Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Waratah Rivulet meeting - 17 June

This blog entry is a blatant advertisement - published by me for the Rivers SOS group, the Total Environment Centre, and the Save Water Alliance. Persons from the local Southern Highlands area wishing to join in, pls email me (from the side bar - see my "profile") and we can arrange car pooling.

Cracked bed of the
Waratah Rivulet.

Protect our Water

Save our catchments from coal mining

DAY OF ACTION - 11am, June 17th, Helensburgh

The Waratah Rivulet, in the Sutherland Shire south of Sydney, makes up about 30% of the Woronora Dam catchment. The Rivulet is dry not because of the drought, but because of the impacts of underground longwall coal mining 500m below the surface.

This damage is occurring across Sydney's southern drinking catchments. The mining companies will tell you that the water is coming back downstream but the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA), who manage these areas, say they do not know exactly how much water is being lost and internal documents state that the long-term future of the water supply has been compromised.

The NSW Government and the mining industry are allowing royalty money and profits to compromise the future reliability of our water resources. Rivers in the southern coalfields and Hunter Valley are being cracked, drained and polluted. Rare swamps on the Newnes Plateau in the western coalfield that ultimately feed the Warragamba Dam are being undermined and are slowly drying up. New mining proposals threaten drinking catchments on the Central Coast and the vital aquifers of the Liverpool Plain near Gunnedah. Indigenous heritage and sites are being damaged or destroyed by cracking and cliff collapses.

The coal industry is not only taking us down the path to dangerous climate change. It is destroying our most precious resources.


The Rally and walk-in of Action will take place outside a Sydney Catchment Authority gate on the Old Princes Highway just south of Helensburgh. There will be speakers, music, workshops on coal mining in the Illawarra and southern catchments, and other entertainment. Further action will be discussed at the location and there will be the opportunity to meet in Helensburgh for a debrief following the events of the day.

People are asked to wear something red.


The Day of Action will commence at 11am sharp. The location will be marked with red ribbons and signs.

FROM SYDNEY (1 hour from CBD):

Travel south down the F6 Freeway. Take Helensburgh exit about 4km south of Waterfall. Turn right at the roundabout and drive 3km. Site on left.


Travel north up the F6 Freeway. If coming from Campbelltown, take the Appin Road and turn left onto the F6 Freeway towards Sydney. Take Helensburgh exit and turn left at the bottom of the off ramp. Drive about 2.5km. Site is on left.


take the Old Princes Highway from the top of Bulli Pass. Site is on the right about 3km north of Darkes Forest Road

BY TRAIN (1 hour from Central):

Train leaves Central at 9.28 and arrives at Helensburgh at 10.21. From there vehicles will ferry people to the rally. Please let us know if you are intending to travel by train so we can organise the right amount of vehicles. In the event of the train being delayed call 0409 447913 or 0418 278753. Please let us know if you need to be dropped off for the return trip. There is no trackwork planned for that weekend.


If driving, a full car. Tell your friends that this is important and bring them along. If you don't have many friends and spare seats, be sure to let us know. We may be able to help you fill them!

Drinking water. We are currently working on having some food available onsite. Helensburgh town centre is only 5km away but it's always better to make your own lunch. A toilet will be provided.

Good shoes and a hat. June is winter but climate change is upon us.

Your ideas. Banners and musical instruments welcome.

Respect for the catchment. The Sydney Catchment Authority administers the southern water supply catchments. These are known as Special Areas. No individual is permitted to set foot in a Special Area. Other things banned include vehicles, horses, pets and littering. However, the wrecking and draining of rivers and destruction of aquatic ecosystems by coal mining companies is permitted if you have the necessary approvals from Ian MacDonald (NSW Primary Industry Minister) and Frank Sartor (Planning Minister).

Fines apply for trespassing in a Special Area. The rally will be held outside the gates.


If you are coming please email or call 9261 3437, 0409 447913 or 0418 278753

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How Robin Hood met Little John.

Huge Eucalypt with hollow base
List and hearken, gentlemen,
That be of free-born blood,
I shall you tell of a good yeoman,
His name was Robin Hood.

