The nature of this event was that members dropped in at various times through the weekend so there was no coordinated activity. By the time this writer arrived mid way through Saturday afternoon the weather conditions were light rain and gusty wind. Nevertheless, we went for a walk to see some of the plants found earlier in the day.
These included a Silky Blue Orchid (Cyanicula sericea) with two flowers that appeared to be a bit paler than the typical colouration. There were lots of Cowslip Orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) and Purple Enamel Orchid (Elythranthera brunonis). The Warty Hammer Orchid (Drakaea livida) was found in flower, together with Flying Duck Orchids (Paracaleana nigrita).
Bob and Lynnette are protecting the Warty Hammer orchid plants as they are being studied by a post graduate student to confirm that a different wasp is pollinating them compared to elsewhere.
Large groups of Snail Orchids (Pterostylis aff. nana) were evident, believed to be the Slender Snail. A few Jug Orchids were also sighted. There was good water level in the lakes. On the large lake was a pair of Black Swans with 5 cygnets. Also present were Black Ducks. Grey fantails, Ravens and Ringneck parrots were also seen. Luckily the rain eased off before the sun set allowing me to put up my tent in readiness for the evening.
Just after dusk as we ate dinner a mother possum came down for a few slices of fruit. She had a well-developed youngster in her pouch, one of its legs was seen sticking out. A few Bandicoots also paid a visit, one a female that appeared to be carrying young in her pouch. The close encounters with the marsupials presented the opportunity to get some nice close up photos.
Bob spotted several Moaning frogs while using a headlight, these also made cute photo subjects. A number of large Huntsman spiders were also spotted from the reflections from their eyes. We then hit our beds and listened to a wonderful chorus of frogs before falling asleep.
As dawn broke on Sunday morning the magpies had added their song to the frog chorus. Morning brought overcast conditions with rain threatening. A check of the large lake saw the swan family plus a Wood Duck and a Black duck. A pre-breakfast walk found lots of birds active. Sightings included a flock of about a dozen Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos, a beautiful male Golden Whistler, a Rufous Whistler, Red-capped Parrot, a Grey Shrike-thrush plus a few Wood Ducks. Following breakfast we explored more of the property, finding a dragon fly resting by gripping onto a grass tree leaf, which made for a nice photo.
A bit further along the track were a few Little Pink Fan Orchids (Caladenia nana subsp. nana). Many pink twining Droseras were flowering . Another double flowered Silky Blue Orchid was found, along with Common Donkey Orchid (Diuris corymbosa), little pink fairy orchid.
Along the western fence line a group of Splendid Fairy Wrens were feeding in the trees and shrubs together with some Inland Thornbills. A Swamp Harrier was spotted soaring over the treetops. More birds were spotted on the northern fence line including Scarlet Robin and Yellow Rumped Thornbills. A pair of Shelducks was seen flying over towards the west. Fan-tailed Cuckoo and Shining Bronze Cuckoo were heard calling. Many kangaroos were spotted, though not in the large numbers seen on previous visits.
Thirteen species of orchids in flower were seen including two not sighted on the Sanctuary before. They are the Mosquito (Cyrostylis robusta) and the Rabbit (Leptoceras menziesii). A lot of other flowers were open, including Scarlet runner (Kennedia prostrata), Twining Fringed Lily (Thysanotus pattersonii), Black-eyed Susan (Tetratheca hirsuta), four species of Hibbertia and large numbers of Blue Squill (Chamaescilla corymbosa ) making an attractive display with Cowslip Orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. Flava).
As usual it had been a great weekend spent exploring the Sanctuary, and it was especially good to add to the species list – no mean feat as regular flora surveys have been conducted since the property was acquired in 1980. Thanks again to our hosts Bob and Lynette.