June Members’ Night at KRM Branch

There were three presenters for the members’ night. First was Heather Adamson, who presented a series of photographs taken while crossing the Nullarbor that she entitled “Hope you like Saltbush”. The title was the response she received while mentioning that she was about to drive across to Adelaide. However, her photographs would show that there is much more to be seen on such trips. To highlight this, the first series of images showed trees of the Great Western Woodlands, including Strickland’s Gum and Silver Gimlet plus Bluebush in flower. Then there were photos of introduced fauna—namely feral goats and a large group of camels just to the east of Norseman. Other fauna she saw included Curtain Web Spiders, Pony Ants, Dingos, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Black-fronted Dotterel, Brown Falcons, a Scarlet-chested Parrot, a dragon lizard and a native cockroach (Mitchell’s Daylight Roach). Unfortunately it is inevitable that on such a trip one will come across fauna killed by vehicles and Heather found a dead Carpet Python and also a dead female Bustard. The male Bustard was refusing to leave her, so Heather moved her well off the road so that he would not suffer the same fate. Other Bustards were seen at the Eyre Bird Observatory. The presentation also showed the different landscapes and some of the notable features to be encountered, such as a granite outcrop at Balladonia Roadhouse, the Caiguna Blow Holes, Bunda Cliffs, Yalata Lands and the Australian Arid Lands Botanical Garden. Other plants found during the trip included Wylie Scarp Mallee, Yalata Mallee, Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus sp.), Eremophila sp. and Pittosporum angustifolium (Native Apricot). Heather’s presentation showed that there is plenty to see during the crossing of the Nullarbor if the time is taken to look and explore.

The next presenter was Colin Prickett, who firstly shared a sighting of a large group of Hoary-headed Grebes at Lake Walyungup in Rockingham. Around 450-500 grebes appeared to be following a school of fish, pushing them towards the shallows and diving repeatedly and Colin showed a short video that he had taken of this unusual behaviour. Colin then showed some photographs taken during a camping trip to Cue that he made with Chris Punter and Klaas Gaikhorst in early June. There was a photo of a granite outcrop near Payne’s Find where they stayed for a night on the outward trip. Here they found Red-leaved Drosera (Drosera bulbosa) in flower at the base of the rock, while Flannel Bush (Solanum lasiophyllum) was plentiful. There was a magical encounter at breakfast when three Western Yellow Robins came into the camp and obligingly posed for photos. At Cue they camped at Rosalie and Geoff Barritt’s property, ‘Dairy Wells’, where Geoff showed them around for the next few days. Colin’s photographs were of some of the places visited and fauna and flora encountered. Birds photographed included Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater and a male Mulga Parrot. Plants in flower included Wurmbea sp., Sand Hibiscus (Alyogyne pinonia), Hemigenia sp. and numerous Eremophila. Other photos showed the differing landscapes found in the area.

The last presenter for the evening was Chris Punter, who showed some photos from a recent trip to Sri Lanka. They included wild Asian Elephants taken while on a tour to a popular viewing spot in a national park. Chris also photographed some of the local bird species, including an Indian Pitta, some reptiles and Macaques.

Colin Prickett

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