Robin Hood by J. Walker McSpadden

This story has nothing to do with the current TV presentation of similar name. No this is a story from my childhood. When I was a child I was introduced to the literature of my tribe, through reading. Occasionally, such as today, I have cause to be thankful for that fact.
A natural bridge over
the Kangaroo River.
I love this scene. Physically, it is an imposing place, and - it takes me straight back to Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
This is a fallen tree trunk across the Kangaroo River, in the Carrington Falls Nature Reserve. I have no idea how tall this tree trunk was, but just the main trunk is in excess of 25 metres long. It is in excess of 1 metre wide at the base. The river span it crosses is at least 10 metres long, and about 3 metres drop. Enough to give me pause when gently testing my sense of balance, going out into the middle.
The whole scene put me in mind of Robin Hood's encounter with Little John, in Sherwood Forest.

For those not familiar with the incident, it runs like this (slightly edited).
"As (Robin) approached the stream he saw that it had
become swollen by recent rains into quite a pretty torrent. The log
foot-bridge was still there."
But he was no sooner started across than he saw a tall
stranger (Little John) coming from the other side. Thereupon Robin quickened his pace,
and the stranger did likewise, each thinking to cross first. Midway they
met, and neither would yield an inch."

"The fight waxed fast and furious. It was strength pitted against
subtlety, and the match was a merry one. The mighty blows of the
stranger went whistling around Robin's ducking head, while his own swift
undercuts were fain to give the other an attack of indigestion. Yet each
stood firmly in his place not moving backward or forward a foot for a
good half hour, nor thinking of crying "Enough!" though some chance blow
seemed likely to knock one or the other off the narrow foot-bridge."

The fight went on and on. Eventually, Robin was bested, falling into the stream. He explained this to his band of "merry men" as follows:

"Why, marry," replied Robin, "this fellow would not let me pass the
footbridge, and when I tickled him in the ribs, he must needs answer by
a pat on the head which landed me overboard."


Robin Hood by J. Walker McSpadden is more correctly Stories Of Robin Hood And His Merry Outlaws. It's a sentimental children's book of 1904.
This version comes from Project Gutenberg.
Huge King Fern trunk
I cannot resist one further ironic comment. This giant fern trunk is not tall, but it is at least 2 feet (600mm) in diameter, and just a little higher. It is an ancient King Fern (Todea barbara). This is one of the most ancient and imposing of this species which I have ever seen. And it is growing right on the very edge of the stream.

Judging by the evidence of drift wood, caught over my head in branches in nearby trees, this seemingly gentle stream is subject to huge, raging torrents, at times. This ancient fern is not troubled at all. It has over the years, formed a number of small crowns (growth points), where new groups of fronds can be seen growing from this ancient trunk.
Imagine Robin Hood and Little John fighting their good natured duel, in the middle of that mighty fallen tree trunk, over the stream, with this ancient King Fern looking on. Robin Hood would have laughed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not much seen today. Fungi from yesterday.

I went to the Carrington Falls reserve today, but saw only 3 rosettes of leaves of Greenhoods, and it took a lot of searching to find even those.

I will show you several Fungi which I saw yesterday, along the Belmore Falls Road.

This steel-blue fungus is not unusual, but this was a nice specimen. It has creamy gills and leaves a rusty-brown spore print. It does not discolour when squeezed.

Twin specimens of this same species seen several weeks ago.
I have not been able to track down an ID on this species, from the regular books, or the FungiMap or SFSG websites.

Ignore the dirty cotton gloves with blue rubber dots. They are comfortable when scrambling through rough bush, especially where sword grass grows.

The small rod-like fungi are interesting, I have previously seen similar things, but they were growing out of a rotted log, in the rain forest. Those ones resembled little "leech-like" things, but they are unrelated, apparently to these ones.

These were growing out of leaf litter, along a stream bank, so the position was moist, but they were growing in soil (under leaf litter). They were about one inch (2.5 cm) long.

The tips are discoloured, slightly brownish.
From what I can find, these are related to the Coral Fungi, and are likely to be in the Clavaria genus.

To contrast, here are the little "leech-like" fungi I referred to, growing out of a rotten log. These little creatures are likely to be in the Calocera genus, which are classed as "Jelly Fungi".

