Thursday, 5 December 2013

ANPS nearly Squares a Rock

The ANPS Wednesday Walk today went (nearly) to Square Rock in Namadgi NP.  A walk which includes 6 species of orchid and 26 of birds has gotta be good!  Here follows a summary of the expedition.

This map was an unusually informative one from the ACT Government.  Shows distances (totaling 8.5km) and gives a good idea of the topography.  Well done Parks and Conservation!
There were a lot of granite boulders of varying sizes around the walk.  These in the middle part of the trek were very impressive.
Here are some smaller boulders close to the starting point.
Going up the track there had been a bit of management burning happening.  This certainly made the walking easier.  On top of the ridge that hadn't happened and the thickness of the regrown Daviesia mimosoides was almost claustrophobic.
As I know some of the readership will be anxious to follow up on the "6 orchid species" here we go.  First up we have Stegostyla moschata.
Gastrodia sesamoides (Potato Orchid) in flower.  Another colony were still in bud with the characteristic bent over form.
Diuris sulphurea.  This finished flowering some weeks ago at home, but as we are about500m higher in this area, a delay of over a month is to be expected.
Diuris monticola.  This was the last species found, but I have included it here to keep the Diuris together.  The image doesn't show the nest of small black ants at the base of the stem: neither the camera nor I spotted them until they invaded my arm, which was resting on the ground!
Calochilus paludosus.
Petalochilus carneus.  I was astonished that this was spotted as it was a tiny specimen and just on the edge of thick grass.
Enough with the orchids.  Epacris breviflora.
Veronica gracilis
Pimelea treyvaudii.  The unopened florets produced some strange looking heads in other examples.
Cynoglossum australe.
The next two images contrast the stage of flowering of Daviesia mimosoides.   At the start of the track - about 1200m AMSL most of the flowers had been fertilised and gone to seed (note the triangular shapes on the RHS).
At the high point the bushes were still covered with open flowers.
There were a number of "Daisy" (Asteraceae) species seen.  I think this one is Lagenophora stipitata
Why (some) Eucalypts are called gum trees!
Euphrasia collina
There were many skinks around.  This one - a Mountain log skink Pseudemoia entrecasteauxi - posed for a picture.  From its shape I suspect it was a gravid female.
The insects that I encountered were mainly interesting(ie not a cloud of bush flies - although I did apparently have a number on my back later in the day).  This member of the Chrysomelinae was hanging on to a Lomandra leaf.
Another Daisy!  Calotis scabiosifolia
Bulbine glauca was common in the boulder fields.
Craspedia sp with bonus, and nearly in focus, native bee
Neopaxia australasica is a very small plant growing in a side compartment of the Nursery Swamp.
Podolobium alpestre.
When going back to get a specimen of the Neopaxia for identification purposes I came across this pond covered with Nymphoides geminata
They are very spiffy when looked at closely.
The next two images are showing Utricularia dichotoma.  I wasn't keen enough to wade into the water for a closeup so the second 'zoom and crop' image will have to do!

Acrothamnus hookeri.  On Sunday's walk to Tallaganda I think I mis-identified this as Monotoca elliptica: on this occasion the fuzziness is more obvious, and not due to camera shake..
At the high point of our walk, not the entire track, a Yellow Admiral (Vanessa itea) posed on a rock about 10m below me.
Ozothamnus thyrsoideus
Hakea microcarpa with 2 pin-tailed beetles (family Mordellidae)
This is looking across the valley showing the burnt out trunks - I think Euc. delegatensis - still evident from the 2003 bushfire.  These give the appearance of misty 'swooshes' across the hillsides.
From the past to the future.  This is a seed-head of Pomaderris betulina betulina.