Recent Outings


By Donalda Rogers
While waiting at the starting point outside the back gate of Possum Park for the Bunya Mountains NHA and the Chinchilla Field Nats to assemble, we heard a Noisy Friarbird, a Pied Butcherbird, a Striated Pardalote, a Torresian Crow, Rainbow Lorikeets and a Pheasant Coucal calling. Frank pointed out the Crucifix Tree Canthium sp with its opposite branches, each pair at right angles to the previous pair. It was growing near the original wartime fence with its 16 strands of barbed wire.
Six vehicles moved off in convoy to our first stop, Welsh's Road (the only stop with a name!) gave us a sample of what was to come for the day. Micromyrtus sessilis with its minni ritchie bark formed a white cloud on either side of the road. There was a sign at this spot with images of some of the flowers. Frank found White Calytrix Calytrix tetragona. A yellow daisy with two kinds of leaves intrigued me. We also found a Boronia bipinnata (Rock Boronia).
Along the track we slowed so Frank could point out the first of many wattles. It was Acacia spectabilis with its ferny leaves. (In Marion Simmonds book Acacias of Australia Vol 1, it has the common names Mudgee or Glory Wattle.)
A stop at Bottle Tree Creek (Right) added many names to our list, including Acacia burbidgeae, Glory Wattle Acacia spectabilis, Mouse Bush Homoranthus melanostictus with its pink buds and yellow flowers, smelling like mouse droppings; and a single-leafed Blue Fingers orchid Caladenia caerulea var. caerulea. A Lewin's Honeyeater was calling, and some Grey-crowned Babblers.
Further on Frank pointed out Spur-wing Wattle Acacia triptera not yet in flower. Travelling past several puddles from recent rain, we entered the Barakula State Forest. We were warned of termite mounds on the track (but they were miniatures compared to Cape York ones!).
We wound our way around fallen trees in an area burned by a wildfire in 2012. It was good to see that some of the trees had survived. The understorey here was in shades of grey and green about two metres high. The road then led along Rocky Creek, a tributary of Dogwood Creek. Here there was no understorey, just a few wattles.
We stopped for morning tea at the Dogwood Logging Area (Left). A Golden Whistler obligingly sat out on a branch of Grey Gum Eucalyptus longirostrata. We also heard a Scarlet Honeyeater and a Grey Shrike-thrush but they did not oblige with a sighting. Funnel ants with their wide holes were nesting along the track. Little mounds of dirt around each hole made them quite conspicuous after the recent rain.
Frank then gave us a very interesting and informative talk on how the forestry is managed. Thank you, Frank.
Travelling on we passed Pig Swamp with a White-faced Heron in it, and eventually turned in to Waaje No 1 road. Soon we could see the fire tower in the distance – some six kilometres away. We stopped at the tower. Each of the four legs was a tree brought from the coast. The tower is 39 metres high. The platform at the top has asbestos and sadly cannot be used any more. Flower people here found Boronia glabra (Right), Zieria aspalathoides, and a Solanum sp.