Monday, May 28, 2007

Two other observers in the bush, today.

Young Grey Kangaroo
Normally, in the wet forests of this area, the Macropods one sees or hears going "Thump, Thump", are Swamp Wallabies.

Today, however, I found two Grey Kangaroos (Macropus gigantea). I was driving very slowly into a grassy area (beside an old quarry), to look for Greenhoods (which I did not find). But I did surprise these very puzzled Grey Kangaroos.

Not many people drive in here, obviously, and so they allowed me to drive within about 80 metres. Once I had taken a few photos, they gently retreated - without the thump sounds, as the grass is so long there.

With grass in mouth
I love the way this little Roo was not troubled by my presence, and kept chewing on the long, rich grass, while I was photographing her (?).

Greenhood - opening
Previously I had found a rosette-type Greenhood just about to flower. I have no idea (yet) what species it will turn out to be.

I also found literally hundreds more Ground Orchid plants, just at the leaf stage. Anyway, it looks like this season, with the heavy rain in February, is allowing the Ground Orchids to form great growth, which hopefully will lead to a good flowering season over the next spring, and summer months.

Long-leafed Greenhood
Bunochilus longifolius (formerly Pterostylis longifolia) shows its distinctive long leaves. The leaves look almost grass-like, especially if the plant happens to have been knocked over, (which is quite common).
This one is still budding, while there were quite a number of the same species in flower down the coast last weekend. But that is not surprising, given the climate difference, from the extra altitude here.

Another surprise!
This Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus) was so busy chewing on a trunk of a young tree, to get a fat borer grub, that it allowed me to pull up in the car, quite close to her.
They listen for the sound of the grub chewing inside the trunk, and then chew away the wood, until they get the grub out.

Unfortunately the forest was quite dark, and so the shot is not very successful. But the activity is so very typical of these Cockatoos, that I have been hoping to get such a shot for a long time. So, for better or worse, I publish this photo.
I have previously posted photos of the damage which they inflict upon Kangaroo Apples (Solanum aviculare).

Sunday, May 27, 2007

More Orchid photos from yesterday

Today I simply publish a few more Orchid photos from yesterday's outing in the Shoalhaven area.
Acianthus exsertus
Dark Mosquito Orchid. Hard to spot, in amongst the leaf litter, in shaded positions, usually.

Acianthus fornicatus
Large Mosquito Orchid.
The hooded dorsal sepal is distinctive. In general, these plants I saw were greyer and paler than the other species. They are perhaps a little larger, though, in the world of Mosquito Orchids, that is a relative term.
I would have to say, it takes a close examination to make sure of which species you are looking at.

Bunochilus longifolius
Long-leafed Greenhood, (formerly Pterostylis longifolia). It is good to get an image of the flower fully open, as in this shot. It has leaves along the flower stem (cauline leaves). A number of Greenhoods have this characteristic, but this species has relatively long leaves (hence its name).
You can see the top leaf in this image.

Corysanthes fimbriata

Fringed Helmet Orchid.
This is another photo to go with the one from yesterday where the two flowers were sprinkled with sand. (Formerly classified in the Corybas genus.)

Corysanthes pruinosa
Toothed Helmet Orchid (not the "plum-coloured" Helmet Orchid as I had wondered).
These flowers were standing up nicely on little white stems, and there is an obvious pair of appendages underneath the "labellum". The pale grey-green "helmets" are distinctive.

Pterostylis hispidula
The brown-tinged, and heavily rounded tip of the "hood" is obvious in this photo. The two "points" are strongly distorted to spread low and wide, unlike most Greenhoods, where they form prominent "ears".

Diplodium obtusa
(with bronze fly)
I mentioned these flies yesterday. Here is another one, which I had not even noticed when peering through the view-finder yesterday. I only found it when processing the photos.

