusk from tree hollows and other cover to feed on insects. Their presence in the forest is unmistakable. They look much like large months in flight and are numerous during the warmer months. Bat boxes have been placed in two areas within the park and we will be checking them in the near future in the hope that they are being used (see if you can spot them!).|
|Other Species||Three species are believed likely to be inhabiting the park but are currently unconfirmed: Greater Glider, Bush Rat, Long-nosed Bandicoot.|
A range of reptiles call Mafeking Rover Park home. Reptiles include snakes, geckoes, lizards and turtles. Just a reminder that all Australian wildlife is protected and that includes the legless kind. While exploring the park in the warmer please ensure you take precautions such as wearing good boots and keeping an eye out. Snakes only attack if they feel threatened.
From the noise at dusk, one would say that Frogs love Mafeking Rover Park. There are many sources of water on the site (and now Lake SurfMoot!). Their music can be heard right across the park as the sun sinks. Come and listen for yourself. You might even like to have a go at identifying the different calls.
Mafeking Rover Park is perfect for the amateur bird-watcher. More than 66 species have been recorded within the park. Species range from the tiny Spotted Pardalote and Yellow Thornbill to large birds of prey such as the Wedge-tailed Eagle and Little Eagle.
There are several prime bird-watching locations these include the Quafftumbla Discovery Trail dams and the Fern Gully bridge area. Be serenaded at dawn as you explore the Nature or Discovery trails.
Mafeking Rover Park is fortunate that the perennial stream which starts within the property is of such quality that we have confirmed sightings of the Mountain Galaxid ( Galaxias sp. ) within the lower reached of the stream’s course. Responsible management of the park includes protecting the quality of this water resource.
Flora at Mafeking Rover Park
Mafeking Rover Park contains a wide diversity of indigenous plant species. They occur in varying habitats ranging from exposed positions on the granite outcrop to sheltered moist gullies. Their diversity can only be appreciated at close inspection as many species are minute and / or seasonal.
The revegetation of Mafeking Rover Park with indigenous flora is a primary objective. To date, almost 3500 trees, shrubs and grass have been planted in various sections of the Park. All of these were grown from locally collected indigenous seed.
Although the group of plants put in during spring 1994 has suffered greatly from drought and insect attack, the use of locally collected indigenous plants will ensure a reasonably high success rate and provide habitat for indigenous fauna.
Natural regeneration of indigenous flora is a most cost effective means of revegetating Mafeking Rover Park. Regeneration is indeed preferable to propagating and planting due to the success rate of regeneration plants being close to 100%. The major disadvantage of reliance on regeneration is the time it will take to reach certain areas, meaning that regenerating plants may not appear where they are most required.
Since the removal of stock from the property, several areas have shown positive signs of regeneration. Retention of several Bracken patches has aided in this process as well as careful slashing, the entire eastern boundary along Caveat-Dropmore Road is one such location. Several hundred plants placed there in late 1993 are growing well, however regenerating plants from late 1994 have reached similar stages of growth in less than half the time. This illustrates the high growth rates of regenerating plants over propagated plants. A wide diversity of plants are regenerated in this location including various eucalypts, grasses, tea-tree, wattles, heath, and others.
Within the major camping and activities area the major species regenerating are Silver Wattle, Blackwood, Black Wattle, Manna Gum, Prickly Tea Tree and Burgan. Whilst some of the plants are not in suitable locations, the majority can be retained and allowed to reach maturity. Some heavy culling will be required in some areas of wattle due to the density of plants.
Some areas of remnant grasses and other ground covers (eg. Honeypots) still remain throughout the campsite and activities areas. These will be protected from slashing and trampling by planting further species to complement them. All regenerating plants will be staked and / or guarded if in a heavy use area such as the campsite or Mudbash activities area.
Firewood & Woodlot
Due to the presence of diverse fauna and flora and the intensive use the Park experiences at events such as Mudbash, a total ban on the removal of wood for fires will remain in force. Past removal of firewood prior to Rover ownership may well have impacted upon the small population of fauna reliant on such materials for shelter and food.
At certain times there is wood available for use in fires such as fallen branches on fence lines and activities areas, however removal for such purpose should be sole responsibility of the Committee of Management.
The stack of residual firewood located in the works area is gleaned from the Mudbash weekend. This firewood has for the past few years provided ample supplies of wood for all other functions at the Park. Therefore the supply is made available to clients throughout the year with the exception of the Mudbash weekend.
To complement the other sources of firewood a woodlot has been established in the south-west corner of the property. This is currently planted with several hundred Manna Gums. Expansion over several years will see around 500 trees growing in the lot. Harvesting of these plants could begin in around 5 to 6 years. It is envisaged that harvesting would begin with every second or third tree left leaving other to further mature. Those removed will begin coppice regrowth prior to the remainder being harvested. Harvested wood will need to left to dry for at least six months. Browsing of these trees by Swamp Wallabies is currently high, restricting the levels of growth.
It should be noted that collection of firewood from road sides and surrounding public land is illegal without a license permit or authority.