Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification plz)

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Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification plz)

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 4:13 pm

It's been a while since I've wanted to visit Wyperfeld. I decided to include some visits to the Pink Lakes and Hattah-Kulkyne, where I've camped before, but have never really explored. Never been there in spring either, and I was well rewarded with a vast array of flowering plants.

On the first day I paid a visit to Lake Tyrell, which had a good amount of water. It's just as pink as the Pink Lakes of Murray Sunset, but the surrounding farmland makes it less attractive. Still a nice stop on the Calder Hwy.

At Hattah-Kulkyne, the campground at Lake Hattah wasn't very busy, only 2 other groups. What I didn't expect was the huge amount of flies for this period of time. I did Little Desert in November, Murray-Sunset and Mungo in March last year, or Hattah in September last year, and there sure weren't this many flies around. At times it was almost suffocating, I wonder what caused this.

I did the 14 km circuit around the lakes. They were all empty except for Hattah which had a tiny amount of water left. A huge contract compared to last year when you couldn't even reach beyond the slender trees bordering the banks it was so full. This means no waterbirds, as opposed to plenty of pelicans and ducks last year. The woodbirds were still here of course, with the usual suspects : emus, sulphur crested cockatoos, choughs, apostle birds, mallee ringnecks, gallahs, those very aggressive noisy miners (one flew right to me), and a lovely yellow rosella. As mentioned by Glenn Tempest in his bushwalking book, the mallee parks really need better walking tracks. They mostly used management tracks, and aren't built for scenery. At Hattah-Kulkyne, the track doesn't even go near the lakes, you have to walk through the grass for about 200 m to reach them. The Nip-Nip track was the best part, with a less sandy soil which meant wildflowers in bloom.

The camping was nice, even though the toilet block isn't at the campground itself. Prices have gone up too, 19.8 $ per night since July (same at Wonga campground in Wyperfeld). Why not 20$, nobody's gonna put the exact change in this tiny envelope anyway.
Attachments
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Lake Tyrrell
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P1010725.jpg
Mallee Ringnecks
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P1010734.jpg
Last edited by Hallu on Wed 02 Oct, 2013 5:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Springtime in the Victorian Mallee

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 4:14 pm

More pics.
Attachments
P1010739.jpg
P1010742.jpg
Red kangaroo
P1010744.jpg
P1010767.jpg
Yellow rosella
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Re: Springtime in the Victorian Mallee

Postby whynotwalk » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 4:30 pm

Lovely Hallu - thanks for posting. A bit of a contrast to the gale force winds, heavy rain and snow to 800m we're getting in Tassie at the moment! What an incredibly varied country we live.

cheers

Peter
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Re: Springtime in the Victorian Mallee

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 4:32 pm

On the second day I decided to explore the Northern part of Wyperfeld, with the circuit walk starting at Casuarina campground. I didn't expect Wyperfeld to be so green and forested, it was a pleasant surprise. Many birds with a beautiful flock of wood-swallows, beautiful flowers, and still those annoying flies. When the wind wasn't blowing, it was a real nuisance. During the afternoon I reached the Pink Lakes to camp there, it's one of my favorite campgrounds in Australia at lake Crosbie. For a Saturday night, I had to share this free campground with only one other bloke. To avoid the flies, I did the Pioneer Drive, where I finally saw my first Major Mitchell's cockatoo (well about 12 of them actually, mixed with a three times bigger flock of gallahs).
Attachments
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P1010790.jpg
White-browed woodswallow & Masked woodswallow
P1010798.jpg
P1010817-P1010818.jpg
P1010838-P1010840.jpg
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Re: Springtime in the Victorian Mallee

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 4:34 pm

More pics.
Attachments
P1010848.jpg
Central bearded dragon
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Major Mitchell's cockatoo
P1010867.jpg
P1010869.jpg
P1010872-P1010874.jpg
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Re: Springtime in the Victorian Mallee

