Wednesday, 28 January 2015

ANPS looks down on NSW from Mt Aggie

After 3 weeks of trying the walk finally went ahead.  The weather was quite satisfactory, although I was wearing a fleece the whole time.

We went via the Cotter Dam and Frances scored this photo as we came home.  In most places they'd have made a viewing area to look at this quite imposing site: being the ACT Government the road is a no-stopping area.  (I suspect their OHAS lawyer has gone feral about getting sued if the dam collapses.)
 Once past the bitumen the gravel road was in very poor condition.  .  Here is the explanation:
For some reason the cash-strapped ACT Government is shifting many truckloads of gravel along the Mt Franklin Rd.  This was happening when ANPS visited Mt Franklin on 10 December and I would have heard at least 12 trucks go past today. Given the narrowness of the road in parts it is very dangerous - we had to wait because another truck was coming.  If they spent the money on controlling St John's Wort, blackberries  and Scotch thistles it would be a much better idea.

Anyhow.  That was the only blot on a very good day.  Here is a view of the summit of Mt Aggie.
 And this is one of the may panoramic views from the summit, looking basically South-West.
This is looking basically east.  The bands of tone offered by the epicormic growth: burnt out stags; distant hillside and the clouds were most appealing.
 This is a close-up of a dead tree trunk with an interesting banding effect where the fire has created a cavity.  I suspect it was the second fire that got the tree.
On to plants.  The dominant (in terms of interest) family for the day was definitely the Asteraceae - which some refer to as daisies.  None refer to it as Compositae because that is Old Thinking and frowned upon by the Gods of Taxonomy.  So I will begin with that group (daisies, not the Gods of Taxonomy).

Brachyscome aculeata was very common near the start of the walk.
A few mauve Brachycomes, possibly B spathulata, were seen off the track.
Just below the summit was a small clump of B. diversifolia which required seeds to be peered at for identification.
Yellow was also available with  Xerochrysum subundulatum and ....
.. Microseris sp. 'Snowfields' as it currently appear in the ACT Plant Census  This was a very large flower on a stalk about 1m long.  Only one plant was found by me while I was exploring off the track, but a couple mores were found by others, closer to the track.
 The open area around the peak was a sea of Rhodanthe anthemoides.
A few samples of Leucochrysum alpinum were mixed in.  This is an arty-farty snap of an opening bud against the white foliage.
 Moving on to other families.  There were still a lot of Stylidium in flower, and I think this was S. armeria.
 Bossiaea foliosa
Oxylobium ellipticum
Persoonia chamaepeuce.  Another member of the genus was also seen by some, but not photographed by me.
 I am intrigued that there were not a mass of Currawongs around feeding on the berries of  Acrothamnus hookeri.  Presumably the pest birds find it easier to scarf dog-food and Cotoneaster berries in the city.
 A mixed development of Dianella tasmanica berries.
 I think this is the ACT floral emblem Wahlenbergia gloriosa.  As usual there was much debate about specification of the various 'bluebells' encountered on the walk.
 Several Vanilla Lilies Arthropodium milleflorum were encountered
 Euphrasia collina was not surprisingly growing on a hill!
Quite a number of colonies of Pterostylis falcata Diplodium decurvum or D. aestivum were encountered throughout the forested section of the walk.  The definitive expert conclusion is that this first one is D aestivum but "they are hard to tell apart". and the rationale for the names determined is in a comment on the post.
This is more like D  decurvum.
And this is pretty definitely D. decurvum
A single 'gone over' example of Dipodium sp.
This struggler is, was, or will be Eriochilus cuccullatus.  This was outside the forest on the shale slopes.
Right at the summit was our only example of Thelymitra sp.
 Only one fungus was noted.
 Having dealt with "evidence of orchids" here is evidence of insects in the shape of a gall.
 Thus far I have not identified this well at all.  I suspect it is a beetle.
Roger identified this as a Hanging Fly - which according to Zborowski and Story is most likely to be Harpobittacus sp.
Roger also wondered if it had a nuptial gift, and my answer was no.  However he spotted that a wedding present was present and inded it can be found in the image.
 Although the gift wasn't accepted by the female it didn't seem to delay adult entertainment!
 A weevil!
 A hoverfly!
 A caterpillar!
 Some of the 'roos at Bulls Head.
Many skinks were seen throughout the day.  The cooler weather seemed to make them less inclined to snooze in the sun,but this one did oblige.
A flock of Flame Robins were on the grass at Bulls Head ...
 .. and one of them came and perched nicely for a photo.
On the way home we went for a brief visit to Warks Rd to look for ferns and the Rose Robin seen on last week's COG walk.  We failed completely on the last, but this was more than made up for by two Wonga pigeons on Blundell's Creek Rd.  They have been rather uncommon since the 2003 fires.

1 comment:

Flabmeister said...

WRT the greenhoods the rationale for choosing between thespecies for the various photos was described in an email as follows:
"the first is D aestivum and the third definitely D decurvum as is more than likely the second , for the following reasons;

1 Typically the dorsal sepal is longer in D decurvum
2 The plant is smaller than D aestivum
3 The colour is a paler green in D decurvum
4 The third pic shows very well the slimmer flower base, typical D decurvum (we reckon the D decurvum is a more elegant flower, but not so robust as D aestivum)."