Thursday, 7 April 2016

ANPS gets Corny

The weather forecast last week suggested a fair deal of precipitation East of Braidwood so the planned walk was postponed to this week.  No rain in the omens but strong winds.  Was this correct?

Here is dawn at Carwoola.
 Hopefully this gives an idea of how the trees were waving in the breeze.
We started off in dry sclerophyll forest at the old starting point for the Corn Trail off the Kings Highway.  The track was certainly very dry.
I was wearing gaiters and everyone else soon had their strides tucked into their socks.  This was not to make a fashion statement but to keep the leeches away.  There will be more about both fashion statements and leeches later in this post.  In the meantime here is some nice leech habitat encountered later in the walk.
Our turn-round point was where the Trail dropped off the escarpment.  This was in wet sclerophyll habitat with a very different set of plants.
Schoenus melanostachus was flowering.
Another sedge-looking species, Gahnia sp. was well past flowering with many red seeds amongst the dead material.
Epacris impressa was throughout the dry sclerophyll area: unlike Mallacoota it was all the red form.
Banksias were also doing their gaudy thing throughout the walk.  This is B. spinulosa.
Here is B. paludosa (I didn't see the third species - B. marginata - today).
Acacia terminalis was in flower here and there.
Monotoca scoparia was in bud, with a few open flowers in many spots.  This is usually the Winter flowering heath: with the temperature in the high 20s it didn't feel like Winter.
A Tetratheca sp. was unusually cooperative in pointing upwards.
Baeckea linifolia was in flower in a swampy bit near the lunch stop.
Xanthorrhea australis is a highlight of the area just before entering the wet sclerophyll forest.
I think it is a great pity that the trail has had to prune a number of the grass trees so severely.  Possibly if  I'd had to force my way through the foliage I would have had a different view.
This is, I am told, Stylidium laricifolium which looks nothing like 'normal' Stylilidiums.  It had finished flowering but the resulting seed heads proved impossible to photograph.
This is a White Ash (Eucalyptus fraxinoides) showing the scribbles.   These trees and the others on the edge of the escarpment were exceptionally tall and magnificent.
About the only butterfly braving the gale was this Variable Sword-grass Brown.
I assume its tattered state was due to the gale (have I mentioned it was very windy?) possibly also reflecting its association with Gahnia as a larval food plant.  Or just old age.

I mentioned leeches earlier.  A frisky one was found in the middle of the track, with some attractive colours on the rear end.
Wet forest = moss!
We found quite a lot of Lycopodium deuterodensum of which this clump was the only one I noticed to be in 'flower'.
I will not, at this stage attempt to name all the smaller ferns but include a range of snaps illustrating their forms.
Pteridium sp. (aka bracken)
Coral fern (Gleichenia sp).

Dicksonia antarctica in the wet forest.
A very tall Cyaethea australis, with a fairly tall Peter for a sense of scale!
There were a few fungi around of which this bolete (possibly Austroboletus sp) was the most photogenic.
The final stage was crossing the mighty Mongarlowe.  It was generally concluded that wading was better than balancing across the rocks.  There was probably limited difference in the wetness of the feet, but greatly reduced risk of overall dampness.
While I was waiting for the rest of the group to arrive three attractive young ladies arrived and paddled in the shallows.  For some reason my thoughts went to the movie O Brother where art thou! One of the current group of three was asking the others to take her photo so I asked if I could also.  She agreed and here it is.
Not only did she agreed to be photographed, but came took photos, on her phone, of my photos!  I presume they are somewhere on Facebook!

Moving from the pretty to the very ugly, after we got onto the Kings Highway we were held up by the unemployable facilitating roadworks.  After 15 minutes I was getting pretty ticked off.
If you look closely you will see that the door of the boganmobile has a phone number on it.  So I rang that number and spoke to someone who rang the supervisor of this mob of gooses (ie the bogan in the boganmobile).  My contact rang back and I was told that it wouldn't be long, and that they could legally hold us for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes the (my guess is 60) cars coming towards us starting to appear, doing a fair impersonation of snails)\, so our total delay was approximately 30 minutes.

I suggest that anytime you are held up by such oxygen thieves, and you can see a phone number, ring it, and politely give 'em heaps.  Perhaps they'll begin to realise that people do not enjoy their activities!

 It was cloudy as we got back towards Canberra.

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