Monday, 2 December 2013

Environment Tours do South Tallaganda

I have blogged a couple of times about trips we have done with Ian Fraser's Environment Tours (and indeed have a whole blog about a trip to Peru which he led).  On 1 December - hello, Summer - we went on a tour to the Southern parts of Tallaganda.  This included bits of the eponymous National Park and State Forest and a richochet along the boundary of Gourock National Park.  Here is an extract from Google Earth.
This clearly shows how the route does in fact circle the South of Tallaganda!  At some points on the homewards leg we had great views over towards the Deau National Park.  At our highest point - I think stop 3 - we were at 1400m AMSL and for most of the time above 1000m.

As the route went past the end of our road Ian kindly agreed to pick us up from there rather than us driving 40km into Canberra and back.  Even the wait beside Captains Flat Rd was interesting.  This began with a ravening pack of ants shifting a former beetle around.  Possibly the beetle wasn't completely departed as it seemed to be clinging to a small rock, which the ants were also shifting.
The Joycea pallida - I don't care what the taxonomists call it this week - was in flower showing the delicate structure of the flowers and the red anthers which the hoi polloi (showing more sense than taxonomists) thus call Red-anther Wallaby Grass.  This hasn't flowered well this year, possibly due to the frosts and winds which have trashed the grain crops further west.
Our first stop at Sherlock River had some very attractive Black Sallee (Eucalyptus stellulata) and a lot of tussocky grass- possibly Poa labillardiera.  A good start was made to the birdlist at this point.
Moving along, we headed down to Anembo Rd and started climbing.  At the second stop we found three orchid species with Diuris sulphurea ..
.. and D. pardina found and photographed.
 I also found Stegostyla moschata.  This was just as the bus was loading up so I didn't want to delay everyone else to snap a plant of which I have already posted many images this year.   (I realise this behaviour will get me chucked out of the photographers club.)

Pultaneaea subspicata was the first member of the Fabaceae seen for the day.
This next image really is Pimelea curviflora unlike a later malapropism when I applied that name to a Persoonia!
Confirming that we were at altitude by stop 3 a male Flame Robin stopped by.  This image shows themore orange colour than that of a Scarlet Robin and also how the "flames go up" with the orange going right up the throat.
A general habitat shot of the area.
A daisy: Brachyscome rigidula.
Stellaria pungens with an insect - I shall attempt a slightly more detailed name later!  Suggestions welcome.
Another member of the Fabaceae (note avoidance of pea/bean/vetch controversy).  This is Daviesia ulicifolia and the folia were certainly ulici!
At the lunch stop (stop 4)  this heath (family Ericaceae) caused some difficulty in identification but we eventually settled on Monotoca elliptica, although it was flowering later than suggested by Plantnet.  (Possibly reflecting it being about 1200m higher than the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, where taxonomists weave their dreadful webs.)   Following the next Wednesday Walk I have decided it was actually Acrothamnus hookeri!
Also at the lunch stop there were numerous examples of Lagenophora stipitata.
A beetle -probably a mini-Scarab - was crawling around the flower heads of a Senecio quadridentatus (this name is an example of a plant where the name is an order of magnitude larger than the flower!)  The insect duly took a dive but was relocated in an axil.  I like the golden hairs on the back!
A family of Gang-gangs were located munching on snow gum fruits.  Here is Mum ..
.. and, slightly Mohawked, Son.
I suspect - from the length of the rostrum - that this is a weevil, possibly a member of the Belidae, mimicking a lycid beetle as a means of protection from nasty (from the insect's view) insect-munching birds.  Looking up Brisbane Insects suggests it is Rhinotia haemoptera.
A pretty rock!
At stop 6 there was an attractive stream.  The outcome of the recent activities of the "Hrrummpph hrrumph" hazard reduction mob were definitely not attractive.  Apart from blackened trunks a few Lomandra shoots were all the vegetation visible.
The final photo is a very pretty Xerochrysum viscosum off South Forest way - stop 7.
My best tally, without formally entering them up and reviewing the list, is 45 species of birds and 54 species of plants.  Also 3 butterflies, 2 reptiles (both with a GOOD number - ie 4 - of legs an Echidna and a couple of Swampies.  I hope to create some proper lists later.

I will put in a comment here that for the plants I compiled a list of "possibles" from ANPS Wednesday Walks to Wild Cattle Flat Rd, Strike a Light fire trail, and Big Badja.  This contained 173spp of which we recorded 45 and added 9 extras.  I think that is a worthwhile 'help' to recording what was seen.  While it was easy for me to do holding the database, all this information is on the Atlas of Living Australia and this publicly available.  (A little ingenuity might be needed to define the area of interest, but LWMTBE.)

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