My apologies for the great delay in getting July’s field trip post online.
For July’s field trip I decided to head back to Cocoparra National Park, near Griffith. I visited Cocoparra last year, but had forgotten that that visit was also in July, so another apology for the lack of seasonal diversity. Coincidentally both visits were on July 26, which amuses me as it was completely by accident.
I decided to head in to a different part of Cocoparra this time, around the other side of the park and hill from last time, and went to see Jack’s Creek.
In the car-parking area I found this nest – not sure who it belongs to, I saw no birds nearby.
On my walk in, however, I did see a lot of these little Eastern Yellow Robins (Eopsaltria australis) flitting about and being beautiful.
And this little master of blending in, whom I believe is a Speckled Warbler (Chthonicola sagittata).
July also saw the triumphant return of everyone’s favourite Riverina Wildlife blog activity: Kimberley photographs bark!
Seriously though, look at this bark. I found a fallen tree with the bark sloughing off, and look at that zigzag pattern. Both the bark and the underlying timber had very interesting textures, I’ve tried to capture both in these photos.
I later noticed the same on some live trees.
More bark ribboning off a eucalypt.
Shaggy, shaggy Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) bark.
That ‘windswept’ look.
(I’m not sure what actually caused this appearance, I assume it wasn’t really wind-related)
Amazing texture in this Cypress Pine – much more heavily fissured than on the smaller trees I’m accustomed to seeing.
Obligatory contrast shot.
Blakely’s Red Gums (Eucalyptus blakelyi), showing the lovely patches common to red gums.
The bark on this dead tree was gone, revealing the past work of borers.
In non-bark-related features: Here’s the creek.
It’s odd to remember that some people live in places where ‘creek’ means ‘permanent, flowing watercourse’. For any readers from higher rainfall areas: this type of rocky, dry, creek-bed is often recreated on a smaller scale by home-gardeners around here, as a garden feature. In some places people have ponds and water-features, around here we have mini dry creek-beds, often complete with highly unnecessary little bridges to cross them. It’s funny the things that are considered ‘normal’ across cultural and geographical landscapes.
There were signs up along the walking track beside Jack’s Creek, explaining that in the past the creek used to run more often, with higher volumes of water, and had cut the gorge through the rocks. There are much more dramatic gorges around the world, but this one was pretty impressive if it’s entirely the work of the one little creek.
I did a little bit of geology & geomorphology at uni, many, many years ago. It’s at times like these that I wish I’d learned more.
For example: What causes these extremely straight fissures in the rock?
And these step-like ‘shelves’ or terraces up the side of the gorge?
And just the general plate-like nature of the fissured rock layers?
I know broadly speaking that it has to do with sediment being laid down in layers, and planes of resistance/weakness, the effects of water erosion and the mineral make-up of the rocks, tectonic movement, and so forth, but I still stand in places like this and look at the fascinating rock formations, and wonder specifically why they look the way they do.
On the other hand, even I can tell that this has to have been due to subsidence or an uplifting event at some point in the past.
(This was quite impressive in person, but I am unable to take panorama shots, so you’ll have to make do with these limited slices, I’m afraid. Or head there yourself, if you live in the area.)
I should probably add some books on geomorphology and geology to my ‘Want To Buy’ lists, so I can learn more about this subject. Maybe hunt up my old uni textbooks, which are surely lurking on a shelf here somewhere.
I’d also like to head back to Jack’s Creek – and Cocoparra in general – in the warmer months, and maybe just set up a small shade shelter somewhere to sit and watch, because I bet this place is great for reptiles. Rocks for sunning and all manner of holes, gaps, caves, and cracks for sheltering in? Reptile heaven I’m sure.
August’s field trip is looming around the corner, and I shall do my upmost to make sure the next blog post goes up on time. See you then!