Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bush walking over Bells Hill

Today I was fortunate to join Ian Archer, with Jim, Celeste and Rose in a truly delightful stroll up and over the hills between Yeola Road (off Belmore Falls Road) and the Robertson Cemetery.

Ian had sought the appropriate permissions from the local landholders. We set out climbing the steep hills behind Ian's property. There is a great rainforest gullythere, which I found surprisingly steep and very wet. The springs on this hill were working overtime. There was one particular Wombat burrow which had been freshly worked, and the amount of mud around the entrance was quite amazing.

For me the surprise find of the day was a clump of the Ghost Fungus, (Omphalotus nidiformis) (photo at left)

Apparently this is one of the famous luminous fungi. I did not know that when we found it, out in the bush, growing under a huge old Brown Barrel tree (Eucalyptus fastigata). The specific name refers to the deeply cupped "nest like" shape of the caps.

In fact how people ever discover these kinds of things about fungi remains a bit of a mystery to me. In the bright daylight, it looked a perfectly nice, interesting fungus. Who would have guessed it has the power of luminescence?

We also found some stunning, tall, white "toadstoods" growing in the grass, in open farmland. These seem to be the Macrolepiota dolichaula , and are known as "parasols' for their perfectly formed caps, over tall stems.

Because of the long grass on this paddock, this photo does not show the length of the stem, which was quite impressive. It might have been nearly 200mm long (longer by far than the width of the cap, which was about 150mm wide).

The distinguishing characteristics were the white gills, and the membrane, or ring (annulus) on the stem of this toadstool, which was free to be moved up and down the stem.

We then circled around the edge of Bells Hill, where we were in some classic cool temperate rainforest, with tree ferns, Sassafras (Doryphora sassafras), Lillypilly (Acmena smithii) and Possumwood (Quintinia sieberi).

Out in the Eucalypt forest, we heard many birds, including both the Fantailed Cuckoo and the Brush Cuckoo calling from the dense undergrowth. Rosellas and Rufous Fantails were seen frequently.

A great walk in the early Autumn weather of Robertson.

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