Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Vegetation decorative and edible: plus invertebrates

We seem to be getting rain at pretty much the right time to get the garden happening this year.  (Also getting the brambles and briars happening, but that is another story.)  This afternoon we did some stuff in the garden and I took a few images that may be of interest - especially for those in the North who maybe finding colour and daylight a bit hard to come by.

These flowers come from a large bed on the Eastern side of our house, which Frances has pretty much created from scratch.
The first 2 images are of Penstemons.

 These foxgloves appear to self regenerated from last year's flowers which is good.
 After many attempts we have some Acanthus flowerig: and very attractive they are as well!
We have a row of Globe Artichokes along the bottom of the bed, partly for appearance, but they are on the menu for tonight.
In addition to these 'pure exotics' we have some nice Australian Natives - possibly not from anywhere close to here - blooming.
This is a mini-melaleuca
 and a small leptospermum
In the purely edible department the strawberries continue to go gang-busters.  I didn't pick yesterday so got about 2.5kgs this morning.
 The broad beans are also going extremely well.  There is probably one more pick like this before we remove them.
There were a few invertebrates around.  As with last year I intend to take images of the ones which interest due to their colouration or structure.

The first was an Icheumenon wasp that visited our kitchen window this morning.  Neither Brisbane insects nor Life Unseen are strong on the Latin for this family and I think it is the second Banded Pupa wasp on the former site.  It is clearly a female - no male would be seen in public with an ovipositor like that!
While picking the strawberries I have noticed these tiny (perhaps 20mm) grasshoppers most days.  Brisbane Insects is silent about 'hoppers which like strawberries!
Looking over at our vines I found lots of flowers and several of these caterpillars wandering about with their biting parts.  Although visually attractive, there were several less of them after I passed by.
On returning indoors this spider was found wandering around on the floor.
More research is needed to ID it.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The natural order is Chaos?

At an early point in Chaos by James Glieck he mentions the chaotic effects of turbulence.  When I looked down into Whiskers Creek this morning I reflected how the foam pattern called to mind some of the images generated by chaos algorithms.  The foam is the residue of the very strong run off from the catchment of the Creek scoring at least 50mm of rain over the preceding 2 days.
This is emphasised by a close up of the pattern in the top centre of the pool.
Taking another stab at it I got an image of some flowers of Joycea pallida, against a clear blue sky.
Perhaps this is not exactly an example of a chaotic system at work but the way the stems, flower heads and awns all point off in different directions made me think along these lines.  Certainly trying to catch an image like this in gusty winds appeared to invlove the vernacular view of chaos!



Sunday, 27 November 2011

Some thoughts on running

I have occasionally commented in this blog about my running activities.  As I haven't troubled folk much in the last few days I thought I would offer a few musings on that topic today.

A frequently asked question is why people run.  In my case it is twofold:
  1. It helps keep my weight down (so I can continue to enjoy wine and beer); and
  2. I find it relaxing (particularly when point 1 has been successful).
Over Winter point 1 had not been successful and as a result I had not been getting off my butt and out the door for a run as much as I should.  So in October I decided that I needed a target or two to assist these processes.


The main target was to be the Melbourne Marathon 2012.  This is to be held a few days after my 65th birthday so offers a good chance of getting my name on the ACT Vets Athletics " best marathon times" list for that age group.

However, to enjoy that event required that the alien life-form which had taken residence behind my belt buckle needed to be evicted.  Once that was achieved I could then start to look at getting fit.  My view was that the main cause of my profile resembling a snake which has swallowed a modest sized pig was snacking, mainly on peanuts and muesli bars.  Thus they were banished from my diet while intake of fresh fruit and water was increased.  Also increased was my amount of work around the garden (not only expends calories but also is relatively remote from the snacks).

Thus far, over about 6 weeks, that seems to have shed about 3.5kgs which is not a bad start.  As an alternate, but highly correlated, performance indicator my belt seems to have stretched a bit so my strides are in danger of falling.

