Biodiversity in the Hepburn region


Tanya Loos, Field naturalist

Tanya has been an enthusiastic field naturalist since she was very young. Today she writes a nature column for the Hepburn Advocate and is vice president of the Ballarat Bird Observers Club.

Tanya is working for the State government on a biodiversity engagement project across Ballarat, Hepburn, Pyrenees and Moorabool shire, and also works at the Daylesford Dharma School once a week.

Information from the talk

Favourite books


Birds of Australia, Pizzey and Knight, any edition.

This book is the best bird identification available (although everyone has a favourite!). The descriptions are detailed, with important diagnostic clues including song, and behaviour, such as migratory or nomadic movements. However, if you want really good visual representations of the birds, both the Simpson and Day and Peter Slater Field Guides are excellent. ( Although the tradeoff is less information than the Pizzey and Knight)

Field Guide to Australian birds, Micheal Morcombe.

This comprehensive guide includes a large section on nest identification.

Tracks, scats and other traces: A field guide to Australian Mammals. Barbara Triggs. Oxford 1998 (latest ed)

The definitive guide to the naturalist’s delight: poo!,, as well as just about any of the traces or signs left behind by native and introduced animals.

Trees of Victoria and adjoining areas. L Costermans. 1994 Costermans publishing.

This handy little guide narrows down the sometimes daunting ID process, with excellent descriptions of vegetation communities and their attributes.

Mammals of Australia. Menkhorst and Knight.

This is the book you need for mammal identification!

Ecology and Management

How to plan wildlife landscapes: a guide for community organisations. SJ Platt. 2002. State Government of Victoria.

Available as a free download from This book explains a lot of important concepts such as the important of connectivity, patch size and planning when undertaking revegetation work.

Tree Hollows and Wildlife Conservation in Victoria. Philip Gibbons and David Lindenmeyer. CSIRO 2002.

Presents the scientific research published thus far that shows that over 300 species of Australian wildlife use hollow bearing trees. It details many species hollow requirements, their nests, how hollows form, and implications for the management of forests for biodiversity values. It is dense reading, and expensive, but well worth it for those who want to delve deeply into this important subject.

Victorian urban wildlife, Jane Wilson (ed). Angus and Robertson. Urban wildlife watch Steering committee.1991.

This book is out of print, but can be picked up in secondhand stores. The chapter on bushlands is wonderful, as it describes a day night cycle of the fauna inhabitants, as well as a seasonal description.

Mammals of Victoria, Peter Menkhorst (ed).

Not a book primarily for identification of mammals, instead, Menkhorst and many worthy contributors have written detailed summaries of the ecology and conservation of all mammals found in Victoria.

Other useful and interesting books

Australian Frogs - a natural history. MJ Tyler 1981 Reed.

A Field Guide to Australian frogs. J Barker GC Grigg MJ Tyler. 1995 Surrey Beatty and sons.

The Secret Life of Wombats, J Woodford 2001 Text publishing

The Echidna: Australia’s enigma. P Rismiller 1999. Hugh Lauter

Birds of the night: Owls, frogmouths and nightjars of Australia. D Hollands. 1991. Reed.

The Natural History of Melbourne. Gilbert White. 1789.

Australian Birds of Prey: The biology and ecology of raptors. P Olson. 1995. UNSW Press.

Birds of the Ballarat Region: a guide to identification, numbers, dates and places. R Thomas and J Wheeler. 1983. R Thomas.