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 4:49 pm

Third day. I woke up early to walk near lake Becking, hopping to see more cockatoos. No luck though, but still some nice photos. Then I went to the Southern part of Wyperfeld, around Wonga Campground. I did the Discovery walk, and pushed as far the dry lake Brambruk. I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of plants and soils, the huge numbers of emus, and a beautiful spring. I then did the scenic drive around Ring Road, and finished with Tyakil Nature Walk at sunset. Still lots and lots of flies, but it was worth it. I camped at Wonga, which is very popular with families. Strangely enough, they don't do the walks. Some red-rumped parrots were foraging right at the entrance of the campground.
Attachments
P1010916.jpg
P1010920-P1010924.jpg
Lake Becking
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Couldn't identify this honey-eater, has anyone got any idea ? Thx
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P1010975.jpg
I couldn't identify this plant either. I saw 3 in the park, all 3 were growing near fallen tree limbs.
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Re: Springtime in the Victorian Mallee

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 4:50 pm

More pics.
Attachments
P1020001.jpg
Red-rumped parrot
P1020010.jpg
P1020011.jpg
Blotched blue-tongued lizard
P1020023.jpg
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Re: Springtime in the Victorian Mallee

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 5:01 pm

On the last day I did a bit of wildlife watching in the morning, saw some beautiful Mulga parrots. On the way home, I stopped at Lake Albacutya (dry, not much to see) and lake Hindmarsh (full, but not many birds). Then I did the Centre Road drive in the St Arnaud Range. Big mistake : even though the lady at the Information Centre in St Arnaud told me it was fine for 2WD vehicles, it was rough. And after the summit lookout, the road simply turned to 4WD road. I didn't want to go back all the way so I did about 2 km on a 4WD track with a Toyota Yaris. I made it, but it wasn't pleasant. St Arnaud hasn't much to see, there's not even a single walking track.

But all in all a very nice trip. I didn't expect spring to turn the Mallee so alive with colours, and I didn't expect Wyperfeld to be so varied and lovely. I'm still wondering why this huge amount of flies for early spring though.
Attachments
P1020052.jpg
Western grey kangaroos
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Mulga parrot
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P1020063.jpg
Couldn't identify this : it was growing near Lake Albacutya
P1020065.jpg
Couldn't identify this : it was growing near Lake Hindmarsh
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Re: Springtime in the Victorian Mallee

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 5:04 pm

Last pics.
Attachments
P1020066.jpg
Couldn't identify this : it was growing near Lake Hindmarsh
P1020079-P1020080.jpg
Clearing in the St Arnaud Range
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View from the summit of the St Arnaud Range
P1020086.jpg
Couldn't identify this : it was growing near a picnic area at Stuart Mill.
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Re: Springtime in the Victorian Mallee

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 5:05 pm

whynotwalk wrote:Lovely Hallu - thanks for posting. A bit of a contrast to the gale force winds, heavy rain and snow to 800m we're getting in Tassie at the moment! What an incredibly varied country we live.

cheers

Peter


Thanks. To be fair, it was windy at times here too, and there were a couple of very menacing storms on Friday and Saturday, but it hit the Little Desert area, not as far North as I was.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby MickyB » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 10:30 pm

Great photos Hallu. I have never been to Wyperfeld but it looks like an amazing place to go.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby Hallu » Wed 02 Oct, 2013 10:59 pm

It is. It's also quite well maintained by Friends of Wyperfeld and the rangers, it's full of informative panels and the visitor centre is nice. Of all the 4 Mallee parks (with Little Desert, Murray Sunset and Hattah Kulkyne), Wyperfeld is the best for walking, with well thought-out walks. Hattah-Kulkyne still hasn't got a single walking track (one that isn't a management road or 4WD track), I find it sad. Of all 4, only Little Desert has a multi-day walk with a specialy built track for walkers only. That lack of tracks along with the remoteness (5 hours from Melbourne) is probably why it's only popular amongst car campers. You also can't realistically stay long over there in summer, it is very hot, but I might try it once, it must be a haven for reptiles.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby wander » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 6:02 pm

I would have said this was a Peony Poppy. A garden escapee. They revert to this simple single purple form (now and then white) when left to reproduce themselves.

