Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis
Showing posts with label Griffins_Fire_Trail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Griffins_Fire_Trail. Show all posts

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sequel to the Big Day out at Tallong

This will be relatively short.

Alan Stephenson has sent me some images he took yesterday.
Some I could not take (one of my knee being used as a measuring stick for a tall Corunastylis apostasioides) and others taken at Meryla Pass (Griffin's Fire Trail) where I had made a lazy decision that I was too tired to cart my heavy Macro lens down the first section of the steep downhill Fire Trail.
Alan has kindly sent me some images to fill the gap in my record.

Firstly two excellent images Alan took of Corunastylis plumosa.
Corunastylis plumosa - Tallong Midge Orchid, at Tallong
Photo Courtesy of Alan Stephenson

Corunastylis plumosa - Tallong Midge Orchid, at Tallong
Photo Courtesy of Alan Stephenson
My knee being used to measure the height of a very tall
Corunastylis apostasioides.
PlantNET says it goes to 30 cm tall
Alan measured this as 50 cm tall.
And it was growing in 30 mm of moss
on a normally dry hillside.
No soil. Very "poor" sandstone scrub.
If you have ever seen Kunzea parvifolia growing
near Braidwood, Marulan or here at Tallong, you will know what I mean.
Corunastylis apostasioides against my knee as height measure.
Photo: Alan Stephenson
Then we went back home via Meryla Pass Road.
(off the Moss Vale to Fitzroy Falls Road)
Griffins Fire Trail (top end)
One of two species of Chiloglottis which were
growing in moist moss on a  vertical wall,
part of the old track cut in the rock to make
the original Meryla Pass track.
Chiloglottis seminuda
(long "clubs" below labellum)
Not reflexed backwards
Lower half of labellum clear
Photo: Alan Stephenson

 The second species of Chiloglottis found on Griffins Fire Trail
Ch. reflexa.
Chiloglottis reflexa (Photo: A. Stephenson)

Alan got excited about these next couple of shots.
Cymbidium suave is seldom recorded
growing on Old Man Banksia trees.
But here were three plants on the one Banksia serrata
Old Man Banksia.
Photos:Alan Stephenson.

Cymbidium suave on Banksia serrata
Cymbidium suave on Banksia serrata

These minute fungi gave us some excitement too.
Alan spotted them,
because he thought the moss sheet looked promising 
- for Orchids, of course.
Instead he found these strange Fungi
The moss and lichens and "fungi" were all growing together.
I have told you it was the end of a very long day (at Tallong)
so I was trying to rest on a convenient log. 
But I soon got called over to inspect these Fungi.
I have concluded that they are probably Multiclavula
At the time I guessed Clavaria (which is fairly close).
Just possibly these are
"the fruiting body has a short stem 
and then broadens to a thin, somewhat fishtail-like apex"
Source ANBG Basidiolichens website.
This ID awaits confirmation from the Experts.

Possible Multiclavula icthyiformis

Possible Multiclavula icthyiformis

Possible Multiclavula icthyiformis
I will say this for Alan.
For an Orchid Expert, 
he is very open-minded when it comes 
to investigating other aspects of Nature
be they Turquoise Parrots, 
or these Fungi, or interesting Insects.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A big day out at Tallong

Tallong is home to the Tallong Midge Orchid, (Corunastylis plumosa). This Corunastylis is endemic to the district, and likes to grow on mossy rock shelves. It grows under or close to the Violet Kunzea (Kunzea parvifolia) and Common Fringe-myrtle (Calytrix tetragona) shrubbery which dominates these generally dry and exposed rock mounds.This rare plant is listed as Endangered on the EPBC Act lists.
Corunastylis plumosa in situ
growing out of moist moss shelf.

Corunastylis plumosa at Tallong
Corunastylis plumosa at Tallong
Corunastylis plumosa at Tallong
Click to enlarge to see details.

 There were a few other species of Midge Orchids in flower today, at Tallong.
Corunastylis apostasioides (typically barely open)
Click to enlarge.
 We found a giant specimen of this species. 
The flowers had just finished.
Alan Stephenson measured it at 48 cm high
(The measurement is hard to read from above).
I do know it came up to my knee height.

