A group of ANN Field Naturalists 2016, visited “The Abrolhos”. The Abrolhos is sited in a sanctuary and the waters surrounding the islands are protected. The trip included the history of the Abrolhos – the shipwreck Batavia and the mutineers. Activities such as snorkelling, fishing, glass bottom boat viewing, visiting islands and rock pooling were included.
Some of the islands are breeding grounds for different bird species such as Lesser & Brown Noddys, Terns, Ospreys, Cormorants and Sea Eagles. Many birds nest on beaches, be on the lookout for eggs as they are easily trodden on. Sea Lions were spotted on the islands and close to shore. Refrain from getting too close to all birds and animals and avoid being between parents and their babies. Sit or kneel when taking photos so that you are not a threat and you will go home with some great memories.
I indicated that I would love to see a whale close up. One day, whilst sailing between the islands we had a fantastic encounter with a whale – just beyond the bow that also came up to the side of the boat. A WOW moment! Not to be outdone, a pod of dolphins decided to put on a live show surfing, jumping and bumping each other just below the bow and to the stern of the ship. Whales are rather slow in comparison to surfing dolphins. Neither are easy to photograph as it is extremely difficult to judge where they will surface and on a boat that is rocking side to side/up and down. For me, this was the highlight of the trip.
Sunday Mt Wellington visit. On our only cloudy damp day, we ascended Mt Wellington and my bus stopped at The Springs car park where we had a delightful walk to the Spinx Rocks passing bushes of red berries of the Pink Mountain Berry Leptecophyla juniparina and pink and purple berries of the spreading Cheeseberry Cyathodes straminea . There was also lots of white daisy bush and flowering cream Mountain Needlebushes Hakea lissosperma. Many rocks were covered in white and shades of green and grey lichens, adding more beauty in the misty day. Later we drove to the top of the mountain and had to be content to accept the lovely views of Hobart’s waterways from a picture.
Our final talk on Sun night was based around Jelly fish and how large numbers can be a sign of overfishing and other enviromental destruction.
Words of thanks from West Australia Field Nats summed up our great week together and invited us to Perth in Aug/Sept 2016
Orange myrtle (beech) fungi Cyttaria sp. seen at The Styzx State Park
Bartailed Godwits seen at Marion Bay. These birds migrated from above the Arctic Circle where they breed
Spreading Cheeseberry cyanthodes straminea.
Pink Mountain Berry Leptecophylla juniperina
Pineapple Candle Heath Richea drachophylla seen half way up Mt Wellington
What was the highlight of the ANN Get-together in Hobart. After much thought and going through my diary and photos I decided that the colour ORANGE presented some amazing results.
The Fairy Lanterns (Thismia rodwayi) which is a very small herb with bright orange flowers that are likened to tiny fairy lanterns on the forest floor. They are incapable of photosynthesis but take their energy from fungus and can be found covered in leaf litter in very isolated areas. The roots are wormlike. On our forest walks several people tried to find these elusive plants but failed. Just as well we had a sample in an ice cream container.
In the Styx Forest there were orange berry-like fungi hanging from the trees, ground mushrooms and orange fungi attached too dead decaying tree branches on the forest floor.
Adventure Bay, Bruny Island on the rocks out near Penguin Island rock pools was a bright orange lichen on the rocks.
Even Barb’s Hermit crab was orange.
Lichen, AdventureBay near Penguin Island, Bruny Island
The live-bearing sea star at the Tessellated Pavement rock pools was described as apricot-orange. This is the first sea star known to brood its young within the body. The babies leave the mother through the dorsal plates and crawl away. Apparently the larger juveniles can cannibalise the younger ones before birth.
In the Hartz Mountains there was orange dotted all through the habitats from flowering forest trees to heath in the moor lands and the mosses and lichens in the wet alpine areas.
Even the Pineapple Candle Heath on Mt. Wellington had an orange presentation for us.
Now to look forward to Perth in 2016 for the next ANN Get-together.
Congratulations to all who made this amazing event possible.
By Rhondda Tomlinson
The Tasmanian Bushland Garden has been developed adjacent to the Tasman Highway near Buckland approximately 50 km north-east of Hobart. The 22 ha timbered dolerite hill had been degraded by grazing , firewood collection and a quarry when purchased in 2000. Over the next 10 years it was developed into a regional botanic garden to show case the native flora of south-east Tasmania. The garden opened to the public in 2010.
The Display Gardens occupy about half a hectare, and have been developed on a gentle sunny slope facing SW. Display beds have been planted to simulate natural plant communities growing on dolerite in the south-east and some of the rare and plants of eastern Tasmania. The landscaping features many local rocks and logs, which give a natural setting, and the gardens merge into the surrounding grassy woodland.
The quarry site has been transformed into a safe area with local fauna planted in a carefully designed scree slope, sculptures of Wedge-tailed Eagle, Tasmanian Tiger and dinosaur, a waterfall and vegetated pond.
The leaders for this ANN excursion were Keith and Sib Corbett who were involved with the development of the garden. They gave us an excellent account of the transformation of the degraded area into beautiful area which informs the public and encourages the uses of the local flora in gardens.
South-eastern Tasmanian species planted on scree slope in former quarry
Grassy Dolerite Heath community with Tussock Grasses Poa sp. and Guineaflowers Hibbertia sp.
The Styx Valley Big Tree Reserve is near Maydena 100km north-west of Hobart. The reserve is adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site. The area of wet eucalypt forest has been reserved to protect the world’s tallest flowering plants Eucalyptus regnans. A boardwalk has been constructed through the forest. Little light penetrates to ground level which is carpeted by mosses, lichens and Soft Tree Fern Dicksonia antarctica. The middle layer trees include Southern Sassafras Atherosperma moschatum and Myrtle Beech Nothofagus cunninghamii. Towering above are Mountain Ash Eucalyptus regnans believed to be 400 years old and growing to a height of nearly 90 metres.
Lunch was extended because of a flat, front tyre on the bus. We had extra time in bright sunshine on the banks of Styx River. The vegetation along the river is rainforest dominated by Myrtle Beech. Myrtle Orange Fungus Cyttaria gunni grows only on Myrtle Beech and is a traditional Aboriginal food. The endemic Tasmanian Thornbill was seen near the river.
Styx River edged by Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Tree Fern
Myrtle Orange Fungus Cyttaria gunni
Lunch at the Styx (photo Barbara Gilfedder)
Alan (driver) struggling with flat tyre (photo Barbara Gilfedder)
How to take a picture of a big tree (photo Rosalie Breen)