Friday, 3 April 2015

Central coast weekend

Had a recent Central Coast family weekend staying at Foresters beach and had some good photo opportunities. Our first day the weather was a bit threatening but a walk along the beach was very pleasant. On the rocks at the southern end of the beach a White-faced Heron was intent as it searched the rock pools.

The rocks in themselves were photogenic and the one in the foreground has a dolphin look about it.

The weathering honeycomb effect is always worthy of a photo.

The following morning we awoke to a promising sunrise so we headed down to the beach for a few shots.

 The small waves hitting this rock ledge provided some action to accompany the sunrise.

Reflections on the waves and on the sand with nice cloud formations.

 Great weather for the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Wildlife down the Myall

At the end of February our Aquatic club did our seventh annual "Down the Myall" Lakes and River excursion. The executioners travelled by kayak, sail boat or motorboat with two overnight camps along the almost seventy km journey.
Grey sky and a forecast of rain and adverse wind had the kayakers getting away as soon as they were loaded with their gear.

Fortunately the forecast did not eventuate and we only had a light shower and favourable wind and I called in to Violet Hill Camp site to stretch my legs and have a bit of lunch before completing the day's paddle to our evening camp site.

Rain during the night but our second morning had clear sky and no wind so just beautiful for paddling and taking our time to enjoy the sights along the way. Even time to take photos of a patch of waterlilies.

The lily patch is in a small sheltered area where the warmth is suited to these lily that are usually found in abundance in tropical regions.

Our campsite at Dee's Corner is between the lake and beach so an early morning stroll to the beach to enjoy the sunrise.

A flock of Crested Terns near the water's edge taking it easy before a day out fishing.

A young bird still not awake, quite happy just to enjoy the early sun.

For some it was the morning plunge to get ready for the day.

The birds need to keep alert as the beach is on a Dingo's route for a meal.

On our third morning I was under surveillance by one of the resident pair of White Bellied Sea Eagles that we see each year on this dead tree that is on a small island at the river entrance.

On our evening at Tea Gardens a flock or Little Corellas were on the wires just outside the fish & chip shop where we were enjoying dinner. This pair seemed very keen on each other with some mutual preening.

Next there was a bit of a squabble and high wire acrobatics.

Finally peace returned but a bit of "no talking and I am ignoring you" prevailed

After a good nights sleep in a motel bed we headed back on the return journey with the kayaks being towed.

A white Bellied Sea Eagle perched in the same casuarina at this end of the river, where it was the previous year.

The tide was out so the waders like this White Ibis were busy on the mud flats.

A few were still perched on their roosting trees and this one liked the high point.

A Royal Spoonbill was very active sifting through the mud.

Our final campsite back at Johnson's Beach is just perfect with the boats pulled in amongst the reeds and the sun getting low in the western sky.

A Lace monitor Lizard was enjoying the last of the sun's warmth before settling in for the night.

Around our campfire as we cooked dinner a couple of Kookaburras were on the lookout for an unguarded meal and an easy piece of steak.

Nearby an Eastern Water Dragon was also catching the last of the sun and displaying its beautiful colouring.

The sky was looking threatening as the sun was going down and the Black Ducks having an evening cruise.

Almost no breeze made for some beautiful reflections of the clouds and setting sun.

Next morning our last leg before getting back to our starting point and although there was little wind the keen sailors had the sails up to make the most of the slight wafts.

A flotilla or Black Swans moved sedately with us for a short while before taking to the air.

They were the last of the wildlife seen on the trip but again we were treated to some wonderful sights over the five days. Look forward to doing it again next year.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A coastal walk

We spent a few days with our families in Avalon and I had the opportunity to do a coastal walk which is part to the Palm Beach to North Head coastal walk.
I started off from our daughter's family home where I started off my photos with a Rainbow Lorikeet portrait.
My route took me past the park where the resident Fruit Bat colony is hanging out much to the annoyance of their neighbours who have to put up with the smell and noise.

