Territory Stories

Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter



Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter

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ASFNC newsletter


Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club


Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter; E-Journals; PublicationNT; Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter




Alice Springs


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Biology; Natural history; Alice Springs (N.T.); Periodicals

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Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club

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Alice Springs


Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter


Newsletter, November 2016

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Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club.



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Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club November 2016 8 Ross Highway Drive Ptilotus everywhere 23 October 2016 by Barb Gilfedder Just four of us met up outside Pitchi-richi sanctuary, so we agreed to all share the comforts of Connies new Subaru. Our first stop along the way was a small limestone hill that Rosalie has decided to call Barbs Hill. It is probably too small to have a gazetted name. Being limestone there is very little Buffel Grass on it, so we could admire the Eremophila christophori (Dolomite Fuschia Bush) flowering beautifully, the Acacia bivenosa (Hill Umbrella Bush) producing lots of seedpods as well as lush new growth and at the top, lovely clumps of Anemocarpa saxitilis (Hill Sunray). Quite large Hybanthus aurianticus (Orange Spade Flower) plants were there too but werent flowering. It was only a little effort to reach the summit, it only being small hill, but worth it for the 360 degree views. Next stop was Corroboree Rock. We were greeted in the car park by a beautifully flowering Gossypium sturtianum (Sturts Desert Rose). We walked around the monolith, remembering Michael Green telling us that it had been originally formed horizontally in layers but somewhere way back in its history had been moved to the vertical position it maintains now. We admired the seedheads of Spinifex swaying in the breeze like waves on water. This area has been burnt in recent years but with good rains all the Eucalyptus eucentrica (Limestone Mallee) had new shoots from the base a metre or more high; a few Petalostylis cassioides (Butterfly bush) shrubs were flowering; the and the Ptilotus clementii were living up to their name of Nodding Mulla- mulla. This was the start of a Ptilotus rich day. The picnic area under the lovely old Ventilago verminalis (Supplejack) trees was, unfortunately, already being used by others but the trees were flowering and fruiting well. The reason Neil had chosen this route was because he had seen whole areas covered with big clumps of Ptilotus obovatus (Smoke Bush) looking like flocks of sheep feeding among the Chenopods. He thought they might have been past their best but they were lovely. In other places we saw P.helipteroides (Hairy Mulla Mulla), P.sessilifolius (Crimson Foxtail) , P.whitei (previously P. parvifolius (Perennial Ptilotus) and P. macrocephalus (Large Green Pussytails). Whenever we saw interesting plants we stopped to inspect closer. We were disappointed that lovely grassy plain we drove through and often admired, was in fact almost exclusively Couch Grass. Further along between the Trephina Gorge turnoff and Ross River there is a stunning stand of old Acacia georginae (Gidgee) trees. The ground under them is almost bare and the dark twisted trunks stood out well against the paler hill behind. Past Ross River, Rosalie and wanted to show Connie the small, floating water fern, Azolla filiculoides (Red Azolla) in the creek. It was a bit disappointing because the water level in the creek had dropped since we were last there, and left swathes of dried and blackened fern on the edges. Neil told stories of what a pest it was where he used to live and extremely difficult to get rid of from dams and lakes. It was a good day, fantastic weather and the views of flowers and hills, as well as the big bowls of chips at Ross River Homestead, which were excellent and enjoyed by all four of us. Thanks Neil for leading and Connie for driving! From the top - Ptilotus helipteroides. P. clementii, P.obovatus, P. whitei

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