Sunday, April 21, 2013

Watson Woodlands Open Day

Today we spent the morning at the Watson Woodlands Open Day at Justice Robert Hope Park. This is a patch of bush next to the much better known Mt Majura Nature Reserve. It was protected after some controversy in the 1990ies but unfortunately still has development creeping up onto its borders.

At the entrance the event looked deceptively small but it had much more going on than you would think from the picture above. The stall on the right had information booklets, an exhibit of local fossils, cookies and drinks. The stall on the left were Reptiles Inc., a group offering reptile exhibitions. In this case, visitors could pet a constricting snake from Queensland and admire several blue tongue and shingleback lizards and turtles. Finally, there was some very enjoyable didgeridoo music.

This is one of the fossils that were exhibited. Unfortunately, I do not know from what geological epoch it comes but considering that there is a trilobite it must be pretty damn old.

Our greatest interest, however, was in the guided tour offered by botanist John Briggs. He related the local efforts to improve habitat quality, keep weeds at bay and reestablish rarer native plants, and he named native and weedy species and explained how to recognize them. The above picture shows a specimen of Eucalyptus blakelyi that he estimated at ca 400 years old.

Finally, this is a detail of the local dominant 'yellow box gum' Eucalyptus melliodora in flower. I am still not very good at naming eucalypts, so it is good to have a picture of a local species with a name on it. I may use it in a lecture later this year...

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