Sunday, 3 September 2017

Gone South again

We have had another chance to visit Mallacoota so headed off on the first day of Spring.  Here is what we found just after Michelago:

It seemed to be simply mist rising out of watercourses.  An ambient temperature of 3oC probably didn't help!  We played our usual guessing game of "What will the temperature be at Nimmitabel?"  Frances reckoned the increase of 400m in elevation would make Nimmie colder so went for 2oC.  I thought the cold air might all have descended to the valleys and went for 5oC.  It was actually 6oC.

Just before the village we could see the snow on the Main Range.  We saw it again as we drove down towards Bombala.  Note that the area is doing its bit to keep it snowing at this latitude by hosting a wind farm.
We rumbled down the road.  I was surprised that we only saw or crossed with one vehicle (an empty jinker) on the 56kms of Imlay Rd.  We took a brief stop at genoa to admire the number of Black Swans and Australian Shelduck on a dam near the intersection with the Highway.  Then on to Mallacoota (or at least Karbeethong).

We decided to do a walk into town to recover from the drive.  It was very pleasant although no unusual (for here) birds were seen.  Unlike Carwoola there is quite a bit of blossom around.  This is Kennedia rubicunda with the vernacular name "Running Postman": presumably linking back to the traditional colour of post boxes.  These days postmen don't run but ride kamikaze mopeds and wear hi-vis.
It being 1st September I have to include some wattle.  I think this is Acacia longifolia.
The following morning we repeated the dose.  I liked this group of waterbirds close to town.  The Egret was most obliging in waiting for the photo before flying away.
At our turn point (entrance to the council caravan park) two Australian Pied Oystercatchers were patrolling.
It was only when I looked at the photo that I realised the left-hand bird is wearing a leg flag.  As a result of using the smaller camera I couldn't read the number which is a nuisance as it is always interesting to find where the birds have come from.

One of the very obvious blossoms around at present is Clematis glycinoides.  It makes big piles of white flowers on the top of typically drabber bushes.
After the dogwalk our morning stroll was the Heathland walk, starting on Betka Rd and going down to Betka Beach via Davis Beach.  The bush areas were well endowed with flowers (except orchids) whereas the heath was quite lacking colour.

I will definitely identify this as a bean (family Fabaceae) but not go any further.
Ditto, or possibly ibid.
Still with beans but this is Hardenbergia violaceae.
A Hakea sp. looking pink as it opens ...
.. and possibly the same species showing the white flowers.
A Leucopogon sp showing the beardie petals.
Leptospermum sp growing in the sand dunes
A study in yellow and white.
Another wattle.
A typically crowded Davis Beach.  The Kelpies were being rounded up as the owners spotted Tammy!
The most exciting bird seen was a Caspian Tern sitting in the middle of the Betka River.
The River was very low in water.  I wonder if the Council had opened the mouth as there was evidence of flood debris over the track towards the bridge.

After completing the walk we drove around the Gun Club track.  This was astonishingly clear of birds and the only mass flowering was a small purple flowered plant.
In the afternoon I went for a patrol to the sewage works as the weather seemed pleasant, and the forecast seemed otherwise.  There were good number of some species (eg 171 Hardhead and 168 Hoary-headed Grebes) but the most exciting bird was a sole Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in a small marsh .
As I walked back to the Pajero a wallaby posed nicely in one of the avenues of eucalypts.
As I headed for the shower in the evening I found three ticks on myself.  Two were tiny but one was quite large.  Later in the evening I felt some itching around my neck and got Frances to check.  Another 8 tiny ticks were removed.  I have just found another one the next morning.  I have no idea where I scored them!

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