This month’s field visit was to The Rock Nature Reserve. The Rock is one of those regional landmarks that I’ve grown up familiar with, but never actually visited, so I decided to fix that. It’s another location now firmly on the ‘I must revisit’ list – not least because I really want to climb all the way to the top sometime.
As one would generally expect with a hillside, the vegetation changed as the slope increased. The lower elevations were dominated by Common Fringe-Myrtle (Calytrix tetragona) with most of the flowers having passed, leaving these lovely red calyces behind.
As I went further up the hillside more and more of the fringe-myrtle flowers were still on the plants, and the calyces were less of a deep red and more orange-brown in colour.
Gradually the fringe-myrtle petered out and the understorey became more open, with a proliferation of Wahlenbergia bluebells, Creamy Candles (Stackhousia monogyna), and Silky Guinea Flower (Hibbertia sericea) – these were present throughout, but became more dominant the further upslope I walked.
In the steeper, rockier areas I found a few Purple Burr-daisies (Calotis cuneifolia) lurking.
I was also delighted to find a few Chocolate Lilies (Dichopogon sp.) lurking beside the path. I do not know how or why Nature evolved an Australian forb that smells like chocolate, but I am ever so glad they exist. For an added bonus the flowers are very pretty and the bulbs can be eaten, although I’ve never done so, so I can’t tell you what they taste like. Probably not chocolate though. (I suddenly find myself pondering if the flowers can be used in place of rose petals when baking, and if they’d impart a chocolatey flavour. If the chocolate lilies I bought from the native plant nursery thrive in my garden I may have to try that sometime.)
It has been very warm recently, so I was expecting to see snakes, and hoping to see a goanna, and possibly other lizards, but the only reptile I saw the entire time I was there was this little skink,
whose species I am unable to identify (if any readers know, please let me know in the comments). Skink identified as Cryptoblepharus pannosus, Ragged Snake-eyed Skink, formerly Carnaby’s Wall Skink, C. carnabyii – my thanks to Matt Herring (@Matt_HerringOz on Twitter).
I was surrounded by bird calls the entire time, but the only bird I clapped eyes on was a LBJ – a Little Brown Job. The Reserve is home to several rare and threatened bird species though, so I will be heading back to look for those when I get the chance.
The day I visited The Rock was same day the nearby town of Lockhart was holding their Spirit of the Land Festival, which is centred around an always-impressive farm art sculpture competition. I stopped in before heading home and got some more pictures of local native wildlife.