Speculantha sp. aff parvifolia
This is one of the brownish "tiny greenhoods", which have not as yet been properly distinguished. The taxonomist are busy working through the Orchid family, but have not yet thoroughly revised this group yet. For the moment, this one I will label with the phrase "sp. aff' which is shorthand for "species close to ...".
I have seen true Tiny Greenhoods, with green flowers. Then I have also seen tiny brown Greenhoods, growing on Tourist Road, with stems a mere 4 inches high, no more, and dark brown tip of the "hood". Also, those specimens had points which did not exceed the hood.
By contrast, this flower had a stem at least 12 inches high, had quite prominent stem leaves, (with rosette leaves forming at the base as well), and ears which exceed the hood, and curl back in a charming "windswept" look. (Click on the image for a better look, and then click on the link above, to see the other similar flowers, to contrast the two groups of related plants).

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More Orchids than one can poke a stick at.

Fringed Helmet Orchid
Corysanthes fimbriata
Today I joined the Illawarra Branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society (literally), in a walk in the Seven Mile Beach area, and later, just south of Nowra.

Toothed Helmet Orchids
Corysanthes pruinosa
In both places, there were patches of ground where one could not walk, for fear of stepping on tiny Ground Orchids. Click on the image, to enlarge, and see exactly what I mean.
By my count, there are 37 flowers in this one frame, and many more plants without flowers.
Both these species were formerly known as Corybas, but this group has been distinguised by flowers having a tubular labellum. Most of this group have fringed edges, as these do. Both these species hold the labellum semi-reclined (open), unlike the Corybas species which I have shown previously.

A traditional Ground Orchid
Petalochilus pictus
This lovely Ground Orchid is in a group formerly known as Caladenia. These "Lady Fingers" orchids have been separated to their own genus now. These are familiar spring flowering Orchids, in pink and white colours, generally. But this species is an autumn and winter flowerer.
The distinguishing features are the erect dorsal sepal, and the "column" being red (internally), and green on the back of the hood. The "labellum" is toothed, with white "calli", but the tip is clearly marked yellow.
Sometimes individual flowers are tinged blush-pink, or palest mauve.

Long-leafed Greenhood, and fly
These are not the kind of Orchids to set the hearts of florists a-flutter, but for enthusiasts, these are a joy to behold. Another enthusiast was this little bronze-coloured fly, which was sitting on the leaf of this Long-leafed Greenhood (Bunochilus longifolius) at left - formerly classed with the Pterostylis group of Greenhoods. Many greenhoods are said to be pollinated by Fungus Gnats, and Mosquitos, but we observed a number of these flies hanging around various greenhoods today.

The Nowra locality is interesting, for at first glance the area is quite degraded - a rough bit of bush, with tracks all through it, where kids ride their bikes, and horses. Yet there were, in places, hundreds of Orchids in groups carpeting the ground with their little flat leaves.
I understand this is Diplodium obtusum (formerly Pterostylis obtusa). If so, it is the same species as I have previously reported finding on Tourist Road, Kangaloon.

Taurantha concinna (formerly Pterostylis c.)
Trim Greenhood
This small Greenhood specimen was growing in deep sandy loam, amongst a large stand of Burrawangs (Cycads) in heavy coastal forest.
At the end of the day, my mind was spinning with unfamiliar names, but it was a very satisfying experience, with a group of people who really know their local area, and their Orchids.
Thanks to the expert guidance of Allan and Barry and the other members of the Illawarra Branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A new blog link - Gaye in the Hunter Valley

In the last few days, I have stumbled across the blog of a kindred naturalist, armed with a camera.
Birds Nest Fungi
on the forest floor
Gaye, from the Hunter Valley, has been blogging for a little while now, and she has some excellent photos of fungi, and plants and lizards, and insects, and, and, and.

I have posted a permanent link to her blog in the side bar, under my "My Favourite Sites", and also another link to her Hunter Valley Fungi Blog - under the heading of Fungi Reference Sites. Both sites are well worth a look,
and keep them bookmarked for future reference (or save as "favourites").
Close up of the "eggs"

(peridioles) in the "nest"
I came across her Blog while searching for other photos of the Bird's Nest Fungus. I went back with David today to see if we could trigger the tiny little "eggs" (peridioles) to get splashed out of their nests (the way the books say they spread their spores about). However, we could not trigger them.

