Sunday, 2 November 2008

Tasmanian Waratah (Telopea truncata)

The Waratah bushes on the Hartz Plateau had flower buds on them the other day, so it won't be too long before they're out in bloom.

Waratah flower buds, Telopea truncata, Hartz Plateau - 23rd October 2008
Waratah flower buds, Telopea truncata, Hartz Plateau - 23rd October 2008
Waratah flower buds, Telopea truncata, Hartz Plateau - 23rd October 2008
The open seed pods are interesting too.

Waratah seed pod, Telopea truncata, Hartz Plateau - 23rd October 2008

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Plants from Crescent Bay, Mt Brown area

Yellow lichen, Standup Point, Crescent Bay - 25th October 2008OK, I admit this first one is a lichen, but it provides some bright colouration to the rocks of the foreshore. In places it looks like someone has painted the rocks bright yellow.

Allocasuarina monilifera, Necklace Sheoak, Mt Brown Track - 25th October 2008Although I've had trouble before identifying Allocasuarinas, I'm fairly sure this one is Allocasuarina monilifera, the Necklace Sheoak. This was on the heath between Remarkable Cave and Mount Brown.

Carpobrotus rossii, Native Pigface, Mt Brown Track - 25th October 2008The Native Pigface, Carpobrotus rossii, adds attractive bright pink and green to the landscape.

Melaleuca squamea, Swamp Honeymyrtle, Mt Brown Track - 25th October 2008The Swamp Honeymyrtle, Melaleuca squamea, is part of the attractive heath between Remarkable Cave and Mount Brown which is flowering quite copiously at present.

Unknown plant, Standup Point, Crescent Bay - 25th October 2008This one stood out, and I suspect it's a weed. I can't identify it yet anyway.

Banksia marginata, Cresecent Bay Track - 25th October 2008The (apparent) flowers on this one were superficially similar to the previous weedy-looking plant. However the leaves were very different. Denis Wilson noted it looked like new leaf growth on Banksia, and he's right. There was another similar one with old bottlebrushes on it. We speculated on a Banksia when we were looking at it, but we were misled by this new growth. Thanks to Denis for helping. By a very rapid process of elimination then, these are simply Banksia marginata, although seeming quite different to the tree form I have seen on mountains. No mystery at all.

Banksia marginata, Cresecent Bay Track - 25th October 2008

Banksia marginata, Cresecent Bay Track - 3rd January 2009

Common Heath, Epacris impressa, Crescent Bay Track - 3rd January 2009This is the Common Heath, Epacris impressa. The flower colours vary, as seen clearly.

Common Heath, Epacris impressa, Crescent Bay Track - 3rd January 2009

Teatree, Leptospermum scoparium, Crescent Bay Track - 3rd January 2009Teatree, Leptospermum scoparium. The flowers on these vary in the colour of the nectar disc. Some are green, others a deep red, but they seem to be the same plant. I'll stand corrected if I'm wrong.

Teatree, Leptospermum scoparium, Crescent Bay Track - 3rd January 2009

Heath plant, Crescent Bay Track - 3rd January 2009Common Everlasting, Chrysocephalum apiculatum.

Heath plant, Crescent Bay Track - 3rd January 2009

Heath plant, Crescent Bay Track - 3rd January 2009


We came across this seal on the rocks at Standup Point, Crescent Bay. We wondered if it was healthy, as it didn't really look fat enough. Anyway, our presence annoyed it and it was quite active in making that clear. I think it is probably a juvenile Fur Seal.Fur Seal, Crescent Bay - 25th October 2008
Fur Seal, Crescent Bay - 25th October 2008
Fur Seal, Crescent Bay - 25th October 2008
Fur Seal, Crescent Bay - 25th October 2008
Fur Seal, Crescent Bay - 25th October 2008
Fur Seal, Crescent Bay - 25th October 2008
Fur Seal, Crescent Bay - 25th October 2008

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Crescent Bay and Mount Brown - 25th October 2008

View from Mt Brown towards Remarkable Cave - 25 October 2008Took Phil to do this walk today. When he originally proposed it, I quite wrongly poo-poohed it as a fairly dull doddle. I was recalling my walks from 20 years ago, when we used to walk from Safety Cove, obviously across the badly degraded private property now owned by Dick Smith et al, and then wander up Mt Brown at the far end of Crescent Bay. The return involved a quite awful (and environmentally degrading) slog back up the endless sand dune at the north end of Crescent Bay. I have a feeling walks in those days were more about which girl you were walking with than where you were going and what there was to see (at least sometimes). Anyway, the walk isn't too hard for the moderately fit walker, and if you skip the climb up Mt Brown, it really is a doddle. Even that is only about a 140m (steep) climb from the track. The view today back along the coast to Remarkable Cave from the cliffs on Mount Brown was quite impressive, as the photo shows.

