Friday, September 24, 2010

Tramping Lamington National Park - 22km of Pure Rain forest Excitement

Lamington National Park is sufficiently different to justify the drive, somehow it just manages to be that little bit more exotic than the familiar bush around Sydney - guess it is just the usual grass is always greener syndrome :-) But the selection of mushrooms is quite astonishing, the Antarctic Beech looks like something taken out of Tolkien and the Lyrebirds are Albert's.

After the morning bird tour and a massive breakfast we began the journey of the day - the plan was to give those lazy legs a good solid shock the first day by pushing 22km. I convinced myself that the logic of the exercise was to clock up as many kilometers as possible while fresh and fool(??) the body into thinking that only doing 18km the day after would be like a day off :-) .. I do not know if the rest of the party tried to apply any logic, watching them take off it actually looked like they just loved walking :-D

Lamington is the sort of national park that makes you want to know more about plants. The birds are pretty fantastic, but you do not have to walk much in the forest before you realize that this place is full of plants you have never seen before. Indeed there are quite a few species endemic to Lamington i.e. this is the only(!) spot in the universe where they grow! 5000 Year old Antarctic beech, 100 species of ferns and orchids galore, including the Lamington Underground Orchid, Rhizanthella omissa, one out of only four plants known to mankind to live its entire life underground! - We did not see that one though .. ;-)

Photographically Lamington is a challenge! I had once again opted for the macro which worked formidably well while being in the darkness of the forest. But I can safely say that it is slightly difficult to capture the grand views you get when the path veers close to the edge of the plateau and gives you first class tickets to a screening of NSW down below.

We were walking at good speed, but still managed to see a few good birds. I managed to see a Green Catbird minutes after we started, that was new to me :-). The logrunners were everywhere and we used a few minuets trying to track down an Albert's Lyrebird calling from a hillside covert in thick scrub - those Lyrebirds are hard to see, and after a while we gave up and march on, happily knowing that our defeat meant that I would have to revisit another day :-) During the last few kilometers of the day, we spotted another exciting bird - A Thrush! Lamington is inhabited by both the Bassian Ground Thrush and the Russet-tailed Thrush, two very similar birds. I had a look on the internet where a few sites try to help with the ID of these two species including Graeme Chapman's site and Tim Dolby's, but I am still a bit on the fence about identification, luckily I managed to get a few very respectable photos, so hopefully a few of my readers can chip in with some ID help(?) - Thanks in advance :-)


Mark Young said...

Lamington looks like an awesome spot. I can't help you with the ID, I've only seen Bassian's in life. There is a recent thread at that might help you work out the ID.


AGL said...

Thanks for the link Mark, that was quite helpful. It sounds like Lamington is the hotspot for Thrush confusion :-)

Regards, Allan