Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rainy days in Robbo bring out the Fungi.

It has been a wet week in Robertson. It has been like the"good old days" in Robbo - almost. Lets not forget that we missed out on the really heavy summer rains which we typically receive.

Over the last 5 days we have had 9.0 mm, 15 mm, 18m, and 17mm, and 10 mm.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to show a Canberra birdwatcher, Elisabeth Compston around the area, after a lunchtime downpour, the local Robertson Nature Reserve has never looked finer. Raindrops glistening on the leaves, with sunlight beaming through between the gaps in the canopy.

Today I went with Jim to explore a local creek beyond Carrington Falls, to look for a mini-waterfall which Jim had been told about. In view of the recent rain, the timing was terrific.This creek we were exploring has less than one kilometre of catchment, but the sandstone plateau is so waterlogged there is very heavy run-off.

We started out following an early settlers' track known as the "Butter Track", as it was used by the Kangaroo Valley settlers, in the very earliest days, to transport their produce to the coast, near Wollongong, and thence to Sydney. Anyway, this very old track runs beside Jim's property, and we were following it today. We came to point where a rock shelf traps the creek to form a small pool. After heavy rain, the creek flows down over the rock shelf as a cascade.We turned off the Butter Track and followed the creek towards the escarpment which borders the Upper Kangaroo Valley. It as only about 300 metres through the dense bush, to the edge. It was hard going, through dense scrub, sword grass, and over numerous fallen logs, but at least we did not have far to go. When we reached the cliff line, we could see straight across the Upper Kangaroo Valley to the houses of Robertson along Fountaindale Road. Carrington Falls is about one kilometre away, out of sight past the cliffs to the right.
Jim took the opportunity to sit at one of these wonderful rock formations which look like table-tops. The green grassed areas in the background are on Wallaby Hill (left) and Bells Hill (right). According to the contour map, the cliff line has an immediate 50 metre drop, just behind where Jim is sitting, and a further drop of about 100 metres down the slope to the very bottom of the valley where the (Upper) Kangaroo River flows away from bottom of Carrington Falls.
Because of the rain the fungi were growing very rapidly. Here is a young Boletus fungus. I do not know the species, unfortunately. From the thickness of the stem you can see that this Bolete would have become a very larg fungus indeed.
You can see the underside of the Fungus, showing the pored structure, instead of gills. Click to enlarge the image.
Jim and I then scrambled down a steep slope leading to the base of the small waterfall. We were still within the creek ravine, not out in the main Valley. Because of the narrowness of the ravine and the amount of water flowing down the creek, the whole area was dripping wet - with moss everywhere. Jim commented that it remined him of a scene in Lorna Doon. Quite right.

Here is the waterfall itself, and you can see the creek continuing to run down in a series of small cascades. The water was roaring.
On the valley floor there were many fungi. The first we saw was this small black vase-shaped fungus. It was only about the size of a 20 cent coin.
From underneath, you can see that this fungus has small teeth, not gills or pores. The body of the fungus was very stiff and firm, much like a "bracket fungus", but had a stiff black stem.On the valley floor, there were very many yellow fungi with coarse gills. They were very soft and fragile. Here is one which had been knocked over by a passing animal. You can see the very coarse gills underneath.


mick said...

A very interesting post. The scenery is magnificent. I imagine you both must have got pretty wet pushing through damp bush.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
We do "scenery" very nicely here. Not as grand as the Blue Mountains, but similar in design and habitat. The good fungal specimens were a bonus.
Wet? I was drenched! Fortunately I had spare underclothes and jumpers and shoes with me, but no spare trousers! so I drove home hoping I did not have to stop anywhere! I had a jacket which was keeping me more or less decent! Next time I will be better prepared.
As local bushwalks go, this was a very good one.

Duncan said...

Getting a little bit of rain down here at last Denis, maybe we'll see some fungi this season. All the best.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Duncan.
Yes I have been hearing of rain in Victoria (and South Aus). Windy today, apparently, too (which is not so good).
Certainly hope you get a crop of those water-loving fungi.