Tuesday, 25 June 2013

It's hard to get good Ground Parrot

The sun rose behind clouds.
This was after finding that my computer was still a little unhappy about delivering itself.  However it appears that if I take the battery out and replace it all works.  Thus I am still a little unhappy about the situation, but happier than I was!

Our dog walk this morning was along the Inlet but in the opposite direction to the previous day, just to avoid becoming obsessive.  A very pleasant walk which concluded coming back a different way which avoided the steep part of Karbethong Ave. or at least spread it out over a longer distance  We chatted briefly with a local (owner of two small dogs, one of which wanted to follow us – or at least Tammy – home) who opined that the rain was gone for the next few days.  Let us hope he is right!

One of the houses off Snapper Point Drive had a very effective feeder: this was my best snap of a Wonga Pigeon for the trip.
Their distinctive call a whistly "Wong wong wong ...." was pretty much a constant back drop to the area.

I then went for a 6.4km run which again was pleasant although the steep bit was very steep.  Perhaps it did me some good?

The main business of the day was to go for a walk though the heathland at Shipwreck Creek in Croajingalong National Park.  We had to leave Tammy behind but she settled down on her cushion bed  and we were off. 

En route we called in at the bakery and got a pie (excellent) and an apple turnover (excellent).  In conversation they commented that the Parks office was in fact open, although if there is only one person there (eg because the other(s) are off fighting fires or floods – or ordering  capuccinos from the bakery) they have to shut the place.  OHAS gone mad!  This did cause me to think my complaints about the place were a little harsh.  However on our way home we called in and the place was closed despite a hand-scrawled sign saying “Open Friday at 11am”.  Which Friday, and for how long isn't said, but there was no-one there at 1520 on the 21st of June!  Plonkers.

Since the place was shut I grabbed a couple of leaflets from the collection beside the door.  Don't they give great service: they even provide leaflets!  One of them covers walks in the area and proves that the author has been to gutter journalism school, but not actually visited (or thought about) a National Park anywhere.  One item begins – make sure you have a bucket handy before reading this -  “Experience pristine natural beauty and immerse yourself ...” which is merely chunderous.  However, as it continues “.. as you walk to the Lighthouse.” they clearly need to think a little about the meaning of the word 'pristine'.  As I said, plonkers.

We rumbled into the Park and to the Creek, pausing to photograph some beautiful Correa reflexa
and Epacris impressa of various colours.

A little further along the track the road followed a firebreak which was full of the red Epacris: a lovely sight.  (Having got the eye in, these are everywhere.)

On the walk itself I found the start, through woodland, interesting but not exciting.  However once we started to get out into the heath

the number and diversity of flowers picked up very well.  (I had hoped to pick up a plant list from the Parks office to assist us to identify things: sorry!)

Getting the expected level of help from Parks Victoria I have used “Native Plants of the Sydney Region” by Alan Fairley and Philip Moore as my key reference.  Even though we are well South of the Southern end of the range of the book it has got us there for most species.  I have confirmed with Don and Betty Woods 3 volumes of “Plants of the South Coast and Ranges of New South Wales”: the plants don't seem fussed by State borders.  (In fact they are probably moving South to get away from National Parks full of gun nuts.)

Hakea sericiea
 Allocasuarina nana: listed by David Keith as an indicator of many types of heath: it was certainly the dominant vegetation here.
 Banksia marginata
 Acacia suaveolens
 This one has me baffled.
 Persoonia laevis
 There was a gland on these leaves which suggests Acacia, but what species?
 Leptospermum squarrosum
 More work needed on this one!
 Drosera sp.
 Dillwynnia retorta
 Billardiaera sp.
 Grevillea sp.
Correa alba
We were observed by a local resident,
and Frances saw the back 30cm of a Red-bellied Black Snake disappearing into a bush.  In the birds department we had good views of a Brown Goshawk, our first White-bellied Sea Eagle of the trip and my first Tawny-crowned Honeyeater (thanks to Ian Fraser for pointing out that Chestnut-crowned Honeyeaters are a bit rare) for many years.  No Ground parrots appeared. Drat and curse them – they are really turning into a bogey bird.

The views along the coast, near the end of the walk were spectacular +.

Getting back into the forest, an Eastern Yellow Robin posed nicely, if distantly.
On the way home we were impressed by the gum leaking from this eucalypt (presumably one of the Bloodwoods)
before we paused briefly at Quarry Beach
and photographed the interesting patterns in the rocks

 ... the foam forming around the rocks (which clacked loudly as the surf knocked them together)
 and some offshore rock glowing in the afternoon sun.
 I also took some photos of a group of 5 Pied Oystercatchers and was pleased to observe that at least one of them was banded: I shall have to pass that on to someone.  "Someone" turned out to be the Victorian Wader Study Group, who weren't able to identify the individual bird but were able to advise that the bird was "..originally banded at Hastings or Fairhaven prior to 2003."  The oldest re-sightings are in their early twenties, so this bird is at most middle aged.
I put out some more apple to see if I could get some more bowerbirds.  There was an interesting confrontation between a Satin Bowerbird and a Little Wattlebird
and between them they polished off the apple (which I checked before dark to avoid a re-invasion by possum).  This also drew my attention to a magnificent sunset, with Inlet reflection and a moon above!
Just after dark there was a thump from the deck and there was a fat possum sitting in the empty feeder.  I went out to escort him from the premises and the cheeky sod stood up and begged!  Someone must be hand feeding it, but not me!!
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Drive home in the rain.

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