Saturday, September 28, 2013

McDonalds - Spring 2013

I’m hoping to get away to South Australia for my annual dose of desert birds and plants shortly and in the meantime I’m doing my best at visiting some of my local spots for spring wildflowers.

McDonalds is a small piece of private bush just down the road from home. It was impacted slightly by the bushfire earlier this year, but recovery is well underway. The tough old ironbarks with their extra thick coats were just about all unaffected, and the thinner barked stringys and boxes have sprung back with their epicormic shoots delivering new life.

Only about 10% of the block was burnt
New life -1
Even the patches of bare and blackened earth were showing signs of new hope. The resilience of the Australian bush is remarkable.

New life - 2
The dominant terrestrial orchids on the rest of the property were the White Finger Orchid and the Wax-lip Orchid. There were healthy colonies of both species scattered throughout.

White Finger c. catenata I think
Wax-lip Orchid - there are just two species in Victoria
Some of the White Finger Orchids had a flush of pink toning to give them added interest.

White Finger Orchid with pink flush for added beauty
Other flowers to catch my eye included Guinea Flower, Grey Everlasting, Daphne Heath, White Marianth, Pink Finger Orchids, Chocolate Lilies, Bulbine Lilies, Matted Bush Pea and Milkmaids.

The aromatic Daphne Heath
Pink Finger - small and delicate
The birds were present too but I was on a mission to tick the flowers and I didn’t even have the bins around my neck!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Moths, Buttons n Maids

I’m having trouble keeping up with spring wildflowers. There’s new stuff on show nearly every day. Today I think I saw the first Donkey Orchid for this season on the golf course - I’ll have to check later.

Yesterday I took the camera to the nearby Dawson Flora Reserve. The wind was a nuisance but I erected my wildflower windbreak and managed a few shots.
A spring carpet
Billy Buttons
Golden Moths were plentiful
Golden Moth detail

Just a lovely time of year but I have to be very determined to make the time to get out there. Always worth it though.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

BLEGers Visit the HBWs

Last Monday, the BLEGers, (BirdLife EastGippsland), came down for a taste of Central Gippsland bird fare. The weather pattern was a bit suss, but we ended up getting the day done without getting wet – see Duncan’s report.

Starting at the Heyfield Wetlands, 35 species were ticked with perhaps Latham’s Snipe and Little Grassbird being the highlights.
Some of the BLEGers at Heyfield
The nearby Heyfield Flora Reserve was our next stop and the little Buff Rumped Thornbill that I knew inhabited the locality appeared on cue – just love it when that happens. The birds were great, but it was wonderful to see the Golden Grevillea and the Bendigo Wax Flower in such profusion. Along with the terrestrial orchids on show we had most of the group scanning the ground at times rather than the tree canopy.
Bendigo Wax - not particularly widespread.

Also a little unusual the Golden Grevillea.

Lunch was beside the Dawson Flora Reserve where the Golden Moth Orchids were showing. A small piece of private property nearby yielded 49 bird species with an accommodating Fan-tailed Cuckoo and a pair of Mistletoebirds being the highlights.  

Spotted Pardalote at the Heyfield Flora Reserve - taken a couple of days later.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Austral Indigo

Austral Indigo is one of my favourite bush plants. Its soft texture and delicate form provides a wonderful contrast to our often harsh bush landscape. Idigofera australis is fairly widespread across the country but is principally concentrated in the south-eastern states. Recently there were some nice shrubs in full flower in the deep gully beside a track off the Licola Rd north of Heyfield. 

The gully I refer to runs into the Macalister River.
Despite the recent wildfire activity in the area, this plant was making a stunning comeback. The pink/mauve flowers were catching my eye continually.

The beautiful pea flowers are great attractors for butterflies and other insects.

As I wallowed amongst the Austral Indigo, a small colony of Red-browed Finches was active nearby with plenty of courtship displays in progress. 

It’s all happening.