Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mt Beckworth, A Lolly Pop tree and Two ducks

The Mt Beckworth Scenic Reserve (Park Web link.) offers pleasant day walking at just a short distance from Ballarat.

Lolly Pop Tree

Mt Beckworth is well known for the Lolly Pop tree which was frequently used as a bombing target by the local airbase during WW2.

At the Summit with the Lolly Pop Tree

I chose to park my car near the Mana Gums picnic area and following a walking track up to the top of the ridge then following the vehicle track to the summit.

Wind Farm, don't have these where I live

About half way up I noticed a pair of Mountain Ducks (Australian Shelduck) circling and making a great racket.  Information on the Australian Shelduck
They also appeared on my return trip I can only assume they were nesting nearby. This was a new experience for me, and why it is great to walk somewhere complete different form your normal stamping ground, you never know what you may see.

Spot the Ducks

Updated 5th Sept: More on the Lollypop Tree.
From: A Heritage Victoria Document; Victorian Heritage Database place details Pinus radiata
This tree is located in the Mount Beckworth Scenic Reserve. The "Lollipop" is one of five trees planted in 1918 by Mr Jack Scarfe, a forest overseer from Maryborough, and four schoolboys; Arch Andrews, William Young, Francis Kinersley and Colin Drife. One tree died and 3 others were cut down during World War II 
(apparently to make room for an aerial survey beacon Park Vic Park Note)

This tree is a well known landmark in the district as it can be seen from almost any direction for up to 50kms. The tree was used for practice bomb-aiming sorties by the RAAF during World War II. The airmen were based at the Ballarat Aerodrome during this time. It is particularly vigorous and healthy specimen of a very widespread species, The name comes from the spherical shape of the crown; unusual for the species, and a result of low pruning of branches in the 1940s and wind pruning of the crown 

A link to Information on the Ballarat Aerodrome