Today I got some evidence that my running is getting back to where it should be.  It was the final Vets Handicap race for the year, on a course on which I came second last year.  It was a 2-lap race totalling 7kms, and I didn't feel I was going too well on the first lap.  However with just over 1km to go an official told me I was in 16th place and I could see a bunch of early starters just ahead.  There was a risk that the speed fiends starting after me would swamp me but in the end only 4 did, while I overhauled about 12 folk to come in 8th, just missing on a medal.  My friend Roger came 4th (he was one of the swampers) and has won the year long series!

Interestingly, my time for the event was 1:24 slower than last year on the same course but the weather this year was a lot better. I managed to get under 5:30 per kilometre for several of those on offer which was better than I have managed in the recent past.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Earwig Wars

NOTE: this body of this post was composed by Rob, a friend who is a keen gardener, rather than myself.  However I thought the content and tone of the post were quite suitable for my blog (he doesn't run one himself, possibly because he spends most of his waking hours pursuing earwigs) and he has given permission for me to copy his work. 

As a result any references in the rest of this post to "my garden" or in the first person refers to Rob's garden and/or other activities rather than my own!

For the last few years the productivity in my garden has dropped off quite a bit – initially due to drought and water restrictions, but last year when water was plentiful I had terrible trouble with plants, especially seedlings being eaten. I assumed that it was slugs and snails and took appropriate action, but with only limited results. Things that I grew from seed would get wiped out overnight – entire rows of carrots demolished for example or broccoli seedlings chewed back to ground level. Larger plants (either survivors or larger seedlings) might get a bit munched, but survived OK.  I concluded that it wasn’t snails doing the damage and started to form my suspicions about earwigs and slaters.

When I was in Adelaide in the middle of the  year, Shaun my brother in law told me that he had once had an earwig infestation and gave me a method to combat it. This involved leaving pieces of corrugated cardboard in the garden under which the earwigs would shelter and you could then catch and destroy them. This again only produced limited success and quite a bit of cardboard in the garden.

When we went to Malaysia in October I had just germinated 2 rows of carrots, a row of beetroot, 4 zucchinis and 6 cucumbers. When we returned, my veggie garden consisted of 1 carrot – not 1 row, but 1 carrot. Everything else had been eaten. I wasn’t happy and having confirmed via Shaun that earwigs were probably the problem resorted to Dr Google and commenced a war. I have now tried a variety of methods which I detail below

1.       Shauns’s method
2.       Spray plants with a soapy water solution
3.       Earwig trap - a tin of oil and soy sauce buried at ground level
4.       Newspaper rolled up which attracts them (variation on Shaun’s method)
5.       Pyrethrum
6.       Cleaning up leaf litter and finding nests
7.       Earwigs are nocturnal so going out with a torch and squishing them with your fingers

All of these methods have been tried. I decided it would be interesting to keep track of which method was more successful by counting successful ‘kills’. Of course some methods it is hard to tell – the soapy water might be effective, but it didn’t produce and carcasses. Also some methods are done in combination – pyrethrum sprayed into a crack in a retaining wall flushed out quite a number who were then squished. Also I don’t know if they would die from pyrethrum contact – they certainly didn’t like it much.

The body count summary is

1.       Shaun’s method – 4 deaths
2.       Soapy water – 0 (but perhaps might help keep them away – I did spray half a row of beetroot & they have fared better than the other half (might taste soapy though?))
3.       Trap – 0 a complete waste of time
4.       Newspaper - 1 death
5.       Pyrethrum – 0 confirmed, but certainly useful
6.       Clean up. I have found 5 ‘nests’ in compost, leaf litter and retaining walls. With the use of pyrethrum & squishing this has resulted in 634 deaths
7.       Nocturnal squishing 1564 squished between my fingers
A total of 1933 earwigs have been eliminated.

Unfortunately method 7, while very effective does involve grovelling around outside in the dark and also gives me sore back from leaning over the plants . Method 6 is also quite effective, but of course you have to find the nests. I now find myself looking at the garden in a whole new light. ’If I was an earwig, would I want to live there?’

