Our Bushland Diary

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Perfect weather for bushwalking

With the recent appearance of cooler temperatures (around 19 to 25 degrees Celsius during the day) it's suddenly become an absolutely perfect time to explore our local bushland.  We've had two guided bushwalks into the areas north of Charlottes Vineyard, on the mornings of Friday 14th and Saturday 15th May.  

The Firewood Banksia (Banksia menziesii) is just starting to come into flower now, so some of the honeyeaters are visiting it to collect its nectar.  This tree also provides food (seeds and borer grubs) for the endangered Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo.

Friday 14th May - Wild Women's Walk
The group of intrepid walkers braved a cool morning to climb to the lookout and watch the sun rising over the hills through layers of fog.  Then we headed off to the north,  through banksias and WA Christmas trees, to visit one of Fat Bobbie's favourite spots - a huge old Stout Paperbark (Melaleuca preissiana) which has been nicknamed "the Grandmother tree".  This tree measures five metres around its base, and has a beautifully gnarled papery trunk marked by bushfires.  

Birds started to come out to call and forage as we picked our way through the trees to return to the hilltop.  We stopped to look at ancient cycads (Macrozamia riedlei) on the way.

Saturday 15th May - Family Bush Adventure
Not much fog on this morning, but plenty of animal tracks to look at!  The children found the tracks of Western Grey Kangaroos, Black-gloved Wallabies, Southern Brown Bandicoots and Common Bronzewing on their trek through the banksia woodland.  

(If we weren't so noisy, we may have seen a couple of these animals during our adventure.)  

We also stopped to admire a grove of small Pricklybark (Eucalyptus todtiana) growing in the sand.

One of the kids found a patch of sundews (Drosera sp.), and our resident botanist explained how these little plants feed on insects to supplement the low nitrogen levels of the soil.  Our trek took us along an old bush track through banksia woodland, and then through an old pine plantation to return to the lookout.

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