On a cool early winter day the bush was calling, and one spot in particular, the Avon River Channel where over millions of years the rushing water has carved a narrow passage through the red rock, sculpting a myriad of fantastic shapes along the way.
It is a botanically rich area that I’ve covered in previous posts so I won’t go over old ground, this was just a wander in the bush with a snapshot camera and the macro outfit. As soon as the walk down to the river started it was apparent that things were on the move, the pomaderris, golden grevillea, beard heath, parrot pea, and wattles were in bud and getting ready for an early spring flowering. One parrot pea already had a flower with more buds nearly ready to open. With the calls of a lyrebird ringing out, the first fungal fruiting body showed up beside a burnt log.
Fungi were scarce, but further down the track where a large gully runs into the river, the local form of Correa reflexa with large rough flower clasping leaves and lime green flowers was flowering freely. While I was taking photos a pair of Golden Whistlers were keeping in contact with soft calls, and Grey Fantails were flitting busily. The fantails were very dark birds, possibly of the Tasmanian race, some of which migrate north in winter.
On approaching the river I could see fresh tracks that indicated one or more sambar deer had come to the water’s edge for a drink shortly before I arrived. These animals are doing a lot of damage, browsing, ringbarking trees, wallowing, and generally damaging habitat vital to native species like the Sooty Owl.
A brief scramble along the rocky bank gave the opening pictures and one of the first flowers on the Phebalium lamprophyllum that is common along the river here.
Back to the walking track, and a search for cordyceps under the wattles was unsuccessful, but a termite metropolis was certainly worth a picture. I wonder how long it will be before the tree is gone and just a just a mound of clay remains.
The gully seemed a good place to look for fungi, and it yielded brackets, jelly, and one more.
And just above the gully on the way out, early Trim Greenhoods, Pterostylis concinna.
While climbing the track back to the vehicle the home of a timber moth larva in a Sticky Hopbush stem, Dodonaea viscosa, caught the eye.
And amongst the charcoal of a burnt tree trunk another species of fungi.
The bush is quite drab at this time of year, the Sunshine Wattle, A. terminalis is still in flower, the local form has white to pale cream flowers, but here and there a plant of Common Heath, Epacris impressa brightened the shade beneath the forest understory.
I’ve been roaming these foothills for longer than I care to remember, and in a box/ironbark area there is a very large ironbark, E. tricarpa, that I’ve been watching for much of that time. It is growing right on the edge of the forest road which probably explains why it has not been damaged by the many fires that have gone through. Its outstanding feature is its bark, seen in the picture, and when passing I always stop to admire it. On this occasion I measured the most striking bark projections, some reached 200mm in depth, long may it survive.
Click pictures to enlarge.