Most of the time when you spot an earwig it is a sitting duck, but every now and then,  one is too quick for me (quite often actually, especially if it is after dinner) and escapes. They are quite adept at just hiding in the soil or mulch. A few times  they have managed to get me with their nippers – it doesn’t really hurt but was enough of a shock that the first 3 times I dropped them (now I just squish harder).  I wonder if via a form of natural selection I am building a race of super earwigs that will taunt me in years to come.

So what lessons do you take from this. Firstly, if you garden is getting munched overnight it may be earwigs. Take a wander around your garden at night and see who is eating what. Even if you don’t find anything, it will give the neighbours something to talk about. The second lesson take out of this is that you really shouldn’t pee me off.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Exciting birds on the Hoskinstown Plain

The Hoskinstown Plain is an area of frost hollow along the course of the Molonglo River.  It is overlooked by the property from which the large flock of Black-shouldered Kites were reported.

A couple of the property owners on the Plain itself are keen birders and report exciting sightings to me from time to time.  The last couple of months have been extremely productive.

One property on the Plain has also been visited each year recently by Superb Parrots.  They seem to turn up to dine on the fruit of Acacia dealbata.  As I haven't been able to coincide with the birds yet this year, here is a photograph taken by my friend Kim (who is a far better photographer than myself).
The keen eyed viewer will note the Acacia pod in the bird's beak!


The irruption of Barn Owls reported from urban and peri-urban Canberrra also spread to the Plain.  There were a couple of reports of single Barn Owls at various spots and two road-killed birds were handed over to the CSIRO collection of corpses.  Last evening two Barn Owls were seen by my friend Garry, perching in a hawthorn tree- of which there are a large number alongside the road and further resaerch will be done to get a photograph of them later.

Garry also reported a Black Falcon hunting over his paddocks together with a number of Brown Falcons.  As this would be a lifer for me I took myself off PDQ.

I was barely out of our gate when I noticed a White-necked Heron feeding in a neighbour's dam.  It was pretty much at extreme range for my camera (about 100m) but an interesting photograph to record these birds presence in Carwoola after absence for a couple of years.
On getting to the Plain I found a large number of Brown Falcons- at least 9 - hunting over the paddocks, mainly by hovering and diving.
Also hunting in much the same area were 4 Nankeen Kestrels.  As I drove back through the paddocks one Brown Falcon was kind enough to pose for some photographs.

One of the Brown Falcons hunting in the area was a lot darker than this one, but still dark brown not black.  (The Black Falcon was described as being as black as a crow and aggressive to the crows.)  So I guess I dipped out. 

(A couple of days later I was on my push bike passing one of Garry's paddocks when I noticed him getting excited n the grassland.  It turned out he was talking to my wife on his phone telling her the Black falcon was overhead.  She said that I was riding down there: he saw me and after a short while we looked up and there was a Black falcon flying overhead. Woooo, and also Hooooo! A lifer!)

However the goodies were not yet finished.  Another White-necked Heron flew over the car and then started to search the adjacent paddock for food.
My view is that this is a non-breeding bird (while the one photographed earlier  was in breeding plumage).

As a footnote to comments about the White-necked Herons, shortly after arriving home two of them overflew our garden calling loudly was they were attacked by  Pied Currawong.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Birds of the South Coast trip.

At least one person has requested more detail about the birds seen on such trips.  So I have put a list of the 94 species we observed on this voyage at the foot of the post.  There are a few relevant comments and images in the first and second text reports.

