Thursday, June 2, 2011

Royal National Park

Things have been incredible busy around here during the last few months and once again I have have had a hard time balancing the act of getting out there exploring and the task of getting it all written down and documented. Hopefully this blog post will be the first of a quick series of postings that will bring me nearly up to date ;-) One can only hope.

Some time back I did a few walks with the Amoores in the Royal National Park, here is a little sum up of the highlights. The Australian summer do not invite for big excursions into the wilderness – you simply cannot carry the water needed for big walks, and relying on picking water up along the way is risky business – those small creeks have a nasty tendency of going dry when exposed to hot Australian summer weather.

A national park pass is a great idea, particular if you are doing short one day trips out of Sydney, since all of the parks around the metropolitan area is covered by the little sticker – in particular The Royal National Park down south of Sydney, aka “The Royal”.

The coastal national parks close to Sydney all delivers a great combination of the raw power of the sea mixed with spectacular sandstone cliffs, windblown heath and pockets of bushland. The mix in landscape ensures suitable habitats for a broad variety of wildlife. The Royal National Park is the biggest and arguably the most impressive of them all - not much beats a wander along the roaring sea, seeing how the waves pounds the sandstone cliffs, while White-bellied Sea-Eagles soars above :-)

These trips to the Royal National Park were indeed more for the joy of getting out rather than us targeting specific birds or other wildlife and as always, when you get out of your hobbit hole things starts happening around you and it is not necessarily what you expected to find.

The coastal heath delivered the usual gang of birds. You seriously have to admire how the New Holland Honeyeaters have conquered every single stretch of scrubby coastal heath on the NSW east coast, so much indeed that I have finally stopped taking those NHH photo, where a daring individual sits high, exposed above the scrub, taking looks at those camera slinging travelers passing through his windblown habitat. Instead I concentrated on the fantastic explosion of color, that was added to the otherwise dull scrubby green heath by a larger than normal presence of wildflowers.

I have tried to avoid it for years when it comes to wildflowers, but as with the birds and the other stuff I take photos of it all becomes more interesting when you start naming it. Pretty photos are all good, but if you can add names, then you also get the stories and the insight. So here we go, with great help from the all knowing internet I am willing to risk it and name the wonderfully red and white colored beauty above as Native Fuschia or Fuschia Heath, Epacris longiflora. Easy - even with next to no Latin skills it makes sense to name these elongated flowers "longiflora" i.e. long flowers.
The Rush Fringe Lily, Thysanotus juncifolius, below was actually the reason why I started looking for wildflower names - it is a stunningly beautiful flower and I simply felt that I needed to put the effort in to at least name this little gem. Next time I promise that I will bring the macro lens for some more appropriate close ups. The flower only last one day, but there are probably a couple of neighbors slightly out of sync, if you need more than 24 hours to return.

The strange looking "flower" below is from the Drumsticks & Conesticks family, Proteaceae. Spending some time online I have reached the conclusion that this one is the Narrow-leaf Drumsticks, Isopogon anethifolius.

A tip from a guide book steered us up along a little fresh water creek, through some scrubby bush and suddenly we were at our own private little waterhole, with waterfall, shade and some very confident and photogenic Water Dragons, Physignathus lesueurii.

The level of confidence should be pretty clear from the photo below - if food is on the other side and the way has been blocked by a shoe I will just have to climb the shoe .. and the fact that the shoe was well and truly attached to the leg of a human, that did not try to sit particular still, was of less concern :-) Not even the pregnant member of our little bushwalking gang showed that much lust for food.

A final treat, was the spotting of yet another wildlife species lured in by the power of food. While sitting eating on the sloping rocks bordering the waterhole tiny amounts of food must have dropped into the water, because suddenly a crayfish, Euastacus, emerged from the deep, searching for a meal. It was so eager indeed that strategic placement of crumbs in hard to reach places, nearly lured it out of the water.

Great stuff, once again the Royal delivered! These trips are very much a testimony to the fact that if you get out, you might not always see what you expect, but you will see something exciting.

1 comment:

Jarrod said...

That was a pretty good sea eagle shot. The foot model has pretty sexy legs as well.