Duncan and I checked out 'Owl Creek' today. This little gully in the foothills just north of us, seldom disappoints. We got very concerned after the last lot of fires and then the floods that swept through. A few subsequent visits had allayed our fears somewhat, and today they were definitely erased altogether.
The birds were in good number, despite the strong nor-wester that blew right down to the creek bed at times. The usual bushland birds were there, and we got some good 'ticks' with a Crescent Honeyeater, a Lyrebird, and our old friends, a pair of Powerful Owls.
We'd got these beauties in here several times previously, so it was good to see them still in their territory. (Here's a link to Duncan's Gallery with some much better pictures of this stunning bird).
Not long after we'd started walking, Duncan pointed out an Incense Plant - Calomeria amaranthoides - and declared it a good sight to see a couple these beautifully aromatic plants returning after the fires and the floods.
(Thanks for this pic DF)
As single plants or as small clusters of half a dozen or so, these are dramatic plants in our Aussie bush, but I wasn't prepared for the scene just around the next bend in the track.
For the remainder of the stroll up to the gorge, these giant tobacco like plants were, in places, wall to wall. They are well named, as the fragrance being issued from their leaves as we brushed past them, was indeed very redolent of incense.
We agreed that we must make note to return regularly, to catch the flowering phase, when the tops of the plants become plumes of pink to red infloresences 'with the impact of a fireworks display'. (Here's an interesting fact sheet from the Botanic Gardens Trust).
It was heartening to see the moss beds were still green. I'm always impressed when I see thick mosses and lichens surviving on bare rock surfaces. And here, the moss has converted enough of the bare rock into a layer of soil for some Mosquito Orchids to survive!
A couple of strong wind gusts reminded us that we were nearing the more exposed end of the gully and that perhaps it might be prudent to turn back. Wise decision as it turned out. On the return walk we encountered several large limbs, and, ah, cough, tree trunks across the track that weren't there on the way up.
For lunch and a chat back at the car, we chose a log to sit on that was in a clearing!
Nice morning, thanks DF.