Wednesday, 20 August 2014

COG finds some mysteries on Mount Jerrabomberra

On 20 August the COG Wednesday Walkers went to Mount Jerrabomerra, a nicely wooded hillside separating the main part of Queanbeyan from the Jerrabomberra development.  Some complexity was feared as the ANPS was at the same venue and parking was thought likely to be tight.  However we all fitted in.

After walking a short distance we came to our first mystery.  This was a plant, which none of us could identify.
I thought it should be Something ilicifolia (because of the holly-like leaves (bur also remembered that Somethingelse ramosissima was the big ticket item in this area.  A brave person muttered about Grevillea something, but the idea got little support.

Cutting to the chase, on the way back down the hill we encountered 4 of the ANPS team and they advised that it was Grevillea ramosissima.  So that was one mystery solved!

The second mystery occurred about 3/4 of the way up the hill.  This arose when the back half of the group observed some (at least 2, possibly 3) White-throated Treecreepers around a hollow in a tree.  They went in the hollow ...
 ... and came out of the hollow.
They carried a large (former) moth into the hollow and sometimes carried it out again.  This was clearly some form of procreational process but just what stage was the mystery.  Obviously the birds were inspecting a hollow (IH) but were they actually building a nest (NB) in there?  Or were there young birds being fed in there (NY)?  There wasn't any noise from the nest so we rejected NY, and we never saw bird A give the insect to Bird B so rejected Breeding Display (DI).  In the end we decided that IH was the certainty and all else was conjecture.

In subsequent commentary a very experienced birder, who has previously witnessed similar behaviour, wondered if the birds were simply roosting the hollow and it was nothing to do with breeding.

Anyhow, as shown by this Acacia pycnantha against a cloudless sky it was a very pleasant day for a walk.
 There was a lot of floriforosity around generally, including Hovea heterophylla ...
 .. Pimelia linifolia...
...  and Stypandra glauca.
Although not flowering I thought this gum spilling on eucalypt trunk was quite attractive.
But this is a bird walk I hear you say.  OK: here is an Australian Wood Duck up a tree.  There is no mystery about why it is up there: it's looking for a nest hollow.  It was making a persistent call, which is also the typical accompaniment to such a search.
 And two shots of a Crimson Rosella giving some action to what I think is Kunzea ericoides.

 One eucalypt was covered in blossom which was greatly appreciated by a honeybee.
A somewhat more surprising sighting was a Yellow Admiral dining on Pimelia well up the hill.
 At least with the cool weather it didn't fly around as swiftly as they often do.

At the Southern Summit the Queanbeyan City Council have installed a very spiffy lookout.  Here are a fair proportion of the walkers testing it out.
It was a great pity that a mere 10 days after the facility was opened some bogans have scrawled over the images on the sign board with red texta.  Hopefully the Council will have the where-with-all to clean it up.

At times on the Western facing areas we could see snow still decorating the higher parts of the Brindabella Range.
An excellent walk.  Thank you Sandra for suggesting and facilitating the expedition.

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