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.
On the drive into Wooli, both sides of the road are paved with gold as the peas are in full bloom. This was golden weekend, with golds and yellows all round, in contrast to the purples of a fortnight ago. The predominant roadside pea is the “Pultenaea villosa“.
Today, with an uncertain dawn, and predicted high winds and huge seas, our bush walkers set off pre dawn. Firstly, a gift from Patou and our French friends for Bruce, a fleece lined vest. See photo of the Apiarist in the field. And, the usual early morning greeting, “Have you got the biscuits?”, and afterwards: “Well best not sit on them!”
Bruce had discovered the Bearded Orchid on his reconnoitre during the week; and, in the housing estate, there were several stems of this most unusual flower, which on certain angle looks like an alien creature gazing down at you with two dark eyes. First time I have ever seen one of these. Difficult to photograph, as there is much depth to the contours, and the brown is a hard colour to express on the camera. We will look at relocating this plant to save it from the developer’s bulldozer. An observation when we went back to this area on the Sunday morning, as that the flower appears to twist as it opens, a floral breech delivery, with some more photos towards the end of the gallery.
In the gallery this week I have included some of our old favourites, especially in the pea line, especially where I thought they might have been different from previous ones. The “P. villosa” is everywhere at the moment, but there must be other types of pea that are also hairy? Also a white Leucopogon like flower.
In this area too, the Kennedy Pea, and a nest of the Lapwing Plover, and man do they screech if you get close to the eggs, with exquisite colours and a tear drop shape. I wonder which pole of the egg is laid first? The eggs mark the end of that area, before we moved on into the bush, along the firebreak trails. Previously identified orchids, and marked for the Rangers had alas been consumed in their “burn”.
A new yellow wattle, we think “Acacia leiocalyx“, the Curracabah, is about to bloom. Initially we thought this to be the Coast Golden Wattle, however the leaves are finer, and the floral cylinder is narrower, and arranged in a multiple spray. Our gallery has photos of a mass of about to burst into bloom. There is a stand on the south side of the road into the Bookrum Campsite.
We were keen to follow-up on last visit’s Wax Lip Orchid, and I wanted to get some profile photos which show intimate detail. I am still struggling with the anatomy of orchids. We had discovered several more in the Highwires site, not far from the bees. In this area too, a new acacia, the “A brownii“, the heath wattle now coming into bloom, and it was not in flower just two weeks ago. There has been construction work in this area, at what I call the Highwires Site, with deposition of large boulders to block access to the Park, just feet from a treasured Wax Lip Orchid; wonder if they even knew it was there?
For morning tea, we decided to head up to Minnie Waters, our favourite possie at the Back Beach headland, where in about 25 kts of SE wind we shivered through our hot tea, smoked trout, sliced tomatoes, and yes – cracked biscuits. Took some photos of the coastal scene with high winds whirring through the Casuarinas.
The “Dianella caerulea” is now emerging from its purple cocoons, and looking around our favourite nursery at the Minnie Glade, we found the Pink Wax Flower, “Eriostemon australasius“, so spring must be officially here, at least according to the plant calendar. This flower can be seen earlier in the main gallery which I am in the process of assembling, to show an annual collection of wild flowers in the Yuragir National Park. Too, the “Bossaiea Ensata“, with its interesting flattened stems that act like leaves, a possible evolutionary diversion for plants, and the red embossed outside to their leaves, seems to be coming near the end of its run. It is our observation that many of the plants in the Park have a relatively short flowering period, on the order of just weeks, before another will step up to the plate for its turn.
The “Melaleuca nodosa” with its largish and rather bedraggled blooms is still in flower, and initially we confused this with the “Acacia myrtifolia” which is now on the wane after solidly flowering over the last month.
I felt that Saturday’s photography was a bit short of the mark; one reason was that the new Nikon D800 has selected a multi point focus band, and images were better when I went back to spot focus, which I think works better for how I compose. In the course of these notes I might add comment about how to get the best shot, but please realize I am not an expert. Well, it comes down to just three words, “do it often”, with plenty of, another three words, “OJT”, on-the-job training. However, be advised that in photography, practice does not “make perfect”, because perfection is unattainable. With flowers, because of the limitations of depth of field, it is often impossible to get multiple blooms in focus at one time, unless they all line up in one plane, as might the “Epacris pulchella“. Increasing f stop will increase depth of field and help, but there is a loss of sharpness and general optical quality including colour saturation the higher you go – everything in photography is a compromise. I like to feature a main subject, clearly in focus, and subsidiary blooms can be a bit de-focused, acceptable to the human eye. More comments as we go. I am working on reducing the intensity of flash, even varying the colour temperature, and possibly considering a remote flash as I use in underwater photography. With orchids, they seem to have multiple reflective facets, so work the light from different angles, and you will be surprised at what you find expressed in the image that you did not see in real life.