Wednesday, 23 May 2012

ANPS eventually gets to a Uriarra Reserve

I shall return to the use of the word "eventually" at the conclusion of this post.  I have called the area we visited  'a Uriarra Reserve' since I don't know what it is actually called.  It is also known as "the area spared from motorbikes" since at one stage the motorcross fraternity wanted to use this nice area of woodland for their noisy exploitation.  This must have been before self-Government since the request was rejected.  However the area has not been made a formal Reserve (which doesn't really matter since Reserves can be unmade)!

The basic plan of this post is to start at the top of the taxonomic tree  and work down.

That being the case I will begin with a note about the birds.  I have no bird photos because they were few and far between and generally dodging around low in scrub keeping out of the wind.  16 species were definitely identified with the highlights all being on Uriarra Rd.  Double-barred finches were heard calling before we started and on return to the cars a Scarlet Robin and a Speckled Warbler were seen.

Moving on to the top bit of the other half of the taxonomic tree (OK, I know these days there are a squiliion Kingdoms but call me a traditionalist (or troglodyte) who only recognises 2 - Animals and Plants).)  And we will have a scrabble through some flowering plants.

The first is a close up of Cryptandra amara var. floribunda - the plant we were looking for today.
 There was a lot of it about, as shown in this shot of a carpet under a dead eucalypt.
 Quite a lot of the Dillwynia sericea was flowering also.
 Leucopogons are always a pleasure.  This is L. attenuatus.
 I had thought that this Solanum ericinum was an introduced species (aka weed), but I was corrected.
Staying at the bluish end of the spectrum I found a few Brachyscome rigidula.
 Switching back to the animal kingdom I found the specimens which follow by turning over rocks.  To my surprise I found no politicians (nor land developers) there but some interesting mini-beasts.  At the top of the tree was a striped skink Ctenotus robustus.
In Ross Bennett's book "Reptiles and Frogs of the ACT he comments "it  ... hibernates ... in a small chamber dug beneath rocks embedded in .. the substrate."  Spot on for this chap.


This first one is a head on close-up of a Huntsman. 
This second one is unknown to me, but was sharing a rock with the Huntsman.  It is quite a bit smaller and I think very attractively patterned..
 I found a couple of red-backs (Latrodectus hasseltii) under rocks.  I was very careful not to get a bite.
I was also careful to keep away from these two.

The ground beetles were possibly the most common animal I found under rocks.
Having got into insects I will conclude the animals with two images of a fly found on a fungus.  The first is a bit dodgy in the exposure department, but does give a nice idea of the complex structure of the creature and its colouration.

Here is the fungus: Gymnopilus junonius.
Having now passed by venomous things and got to something yellow with no neural matter it is but a short step to the ACT Government.  Our first encounter was a helpful bus driver taking up about 5 parking spaces.  Where is a parking inspector when you need one?
Having managed to avoid this conveyance we headed off on the 5km drive to the walk site.  After about 3 of those kilometres we ground to a halt and took at least 50 minutes to do the the next 2km.  The reason for this?  The ACT Government and its development partners have decided to put in two sets of temporary traffic lights on Uriarra road.  Even better with the second set, covering a 200m stretch of road, there is a 3 minute lag when no traffic is passing.  Put a schools event at Stromlo Forest Park and the results in pure chaos.  To make it worse there was no work going on: a few fat blokes were seen leaning on shovels/brooms/ ute bonnets, and four even fatter blokes with clipboards were waving their arms around at the end of the second set of lights.  Had I been on my own I would have had a conversation with them!

The biggest worry for the area we visited is that the ACT Government and its development partners will shortly start developing some slums in the land adjacent to the area.  This will probably mean clearing all vegetation for 100m inside the the Reserve as a fire protection issue.  That will effectively trash the entire area.  No-one in the Government will care about that.


Denis Wilson said...

Oh dear, Martin, can't you try to cheer us up?
After such nice plants, insects and spiders and fungi (which DO deserve their own Kingdom status, in my opinion) you go and ruin it with all that stuff about an Action Bus and traffic jams.
By the way Spider 2 looks like a Wold Spider to me. Prominent eyes and a classic shield marking on the cephalothorax. A fast running spider *hence the name - they ruin down their prey.
Fly is some kind of Fungus Fly. Not uncommon.

Flabmeister said...


I will try now to cheer you up. You don't live in the area controlled by the ACT Government. That should cheer anyone up.

It also explains why we live in NSW: the people who complain about Palerang Council are people who left the ACT before self-Government was imposed on us!