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Thread: Grampians N.P., south eastern Australia

  1. #1

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    Firstly, an apology to those using dial-up. The following fieldtrip occurred over the past weekend and of the 400+ photos that were taken, I was only able to knock the total down to around 80. It may take awhile to get through these if you have a slow connection. This is by far the longest post I have ever and will ever make.

    Anyway, Last Friday a small group of VCPS members visited an area located in western Victoria, probably the best area to see native CPs in south eastern Australia. We left early that morning and spent 3 full days searching for CPs and native orchids- we found plenty of each.

    The area is a mountainous area of granite and sandstone and arises from a flat plain. It is a National Park known as "Gariwerd", formerly known as the Grampians National Park. I had visited the area countless times during the past 25 years but this year was special. A massive bushfire had burnt out around half of the 170,000 hectares. This would allow easy access to previously inaccessible areas as well as result in the flowering of species that I had never before seen.

    For those interested, here's a link with a little more info on the area-

    http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/1park_...y.cfm?park=109

    The main objective was to find populations of Drosera binata which are supposed to occur around watercourses. I had never managed to find the species in any of my visits and I was hoping that my luck would change on this occasion.

    Now to the photos.

    Our first stop was at a small stream that winded along one of the main roads. I'd checked it out many years prior, but had found nothing. It didn't take long before we had found our first Drosera, and it was D. binata! Also found in this area was D. spatulata, auriculata, pygmaea, whittakerii ssp. aberrans, peltata var. gracilis & Utricularia dichotoma.

    A few shots of the habitat-





    Me walking through the burnt out area-



    Carpets of Drosera binata growing in semi-shade-





    by a stream-


  2. #2

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    Some plants closer up-










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    A couple in full sun-





    Drosera peltata var. gracilis growing amongst the D. binata-




  4. #4

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    Nearby Drosera spatulata-





    In slightly more elevated positions were colonies of orange Drosera whittakerii ssp. aberrans-





    A typical Drosera auriculata growing with the D. binata-





    Utricularia dichotoma growing in the same area-


  5. #5

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    A fantastic Beard orchid (Calochilus robertsonii) found growing in dry substrate on the high side of the road-



    A small pink fairy orchid (Caladenia pusilla) growing close to the Beard orchid-



    After spending an hour or so in this spot we headed up to the highest point in the ranges, Mt. William. This peak rises to around 1000m and could be classified as sub-alpine. The CP species found here differ from those in the low valleys.

    Here are a couple of views from the mountain. You can clearly see the damage done by the bushfires. The area was previously densely covered by low Eucalyptus vegetation-





    Looking east towards the flat plains-


  6. #6

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    Colonies of a beautiful, small growing red form of Drosera auriculata are common. The temps here would regularly drop well below zero deg C during winter and spring.








  7. #7

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    A nice red form of Drosera whittakerii ssp. aberrans occur here. Still at their peak and many have been pollinated. During my travels I have found that it is uncommon for many of the flowers to be fertilized. Perhaps the lack of cover after the burn made the flowers more easily accessible to insects-









    A weird double double flower of the highland form of Utricularia dichotoma-



    That was it for the Friday as we retired to our accomodation. The following day we headed towards the centre of the ranges in search of other CPs

  8. #8

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    The main road south is composed mainly of low heathland dominated by grasstrees (Xanthorrhoea australis). This plant only flowers after a fire and the display it put on was breathtaking-





    We pulled up alongside the dry burnt out heathland to see what was around. By chance, a small manmade waterhole happened to be adjacent to us. As we approached the waterhole we could see that the banks were glowing red. Drosera pygmaea was present in the thousands!










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