Saturday, 6 June 2015

It's gotta be warmer than Canberra!

Apparently Canberra was rated as the coldest place in Australia on 4 June.  Oh dear what a pity - we had planned a trip to Mallacoota already.  It was interesting that shortly after we passed through Nimmitabel (1100m above sea level) on the 5th of June there was still snow beside the road so I think it must just be that they didn't call in the records for the 4th!

The highlight of the trip was seeing a Spotted Harrier soaring over paddocks just South of Bombala.  Never a common bird, so this gave BirdADay a nice kick along.  Plus they are very spiffy to see, even when doing 100kph in the opposite direction.

Overall the trip was a standard 350km drive across the tablelands and down the escarpment.  The most exciting bit was when a Swamp Wallaby charged the car: I was looking 100m, rather than 10m, up the road but fortunately it swung off before challenging either the roo bar or the door panel.

While there had been a bit of burning in NSW that was in the State Forest and mainly seemed to be tidying up after logging.  By contrast it looked as though every bit of public land in Victoria had been lit up.  What made this completely stupid was that:
  • the immediate regrowth appears to be a dense stand of bracken which will burn very well when it dries out; and
  • the land closest to the town of Mallacoota - which is presumably what this is supposed to protect - is still reasonably lushly vegetated (so if a crown fire comes across the public land it will meet a nice lot of fuel in the worst spot).  Idiots.
A first thing I noticed was that the lawn was not much like a Thai bamboo Forest.  My first thought was someone had mowed in the 3 months since we were last here in March but couldn't work out who.  Then I wondered if it had been very dry.  Checking the BoM site shows little rain (15.0mm) in May but that followed 312mm in April, which should have got things sprouting!  So back to first thoughts.  In fact it was neither - the type of grass thickens rather than grows up.    It didn't take long to sort it, and the trailer load of grass will be taken to the tip tomorrow.

This is a shot about halfway through:
I left the mower there while carting a big bag of clippings up to the trailer but unfortunately it didn't automate itself and zip around in my absence.

Here is the finished job: it is very satisfying to see what you've done!
Well, that got a tad out of sequence so we'll go back to the evening of the 5th, when we were visited by a colourful moth.

I really had no idea what it was so googled "moth Australia pectinate antenna" which came up with inter alia a link to the Ben Cruachan blog.  The beastie wasn't quite right - mine had no red spots on the wings - but the genus "felt good".  So I searched the Atlas of Living Australia for the genus and came up with a pretty good visual match for Chlorocoma stereota and the distribution included Mallacoota.  So bingo!

So on to 6 June.  Dawn came a little sooner than it does in Canberra - we are about 100km further East - and despite there being few clouds was rather picturesque.
 If Mr Wordsworth was in the 'hood he would have started burbling about "... wandering lonely as a cloud ..." on spotting this.
 Off we went on our walk to the town centre. Pleasant as aways, with some interest in these pelicans.
 Here's a close up.
 I'd have to admit one reason they were interesting was 'cos they are big.  This helps when one has forgotten one's bins and didn't wish to walk back up a big hill to get them.

After the walk King Parrots were evident.  Here is a male ..
 .. and for the comparison shoppers here is mum and dad.
 I noticed this sign on the walk: it stood out particularly today.
 Some garden flowers, mainly at our hosts place.  Begin with a Eucalypt, beloved of Honeyeaters.
A big Banksia ...
 .. and a smaller one.
 This Grevillea was very popular with New Holland Honeyeaters.
We walked the Heathland Track today, and to our surprise found quite a few things in flower.  Here are two Acacias.

 A Correa reflexa
 A bean!
 There were several forms of Epacris impressa in flower, but this pink one was the most photogenic.
 I should know this plant but will just call it a "pretty white flower".
 A "pretty orange fungus" possibly Gymnopilus junonius.
 There were some huge kelp washed up on the beach.  The stems on this one were about 8cm across.
 This image is to show the interesting strata on this rock.
At times there is a hard job to be done and this guy seems to have been elected to do it.  I think he was looking round for his mates, sitting in the dunes, to deliver an emergency VB.
 The sunset was pretty spiffy!

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