These particular fungi were fairly old, judging by the fact that nearly all the "nests" were empty. If I find another group of these fungi, I shall have another "go". My friends, Roy and Joan actually have had these fungi come up in pot plants on their back verandah. Easier to experiment with those, (if they come up again this year) than doing what I did today, searching for some time to "re-find" these few Birds Nest Fungi in the bush.
Those tiny fungi (above) are smaller than a thimble to fit my littlest finger.
species ???
They were growing amongst a large area of Fishbone Ferns (possibly Doodia sp) in a section of forest which was "burnt off" last year. Hard to find, even when you know they are there somewhere. Talk about looking for a "needle in a haystack". It makes me wonder how I found them in the first place.

Tips of the frond and
distinctive spore pattern
underneath the fronds
I am not experienced in identifying ferns, but from a quick check of some reference books, these ferns are possibly a Doodia species. Forgive me if I refer to them as "Fishbone Ferns" (an imprecise layman's name), but from the shape of the fronds you can see why I use that name.
Any hints from visitors to the site would be appreciated, as I am always keen to learn.

This patch of ferns is growing strongly in an area which was burnt off last year. They are regrowth from old woody rhizomes which lie flat on the ground.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Silent Movie - wonderful music

Movie Poster
As part of the 2007 Italian Week in the Illawarra, the Illawarra Folk Club Inc and the Illawarra Association of Teachers of Italian presented a screening of an Italian silent film "Dall'Italia all'Australia" (From Italy to Australia). The movie shows the voyage from Italy to Australia in 1924, of the SS Regina d'Italia (the Queen of Italy).
The film was made in 1924 by Italian cinematographer Angelo Drovetti. But the true magic of the evening was the way in which it was presented by our host for the night, David De Santi, with a stunning musical ensemble, lead by the musical superstar Kavisha Mazella, with Irine Vela and the "Viaggiatori" (the Voyagers) - David De Santi, Bob McInnes and Mark Holder-Keeping.
Bob McInnes is a Robertson local, and is a well-known folk musician, though I am reliably informed that his family migrated from the Isle of Skye, (not Italy).
Kavisha was the vocalist for the entire evening, and she sang beautifully, mostly in Italian, with occasional interludes in English. Many of the songs she sang were familiar, presumably traditonal Italian songs, but I suspect that she included a number of her own compositions as well.
Kavisha Mazella
Kavisha gained national attention with a documentary about the Fremantle Women's Choir, entitled "Le Gioie delle Donne" (The joys of the women) which screened on the ABC in 1993.
The Empire Cinema, in Bowral, showed this wonderful silent movie (thanks to Richard Ruhfus), and the room was packed, with extra seats brought in.
It was a delightful musical evening.

Kavisha's biography, and her discography, and furthcoming "gigs" are all listed on her website. She is one of Australia's outstanding musicians, and has worked on a series of productions focussing on the experience of migrants to Australia, including a brief but very touching story/play I saw presented in Canberra (at Gorman House theatre) two years ago, recounting the experiences of refugees in Australia.
The movie was brought to Australia by Tony De Bolfo, a journalist and author who researched the history of a particular group of migrants to Australia, including his own uncle, who migrated to Australia on the "SS Re d'Italia" (the King of Italy), the sister ship to the star of this movie. Tony wrote the history of this group of migrants, and published it as: "In Search of Kings". It was while researching his story that Tony came across reference to this Movie, which he tracked down in Milan, and arranged to buy the rights to its screening in Australia.

Further screening of this event will be held in:
Gerringong, Friday 25th, at 8:00PM
City Diggers Club, Wollongong, at 2:00PM, Saturday 26th
City Diggers Club, Wollongong, at 7:30PM, Saturday 26th (This will be a concert/party to open Italian Week in the Illawarra).
Anita's Theatre, Thirroul, at 6:00PM, Sunday 27th. (Final Concert/Party)

Acknowledgements: Poster and photo of Kavisha come from the Illawarra Folk Club's web page, promoting these musical events as part of Italian Week.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Grotto - a miraculous place.

