Magpie season is starting early.

It looks like Collingwood won’t make the finals in 2017 however nature’s own magpies are starting to appear and swooping cyclists.

A Gippsland cyclist last week took to website Magpie Alert, where the birds’ victim share swooping hotspots, to report he came under fire on Normanby Pl in Warragul.

Tips compiled by Magpie Watch to ward off the black-and-white dive-bombers include:

  • Staying clear of known magpie nesting sites
  • Tell others about the sites and informing local council
  • Staying calm; if you panic and flap then this is more likely to appear as aggressive behaviour and provoke a further attack
  • Wear sun glasses and with a hat to protect your head and eyes
  • Get off your bike and walk if attacked while cycling
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat or carry an umbrella

Video of a magpie attacking a cyclist. Warning: Some colourful language is used:

The worm that saved a town.

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Life is just one long mud bath for the giant earthworm

The continent’s long isolation has given rise to an incredibly unique diversity of life that, yes, includes some extremely lethal critters. But perhaps its most remarkable creature is a gentle, extremely delicate colossus few have had the privilege of glimpsing: the giant Gippsland earthworm, which can grow to some 6 feet long. Give it a stretch–(only if it’s already dead) –and it can easily double in length.

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Giant earthworms are attracted to many things, but their first love will always be acid wash jeans. Image: Beverley D. Van Praag

These elusive monsters have been known to science only since the late 1800s, when workers unearthed a specimen while surveying a rail line. Mistaking it for a snake, with great care they took it to a professor at the University of Melbourne, who I hope informed them that snakes generally have, you know, teeth and scales and stuff.

This is an extremely vulnerable species, isolated to just 150 square miles at the southeast tip of Australia. Its habitat, once dense forests, has been almost entirely converted to farmland, where tilling and toxins have pushed them to the brink of extinction. But while these worms only surface during heavy rains to avoid drowning in soggy soil, you can actually hear them underfoot. Read More…

Attenborough flushing out giant earthworms

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In 2005 Wildlife documentary maker Sir David Attenborough spent two days in South Gippsland, in south-east Victoria, filming giant earthworms.

The footage was included in his documentary Life in the Undergrowth

A colony of giant earthworms was uncovered during roadworks near Korumburra and local zoologists contacted the BBC.

Sir David says he rates the giant worms as one of the most weird and wonderful creatures he has come across.

“The only way that you know…[if] they’re there is that you might be strolling through the countryside and you hear the sound of a lavatory being flushed, and that’s an earthworm a foot or so beneath your feet gurgling along, squelching along its tunnels,” he said.

Discussing the Giant Gippsland Earthworm

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Softypapa adventures (video)

Local councils in Gippsland are moving to protect the habitat of the region’s rare and protected giant earthworm.

A small area of west and south Gippsland, east of Melbourne, is the only remaining place where the giant Gippsland earthworm, a state and federal protected species, can be found.

Expanding housing developments are threatening the earthworm, with experts hearing anecdotal evidence of a population decline.

The South Gippsland Shire Council has  created a giant Gippsland earthworm planning overlay — a layer within the planning scheme that identifies land subject to constraints — to try and conserve the species. Read More..

The worm saved an Australian town

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Korumbarra, Victoria, has a population of about 2,800. Locals say it is home to the world’s largest worm, growing up to three metres long.
The idea to turn the worm into a tourist attraction emerged in the 1970s when the town faced economic collapse after the local coal mine closed.

Find out more

The South Gippsland Landcare Network, a community based organisation that works to improve the long term sustainability of farming and the native environment in South Gippsland. They have a Factsheet   if you want to know more. Or visit this website to volunteer.