Leaving the tower we travelled through a patch of Lancewood Acacia shirleyi, a vicious splintery timber Grahame and I first met when we set up Camp Fairbairn in Emerald.
As we travelled along the crest of the Great Dividing Range, a Rufous Whistler called from the Ironbark trees. When we turned a corner toward our lunch spot, low shrubs lined the track. We stopped at the same place that the Australian Naturalists had lunch during their get-together in 2010. Kath found a Donkey-ear Wattle Acacia complanata
Thank you Frank for a very enjoyable morning
By Denver Kanowski
Fern and I hitched a ride with Phil and Ruth Humphrys from Yamsion for the day. The morning adventure was reported by Donalda Rodgers.
We pulled up for lunch by a clump of Eucalyptus pachycalyx- a relatively rare species. It is a luxury unknown to most people to be able to spread out on a road with camping chairs and thermoses and have no fear of encroaching vehicles and road rage. A relaxed half hour or so of conversation was interspersed with mini adventures into the surrounding bush. Kath discovered a mature Woody Pear Xylomelum cunninghamianum (was Xylomelum pyriforme) with a seed pod still on the tree. Frank confirmed the finding and reminded us that Woody Pear, as do many natives, changes leaf structure as it matures. This would be a response to predation by herbivores. As the tree grows it can afford to revert to a normal (more palatable) form of leaf. It is quite common in this Cypress/ Ironbark country. Other interesting plants identified at Camp Pachycalyx were –
Flaky Barked Tree – Leptospermum lamellatum – the crushed leaves exude a pleasant Tea tree scent and have similar virtues to commercial Tea tree.
Bush Iris – Patersonia sericea – when in flower it has a rich purple colour.
Silky Geebung – Persoonia sericea – with set fruit – a green globe about 5mm in diameter.
Homoranthus decumbens – red coloured prostrate plant.
Homoranthus melanostictus –yellow flower just breaking.
Budgeroo – Lysicarpus angustifolius – a useful tree with stringy bark. Wood is fire resistant and has been used as fence posts as well as wood turning. Traditional Aboriginals used the bark as a burial shroud. It is often seen growing near Hairy Oak Allocasuarina inophloia which has a similar bark.
We moved on to the Waaje Scientific Area. There was a flush of young Dampiera discolour along the edge of the road. They have felty grey leaves with white underside. When in flower they will present in mauve.
Acacia complanata raised its Donkey Ears nearby.
Western Dogwood – Jacksonia rhadinoclona – was just breaking rusty yellow flowers.
We continued North and West and crossed over the watershed of the range. From this point the waters of the Condamine, Dawson and Burnett Rivers begin their journey to the sea.
We left the Barakula forestry from the Waaje area about 30 km from Wandoan. Last stop was at ‘Conical Hill’ – named by Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844 (Right). It is an outstanding knob on the landscape – maybe the remains of a volcanic plug. From ‘Conical Hill’ we hit the bitumen and came out on the Leichhardt Highway at Wandoan. A further 30km drive to Possum Park and a debrief at 5.30pm. A great day in the Waaje section of Barakula Forestry. Thanks Frank for excellent leadership.

