The weather beginning to look rather questionable, we took an opportunity to see what we could find down one of the tracks in Sturt Gorge Recreation Park. Starting on York Drive, we followed Witowirra Track onto Marri Track. The original plan was to check out Marriyerli Track, but today our sense of direction was lacking.
Much of this section of Sturt Gorge is in poor shape, lacking a lot of undergrowth, with numerous introduced weed species. But rather surprisingly, some native seasonal species are holding on in small numbers. The larger understory species were Kangaroo Thorn (Acacia paradoxa), Sticky Hop-Bush (Dodonaea viscosa). Close to the start of Witowirra Track we were surprised to find a small patch of Whittaker’s Sundews (Drosera whittakeri), then nearby a few Blue Grass Lilies (Caesia calliantha) and Bulbine Lilies (Bulbine bulbosa). A few flowering Narrow-leaf Bitter-Peas (Daviesia leptophylla) added some colour.
The Marri Track follows a ridge that heads down toward the Sturt River. On the track under one of the Eucalypts there were dozens of Beetle larvae. Given the abundance of Honeybrown Beetles (Ecnolagria grandis) that are found on local Eucalypts, these are potentially the larvae. No doubt the nearby Southern Meat Ant (Iridomyrmex purpureus) colony was making good use of the abundant food.
The wide vehicle track ends as the track gradient increases significantly, however for the adventurous there’s a steep informal pedestrian track that heads down to the river. Given the track was slippery and we hadn’t prepared for such a trek, we turned back at this point. Off to one side of the track we spotted something anomalous which after some clambering through bushes turned out to be a geocache. We’ve found several of these around Sturt Gorge. Not surprising given the park is surrounded by suburbs.
Sturt Gorge Recreation Park
Established in 1973 this 244 hectare park protects threatened Greybox grassy woodland. The Sturt River runs through the park and down to the Adelaide Plains. The park contains the Sturt tillite rock formations formed from glacial material dropped from ice floating in the ocean that covered South Australia 800 million years ago. The recent addition of Craigburn Farm has added a large area for revegetation and recreation. The small Sturt Gorge dam can be found within the park. Keep an eye out for Eastern Water Skinks and Rakali along the river.