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Thread: a day in the Blue Mountains
a day in the Blue Mountains
The last 6 months have been a busy time for me at work and I have not been out much. I have had a few free days so will post photos of what I observed when out and about. Back in December, I headed to the Blue Mountains National Park for a day. This area is about a 2-hour drive from Wollongong. I always enjoy the lovely scenery.
I have been working with butterfly photography this past year after discovering the ButterflyCircle Forum that is based primarily in Singapore. Some of the photographers on that forum take the most incredible photos! I have included a number of butterfly shots as well as a few herps that I saw on the day. I now use a Tamron 180mm macro for most of the butterfly photos. This seems to be the lens of choice by most of the photographers there. I think that it also is good for reptiles. The lens may be heavy but can produce bright, sharp photos with good colours.
I will start of with a set of habitat photos. One place that I particularly like to see is known as “Hanging Rock”. It is about a 10km return walk to this spectacular natural feature. I think that the parks department could do a much better job with the marketing of this site. There are no signposts to it and access is by walking or biking along a fire track to the edge of the cliff.
This shot is of the cliff at the end of the track. The track ends at the little tree at the top of the cliff. When walking down the road, there is no barrier or anything else at the edge of the cliff. In fact, there is nothing at the end of the road that gives an indication of this incredible cliff that is just ahead. I always follow a small trail along the cliff edge that descends to this open area where I can look up at the cliff face and Hanging Rock. I really need a wide-angle lens since the drop is staggering and would take a couple of photos to show from top to bottom.
Here is the view between the above cliff and Hanging Rock:
… and the spectacular Hanging Rock. If one has absolutely no fear of heights (or death!), it is possible to walk out onto the rock.
There is a gap of about a meter between the base of Hanging Rock and the adjacent cliff face. It is easy to jump across but a slip would be fatal. (shot from May 2010)
Natural carvings on the back of Hanging Rock. Anyone care for a climb?
Cliffs to the west of Hanging Rock. I have seen Rock Ringlets (Hypocysta euphemia) here once before but had no luck with them yesterday.
Cliffs to the east of Hanging Rock. (photo from May 2010):
Waterfall far below:
This shot is from Govett's Leap near the little town of Blackheath.
More from the Hanging Rock area (May 2010):
It is about a 10km walk from where I park my car to the cliffs. Most of this passes through Eucalyptus woodland and areas with heath. (photo from May 2010).
The abundant butterfly in this sort of habitat was the Common Brown (Heteronympha merope). Here is a female. I quite like her soft pastels. These are cryptic and hard to see once they land. Their upper wings are orange and yellow with black markings. I posted photos of these in the ‘Gong post.
The boys were constantly chasing the girls and followed them everywhere (nothing new there!). They would land nearby with their wings partially opened to show the girls how handsome they were. They would hop around the females and sometimes would knock them over in their exuberance.
… male dancing towards a female:
Caper White (Belenois java) was common but rarely stopped for a photos. This one was sipping from the base of a Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa)
I saw many blues. Two species were abundant and included this lifer Varied Dusky Blue (Candalides hyacinthine):
Common Grass Blues (Zizina labradus) were the other common species. This one was perched on a Flannel Flower (Actinotus helianthi).
A third species was medium-sized and a quick fly-er. I only saw it near tree tops along the cliffs. I think that it may have been one of the dazzling Azures (Ogyris sp.) but I never saw it well enough to be certain.
Papilionids included the Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus).
Skippers were common. Some of these were not too hard to identify. The following (lifer) is a Varied Sedge Skipper (Hesperilla donnysa).
This Silver Sedge Skipper (Hesperilla crypsargyra) was especially nice (and a lifer):
I am still working on the identification of this skipper. It was large and one of the Ochres (Trapezites sp.). It more closely resembles the illustration of the Montane Ochre (T. phigalioides) in the Australian Butterfly Field guide but the Heath Ochre (T. phigalia) is also similar.
Flowers were still out in good numbers. The area would have been better a month or so ago but there was still plenty to see. Here are photos of some of these:
Fringed Lily (Thysanotus sp.):
Matchsticks (Comesperma ericinum):
This is a Grevillea sp. (member of Proteaceae). This particular species was quite odd since it grew as a vine. All of the others that I have seen are shrubs or trees.
Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa). This is another member of Proteaceae.
Geebung (Persoonia sp.). This one was odd and low-growing. It also had intensely fragrant flowers that could be detected when a few meters from the shrub. Another member of Proteaceae.
More Flannel Flowers. The flower parts are woolly and feel strange.
Dampiera sp. and Fan Flower:
A “flock” of Large Flying Duck Orchids. There were many of these all in an area of about a meter square.
Reptiles included these social Cunningham’s Skinks (Egernia cunninghami). I found this colony a few years ago and always stop to see them when I am in the area.
… they certainly have prime real estate. Their apartment blocks are on the edge of a cliff with a tremendous view:
I was very pleased to see this Blotched Blue-tongued Skink (Tiliqua nigrolutea). These only live in the mountains in this part of Australia. They are big but gentle lizards. At first, they poke out their “scary” blue and pink tongues but they soon settle.
Yellow-bellied Water Skink (Eulamprus heatwolei). True to its name, these usually live along creeks or in damp places.
Garden Skinks (Lampropholis guichenoti) were as common here as in my garden in Wollongong.
An Eastern Small-eyed Snake (Cryptophis nigrescens), a small elapid. This particular individual was larger than any others that I have seen in this part of New South Wales.
Here is my favourite photo of a pair of White’s Skinks (Liopholis whitii) from 2006. They were sunning near one of the popular lookouts. This shot was with an old point-and-shoot but everything was just right for the camera at the time.
- 10-Jan-11, 09:03 PM #2
- Join Date
- 27, Yarra valley, VIC
very nice, where did you find the small eyed?
Thanks, Mike. It was under a rusty piece of metal along the trail. It looked to be part of a car that was dumped long ago.
Thanks for sharing.... Hanging rock looks amazing. Incredible it is still 'hanging' on and hasnt fallen yet!Just because it is ''common'' now, does not mean it will be so in the future.
- 10-Jan-11, 09:15 PM #5
Mate they are some awesome photos, very nice
- 10-Jan-11, 09:22 PM #6
Love the matchsticks,geebung and the mountain devils...thanks for postingWish list : Ahh the wish list
nice info mate n good shots to, i get out n about around in the mountains to, always to good to see something. i never payed that much attention to the butterflies but good stuff..
Fantastic as always!
Love the butterflys.
RIP LUCY 2002-2008
RIP VICKY 2002-2013
There is nothing like a Dane!
absolutely stunning thank you very much for sharing.
With hanging rock you should that link out what crazy peps do there
Thanks very much, everyone, for the kind remarks.
My son likes to climb so he has showed me videos of crazy people at the rock before. I even saw on of a guy on a mountain bike out on the "nose" of hanging rock. Definitely crazy!
Beautiful shots mate. Nice to see some butterflies on here.
- 12-Jan-11, 08:48 PM #13
Amazing, definitely have got to go back there soon! Those shots are breath taking!!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Dp78Kh94x4
- 12-Jan-11, 09:45 PM #14
- Join Date
- Eltham, Vic
Amazing photos moloch! Can i aks how you got that photo of the river number 11? The photo looks like you were standing in the middle of the river to take it, but great photos, amazing views huh!Its the present that counts, not the wrapping.
Thanks, Darlyn, Thals and Reptilerookie.
The stream was shallow so I sood in the middle of it to take the photo, Reptilerookie.
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