It was difficult to assess the 'best bird'.  There were several which I hadn't seen for a while including:
  1. the Australian Spotted Crake feeding in a pool in a saltmarsh at Mallacoota (dashed for cover at the sound of a camera being opened);
  2. the Azure Kingfisher flitting from the interior of one tree overhanging Mallacoota Inlet to the next, making it pointless opening a camera;
  3. the Eastern Koel which lurked in the dark interior of a Melaleuca untl a camera was pointed at it, when it immediately hurtled across Karbeethong Avenue pursued by a very annoyed Red Wattlebird; and
  4. the winner, the Hooded Plover, which I hadn't seen for about 20 years, is Endangered in NSW and Vulnerable over the whole country and posed for a couple of reasonable images

The following images didn't make the cut to the general posts but are IMHO of sufficient interest  to include here.

Possibly the most ubiquitous bird on the South Coast is the Little Wattlebird.
 Some birds adopt a middle course to photography.  They don't pose well but don't run away at the sight, sound or smell of a camera.  For example a White-faced Heron and Chestnut Teal (male on shore, female in the water) ..
 ... and the Hooded Plover did play hard to get.
 One can never have too many images of an Australian King Parrot.
 The Satin Bowerbird got at least one beakful of Weeties before the Lorikeets arrived (see second text post).
The Australian Magpies also enjoyed the feeder.

Species transit Total Moruya Total Mallacoota Sequence
Total species per area   14 61 63
Brown quail

1 2
Black Swan

2 3
Australian Wood Duck

1 4
Grey Teal

2 5
Chestnut Teal

2 6
Northern Mallard

1 7
spotted Dove 1
1 9
Common Bronzewing

1 10
Crested Pigeon

1 11
Wonga Pigeon
3 3 12
Peaceful Dove
1
13
Little Pied Cormorant
1 1 14
Great Cormorant
1 2 15
Little Black Cormorant

1 16
Black-faced Shag 1

17
Darter
2
18
Australian Pelican
1 2 19
Australasian Gannet
1
20
Eastern Great Egret 1
1 21
White-faced Heron
1 2 22
Australian White Ibis 1

23
White-bellied Sea-eagle 1 1 1 25
Whistling Kite

2 26
Nankeen Kestrel
1
27
Australian Pied Oystercatcher

2 29
Sooty Oystercatcher
1
30
Red-capped Plover
1 1 31
Hooded Plover

1 32
Masked Lapwing
1 2 33
Bar-tailed Godwit 1
1 34
Eastern Curlew 1

35
Australian Spotted Crake

1 41
Crested Tern
1 1 43
Pacific Gull 1

44
Silver Gull
2 3 45
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo
1 1 46
Little Corella
1
47
Galah
1 3 48
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 1

49
Rainbow Lorikeet
3 3 50
Musk Lorikeet
2
51
Australian King-parrot
3
52
Eastern Rosella 1

53
Crimson Rosella
1 1 54
Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo

2 55
Pallid Cuckoo
2 1 57
Channel-billed Cuckoo
1
58
Eastern Koel 1
1 59
Fan-tailed Cuckoo
1 1 60
Laughing Kookaburra
2 3 61
Azure Kingfisher

1 62
Sacred Kingfisher
2
63
Dollarbird
1
65
White-throated Treecreeper
2 1 66
Superb Fairy-wren
3 1 67
Satin Bowerbird
2 1 69
White-browed Scrubwren
1
70
Brown thornbill

1 71
Yellow thornbill
1
72
Spotted pardalote
1
73
Striated pardalote
1
74
Eastern Spinebill
3
75
Lewins Honeyeater
1
76
Bell Miner 1
1 77
Little Wattlebird
3 3 78
Red Wattlebird
1 1 79
Noisy Friarbird
1
80
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
1
81
White-fronted Chat

1 82
Scarlet Honeyeater
2
83
New Holland Honeyeater
2 3 85
White-naped Honeyeater
1
86
Eastern Whipbird
2 2 87
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
2
88
Rufous Whistler
1 2 89
Grey Shrike-thrush

2 90
Olive-backed Oriole
2 1 91
Australian Magpie
3 2 92
Pied Currawong
1
93
Grey Fantail
2 2 94
Willie Wagtail

1 95
Leaden Flycatcher
1
96
Australian Raven
2 2 97
White-winged Chough 1
1 99
Magpie-lark 1 1 1 100
Eastern Yellow Robin
2 1 102
Silvereye
1
104
Welcome Swallow
1 3 105
Common Blackbird

3 106
Common Starling
1 1 107
European Goldfinch

1 108
Red -browed Finch
1 1 109
House Sparrow
2 2 110
Australian Pipit
1 1 111

Starting the Finnishing of the South Coast

This is the report on our visit to Moruya and Mallacoota with our Scandinavian friends Liisa and Maija: hence the additional 'n' in the title of the post!