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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby wander » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 6:08 pm

Maybe a Flanders Poppy, again a garden escapee.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby wander » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 6:10 pm

I think this is a Holly Hock, another garden escaopee. They go simple and generally pale shades when left to bred by themselves.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby Hallu » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 6:22 pm

Yeah I've seen some of those (the first one) in gardens in Melbourne, I was wondering if that was an introduced species as it felt very out of place. Thanks. Do you think people should remove them when they see them to prevent further spreading ? I'm always torn on that subject.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby neilmny » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 9:41 pm

Interesting question Hallu, but I think that under a national park ruling even
non indigenous plants are protected. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby Hallu » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 9:48 pm

Nope, only native wildlife and plants are, you can often see it at the entrance "all native wildlife and plants are protected". But I don't know if that means you can take out introduced plants or strangle foxes and rabbits.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby wander » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 8:49 pm

If you are really sure it is introduced pull it out.

BUT do so carefully so as to minimise disturbance to the soil structure about the location, other wise you can start a erosion point. Very relevant in sandy terrain.

Most introduced plants such as those about can be left to mulch, some need the be removed as they grow from rhizomes or similar non seed methods. It can be a complex topic.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby stepbystep » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 8:59 pm

Nice pics and report Hallu, thanks for sharing.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby neilmny » Sat 05 Oct, 2013 2:40 pm

Hallu wrote:Nope, only native wildlife and plants are, you can often see it at the entrance "all native wildlife and plants are protected". But I don't know if that means you can take out introduced plants or strangle foxes and rabbits.


I think this rule applies? (from Fatcanyoners thread on graffiti in national parks)

156A Offence of damaging reserved land

(1) A person must not, on or in land reserved under this Act or acquired under Part 11:
(a) remove any water other than for purposes authorised by or under any Act or for the purposes of personal use on the land, or
(b) damage or remove any vegetation, rock, soil, sand, stone or similar substance, or
(c) damage any object or place of cultural value, or
(d) cause or permit any removal or damage referred to in paragraph (a), (b) or (c).
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby Nuts » Sun 06 Oct, 2013 8:49 am

Boneseed, Rape, Pattersons Curse? (lol) Interesting area, drove through last winter. It looks like a great time to visit. Nice set of pics.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby Hallu » Sun 06 Oct, 2013 3:43 pm

neilmny wrote:
Hallu wrote:Nope, only native wildlife and plants are, you can often see it at the entrance "all native wildlife and plants are protected". But I don't know if that means you can take out introduced plants or strangle foxes and rabbits.


I think this rule applies? (from Fatcanyoners thread on graffiti in national parks)

156A Offence of damaging reserved land

(1) A person must not, on or in land reserved under this Act or acquired under Part 11:
(a) remove any water other than for purposes authorised by or under any Act or for the purposes of personal use on the land, or
(b) damage or remove any vegetation, rock, soil, sand, stone or similar substance, or
(c) damage any object or place of cultural value, or
(d) cause or permit any removal or damage referred to in paragraph (a), (b) or (c).


It could be only valid in NSW I don't know. The law could be different in Vic NPs. Anyway, you'd have to be really sure to remove an introduced species, and even so you don't really know what to do with it. It probably should be left to rangers and volunteers to decide.
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Re: Springtime in the Mallee (help for plant identification

Postby north-north-west » Sun 10 Nov, 2013 7:27 am

I think that's a Spiny-Cheeked Honeyeater. Very wide-spread (my first definite sighting was at Mutitjulu), but that pinkish-brown bill is pretty distinctive.
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