Dampierre Blanc de Blanc weekend

Main gallery link here: http://www.wildflowersyuraygirnationalpark.com/  Note: Only a few of the images appear within the text – click here for the full gallery at large high resolution in new tab window.

This weekend I finally got back to Wooli after some gallivanting around, including Melbourne to present a paper on how the out of control bureaucracy in Australia is wasting the precious health dollar, then a cruise to the Whitsunday’s “Once in a Blue Moon” which features on the blog, a mountain weekend at Mt. Barney Lodge with wildflower treks on Mt. Gillies and Mt. Maroon,about which I have written; please see www.wildflowersmountbarneylodge.com and now finally, Wooli for a good rest and some new flowers.

The sun is rising earlier these days, about 0530, and this morning over the ocean was a vermillion sunrise; a stunning and great quality of life experience, especially over a hot coffee. It is such a treat coming down from the Gold Coast after a hard week to enjoy very special moments like the Wooli sunrise.

Bruce was ready at 0600, and we set off. He has spied some orchids coming and going over the last few weeks, but some may last a week and then are gone, and may not be seen till next year, if at all.

To confirm the march of the seasons; roads once paved with gold, now no longer afford a welcoming golden glow, they are now just roads again. The golden extravagance of the peas in their assembled multitudes have passed. In their, place as we were to discover, are new legions of flowers. We have now reached the one year mark for our gallery, and the reader will notice the reappearance of what for us last year were totally new flowers. Rather than endure drone-like repetition, we hope to update with better images, new locations, and informative text.

"Drosera peltata" with pink flowers about to bloom. Pale Sundew.
“Drosera peltata” with pink flowers about to bloom. Pale Sundew.
Onion Orchid, "Microtis parviflora".
Onion Orchid, “Microtis parviflora”.

First stop, a drain by the Pub….usually the end of a day for some. There we found freshly flowering Pale Sundew, “Drosera spatulata“; a new type of plant, like large chives with a nearly encapsulated pink flower; a new tiny viney pea, “Hibbertia sp.” and the best find, the Onion Orchid, with its straight stem and rows of really tiny orchids. Another plant, probably a grass, showed an unusual inflorescence – now probably turned to seed–or is it insect seed pods?  Close by, a new pea, with its fish-bone like leaves. The adjacent bush had recently been burned, so not much hope of finding orchids in there; why burning policy cannot be adjusted to occur after the flowering period of these terrestrial orchids, when they retreat into earthly hibernation, seems to evade the authorities.

"Gompholobium latifolium", the Giant Wedge Pea
“Gompholobium latifolium”, the Giant Wedge Pea

We toodled a bit further down the road, to find the last of the Giant Wedge Peas in bloom, and now splitting to reveal its precious seed cargo.

Along by the power lines, the orchids had now passed, and the bees were really getting a move on. Bruce’s jellybush a “Leptospermum“was out in flower, an extravagant white flower, a new “Hakea” which was crawling with ants and insects.. In the fields we discovered one plant with very unusual shaped seed pods and wondered if that represented some genetic mutation or perhaps an infection. One for the botanists, please…it is called a “gall” and see notes in gallery. Those colourful harbingers of the coming of summer, the Silky Flags were in abundance in the heath country, each plant seemingly giving everything its got to out bloom its neighbour. Matchheads, were seen to be attracting bees and insects, with evanescent tiny blooms.


Olax Angulata flower
Olax Angulata flower

We adjourned for morning tea by 0830, and enjoyed this with our guest at Bookram, gazing northward over the ocean where the Humpback whales were cavorting. Enjoyed the stairs down to the rock plateau; this area protected from harvesting, and somewhere is the yet to be found The Native (as well as the Imported” Morning Glory flowering around the headlands, with its metallic blue purple flower, one of the most striking colours in the Park. We have become quite good at picking the “Olax Angulata“, said to be threatened by the authorities. We don’t think it is in short supply, and likes to live by the roadside.

We paused along the road, to witness a rare sight, the Galahs feeding on petals of the Flannel Flowers; I couldn’t get close for a good shot, but the best is in the gallery. Three birds were munching away like there was no tomorrow.

Flannel Flowers, "Actinotus helianthi"
Flannel Flowers, “Actinotus helianthi”
Purple Donkey Orchid
Purple Donkey Orchid

Included are some more images of the Flannel Flowers, where are in abundance now, but have been a perennial over the last year. On Mt. Maroon, in the montagne heath, they are just starting to bloom. I like these flowers, and there is nothing else like them in the Park. with the still-blooming “Epacris microphylla” there are white fields in the heath. We discovered some new small flowers –  this has been a day for small ones, and identification will follow. Along the road the Dogwood is still in flower; the Red Callistemon is now in flower; a photograph is shown with the growing tip unfolding from its sepals. Note the two colours of pollen presenters at the tips of the stamens. I cannot recall a flower with this intensity of red. We were excited to visit the Wilsons Headland parking lot, to find the orchids were there. The Purple Donkey orchid “Diuris sp.” is just magnificent, and one of the treasures of the Park, with parking provided about 6 feet from the flowers. Our representations may have been heard, but not acknowledged, and they have been spared the slash. And, once you have enjoyed these, take the walk down to the viewing station for a great outlook to sea, and south to Wooli, one of my favourite spots.

A new flower today; the Blue Sunflower, was scattered. We had seen this two weeks ago coming down through farmland on Mt. Gillies.

And, the last image from today, for those who enjoy a macabre twist, the spider and its prey a hapless fly…life and death in the Acacia.

Life and death in the "Acacia".
Life and death in the “Acacia”.
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