Thursday, 10 October 2013

ANPS Rocks Gibraltar

Actually, judging by the stiffness in my legs this morning, Gibraltar may have rocked ANPS!

While there were some good plants around, and the previous (from 1998) plant list was doubled in length the big ticket item today was the granite tors and the scenery so we will kick off with that.

This could be titled the shape of things to come, being taken from the Dalsetta site and omitting most of the climb.
 A nicely gabled tor, with a view across the valley to the Bullen Range.
 This shot is a 180o panorama from the lookout platform. The aspect here starts to the NW and - by arithmetic - ends up to the SE.
This tor was taken from a rock platform close to the top. In fact it was about as close to the top as possible to get without ropes, pitons and a severe lack of imagination.  The stelate tor had a large ringbolt in the top which is fine, but to get to same would require ascending with fingernails jammed in a thin crack.  Possibly the image was taken from the site of a Freudian symbolism seminar.
There were several chances for capturing images through gaps between tors.  Due to the lovely sunny weather the lighting involved was awkward!
 Let us move on to the flowers which are more of less in the order in which I saw them.

Leucopogon virgatus.
Glycine clandestina
Hakea sericea
Kunzea parvifolia
 Ranunculus lappaceus.  Good numbers of this species were present in the grassy areas at the foot of the walk.  For some reason, the large number of kangaroos didn't seem to eat this.
Hibbertia obtusifolia:  The genus takes its name from George Hibbert (1757 - 1837), an eminent English merchant and amateur botanist.  A vernacular name for some members of this genus is 'guinea flower' presumably from a perceived resemblance of the flowers to the golden coin.  (IMHO when looking at the shape, to see the similarity it does well to remember that rum was another currency in early NSW and that amateur botanists were usually wealthy - perhaps too much so?)
Amyema miquelii: this was growing in a eucalypt as usual.  A little later we saw one on an Aacia dealbata.
Pomaderris andromedifolia.  One of the few plants seem in profusion.  The area around the summit was effectively a forest of this.
Pultenaea procumbens:  No idea why this was flowering so nicely when the masses on our property- 200m lower - haven't even started to flower yet.
 Eucalyptus dives.
Olearia lirata.  We found several specimens along the track but large patches were visible on an adjacent hillside.
On the way back down we found a second orchid species (I have put so many images of Glossodia major in other posts I didn't take images of that).  This finger orchid is Petalochilus carneus.
A close-up of the column.
 After descending the ball-bearing gravel trail while crossing a drainage line in a grassed area I noticed a few examples of Isotoma fluviatilis.
I am now moving out of sequence to group all images of grasst trees together. The area had the best collection of Xanthorrhea australis I have seen.  These first specimens, looking rather like redskins about to attack a wagon train, were on a ridge above the track.
Quite a bit higher up the trail a flowering specimen was right beside the track and had taken the trouble to grow with a view in the background.
 A hoverfly coming in for a snack.
This specimen encountered towards the end of the walk, and thus lower, had the highest proportion of open florets.
The next few images are more or less to do with animals rather than plants.  Obviously once a 'roo has bashed (or splashed) a path through the Phragmites, others follow.
As we started the ascent there were many spider webs on the ground.
Insects were more visible this walk than they have been for the past few walks.   A beetle (Carphurus sp. flower beetles - thanks Roger) feeding on Olearia.
 A Cunningham's Skink seen beside the track.  According to Ross Bennett's book the white spots meant it was a juvenile.

Several puddles in the bottom end of the walk were well endowed with tadpoles.  This puddle was possibly 40cm square and shrinking by the minute: I have no idea what the pollywogs were using for food but suspect few of them are going to achieve froghood.

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