Corunastylis fimbriata at Tallong

Corunastylis fimbriata - the Labellums flap in the breeze

Corunastylis simulans at Tallong
This plant also has a motile labellum
It is a rich purple colour.
We left the main Tallong area and went to the stunning Lookouts (and good Orchid habitats) of the district, overlooking the Upper Reaches of the Shoalhaven River.

Firstly we went to Long Point Lookout. This stunning place gives you great views of "Horseshoe Bend" in the Shoalhaven River.
Long Point Lookout view to the right (up-river)
Shoalhaven River.

Long Point Lookout view, looking straight down the river
Shoalhaven River - from Long Point Lookout.

Diplodium obtusum at Long Point Lookout
Growing on steep slopes of loose rocks
makes Diplodium obtusum hard to photograph.
Close-up of Diplodium obtusum
Note the "rolled edge" on the "sinus"
The labellum is still "set" but is hard to see.
Click to enlarge.
Diplodium obtusum rosettes forming
It is interesting to see so many  new plants forming up.
Presumably getting ready for next season.
A very large brown beetle seen at Long Point Lookout
 Then we drove to the next lookout. Badgery's Lookout is quite famous in geological circles because of the way one can look into the ancient past to see how the land has been formed.
  • The sandstone cliff of the marine Snapper Point Formation [a body of rock] is adjacent to the lookout, while further east, a cliff with three distinct levels can be seen, a lower sandstone cliff [Snapper Point Formation], a plateau in the middle [Wandrawandrian Siltstone] and an upper sandstone cliff [Nowra Sandstone]. [Mulwaree Shire Community Heritage Study, 2002 - 2004 - P. 20]
Shoalhaven River seen from Badgery's Lookout
I was surprised to see "Cycads" or "Burrawangs" growing on the steep scree slope opposite and to the left from Badgery's Lookout. They were not across the main valley of the Shoalhaven, but across a gully to the east from the lookout. The reason I was surprised is that I normally associate these plants with deep sandy soils. But after checking PlantNET. there is only one species list anywhere near this area, and that is Macrozamia communis.
Cycads on rocky scree slope - from Badgery's Lookout
View toward Bungonia from Badgery Lookout
Bungonia mine from Badgery's Lookout
This is a terrible scar on the landscape,
but only a few visitors to Badgery's Lookout see this view.

One of the interesting things about these two lookout, quite close, and overlooking the same river, is the different species of plants found at these two locations. Presumably there are minor changes in geology between them, which influence the plants which feel comfortable growing in the two different soil types.

In this case, we find Diplodium reflexum growing at Badgery's Lookout, and not Dipl. obtusum. We found such good displays of these Orchids, that even though both Alan and I knew they grew here, and had seen them in previous years, we both felt that this was the best season for these plants which we had ever encountered.

Long pointed nose of Diplodium reflexum
Close-up of Diplodium reflexum
We found many "groups" of these plants. One loose group had 8 plants in it, but this tight cluster was better for me to photograph. They were in terrific form and condition. There were obvious signs of recent heavy rain in the district, which has presumably helped them bring on flowering in such profusion.
Diplodium reflexum - four fine plants growing together.

An even better cluster of Diplodium reflexum
Never knowing "When to say When", we continued back towards Fitzroy Falls and then we took a divergence to Meryla Pass (the head of Griffins Fire Trail). Alan is familiar with the bottom end of that track, in Kangaroo Valley, but had never been to the top.
I took him down several hundred metres along the Griffins FT, to see an exposed seam of coal there. Of course we found Orchids as well. Chiloglottis reflexa and Alan spotted a number of plants of Cymbidium suave
At this point, although I love the views along that road, I was in need of "Calling it a Day".

But then I came home, had a bite to eat, and sat down and took 5 hours to Blog about it, didn't I?
But I can sleep well, now having found a rare and endangered plant (the Tallong Midge Orchid), and the very best display of Diplodium reflexum which either Alan or I had ever seen.