The day of departure (Thursday) did not begin well.  As the marine forecast for the Friday was rather rough I rang the Narooma Visitors Centre to check departure times for the Montague Island trip on Thursday.  It turned out that despite their earlier advice there were no longer evening trips from Narooma to the Island.  The National Parks Service had got tenders for the trips and it had been won by someone from Bermagui (a good bit further South).  Not happy.

IMPORTANT CORRECTION:  I have since been informed by the National Parks Service, in answer to a complaining email, that this is just not true!  Evening tours are run from both  Bermagui and Narooma (subject to weather and minimum number of punters.  I have no idea what the Narooma Visitors Centre were up to!

I should also note that I got a text from Liisa saying that they saw Little Penguins in Melbourne: presumably at the St Kilda Jetty.  So all they are really missing is a seal (and a live whale).

There is a possibility of putting a good spin on this.  I was in such a bad mood that I forgot to pack both my battery charger for the camera and the linking cable.  The good bit is that I can blame it on the National Pukes Service rather than senility.

Having got that out of the way we loaded the car and headed off.  First stop was Bungendore to check the Wood Works Gallery which as usual was full of good stuff.  On, on to Braidwood where the Bakery provided the ingredients for a nice lunch.  I then decided to divert through Mongarlowe to check the orchids in the Cemetery and hopefully to find some waratahs along a river.  Unfortunately the idiots who run the cemetery had mown most of it again so all that were around were a few donkey orchids.  Leaving in despair we also saw no waratahs as we drove on.

Going down Clyde Mountain was fine, enlivened by me, but none of the passengers, seeing a large (say1.5m) goanna beside the road.   We shifted our kit into the house and took ourselves off to Congo to check the reef and go for a walk along the beach.  Unfortunately the Parks have now claimed most of the area so dogs are banned from the car park area completely.  The Eurobodalla Council has banned them for most of the time from the rest of the beach (I suspect as a result of prompting from the Parks Service).  They have completely stuffed up what used to be a very pleasant community.  The beach from which dogs were banned on timeshare (to avoid inconveniencing other users) was completely devoid of people!

We proceeded to South Broulee where the beach was dog allowed and had a very pleasant walk, noting the large number of bluebottles washed up on the sand.
Unlike some of our previous pooches Tammy avoided running across their streamers (note that the sting of this specimen stretched for >1m) and stinging her feet. This was a return to pleasure.   Also of interest were the White-faced herons perched over a billabong ...
and the barnacles extruding body parts as they reside on a cuttlefish'bone'.
 We had a very enjoyable and traditional meal of fish and chips from the Swans cafe in Moruya.

We passed the evening looking at photographs of Finland: all excellent taken by Maija or a friend from Joensuu.  We also learnt the Finnish word for Thule roof-top box: anopinkuljetusilaatikko which literally translates as “Mother in law transport box”

Day 2 began with a walk to the beach (about 2km each way).  Quite a lot of birds seen en route including this Peaceful Dove.
The forest - essentially a Burrawang understorey with Spotted Gums (Eucalyptus maculata) and Old Man Banksias (Banksia serrata) - growing on the sandy soil was rather dense.
 The most interesting sight was some beach hauling going on.  This was some fishermen solving the problem of Australian Salmon on the South Coast.
It was good to see that they had a Fisheries licence on one of the trucks rather than relying on 'traditional rights' for a very non-traditional method.  So apart from buggering up the "natural order of things" and destroying recreational fishing there was little problem from this activity!  By the time we got back to the house it was getting rather warm.

