Wednesday, 11 December 2013

ANPS has a hairy day on the Bald Hill FT

After a few weather interruptions to past attempts to get there the Wednesday Walkers finally made it for a car crawl - and of course a little walking - on Bald Hill Fire Trail (we will get to hairy a little later) in Tallaganda National Park.  To some extent we followed the same route I had used when the COG group visited the area in 2011.  However we started off a little earlier with a snuffle around the start of the North Black Range Fire Trail.

There were some BIG rocks there.
 The plant life was setting up a des-res in the eroded parts of the pile.
The final bit of geological interest was a nicely squared out mine shaft we found, with some branches put across the top as some form of minimal warning.  My guess would be the drier bit of the shaft was about 7m deep, with a good, but unknown, depth of water thereafter.  I suspect the algal line showed that in wetter times the drop is less but the water a few metres deeper.  In terms of metaphorical hairiness, this was the main item of the day.
As Ros has commented in her summary the plant of the day was Thysanotus tuberosus (Fringe Lily).
They were everywhere, sometimes in clusters.  Not only does this one have 6 visible flowers but a few unopened buds as well.
 OK: we will now go through a few of the dicotyledonous plants we saw.

Lagenophora stipitata
Podolepis jaceoides (a surprise as this is usually thought of as a plant of grasslands rather than high country - we were above 1000m most of the day -  forests).
A watercourse had a good supply of many interesting plants including Hypoxis hygrometrica.
 The first Persoonia found - in several places - was P. asperula,
At the two highest stops we scored P. silvatica, in very good blossom.
 This is the flower and fruit of Polyscias sambucifolia.
Finally a member of the Fabaceae.  Pultenaea subspicata.
The commonest Fabaceae was Daviesia ulicifolia, but it wasn't in flower.  After I had knelt in it I decided it was there as a manhood test for those with a Y chromosome and shorts.  (My cargo pants got me a "fail" on that test, but a "pass" on the comfort dimension!)

Again getting flowers (and these are considerably larger than life) and fruit of Choretrum pauciflorum.  These plants were not  particularly pauciflora (= few flowered) but wrote the book on parviflora (= small flowered).
A monster (OK, relative to the previous species, if not to a Pelargonium)  Geranium (as shown by it being nearly the same size as my chewn fingernail).  G. neglectum
 Fruit and flower of Dianella tasmanica
The fruit of Exocarpos strictus: quite seasonal with the green seed on a red pedicel.  Again much larger than life.
Seeds of Olearia lirata.
Finishing off the dicotyledons - even though a couple of moncots have got a run above -  I'll note that most of the Wahlenbergia seen today were identified as W. stricta, in part because they had hairy lower stems

What the orchid lovers have been waiting for.  Microtis sp.!!!
 This specimen had a very large number of flowers and looking closely and a floret (see below) I decided it was M. unifolia even though it was high enough to be in the territory of the Alpine Onion Orchid (I loathe the term 'aff' as it seems like cop out).

 Quite a few specimens of Dipodium were found with some open ones at lower elevations .  I believe this to be D. roseum.
 We found a good colony of large greenhoods in the watercourse off Jigglemonkey (OK I know it is really Jinglemoney. but I think my version sounds funnier) Fire Trail    Going on the green labellum and overall shape I rated these as Pterostylis falcata,
At our last, bonus, stop a vast array of greenhoods were found.  As they had a brown labellum and a somewhat different shape I ended up calling them P. monticola.  (As Julie pointed out, Diplodium flowers emerge separately from the rosettes and these flowers all had rosettes.)
 These were part of a colony of about 9 flowers in a square foot (trendy modern folk would call that 0.0929 square metres,which doesn't have quite the same poetry).
We did meet some totally "over" Chiloglottis trilabra at our second stop but eventually dug up some open flowers.
Several samples of Thelymitra were found.  Early ones with thin leaves (with a red base) were called T pauciflora.  We then found some with much wider leaves which due to habitat, elevation and a very large number of florets (in this case 21) we eventually decided were T. alpina rather than the other fat leaved species T. nuda.
 Many example of caterpillar nests were seen.
 An interesting weevil  (note rostrum) was seen.  This is the underside ...
 .. and this the top side.
 An orb spider I think.
 A fast moving spider, which for some unknown reason looks to be wearing a Collingwood guernsey.
 A moth on a Brachyscome.
 Once this was a Cicada, now its just a shell of the insect it once was.
 A Common Brown butterfly slurping on a Xerochrysum.  Note the proboscis and thenice stripey effect of the antennae.
 A red bug: I will take a punt on Pseudopantilius australis..
After we drove out through Rossi a 1m Copperhead writhed across the road, going too quickly for me to photograph.  I did note the vivid yellow belly.  This draws to my mind seeing very few reptiles today: a few small skinks scurried away, but that was all.

Birds were reasonably vocal but barely visible.  I noted 22 species, and the most exciting was a Wonga Pigeon seen as we approached the Jigglemonkey FT.

The other item here was the baby wombat rescued from a road killed mother.  Here is one of the images taken by Lucinda. 

Well done Jo.  As is apparent it was itself a bit hairy so becomes the next string to a rather weak joke!
The final string could be some hirsute seasonal badinage about white beards and Mr Claus!


Denis Wilson said...

A very thorough report on what sounds like an excellent trip, Martin. Never quite picked up on the Hairy theme, apart from the mine pit. Finding that, perhaps unexpectedly, would indeed be "hairy".
Any idea about what was being mined there?
I hope you don't mind me saying that your macro photos have improved dramatically over time. The Microtis and Choretrum pauciflorum shots are as good as I have ever seen.
Your season has been very different from ours, here in the Southern Highlands. We have Dipodium roseum in flower and a few Tongue Orchids, and Potato Orchids. But that's about it. The alpine Greenhoods are interesting to me.
All in all, a good read.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Denis.

I have put a couple of references to "hairy" in red but had missed the obvious metaphorical link to the mineshaft. Will be fixed.

My suspicion is that they were mining gold - the range is between The Flat and Majors Creek.

It is amazing what a difference a new camera, and a tighter culling regime, make to the quality of surviving photos!