Cliffs of Dauntless Point from Mount Brown - 25th October 2008These days the walk properly starts from Remarkable Cave, and includes a lot of interesting features, as I noted a couple of months ago. I'll post a detailed walk description which will assist in pottering about the top of Mt Brown and the end of Standup Point. This photo is from the top of the sobering 170m cliff on the southern end of Mount Brown. Phil doesn't like heights, so instead of staying where I left him while I sat on the edge of the cliff to take photos, he wandered off. I finished taking photos, but there was no sign of Phil. You know, it was like in those movies where you can hear the wind blow, the sea break on the rocks far, far below, the gull calling mournfully. Of Phil there was no sign. You call, and your voice seems to be carried away on the wind. While I wondered how to explain Phil's presumably painless demise to Yvonne, he was off photographing the cliff somewhere else. Maybe he'll post that photo up for us to make my high blood pressure worthwhile.

Mountain Dragon, (Tympanocryptis diemensis), near Mount Brown, Tasman Peninsula - 25th October 2008The coastal heath is quite spectacular right now, and if you can get down there and have a look at the flowers out between Remarkable Cave and Mount Brown. There are purple, yellow and white flowers out all over the place. You could spend a whole day just wandering amongst the heath and around the foreshore. The first part of the walk is a little undulating over old dunes, so for the less mobile this might be a bit challenging. The rocks along the shore are very interesting, and I'll post up a set of photos to show the features. This photo of a Mountain Dragon, (Tympanocryptis diemensis) shows how cleverly he camouflages himself on the ground.

?Fur Seal, Standup Point, Tasman Peninsula - 25th October 2008Highlights today were the views from the top of Mt Brown, a Fur Seal on the sloping rocks at Standup Point and the wildflowers. Phil startled two Tiger Snakes along the track, so it's worth being vigilant. They ran away from us, but later in the season they might be more aggressive. The cloud sat on Cape Pillar all day. Tasman Island became visible later on, but the higher parts of the Cape were still in cloud as we left.

Maingon Blowhole - 25th October 2008This walk features some very impressive opportunities to fall off high places, or INTO DARK and NASTY things. It's great. Phil was suitably impressed by the Maingon Blowhole, which is something you do not want to come across unexpectedly in the dark. If someone knows how deep it is, please let me know. The map suggests to me that it might be around 35 metres, but it's hard to tell where the contours run, and it didn't look that deep to me when I was logical about it. Phil thought it was deeper, but careful assessment of the cliffs on the sea-end of the gulch suggested it wasn't that deep. If you can bring yourself to look down into the blowhole, you can see that it is very narrow and very deep, and we've decided that you'd probably not survive the fall to worry about how to swim out of it. Good place for a (fictional) murder?! Maybe Phil should write a poem.

Now, I have a few other sets of photos to put up, so bear with me as I bore you with the stuff I have gathered up.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Snow Gum page updated

I've added more photos to the Snow Gum page after revisiting the trees at the top of the Ice House Track and today's jaunt at Hartz Mountains.

Hartz Peak - 23 October 2008

Hartz Lake and Mt Picton from the slopes of Hartz Peak, 'Hartz Knob' to right - 23rd October 2008What better activity for Hobart Show Day than a bushwalk somewhere quite a long way from Elwick! The weather forecast was good, and with a dusting of snow on many peaks during the week, Hartz looked like a good idea for a half-day trip. When I started from the car park just before 8am, the sun was out in a blue sky with almost no cloud. However there was a chilly breeze which continued blowing throughout. The views were pretty good today, all the main peaks with snow on them. The walking was great today. Sunny and clear, the light snowfall had transformed the landscape without putting more than a dusting underfoot in most places, and generally the track was dry and clear.

Pandanni with snow plug (Richea pandanifolia), Hartz Mountains - 23rd October 2008Many of the pandanni (Richea pandanifolia) had a plug of snow sitting in the crown of the leaves. Interesting sight. The leaves of these pandanni are very purple. At other times or in other places they range through various pink and red shades, in addition to the green.

