Monday, 8 February 2016

A phoray into the phorest

I am slated to lead a walk for ANPS in March, going to Jinglemoney Fire Trail in Tallaganda National Park.  It is my practice to go and check places out before the walk to ensure they are suitable for the abilities of the group.  Today was recce day for this one.

I decided to do the driving part of the outing as a loop, going through Rossi to begin with.  This would give me a chance to check a couple of other birding spots en route.    Heading out of Hoskinstown a Nankeen Kestrel (male, judging by the head colour) perched on a dead tree.
My first planned stop was a small dam.  Despite having had over 100mm of rain in January this one was still low in water.  The only fowl present were a few Australian Wood Ducks.
The Foxlow Lagoon was in better condition and had a lot of waterbirds.   (As it is about 400m from the road to the water my new telescope is brilliant.)
The most surprising bird seen there was a Silver Gull.  While they are common in Canberra this is only the second reported in the Carwoola area in the 9 years I have been recording birds out here.

Some cattle were hanging around where I park to look into the Lagoon. This stupid calf decided that the way to get to see Mum was to weave its way through the fence.  It got stuck, but unusually was able to work its way back out.
A large peanut gallery had formed on the other side of the road - probably attracted by a car, which might contain hay, rather than the antics of a calf.
Leaving this rural scene it was on and up into the forest and thence the National Park.  The woodland along the first stretch of road (Palerang Rd) appeared to be starting to be logged: which is presumably what happens to State Forests.  Of more concern was the appearance of a lot of surveying tape along the Bald Hill trail, which is definitely within the National Park.
Perhaps it was to guide the folk who had fixed up the road.  Last time we drove along here the track was in very bad condition, but has now been well fixed.  There are a lot of berms along the way, but this is a heavy rainfall area and quite steep in parts so that is good.
Once at Jinglemoney I parked and started walking.  The first flower seen was a Banksia marginata.
Some colourful berries were possibly on Tasmannica sp.  My friend Ian Fraser, who is far more reliable than me on plants, suggests Persoonia sp. in a comment below.
A Diplodium roseum was the only orchid I spotted.
I couldn't relocate a gully we had visited last time ANPS were in the area so decided to walk down Jinglemoney to see where it went.  After 1km of downhill it had reached Mulloon Creek which had a good flow in it.
After ferreting around a little I discovered a log bridge hidden inthe undergrowth and was able to cross with dry feet.
I didn't encounter any reptiles in the vegetation (but did see a Copperhead basking on the track latter in the walk)

As I headed up hill I heard the foul sound of a pack of trail bike riders.  While these folk are pretty much always antisocial idiots this bunch were the worst I have come across.  I didn't get the most egregious examples of cretinous behaviour - overtaking on the berms at about 60kph as they came towards me.  That was mainly because I was diving off the road to save myself.

This image - which is as taken - shows how close they were to me .
This crop from the above shows the bike is completely off the ground and totally under the control of gravity, not the rider.  A couple of the riders were so inept they were landing on the front wheel - but were able to avoid highsiding themselves.
Of course, all the bikes were unregistered so the riders couldn't be pursued and subject to the retrospective contraception they so desperately needed.
So what will happen about this?  Answer: nothing.  The National Parks people will say they don't have the staff to patrol such an area and Mr Plod would rather sit on the hill outside Queanbeyan with a speed camera.

Getting back to the car, after a reasonably strenuous 5km I proceeded home via Forbes Creek.  This had been subject to a severe storm the week before, and as I came down into the settlement the tarps over one of the badly damaged houses were clearly visible.
The houses near the road didn't look to be badly damaged but many trees had been destroyed.  (Tidying up seemed- quite reasonably - to involve the fallen timber being converted into firewood!)
The path of destruction seemed to be very narrow so comments about a tornado (in Australia often called a willy-willy) seemed to be right on the money.

There being a little time peft before my ETA at home I zipped in to Bungendore to check the Plumed Whistling Duck situation.  There were 9 of them on or beside the traditional pond  on Trucking Yard Lane of which three took to the water.


Ian Fraser said...

Nice part of the world. I don't reckon your berries are Tasmannia - Persoonia?

Flabmeister said...

I wasn't real happy with Tasmannia. I shall add a reference to your comment in the text. It is certainly Persoonia habitat.