After a small period of R&R we headed off to Cullendulla Creek.  The aim here as always was to walk around the mangroves, hopefully seeing a horde of crabs.  Alas things were rather quiet, apart from a pair of dollarbirds perched in a tree.
We then drove along George Bass Drive so that our friends could experience more typical South Coast living conditions for a suitable period (and about 30 minutes is the most I could handle).  The shopping area at Bateman's Bay seems to have got even worse – something I had not thought possible! 

We then shifted up several gears of desirability by calling in to Guerilla Bay to check out the base of some cliffs
before patrolling the walk to Burrewarra Point.  Although the flowers were not as dramatic as some places we have been the Banksia serrata were extremely fine, in  all stages of growth.

A group of feeding Yellow-tailed black-cockatoos provided some colour and movement (and noise).   As always the scenery visible from the cliff tops was spectacular.

Our final stop was the rock platform at Broulee hoping to find a collection of attractive shells.  There were a lot around, but all had an inhabitant so were left in position.The viewing of images from Finland was completed this evening.  They were very interesting to see, and we have concluded that taking a pen-drive (memory stick, whatever) full of images when going to visit people in foreign parts is a very clever idea.  It has caused me to resurrect the concept of a Daily QOL (Quality of Life) improvement, in which we try to think each day of something we have seen or done which improves the quality of our lives.

Day 3 was principally a transfer day from Moruya to Mallacoota. However there were a few hopes for good things along the way.

In fact the good things began before leaving, as a Channel-billed Cuckoo flew over the house we were using as I took Tammy for a walk.  My first for this season.

We swung by the Moruya Markets which have gone up market since we used to attend in the 1980s.  It still seemed pretty good although the heavy horses being used for tourist rides caused the small dog some grief. 
We then headed South with a first stop at Narooma to pick up bus tickets for our friends to get from Mallacoota to Melbourne on Monday.  This was achieved with no problems, although I supect due to the good nature of the lady serving them, rather than the system which seemed very antiquated.  A brief visit to see Montague Island from the Narooma Cemetery – noting the bumpiness of the sea, and being glad we weren't on it-  and on South.

Our next stop was Central Tilba where various shops were inspected and a few things purchased.  I liked this image of a combination of Silky Oaf (Grevillea robusta) and Jacaranda in the street.
We then took the coast road from Bermagui to Merimbula passing through a few interesting villages and localities but not stopping.  We did pause to take a photograph of the Shadow Cabinet in discussion at Wallaga Lake.
We passed on to Eden, hoping to see a seal or two.  We failed on this, although some other folk saw one from the land end of the wharf, while we were at the damp end.  They (and Frances who was guarding the small dog on shore) saw some dolphins.  Drat.  The collection of fish-hooks on this long liner were attractive, although possibly not in the sense of 'pleasant' from a fish's view!
 On South and into Victoria!  Part 2 follows

The end of Finnishing the South Coast

This is the second half of our report on a trip with Scandinavian friends.  The first episode ended with us leaving Eden.

On across the border to to Mallacoota with a brief pause at Genoa (from where we left the highway) to establish exactly where the bus to Melbourne stopped.  This was not quite as described by V-Line, and I was very pleased to have resolved this 2 days early rather than at 8:30 on Monday  (see the material from that time below)!  As we headed into Mallacoota I was noting an itchy feeling on my shoulder.  Yes, I had been visited by a tick.  As we removed this one at the roadside I did not get a photo: instead here is a photo of a spider which visited me a little later.

Entry to the house was simple compared to the puzzles I experienced last time and after a period of unloading and a coffee we headed off for a walk.  We saw several interesting birds (Australian Spotted Crake and Azure Kingfisher being the biggies) before I noticed that the wind was coming from the South East where some evil clouds were looming.  Frances had passed on Kingfisher watching so got home first and came and picked us up so we (and our cameras) got back dry. 

