Tuesday, 22 November 2011

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.

 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.

 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.

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