No other distractions before I reached my starting point at the beach at North Avalon where the tide was out exposing the rocks along to the north point.
Surf was very ordinary but one keen surfer was getting the most out of what was available.

A perfect day to be on the beach enjoying the sun, but I was heading off to do the planned walk.

The Bangalley Headland is between Avalon Beach on the south and Whale Beach to the north and the walking track commences at the low point saddle in the cliff line.
Looking south to North Avalon headland
Looking north to the point of the bay before the cliff turns towards Whale Beach
The swell pounding into the rocks at the base of the cliff
It is a good time to do this walk as the spring wildflowers should be near their best and the walk varies between coastal heath to sandstone woodland. A Banksia integrifolia is one of the key small trees found along the way.

The Sydney sandstone habitat is key to many flora species and Grevillea sericea, Pink Spider Flower is one commonly found throughout.

The Fabacea e family is also well represented on sandstone country and the following Pultenaea daphoides is one of the most attractive with the cluster of flowers at the tips of the branches.

The flowers on the Hakea sericea are quite small and past for this season but the woody seed capsule is very promient and a notable feature of the shrub. Like many of the Proteaceae family the seed capsules are adapted to withstand a bushfire and then burst open once the fire is past. The seeds dropped into the ash are ready to sprout at the next rain.

One of the Guinea Flower family , Hibertia dentata, Twining Guinea Flower is a small vine that prefers the shaded understorey where the buttercup yellow flowers stand out as bright beacons.

As the track climbs higherlooking back towards Avalon Beach you gain a view down the coast to Manly.

Another of the climbers Pandorea pandorana, Wonga Wonga Vine is quite vigorous and the tubular flowers can provide a spectacular display. It is popular as a garden plant and many colour variations have been bred as cultivars.

The Flannel Flower, Actinotus helianthi is one of the most loved native plants and very popular as a cut flower therefore is widely grown for the florist trade. They thrive on the sandstone country and along the coast in the coastal heath areas where they often provide a mass display.

At the highest point the view to the north is past the Whale Beach headlands to Barrenjoey Head at the northern end of Palm Beach, then across Broken Bay to the Central Coast.

The weathering of the sandstone cliffs leaves attractive openings and glimpses through to the sea 116m below.

This flower is deserving of its common name Handsome Flat-pea Platylobium formosum a small shrub of the understorey. Another plant with beautiful pea flowers is the climber Hardenbergia violacea.

This dragonfly was very well disguised amongst the leaf litter.

The walking track decends on the western side of the ridge and the vegetation is more sheltered, conditions that this fine clump of maiden-hair fern appreciates.

A large termite nest on the eucalyptus was having a nest site worked upon which I assume was by a pair of Kookaburras that were nearby.

Termite nests are also used by rosellas such as theis Crimson Rosella which was further along on the loop track that was taking me back to my start point.

From this western part of the track there are some nice views across Careel Bay on the Pittwater.

This sandstone overhang shows the weathering and the lovely colours that are exposed. Shelters such as this were used by the Guringai who were the original people of this area.

This interesting small shrub Isopgon amemonifolius is one of the Drumstick genus so named for the woody cones that follow the flowering.

The following are the female and male plants of Allocasuarina distyla a bushy shrub that is common on the coastal heathland.

A couple of young grasstrees Xanthorrhoea (species?)

Almost back to the start point and views back over Avalon Beach and the coastal suburbs of the northern beaches.

The telephoto shot shows Sydney CBD in the background.

Native Daphne or Sweet Pittostorum Pittostorum undulatum in flower has a very sweet perfume which is very noticable in the evening air.

I don't know this plant and haven't been able to identify

Banksia ericafolia had finished flowering and the brush starting to dry out the last plant at the end of the walk.

The final photo is the inflorecence of an Alexander palm the was in a street planting.
I spent some three enjoyable hours and it is a walk worth doing , particularly in Spring.