Wednesday, 24 September 2014

ANPS Takes 5 at Cuumbeun

This post seems to have got a bit long - so many interesting things and they're in flower.  Good riddance to Winter - with apologies to any skiers.

Before getting to the pretties I might have a bit of a rant.  Scroll down a screen if you wish to skip that.  After several goes the NSW Parks Service found a gate that has defeated the efforts of trail-biking bogans to break it.
Unfortunately a gate that isn't locked just doesn't work very well and the chains and padlocks on this one were, in the words of an old Rugby song ".. hanging low, swinging free ...".  Possibly as a result of this, the fire trails showed many signs of having been carved up by said asocial twits.
I have reported the open-ness to the Ranger responsible for the area.  Hopefully she is nearby and will fix it pdq, as well as administering a good serve of her Blundstones (or Doc Martens - the action is more important than the brand) to whoever left it unlocked.

The bottom line is that from my view the Parks Service should devote more attention to conserving the Reserves and less to worrying about the Lesser Flammulated Whatsit on which an Important Person wrote their PhD 20 years ago!  Here endeth the rant.

The 5 referred to in the title of this post are species of orchids which we found today.  First off the rank were Glossodia major, which seem to have emerged right across the Carwoola landscape n the past few days.
 Here is a close-up of the wax lip and the pretty pattern at the base of the tepals.
Many specimens - in at least a couple of cases colonies of >10 plants were found - of Petalochilus fuscata.

 This detail shot shows the edges of the labellum curving in, thus showing that despite its very pink colouring this is not P. carneus.
The hooded dorsal sepal shouts out Stegostyla sp.  As the teeth on the labellum were a tad subtle we considered this to be S. cucullata, which is usually a bit later than the very toothy S, ustulata.

Completing the rainbow of not-Caladenias we found a couple of Cyanicula caerulea, which are getting close to the end of their 3 weeks of glory.
Being bold enough to walk off-piste (all reptiles seen today had >0 legs) I stumbled across a Pterostylis nutans.  It really didn't need to nod that much!
Then I noticed several more!
As other members came to view this colony they started spotting flowers and many rosettes some distance away.  My guess is that the colony is of the order of 15m x 5m and basically a carpet of greenhood rosettes.  Taking a big punt on numbers I would say at least 100 flowers and ~500 plants.

OK.  Moving on to dicotyledons.  Microseris lanceolata was very evident.  This one had a bonus hoverfly puting moves on it.
The beans have come!  Daviesia genistifolia was very attractive in a low-to-the-ground and darkish sort of way.
Dillwynnia sieberi always brighens the drive along Captains Flat Rd at this time of year.
My choice of purple bean was Indigofera australis, of which we found an astonishingly large clump on the way back from the cliff.
Nearby was a Pultenaea procumbens in a very spritely form of growth (and possibly a tad early for this elevation).
 A lot of Grevillea lanigera was in flower in the early part of the patrol.
The damper areas (and most of the stony ridges seemed very dry and crunchy) were well endowed with Ranunculus lappaceus.
There were more advanced (and larger)  specimens of Stackhousia monogyna but I thought this juxtaposition of one open floret and the tower of buds was attractive.
I normally refrain from photographing buds - plants should try harder to flower - but IMHO Lissanthe strigosa looks more attractive (and more deserving of the vernacular 'Peach Heath') when in bud than when the flowers are fully open.
 A lovely sample of Drosera peltata (possibly small insects may view that as an oxymoron).
Some members of the Rhamnaceae sometimes get a bad press in this blog.  However this Pomaderris eriocephala had some rather interesting flowers amongst the ,ass of buds.
For some reason I find the miniscule flowers of the family Santalaceae amusing and interesting.  Here is what I think is Omphacomeria acerba with flowers and the astonishingly - in relative terms  - large fruit.
Obviously it puts its energy into a fruit atractive to dispersing predators rather than a lurid flower to attract pollinators

There were a number of wattles in flower today and I have chosen to use Acacia dawsonii (struggling under the vernacular name of Poverty Wattle) as the representative.  They were evrywhere through the Reserve..
 Craspedia variablis.
Brachyscome spathulata - in astonishingly good shape.
On one of our dog walks at home Frances and I had speculated how many Wurmbea dioica (Early Nancy) there were on our property.  I slightly changed this question to the following formulation:
What is the density, in plants per square metre, to fit a million Nancies in 100 Hectares?
A hectare is 10,000 square metres so 100 hectares is 1,000,000 square metres and thus the required density is 1 plant per square metre.
In the above image the edge of my size 10 (~0.30m in length ) is provided for scale.  We have 0.32 square metres with  ~14 plants which equals 155 plants per square metre. This gives 1 million plants in 0.65 Ha!!  Allowing a fair amount of rubber in the calculations one still ends up with about a million plants per Hectare!

There was a reasonably good crop of birds around today.  This Scarlet Robin was the only one which posed for a snap!

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