Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Finally getting a finger

...orchid that is!  Detail on this will come below.

We began the day as usual with a walk into town, mainly for exercise but also keeping an eye open for birds.  This was rewarded with a sighting of a Brush Bronzewing sitting on the cycle path.  This is an addition to my Mallacoota area list and only about the 5th I have ever seen.  That was closely followed by a fast moving Azure Kingfisher at Stingray Point.  Neither of them posed for photos!

Our main nature walk was to Bastion Point with hopes of seeing a few of the waders visible the previous afternoon from Captain Stevenson's Point.  The omens were sort of good when Frances spotted a flight of about 5 Australian Gannets fishing about 500m offshore, accompanied by a number (I guessed 20) Crested Terns.

We started by walking on the inshore side of the point ...
 .. trying not to think about the number of ticks lurking in those reeds.  Fortunately they continued to lurk and didn't hitch a ride.  There were a few purplish flowers about.  I can't put a name to this one ....
 .. but Carpobrotus glaucescens (Pigface)  is very easy.
 Alas the waders were largely invisible.  Possibly the strong wind had caused them all to hunker down further up the Inlet.  At the foot of the steps up to the car park there was a heap of washed up kelp with quite a few fruiting bodies.  This was the biggest of them, about 30cm long.
 Later in the day we went to explore a new track, the continuation of Watertrust Lane, after the gate.  It's quite a wide road with a wide reservation under the power lines.
 The weather was not that flash, with a strong westerly and occasional spits of rain.  As a result there were few birds around, and most of those that were visible were silhouette's against the polarising overcast.  However the walk was made worthwhile when Frances spotted our first finger orchid of the trip.  I have even been able to identify it as Petalochilus catenatus (thanks to Alan Stephenson's book on Orchids of the Shoalhaven - its only 300km from the Shoalhaven to Mallacoota).
There were a couple of other strange plants around.  I think from the flowers this is an Acacia, but having sparse flowers apparently restricted to axils gives it an odd appearance.
This definitely a bean, but with very leathery leaves which look like those of Hardenbergia (OK, that is also a bean so perhaps the similarity isn't too surprising.).  
I have included this fuzzy photo because the plant is most annoying for most of the year, with rosettes of leaves covered with white powder which at a quick glance look like flowers.  Here they actually had flowers!
 Our final visit for the day was the powerlines opposite Karbeethong Road.  In a few weeks this will be a mass of flowering Sun Orchids (or possibly slashed for fire prevention) but on this visit there was not a great deal in flower except a mass of Epacris impressa.  Surprisingly most of it was white, while my memory has most of it being red in this area.
 Finally, the sunset was very peaceful as we watched TV.

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