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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Churchill National Park in spring

I visited the Churchill National Park, 25 km south-east of the Melbourne CBD, on October 14, 2008.

My 4 km circuit walking route started at the main picnic ground, reached from Churchill Park Drive, and included Channel Track, Kangaroo Track, and Bayview Track.

Two large mobs of Eastern Grey Kangaroos were enjoying the afternoon sunshine and indignant at me for invading their patch!

Then, a cute Dragon Lizard was discovered having a suntan on a log, and a large Tawny Owl was noticed protecting its nest from high up in tea trees.

This is a very good park, with many excellent walking tracks, some of which have important historical significance. It's a remnant of natural bush and an example of the original landscape before clearing and settlement.

It is an especially significant area for an amazing variety of birdlife. A total of 172 species has been recorded in the parks. The birds are attracted by the different types of food and environments; woodlands, forest, the lake and grassy open spaces. Some of these birds include: parrots, honeyeaters, wrens, thornbills, grebes, pelicans, cockatoos and even the migratory Japanese Snipe.

Parrots and Bell Miners (commonly know as Bellbirds) are probably the most prominent birds.

Animals include echidnas, frogs, lizards, snakes, and the kangaroos!

Although most of the park is open regrowth woodland, there are small areas of original forest. Apart from the access road, there are no other vehicle tracks.

In the 1920s urban expansion saw local stone quarried for road metal and building material, a water supply channel was dug to Dandenong and the State Electricity Commission acquired a powerline easement. Fire and clearing of some areas also took their toll.

In 1941 the area was declared Dandenong National Park, and was renamed Churchill (after Sir Winston Churchill) in 1944.

In 1997, the nearby Lysterfield Park was amalgamated with the Churchill National Park, following aquisition of private land linking the two areas.

Access to the Park is now much easier, via the Eastlink Tollway nearby.

See the full set of

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