By Kath Truscott

Another picture perfect morning! After a brief detour we made it onto Mt Myrtle Road and headed west towards the Gurulmundi State Forest. The first of many stops for the day was to examine Acacia amblygona. This small, prickly, low spreading wattle was in full flower. Plenty of other plants were trying to steal the limelight: Leucopogon biflorus with its sweet tubular flowers and spikey leaves, the bright yellow pea flowers of Daviesia genistifolia and Boronia bipinnata – such beautiful small white flowers. Leigh came upon a Rufous Bettong (Aepyprymnus rufescens), which tried to hide amongst the vegetation before making a mad dash through a group of surprised Nats.
Back on the road we saw plenty of acacias in flower: Acacia crassa, A. leiocalyx, A. semilunata, A. decora and even the odd Brigalow (A. harpophylla). Along the Dingo fence we spotted Senna nemophila with its showy yellow flowers, the felty leafed Solanum and the Native Blue Bell (Wahlenbergia gracilis). The birdos spotted Emus, Pheasant Coucal, Striated Pardalote and Wedge-tailed Eagle along with the more common species. John and I spotted a very fat Nankeen Kestrel sitting on a power line, only identifiable by the banding underneath!
Finally we crossed into Gurulmundi State Forest. There was plenty in flower to keep us busy with the reference books and the photographers testing out their macro lenses. A shady spot was found for morning tea as the day was shaping up to be a warm one. Flowering specimens of all the following plants were identified: Acacia spectabilis, A. triptera, Babingtonia jucunda, Philotheca difformis subsp. difformis , Commersonia pedleyi, Daviesia ulicifolia, a single Homalocalyx polyandrus (my favourite – thank you Frank for locating it) (Right) , Micromyrtus albicans, Micromyrtus carinata, Micromyrtus sessilis and Xanthorrhoea johnsonii. The biggest disappointment was the Kunzea opposita, plenty in healthy growth but little in bud and none in flower! We were found by two other parties who were out on the Wildflower Drive, one of whom lost their number plate in a floodway – undoubtedly one to avoid!
By Fern Reynolds
Gurulmundi - after our wander about we farewelled Julie and drove onto Grader Corner for lunch, this is not far from the Gurulmundi Rd and Wildflower Rd junction. We viewed Commersonia, Jacksonia rhadinoclona with its yellow pea flower, Boronia bipinnata, and eventually some flowering Grevillea longistyla, which created some excitement .
Also flowering along the wildflower drive was Acacia buxifolia (Box leafed Wattle-reddish stems and masses of flower balls), Acacia juncifolia (Rush leaf Wattle).
Acacia curranii (Curly barked Wattle- dense bright yellow flower spikes) and Melaleuca uncinata (Broom Honey Myrtle) were flowering heavily in one swampier area with clusters of little red Sundews (Drosera) dotted around the ground.
A little further along we stopped briefly at an old defunct Oil Bore site. This dates back to 1964, apparently it produced 8-10 barrels a day and this was transported to Moonie. It was good to see a small but informative interpretive sign in place for those passing by. Onwards past the old Gurulmundi toxic waste dump site gateway to the township of Gurulmundi - a herd of goats, a hall, only a few houses, and even fewer people.
We travelled on to the 'Tin Hut' site and were treated to a backdrop of flowering acacia draping the roadsides in their bright yellow; a Grey Fantail and two Scarlet Honeyeaters greeted us on arrival, the honeyeaters being very vocal on our walk in and out of the site. A lone Black Cockatoo also called while flying quite high above us and then was gone.
A short walk through the bush bought us to the old yards and the tin hut with cot, and an old wool bale stencil and numerous old bits still nicely intact and left alone.
The household dump had a bit of a going through and old china chards, stoneware jar pieces and rusted metal from heavy machinery or similar were found. With these signs of civilisation, the odd fence post and rusted sheep netting lying tangled on the ground, it wasn’t hard to picture the scene and people living here.
We were all very taken with the impressive stand of Spotted Gums and posed for photos with much tree hugging (Right). We estimated that the girth on the largest was approx. 4-4.5m and one of the smaller trees being around 3-3.5m. These trees were my personal highlight for the weekend outing.


                             ANN GET-TOGETHER 2016 PRE-TOUR – SATURDAY 24 TO SUNDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER
                                                                        By Frank and Kath Truscott

The ANN pre-tour was attended by 22 nats; two from Tasmania, six from Victoria, four from WA (including our two guides from the WA Field Nats Club) and ten from Queensland – a mighty effort!

Day 1 – Saturday 24th September.