The Grotto
We are NOT talking about a "Miraculous" site here, (like Lourdes, or the Shwedagon Pagoda (in Myanmar) or any of the numerous European "Spas" (baths) which also claim to be "miraculous places".
No, this is a lovely place, in the Australian bush, just a bit out of the way, less than 5 Km from Robertson, on Barrrengarry Creek, above Belmore Falls. It is quiet, and fairly private.

Unfortunately, like many quiet bush places, this place has been used by car thieves for stripping, dumping and burning car bodies. There are three car bodies which I know of along the road down to this place. The shame of Robertson, (and of Australian society).
Wider view of the Grotto
This place is formed because of the inconsistent nature of the Sandstone rock. Certain sections of rock are harder than the main bed of rock, and this means that, as the creek erodes away the normal, relatively soft rock, the harder sections remain, forming "rock shelves" or "ledges". And the river crashes over the ledge, in a mini-waterfall, like this.

It is only about a 3 metre drop (at most), but in summer, it is an exquisite experience to stand under the crashing waterfall. There is a slight cavern formed behind the wall of water.
Of course, the oxygenation which occurs in places like this is terribly important to the natural cleansing process of the run of a river.
It is also a wonderful place for a picnic, on a hot Summer afternoon.
Many plants, and ferns and moss thrive under these totally wet overhangs. The main plant, which is visible in these photos, poking out under the running water, and clinging to the moss-covered rock walls, is the so-called "Rainforest Spinach" (Elatostema reticulatum). This is an absolutely typical habitat for that species. It is really a river specialist, one might describe it as an aquatic plant which grows on rocks.
Bird's Nest Fungus - (Cyathus sp.)
with two unopened fungi,
like pink nipples

These tiny cups are another of Natures Wonders. The perfectly formed "cups" (at left) start out closed. They open to reveal small "stones" (peridioles) inside (see below). These fungi apparently rely upon rainfall bounce out of the little "stones" from the little "nest". Then the "stones" open, releasing their spores.
I kid you not. That is how these things have evolved, to spread their spores, and thus perpetuate themselves.
At first I assumed that the two two pinkinsh "nipple-shaped" cones at right were unopened versions of the Birds Nest Fungi, but I realise now that they have stems, which the Birds Nest Fungi do not have, so they must be entirely different fungi, growing with the Birds Nests. They are probably small "parasol" shaped fungi, just not yet open.

Not a wicker basket!
The tiny cups are smaller than thimbles, but as you can see from the single cup, at left, they resemble wicker baskets. But they are completely natural, composed of fibres produced by the underground oganism of which these are the fruiting body.

Yet another "miracle" for me to contemplate, and "wonder" at.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sea Eagle over Butler's Swamp

White-breasted Sea Eagle
Late this afternoon, I was surprised to see a White-breasted Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) over Butler's Swamp. It did not stay there long (not surprisingly). But still, it makes an interesting observation record.
Of course, to a mighty bird like the Sea Eagle, Butler's Swamp is just a few minutes soaring time away from the edge of the escarpment.

Bird's Eye view
from Butler's Swamp
to the Ocean.
Check out these Google Earth images. The first is a "bird's eye view", angled to show Butler's Swamp in the immediate foreground, looking towards the ocean, on the horizon.

Butler's Swamp
(red marker at west)

to Lake Illawarra and Ocean
As you can see from this traditional view, (a Google Earth image), it would be only a few minutes flying time from Butler's Swamp (see red marker on west of the image) to Lake Illawarra, or the coast.

The Wingecarribee Reservoir is only a few minutes flying time, further to the west. While I have not seen the Sea Eagle there, I expect that it is at least an occasional visitor. It might even be a regular (I do not know). I shall ask Jane Lemann.

This afternoon, the bird was flying into a strong southerly wind, so it probably floated high over the escarpment, tacking into, and across the face of the wind. These birds are wonderful fliers, and are total masters of their aerial environment. This particular bird suffered the indignity of being challenged by several Magpies, which is what drew my attention to its presence. Anyway, having been harassed, it quickly departed the scene, by turning and flying strongly with the wind, rapidly outpacing its minor tormentors. It flew to the north-east, with the prevailing wind, and back towards the escarpment, and its more normal environment.

The particular bird here was photographed at Montague Island, in April last year. This is my favourite bird photo (of all that I have yet managed to take).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Patrice Newell visits the Kangaloon Aquifer site.

