The first day of spring, calm and fine, demanding a trip into the bush, and the box/ironbark country of Heyfield and Glenmaggie was calling. First stop was the flora reserve adjacent to the old landfill site that is now a transfer station. This locality has a population of the uncommon Grey Scentbark, Eucalyptus ignorabilis, formerly known as E. aromaphloia. In the years before the tip was extended the area was richly endowed with wildflowers, many species of orchid, Golden Grevillea, and the best small shrubs of Showy Parrot Pea that I’ve ever seen. Sadly they are all gone, obliterated by excavation and the dumping of garbage. It is capped now and the only native plants to be seen are a few Golden Wattles that are attempting to re-colonise the unfriendly site.
Many notable shrubs of the grevillea were to be found on the access track to the reserve, but following the last bushfires the best were bulldozed out when re-fencing and firebreak work were carried out. A number of smaller shrubs persist in the bush beside the track and were the subject of the first photos. Grevillea chrysophaea is sometimes described as rare, but it is widespread locally, and varies from a procumbent form at Holey Plains to the common taller form. The flowers vary too, from near glabrous and pale yellow, to this Heyfield form that is characterised by a thick rusty indumentum shown to advantage here.
Oh well, on into the reserve to check out the Fairy Wax, Philotheca verrucosa, and it was showing up nicely. It was pleasing to see that it had regenerated well in the areas where the fires had burnt before being extinguished. Colours varied from white to near pink.
Two more wattles in addition to the golden were in full flower, A. brownii, and A. genistifolia. The latter is often a low shrub as the common name Spreading Wattle suggests, but some in the reserve were spindly shrubs to three metres tall.
Apart from the wax, wattles, eucs, and burgan, the forest floor was virtually bare as can be seen above, one reason could be the very numerous resident macropods seen in the distance. On the way to the Glenmaggie bush block a stop was made for a picture of the first flowers on the outstanding Gold Dust Wattle, A. acinacea.
Not much was in flower at Glenmaggie at this early stage, mainly Nodding Blue-lily, Stypandra glauca, and the odd small White Marianth, Rhytidosporum procumbens, with an interesting bonus of a small colony of a Drosera species.
Day-flying moths were absent, with two Common Grass Blue Butterflies the only Lepidoptera species sighted, and they comprehensively outwitted the photographer. That situation will change soon as the weather warms however, looking forward to it…
Click to enlarge.