The tour contingent was picked up by “Matilda”, a Brisbane made Denning bus, at 8 a.m. from the East Perth railway station. Our driver and hostess were Terry and Margaret, both of whom proved to be very professional and always helpful.
Not knowing what to expect, we eagerly awaited our first glimpse of WA wildflowers. Our two guides from WA Field Naturalists’ Club were Jolanda Keeble and Margaret Larke, both of whom were to guide us on the main ANN Get-together as well. This was also a mighty effort given the very busy program.
We were soon onto the Great Northern Road through Guildford and travelling through the picturesque tourist area of the Swan Valley. Wineries, boutique produce and historical sites were numerous and wildflowers were tantalisingly close everywhere along the roadsides. Near Muchea the highway started to veer to the east and we climbed over the Darling Scarp onto the Darling Plateau. The Darling Scarp is the Eastern edge of the Darling Fault and has risen to over 200 metres above sea level, while the country to the west dropped, filled up with sediment and became the Swan Coastal Plain with a complex dune system. The Darling Plateau is the western extent of the Yilgarn Craton, which formed as part of an ancient continent over 2400 million years ago.
Following a short comfort stop at Bindoon we turned onto Calingiri Road and after 10 km stopped at Rica Ericson Nature Reserve . Frederica (Rica) Lucy Erickson was a renowned naturalist, historian and botanical artist of Western Australia. To our delight our guide Jolanda said that we had an hour and a half there (including the all-important smoko!), so the cameras were out and we were off!
White Spider Orchids (Caladenia longicauda complex) abounded as did the Common Butterfly Triggerplant Stylidium piliferum. While reading about these I found out that it is possible that at least some species of Stylidium are carnivorous. Dampiera lindleyi , Pileanthus filifolius, Calothamnus sp., numerous Drosera and Isopogon dubius were some of the floral delights. We squeezed in morning tea as well.
Our next venue was Gathercole Nature Reserve , about 10 km east of Wongan Hills. Some of the attractions here were Comesperma integerrimum , Milkmaids Burchardia congesta, Bee Orchid Diuris laxiflora, Thysanotus patersonii, Kunzea pulchella, Boronia ternata var. austrofoliosa, Stackhousia monogyna, Book Triggerplant Stylidium calcaratum (, Calytrix angulata and Calytrix brevifolia were some of the plants I could identify. Gathercole nature Reserve was classified a Class A nature reserve in 1983 because it was spared the fate of most of the country around it and was not completely cleared. It was named in honour of Herbert Gathercole who bought land around it in 1925.
Dinner at the Wongan Hills Bowls Club and accommodation at the Wongan Hills Caravan Park were both simple and quite adequate.

Day 2 – Sunday 25th September.

After breakfast and packing we went out to the edge of town for a short look around. It was another good spot with plenty to see. The Flame Grevillea Grevillea excelsior  was a picture as was Hakea erecta.
The Dampieras were plentiful and in fierce competition with Calytrix brevifolia. Mirbelia spinosa added a shot of red and yellow while some Smokebushes Conospermum sp. provided contrast. Painted Featherflowers Verticordia picta and Blue Boronia (which wasn’t blue but a pale lilac) Boronia coerulescens were also there.
Then we were off to Elphin nature Reserve to see “The Wongan Cactus” . Not a cactus at all, the “Wongan Cactus” is actually Daviesia euphorbioides, a weird, thick, pithy, erect plant whose leaves have been replaced by small scales. The red and yellow pea flowers arise directly from the stems. However, as is the case in WA, there was a lot more to see than a fake cactus. Looking like cut stems sticking out of a vase, Stackhousia monogyna was eye-catching while Psammomoya choretroides resembled its namesake Choretrum, of which genus we have Choretrum candollei. There were also Pink Pokers Grevillea petrophiloides, Blue-eyed Smokebush Conospermum brownii, a Synaphea, Grevillea didymobotrya, Wispy Spider Orchid Caladenia denticulata, Purple Enamel Orchid Elythranthera brunonis (stunning!) and Prickly Toothbrush Grevillea armigera if we needed more!
But we did, and it was off to Petrudor Rocks . On the way, way I noticed above ground pipes by the side of the roads. Some careful detective work (not all the locals knew what they were!) revealed that they were part of the Wheatbelt Water Supply System. This system provides water for town water supplies, watering playing fields and town gardens, provision of water for emergency use by farm livestock when on-farm supplies fail and provision of emergency public water supply capacity at public standpipes. This water is supplied from Mundaring Weir near Perth (completed in 1903) and uses the Goldfields Pipeline to Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie as one of its main supply pipes. On arrival it became obvious that the site was a popular picnic and campsite, but lacking in toilets. On Google earth it is a 7.9 square kilometre block of green in a patchwork of wheat paddocks. Many of the other reserves we visited were similarly isolated. The hardy Christmas Hakea (which flowers in spring!) Hakea preissii was growing in the shallow pockets of soil between the granite outcrops and the Granite Kunzea Kunzea pulchella was doing well, too. We also found a Stypandra (possibly glauca), a Dichopogon (possibly preissii), Waitzia nitida, Ptilotus (possibly polystachyus), Graceful Honey Myrtle Melaleuca radula, Twining Fringe Lily Thysanotus patersonii, Aluta appressa, Calytrix depressa and White Banjine Pimelea preisseii among many others.
Our last stop for the day (luckily - getting wild-flowered out by now!) was at Damboring Lake – yes, its real name. The strangest thing here was a Feral Pigeon, banded on both legs, looking lost but well nourished. Probably lost, it needed to consult its GPS quickly and get home or face the other ferals which would like poultry for tea. Around the lake we found Round-leaved Pigface Disphyma crassifolium, a Fan Flower (Scaevola), and quite a few unidentified others. It was a picturesque spot and well worth a visit. Birds were scarce.
It was then time to leave and go to our accommodation in Dalwallinu’s Wheatland Motel for the night.