This earned Frances many brownie points but not as many as she scored by spotting a marsupial lump in a nearby tree.  The lump did occasionally move a limb or two but basically stayed put at least until sunset.  This was despite long and rather heavy rain.
The rain had stopped by the next (Sunday) morning, but the sky was still very cloudy.  The lump had also moved on from the tree next door.

Frances put some Weetbix crumbs out on the bird table.  This some brought in a female Satin Bowerbird and some Rainbow Lorikeets.
 I extended the diet with an apple core which disappeared very quickly.  The residue from our excellent prawns last evening was also ued as bird food, but in this case by dumping it in the inlet within sight of some Pelicans (not the ones with P plates driving utes).

We then decided to ignore the rain and go to Bastion Point where some rock pools were investigated before the rain got too hard, leading us to retreat to the front bar of the Mallacoota pub.  Here we took a medicinal 'gintonic'.  It certainly prevented us getting malaria (or at least that disease has not yet manifested itself).

After a small lunch we headed off for Shipwreck Creek.  We first stopped at the area of heath opposite the gun club and found it again to be very picturesque.  There were hundreds of Pattersonias plus these offerings.  Species names may be added later.

Casuarina
 Gompholobium
 Melaleuca
 A damp Dampiera.
 A pink Epacris impressa.
We next stopped at Quarry Beach where the rocks were both colourful and of interesting stratigraphy.
Once we got to Shipwreck Creek – an 'interesting' road- we headed for the beach.  The greatest interest here was a dead whale which had been washed up.
We then did a heathland walk which offered great views.  Also very good plants and insects.


 Oxylobium
 Pimelea
 Xanthorrhea - one of many 1+m high spikes.
 A pink pea!
Surprisingly we found no flowering orchids: we did find some stems of Dipodium sp (a hyacinth orchid) in the camp ground but they were a long way off flowering.

There was one particularly interesting puddle on the road.  It covered the entire width of the road and was rather deep.  I adopted a low gear and pedal to the metal approach noting that a Toyota Prado was approaching.  In a typical manoeuvre, for the products of that maker, after seeing a Subaru handle the hazard with ease, the Prado did a u-turn!

We then returned to Bastion Point for a pleasant walk.  On the way back along the shorelie Frances spotted 2 Hooded Plovers.  They are a rather uncommon species these days and these were the first I  had seen for about 20 years!
Monday the 21st was a bit sad as Liisa and Maija left us heading for the rest of their Australian expedition.

Only a bit sad as they will have a wonderful time and we will hopefully meet them again in Finland.  The process of getting them to the bus in Genoa was amusing as we had been told in Narooma that the bus stopped outside the General  store where there was a sign. We had failed to find a sign (and the store looked decrepid (truth in advertising would say buggered) when looking on the Saturday and had been told by the barperson it stopped by the pub.  On Monday I found a sign so we moved from the pub to the sign.  Then the bus from Mallacoota tunred up and parked between the two. The driver said he didn't know why the sign was where it was but thought the Shire had installed it!  He said the bus used to stop outside the pub but people were “tracking in too much dead grass and dog shit” so they shifted across the road.  The big bus turned up on time.

After filling with petrol I thought that I would report the hoodies to the Victorian parks people. Unfortunately the Parks Office was closed:  presumably the government is showing its level of commitment to the environment!

So it was back to the house to assist Frances with the tidying up and car packing.  That achieved we headed off to our first planned stop at the Gypsy Point cemetery to see what orchids were around.  In essence it was a Microtis (onion orchid) forest.

We also found an astonishing number - at least hundreds - of Thelymitra (sun orchid) flowers – unfortunately they all appeared to have gone over.
The final stop on the trip was at the Imlay Creek Rest Area.  We couldn’t find any orchids there but there were a lot of white fringe lilies (Thysanotus) and some very pretty Callistemons.

Heading off along Imlay Rd we were both attracted by the display of  pink and white Leptospermum along the roadside.

The rest of the drive was painless and we completed the trip in good time.