Wednesday, 13 April 2016

ANPS crosses the Maginot Line

This doesn't mean we have followed in the amazing footsteps (OK spinning wheels) of Matthew Hayman and a bit further to the French fortifications prior to WW2.  Instead we went by the Maginot Fire Trail in Brindabella NP, NW of Canberra.
The word 'fire' is appropriate as we hit the area of a habitat reduction burn as we got to the intersection of the fire trail and Doctors Flat Rd.
So we had ashes ...
to ashes ...
and dust ...
 .. to dust.
 I was so impressed with the dust I took a good lot of it home.
Before getting to the flowers I will mention a bird.  It has the latin name Anser vulgaris (the Common Goose) who was at Weston sitting in a cleaner manifestation of the car above, waiting for the other three to go behind him.  All of sudden he realised they were no longer parked.  Damn he had failed to spot them go by!  Pedal to the metal to Doctors Flat Rd: no-one else there!  Perhaps they were waiting at Urriara Crossing?  A fair bit of the way there my phone rang with an enquiry as to where I was - they had gone via Cotter to avoid the revolting 'burbs of Molonglo.  That will learn me to pay attention! 

I will also mention the weird pattern of the controlled burn.  It only went about 50m from Doctors Flat Rd.  Further in the bush was fine.  All we could conclude was that some form of back burn had been done as a break in case the 700Ha incineration along the Maginot Fire Trail got a bit frisky,

We went on the other side of Doctors Flat Road and found a few flowers.

This solitary bean was Dillwynnia sp.
 Some rather scruffy heath was apparently Leucopogon attenuatus ...
 .. and this the Winter favourite Monotoca scoparia.
 In the bush there was quite a lot of Grevillea lanigera of which I found a sample (nearly) in flower
 Our second stop was at the Top Crossing of Mountain Creek.
 The rocky nature of the Creek made it possible to walk along it, but some large puddles suggested water was moving along under the pebbles.  Certainly when we later crossed the Creek about 30km North, where it went under Wee Jasper Rd there appeared to be some above-ground flow happening.

The botanical highlight along here (apart from various species of Pomaderris) were some plants of Grevillea oxyantha, mainly in bud  ...
 .. but one in flower.
 Back at the crossing a good lot of Eucalyptus stellulata was in flower.

 Interestingly the mass of flowers seemed to be ignored by birds, of which most seemed to be more interested in migrating.  I have noticed in the past that this species doesn't seem to be visited by birds - perhaps that is because they have higher priorities and have filled up with calories before starting to migrate?

Not many insects were around.  Roger was sorry I hadn't got this fly, mimicing a wasp - more in focus since the fuzz prevented a better identification.
 This ant was busy tending some scale insects.  I assume the yellow specks are aphid eggs.
 There were a few Common Brown butterflies around, including this tatty example ..
.. and a few Cabbage Whites.

For birds I recorded 24 species most of which I had already used in BirdaDay so the official Bird of the Day was Spotted Pardalote.  However the most exciting bird sighting of the day was a Wedge-tailed Eagle being mobbed by several Dusky Woodswallows - at a fair altitude, so the Duskies were only visible through binoculars.

Overall, an interesting area in an area I hadn't been to before.  It will be good to return to the Mountain Creek site in Spring when stuff is in flower (and hopefully the dust will have been settled)!

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