Emily Tarn and Mt Snowy from Hartz Peak summit - 23rd October 2008Mt Snowy makes a good alternative walk at the Hartz Mountains National Park. With this much snow around however, it would probably be a quite wet trip around the base of Hartz Peak. The best way to do Mt Snowy is as a circuit which includes a traverse up the long curving southern ridge of Hartz Peak. This provides good walking and extensive views. I will have to plan a Mt Snowy trip soon. Camping is quite possible at Emily Tarn. There is space for a few tents (not many), however the surrounding area does require care as it is quite fragile.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Mt Wellington - 11th October 2008

View south to Tinderbox and Bruny Island from the ZigZag Track - 11th October 2008Superb Spring day in Hobart today, looks like it got to about 22 degrees. On the mountain there was a cool breeze across the summit plateau, but below there the sun shone bright and warm. The snow is almost all gone. I walked up the ZigZag Track and then across the plateau and down the Icehouse Track. The views were hazy and misty, especially towards the Huon where a fire is burning in Fourteen Turn Creek Rd near Grove.

I find the weathering of the dolerite really quite interesting, and there are plenty of examples across the plateau.

Dolerite, Mt Wellington Plateau - 11th October 2008
Dolerite, Mt Wellington Plateau - 11th October 2008
Dolerite, Mt Wellington Plateau - 11th October 2008

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Mt Direction - 4 October 2008

View up the Derwent to Mt Dromedary from Mt Direction - 4th October 2008Typical Tasmanian spring weather today. Hot sun, drizzle, cold breezes, solid rain, more hot sun. Snow forecast for Monday I think. Went for a jaunt up Mt Direction, for the nice views, reasonable exercise and likelihood of minimal rain. Went well. The rain held off mainly, just a bit of drizzle here and there, but cold breezes at the top. Then I was in full sun on the descent, wondering where my sunhat was.

Bennett's Wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus (rufogriseus), Mt Direction - 4th October 2008Interestingly, on the descent in the middle of the day, there were wallabies in various places along the track. A couple were sitting beside the track quietly, and were placid enough to wait while I composed a photo. These are the Bennett's Wallaby, known elsewhere as the Red-Necked Wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Tasmanian Snow Gum - Eucalyptus coccifera

Tasmanian Snow Gums, Eucalyptus coccifera, Icehouse Track, Mt Wellington - 13th September 2008The upper part of the Icehouse Track on Mt Wellington is dominated by the Tasmanian Snow Gums, (Eucalyptus coccifera). There are the burnt remains of solid, thick-trunked trees, some of which have sprouted thinner new branches. In the main they are small and slender trees, and I'm assuming the older trees were destroyed or badly damaged in the 1967 fires, and what we see there now is the extent of the regrowth over the last 41 years. E. coccifera grows to 35m in ideal sheltered sites, but may only be a shrub or stunted tree of 6-9m on the "highest and bleakest sites" (Forest Trees of Tasmania; Forest Resources [Boral Timber] 1995). The trees at the top of the Icehouse Track are obviously the latter.

Tasmanian Snow Gum leaves, Eucalyptus cocciferaThe leaves are 5-10cm x 1-2cm.

Hooked tip of the leaf of Eucalyptus cocciferaThe tips are crimson, and hooked.

Buds of Eucalyptus cocciferaThe buds are in groups of up to 7 in most sites, but in groups of up to only 3 on Mt Wellington, and up to 1cm x 0.4cm.

Buds of Eucalyptus coccifera

Capsules of Eucalyptus cocciferaThe capsules are cup-shaped with a wide flat disc, up to around 1 x 1.2 cm.

Capsules of Eucalyptus coccifera

Capsules of Eucalyptus coccifera, OctoberThese are younger capsules, showing a deep red disc and green cup.

Capsules of Eucalyptus coccifera, October

Buds of Eucalyptus coccifera, Hartz MountainsNow, the Snow Gums on Mt Wellington appear to be distinct from those found elsewhere in Tasmania in terms of the maximum number of buds found in a group. On Mt Wellington, there are up to three, and this can be seen in looking at the specimens there. Elsewhere there can be up to seven. At Hartz Mountains, this is the case. These buds and capsules are from trees on the plateau.

Capsules of Eucalyptus coccifera, Hartz Mountains

Buds of Eucalyptus coccifera, Hartz Mountains

Bark of Eucalyptus coccifera, Hartz MountainsBark of Snow Gum, Hartz Plateau.