Day 3 – Sunday 26th September.

After breakfast we loaded the bus again and drove to Buntine Nature Reserve just east of the very small and somewhat dejected looking settlement of Buntine. Apparently there is some interest in growing vegetables intensively in green houses instead of wheat in order give the place a boost. Like rockets we were off the bus and into the flowers. Blue Pincushion Brunonia australis, was notable because it is one of the few species we share with WA. A tall, impressive Stylidium Stylidium confluens was showing off, a greenish Ptilotus was flowering profusely as were Acacia lasiocalyx and numerous Guinea Flowers (Hibbertia). A tall Prasophyllum was looking neat and elegant although not yet fully out. Creamy Candles Stackhousia monogyna, however, was in full flower and looking spectacular. A Calothamnus with very long leaves had flowers and new fruit on as did Melaleuca conothamnoides. The twining Thysanotus we had seen at Petrudor Rocks was there, too.
Once again the road and our leaders beckoned and this time we had a specific target – Lechenaultia macrantha, better known as Wreath Leschenaultia . It would have been a very expensive exercise had we been shooting slides! A Baeckea, a bushy Dampiera and a weedy Brassicaceous thing were flowering as well. The Dampiera was quite spectacular as was a representative of the Sterculiaceae family. The strange Bottlebrush Grevillea Grevillea paradoxa was particularly noteworthy.
So we could do no moss gathering, the bus showed signs of leaving. The next stop was a cultural heritage site of the historical kind. Caron Dam, probably better called a tank now, was opened in 1915, two years after the railway . In those pre-diesel engines, trains were powered by steam which used a lot of water which the dam provided. The dam was constructed by hand and filled by water diverted from a creek two kilometres away via a drain dug by hand also. Sometime after that, the dam was provided with sides and a roof to keep wildlife out and water in. Evaporation was a big problem in that climate. A Dodonaea (possibly inaequifolia ) grew along the sides of the drain. The twining Thysanotus was there also. Not far from the dam is the only surviving “coal stage” in Western Australia. The coal stage was a facility for loading steam trains with coal. The original stage was wooden, but a fire destroyed it in 1929. The “new” concrete one was finished in November 1930.
Our next planned stop was Bilya Rock , but a few kilometres down the road a floral extravaganza caused a “Nat attack. The bus stopped, the door flew open and people abandoned ship. Dampiera, Diuris, Kunzea, Eremophila species and a smallish yellow daisy were quite spectacular, but the clock was ticking and our guides whipped us aboard. About 80 kilometres later we debussed at Bilya Rock. On top of the rock is a stone cairn thought to have been made by Sir John Forrest, Western Australian explorer and first premier. Pink Clusters Everlasting Schoenia cassiniana was a haze of pink and the twining Comesperma integerrimum which we had seen at other sites was here also.
We were well behind time and Mingenew was calling us so we dragged ourselves onto the bus once more and left Bilya Rock. Interestingly, we began to see sheep and mesas, so the country was changing yet again as we started to come out of the flatter wheat belt. The Commercial Hotel in Mingenew had seen better days, but was pleasant and functional. It had been another good, long day.