Save Water Alliance group
with Patrice Newell and friends
Today, Patrice Newell, founder of the Climate Change Coalition, visited the Kangaloon Aquifer, on an informal "study tour". Patrice brought with her friends, Dr Mark Tredinnick, and Janie Chapman, both of whom have recently moved to the Southern Highlands. Welcome to you both.
From left: Bernie, Mark, Olivia, John, Patrice, Janie, Pater and Kim

Patrice has been supporting us for some time, as she was one of the first people to raise the issue of subsidence in relation to the Kangaloon Aquifer.
Illawarra Plateau contains the
Nepean and Avon Catchments
plus the "Southern CoalFields"
It was great to be able to show her around the place today, and explain both the big issues of the entire Woronora (Illawarra) Plateau, (see photo) the Nepean Catchment, the "Southern Coalfields" as they are known, and also the smaller scale issues of rare and endangered plants and animals, which warrant protection.

Avon Dam (under early morning fog)
with the edge of the
Illawarra Escarpment visible.
Above all, the draining of the Kangaloon Aquifer is a silly, expensive and futile nonsense. Especially if coal mining is going to undermine (literally) the Kangaloon Aquifer. The SCA might well lose the precious water to the coal miners, anyway. (Not that I endorse that as an outcome!!!)
The photo is taken above the Gujarat NRE coal lease. The former Huntley Mine, near Dapto, goes directly under the escarpment, under the Avon Dam and the Kangaloon Aquifer.

We also talked about the Shoalhaven Transfer system, in which the Shoalhaven River is being drained to keep Sydney in the deluded state of belief that all is well with the Sydney Water Supply. All is not well. The real intent of the Shoalhaven Transfer system is to get Shoalhaven water into the Avon Dam, as it is a much larger dam than the Nepean Dam.
The sad fact is that a huge pipeline is intended to run the full length of Tourist Road, to take Shoalhaven water from the Wingecarribee Dam (where it is currently pumped to), along Tourist Road, and then across country, to the Avon Dam.
Butler's Swamp
Butler's Swamp has the highest "biodiversity rating" in the
Kangaloon Aquifer area. It is subject of much debate currently, as the SCA has just released a book of quotes which claim that it will not be affected by pumping. As yet, no data to support these claims have been released.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Boring into the Kangaloon Aquifer - again.

Drilling Rig -
inside the borefield area.

The SCA is at it again. Bastards!

Last night I saw a drill rig parked just inside the entrance to Fire Trail 1A, in the tall, wet forest, at the eastern end of the borefield. The maps indicate this is near Burke River (it is just a tiny creek where it crosses Tourist Road). This is yet another of those rivers which starts with a small, but permanent flow of water coming from the basalt hills of East Kangaloon.

It would appear that while their borefield proposal is under review and assessment by the Federal Department of Environment and Water Resources, under the terms of the EPBC Act, the SCA are preparing to start drilling again, in preparation for developing the borefield further.

The arrogance of the NSW Government is quite breathtaking.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Blue Pool at Carrington Falls

Blue Pool,
at Carrington Falls

This afternoon I stopped off at the Blue Pool, at Carrington Falls Nature Reserve, on the way back from Jim's place.

The pool was looking lovely - in the afternoon light. The bright green vegetation is the Coral Fern, which forms great thickets, beside the pool and under the Tea Trees.

"Speed Boats"
There were "Speed Boats" (aquatic insects) buzzing around on the surface of the water, as is normal at that pool.

Banksia ericifolia flowers attract Honeyeaters.
The Banksia ericifolia plants were flowering happily.
As a result, there were many Honeyeaters calling from dense thickets of these plants, just across the creek from the Blue Pool.
The species which I could hear calling were, Crescent, Yellow-faced, and White-naped Honeyeaters.
These birds migrate from higher mountainous regions to the Sandstone country in autumn and winter, to feed on the Banksias.

Looking down the creek
The creek, just above the Blue Pool, is very pretty, with a strong flow across shallow lines of sandstone rock, making attractive ripples.

The sound of the rippling water is very peaceful to listen to.