Context: 200 hectares of Brown Stringybark, Cup Gum, Manna Gum, and Pink Gum woodland over Heath Tea-tree, Beaked Hakea, Silver Banksia, Flat-leaf Grass-tree, Common Flat-Pea, Austral Bracken and numerous Orchids. Keep an eye out for Wallflower, Rabbit and Hare Orchids, Purple Beard Orchids, Pygmy Sundews, and Bassian Thrush.
Fifth and final stop on the second City Nature Challenge day was Mount Billy Conservation Park. This park is only a short drive from Spring Mount CP and was worth a quick visit to pick up a few extra species. I started at the Northern most gate on Hindmarsh Tiers Road and hiked a short 600 metre loop around the fire tracks in the top corner of the park.
I wasn’t aware prior to my visit that this corner of the park had recently undergone a prescribed burn. As such I stuck to the fire track to avoid disturbing the burnt ground.
I picked up a few additional Plant species for my CNC species list including Gland Flower (Adenanthos terminalis), Desert Banksia (Banksia ornata), and Prickly Tea-Tree (Leptospermum continentale). The prescribed burn must have been recent as the Flat-leaf Grass-trees (Xanthorrhoea semiplana) hadn’t yet added regrowth or started to flower.
Along the border of the fire track some Greenhoods (Genus Pterostylis) had started putting up their leaves, possibly Maroonhoods (Pterostylis pedunculata) or Nodding Greenhoods (Pterostylis nutans) which I’ve sighted flowering here previously. Other Orchids were doing the same, include the Red Beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) which might produce a good flowering display brought on by the fire. The Hare Orchids (Leporella fimbriata) were back, right in the middle of the fire track. Even when flowering these are tough to see unless you are specifically looking for them. It’s always worth keeping an eye on where you are stepping when walking through these parks.
The Sundews are also starting to appear. Whittaker’s Sundews (Drosera whittakeri) along this section of the track. I missed out on the Pygmy Sundews (Drosera pygmaea) which have been seen here too, but I’m not surprised. At less than 15mm across, if you’re not specifically looking for them, you’ll likely walk right past them.
Given the prescribed burn there wasn’t much in the way of understory left. Near the park boundary fence was a Common Correa (Correa reflexa) in good shape with a couple of flowers, and nearby a fruiting Dwarf Micrantheum (Micrantheum demissum), a very underrated little Plant rare on mainland SA.