Since the turn of the century, I have enjoyed holidays at the iconic coastal hamlet of Wooli, New South Wales. My initial interests were diving and underwater photography in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. In 2011 the Australian Sport Diving Magazine published two of my articles, one of which was titled the “Slithery Beauties of the North Solitary Islands” about the colourful Nudibranches and Flatworms in the North Solitary Islands Marine Park. Over the past year, I have developed an interest in the wildflowers of terra firma. This interest has especially been nurtured by Bruce-the-beekeeper, my bush walking mate, and by Mr. Barry Kemp, Botanist, and author of “Wildflowers of the North Coast of New South Wales“. The contributions of these two gentlemen are both profoundly and warmly acknowledged.
We have assembled an anthology, that is; a gallery of flowers over a year. From many images taken in the field, I have put up the best for your enjoyment. Cameras are Nikon, D80, D7000, and the latest, the fabulous D 800 usually with Nikon 105 macro lens. I will later post some hopefully helpful hints on getting started with wildflower photography. The gallery starts in October, 2011 and follows onwards, into and now thru 2012. I am continuing to update images as better ones come to hand, and am adding text that hopefully will give the reader basic information about the plants, including their habitat, where you can find them, key features of the flowers, and interesting information…this is very much a work in progress as I draw from a number of sources. Barry has also kindly provided his notes , “A Beginner’s Botany”, a project of the Coff’s Harbour Group of the Australian Plants Society. Throughout the gallery, I have included basic botany (which is my level) for the interest and education of the viewers. For the many with advanced knowledge, please let us know what you know, and we will be happy to incorporate further information into the site. Where information is “generic” it is given; however, direct quotations, or matters of opinion, are credited to the source.
For those interested, most of the flowers shown can be easily accessed just off roads in the area. I have given the reader clues as to the best sites to find wildflowers, but they are everywhere in the Park. We have some less accessible areas on our list to explore, and I will report on these as we go, such as the heath country to the south east of the Wooli Wooli River, and also north west of Minnie Waters.
We have, at times, been restricted by the locked gates of the National Parks and are hopeful that this policy may change. We are also hopeful that certain areas containing interesting or special groups of wildflowers can be identified, and protected. Many wildflowers are vulnerable, and it will be through education that we will be able to raise community awareness of the need for their protection. Over the last year it has been my privilege and pleasure to gain better insight into the work of our Rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the Yuraygir National Park. They are a highly competent and very dedicated bunch. Park management is a complex task; I think they do it well, often with too limited resources. Please go to the page 98 to look at the work currently (December, 2012) being done to protect the Little Tern. The editor does apologize from this detour from flora to fauna, but it is a very special story.
We have endeavoured to be correct in our identification, but realize that there may be inconsistencies or errors. I should also add that you will see there are “weeds” and “garden escapes” in the gallery; these are included as they do form part of the tapestry of flowering plants in the Park. Similarly, I like to photograph flowers with creepy crawling and flying things – adds a bit of protein to the mix! In the future, I would like to re sort the images on the basis of colour as has been done in one of my favourite books, “Mangroves To Mountains“, 2002 to assist bushwalkers with flower identification. Just to hand, November, 2012, is the latest edition, titled “Mangroves to Mountains, revised edition” which is a fabulous book and very helpful in the identification of flowers in the Yuraygir National Park. On the principle that flowers belong to all, we have not formally copyrighted the images and are happy for readers to “borrow” one, on the condition that they not be used commercially, and the source is credited. One of the difficulties I have with orthodox textbooks of botany is that they rely heavily on printed descriptions and do not have enough good images. Here there are lots of images, that allow the reader to “see and feel” the flower. I have grouped them in chronological sequence so you get the pulse of the changing seasons, but there are subgroups of similar flower types within. I hope this approach works.
In addition to remote storage of high resolution images, the SmugMug format has some really neat features; for example, if you run your mouse down the right side of the image, a toolbar will open which will allow magnified view of the image; try it. I shoot in JPEG. Some images are cropped in SmugMug but no further “shopping” is performed.
Should the reader wish to make a donation to assist the preservation of wildflowers, then please make your cheque out to “The Herbarium, North Coast Regional Botanic Garden”, and send it to the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden, P.O. Box 648, Coffs Harbour, 2450, New South Wales. This is where Barry has worked as a volunteer Botanist for many years.
Should the reader like to comment, please email Roger: (roger AT newwakaya.com).
Please enjoy. And, see you in the Park.