Thursday, 10 March 2016

ANPS and the Height of the Cool

Miles Davis may have trademarked the Birth of the Cool but, as Roger expected, the ANPS Wednesday Walkers got the Height of the cool (or possibly the Cool of the Height).  It should be mentioned that the venue for the outing was the Ginini swamps.

 According to my car thermometer the maximum for the day was about 25 - much better than the 32+ I found back in Canberra.  There was also a nifty little breeze which cooled things further (good) while causing flowers to waft around in the breeze (obviously bad).

The drive up was very dusty once past Condor Creek.  Also bumpy, suggesting it hasn't been graded for a fair while.
A brief pause was made at the scared (OK, I meant 'sacred' but I like that typo) site of Bulls Head.  The most excitement was seeing at least4 Flame Robins hopping around in the road.
It is obviously going to be a long while before the stags left over from the 2003 bushfires are hidden.  In some places they were even more obvious than this.
The dominant family today was Asteraceae.  I think this is Leucochrysum albicans alpinum.
Some of the buds thereof were particularly colourful.
I didn't ask about the ID of these but believe them to be Xerochrysum subundulatum.
A typical Aster seed-head.  I think this is a Celmesia.
A Brachyscome - I wrote down B. dentata, which is possible, but not on the list.  It has since been suggested that B. aculeata was the go and discussions are on going.
Ozothamnus cupressoides: this used to be considered part of O. hookeri which is now only indigenous to Tasmania.  These nice white "flowers" are actually the seed heads and the flowers are rather drab (and tiny) browner items.
Rhodanthe anthemoides: a few along the ski-run but many in the meadow at the foot thereof.
Wahlenbergia gloriosa - for once the rosette was clearly visible.
This is a small part of the swamp.  It was very dry (at least relative to what is expected from a swamp) but is a genuine sphagnum bog.
I was quite excited to find Chionogentias cunninghamii in the ski-run.   It was possibly the commonest flower present in the swamp. 

Linum marginale
Euphrasia caudata - a competitor for commonest flower, but loses out on the lower 'gaudy' score.
Brachysome scapigera
The only bean I found in flower was Bossiaea sericea, rather than the very similar B. foliosa.  It was not actuall in the swamp, but the hillside above it.
Arthropodium milleflorum: this specimen was very tall - about 60cm - but despite that stayed steady enough to get a reasonably sharp image.
A few orchids - or at least remains thereof - were found in the bog.  They were either Corunastylis sp.  or more likely Norvegensis caerulens (the Scandinavian Blue Orchid).  Either way I thought them insufficiently attractive to take photos!

The identification of the insects to follow - except for the Painted Lady which is within my competence - was made by Roger Farrow.

A large grasshopper Gastrimargus musicus posed in the car park.
This much smaller specimen Kosciuscola usitatus or K. cognatus still hung on to the grass long enough to get snapped.
A Katydid Caedicia simplex also seemed reluctant to fly.
This large stick insect Acrophylla titan was initially spotted when it fell on a hat, as the group walked down.  I was elsewhere at that time, but it stayed where it was placed until we walked back (about 90 minute later)
A dragonfly - this is the only one I remember seeing on the day.  Advice is being sought on the ID.
Australian Painted Lady was the commonest butterfly I saw on the day.
Another small butterfly which I suspect was not well, as it seemed reluctant to fly.
Roger suggested an Alpine Xenica, Oreixenica sp (there are three possible within the genus).  With that as a hint I perused Michael Braby's "Field Guide to the Butterflies of Australia" also looking at this image of the underside ...
... and concluded the most likely species was O. latialis, the Small Alpine Xenica.

A scale insect, Glycaspis sp, which I thought to be quite attractive with the small strands going out from the sugary caps.
A token photo of some rocks poking out of the hillside.
In the swamp clumps of emergent rock appeared to form a substrate allowing bushes and trees to form little islands in the otherwise herbaceous overgrowth.

Birds were few and far between with only Grey Fantails and White-throated Treecreepers making themselves very evident.


Ian Fraser said...

Leucochrysum albicans is generally regarded (finally) as a full species now, though as ever these things are ultimately matters of personal taste - and I should know better than to wave the taxonomy cape at you! Have you got Meredith Cosgrove's truly excellent new field guide (Photographic Guide to the Native Plants of the ACT)?

Flabmeister said...

Ole toro!! I have decided that serenity is what is needed and shall thus ignore the inanities of taxonomists from now on. Unless they really, truly, piss me off - unfortunately a high probability occurence.

I do indeed have have Ms Cosgrove's book which I would have done any way but a high proportion of the records she accessed (from the equally excellent Atlas of Living Australia) were sourced from ANPS Wednesday Walks. While many others did the hard work of identifying the specimens in the field or subsequently I can claim a bit of glory in having put them up on the Atlas.