Northern Suburbs Branch 22ndJune 2022
The chilly 8:00 am start the morning after the winter solstice did not stop eleven members and a WA Natural History Lovers visitor from joining Friends of Koondoola Bushland convenor, Jennie Villiers, and City of Wanneroo Conservation Officer, Sasha Poli, for a very interesting walk in a part of the bushland we hadn’t visited before.
We began our walk in a vegetation complex typical of the Karrakatta soils of the Spearwood dune system. It was too early for most of the natives to be flowering, but we did notice Hovea, Daviesia, Pearl Flower, a couple of Lomandra species and lots of Greenhood Orchids in bloom.
As we transitioned from Karrakatta soils to the Bassendean dunes system, we came across tall Holly-leaved Banksias with a few flowers, which showed the full range of colours from yellowish green when fresh to reddish yellow in decay. Closer to the ground, some of the Pink Summer Calytrix was still flowering.
Jennie then led us into the area which had once been a swamp. Proof of this was the many Swamp Paperbarks, Flooded Gums, and numerous rushes. Much of the area was burnt last year (arson), but we could see countless small plants emerging after the recent rain. Some very large Western Australian Christmas trees were covered in new growth, showing how resilient they are to fire.
Further on in the burnt area, we came across large patches of sundews which Jennie told us had been in flower the previous week. They were probably Red Ink Sundews; according to Perth Plants, they flower profusely after the fire.
Our return journey took us through an area of mature Flooded Gum and an area which had been planted the day before with local species. We noticed a few native violets, but the star of the show was the Star of Bethlehem or Tinsel Lily, Calectasia narragara# . Most people found it hard to believe it is in the same family as the Kingia – Dasypogonaceae.
Despite the recent rain, we saw only four species of fungi, and although we didn’t find any live native snails, we did find the shells of several dead ones. As no one with intimate knowledge of birds and bird calls was present, our miserly list of 13 species was certainly not all we saw or heard. All participants agreed that if we can’t schedule a walk during spring this year, we should plan a visit in August or September next year.
All photos. Don Poynton
# Nar-rag-a-ra is a composite Nyoongar name for a star (Bindon & Chadwick 1992), chosen for the common name of “Star of Bethlehem” which has often been applied to this species.