Western Australa 6 (final post) -- Stirling Ranges

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moloch05

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Our final destination of this trip was the Stirling Ranges National Park. The Stirling Ranges are about a 4 hour drive east of the Margaret River (an hour north of Albany). The park consists of numerous isolated peaks that are separated by sandy flats. This is a botanist's paradise with a great variety of interesting shrubs. Unfortunately, the temperatures were cool and we had quite allot of rain so I did not see many reptiles.

Here are a few shots of the mountains. This is Bluff Knoll, the highest peak of the park. This was in the late afternoon soon after our arrival in the park. Unfortunately, this was the best weather that we had on our two-day visit.
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The park is really an island of native vegetation surrounded by farmland.
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Most of the time, we watched waves of rain sweep across the park.
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My wife and I climbed to the higher altitudes of Bluff Knoll on our final morning when the rain was only light. If the weather was warm, I would probably have seen a number of Egernia skinks such as King's Skink (E. kingii), Southwestern Crevice Skinks (E. napoleonis) and Southwest Rock Skinks (E. pulchra) or Heath Monitors (Varanus rosenbergi). Unfortunately, that was not to be so I will have to try again on some future trip.
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I searched a little near our cabin and found a new skink to me, a Southern Five-toed Earless Skink (Hemiergis initialis). As the name indicates, the skink has five toes. It also has a relatively short tail when compared with its congeners.
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This Southwestern Four-toed Lerista (Lerista distinguenda) was another lifer. Skinks of the genus Lerista are often superb burrowers. The real sand specialists have usually lost their front legs and often lack hind legs as well.
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This injured Shingleback or Bobtail (Tiliqua rugosa) was out in the early morning light on our final day. The temps were cool so I was surprised to see it active. Its injuries did not look good and flies were attacking the open wounds.
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Here is a Motorbike Tree Frog (Litoria moorei). I heard many at night but only saw this one during the day.
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I think that this tiny frog is a Granite Froglet (Crinia pseudinsignifera).
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FLOWERS

Although herping was disappointing, the floral display was a nice consolation. I think that the Stirling Ranges are one of the best places that I know of for unusual flowers. The following is called a Catpaw (Angiozanthus sp.) and it is a member of the Kangaroo Paw family.
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I like the symmetry of the flowers of Southern Cross (Xanthosia rotundifolia).
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Orchids were again numerous, including the stunning Sun Orchids (Thelymitra sp.):
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Donkey Orchids (Diuris sp.) grew in an area that probably burned last summer.
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These lovely Yellow Feather Flowers (Verticordia sp.) were common.
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Claw Flowers (Calothamnus sp.):
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Kunzia (I think)
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A pretty Melaleuca:
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Peas were well represented. One of the prettiest was this Mountain Pea (Glastrolobium rubia) that grew along the trail to the summit of Bluff Knoll.
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Prickly Mirbelia (Mirbelia dilatata)
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Another pea:
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Gompholobium sp., I think.
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Another pea:
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Plants of the family Proteaceae were particularly abundant in the Stirling Ranges. This family includes some of Australia's most spectacular flowers that typically grow on sandy, nutrient deficient soils. Members of this family are found mostly in Australia and South Africa and to a lesser extent in the other remnants of Gondwana.

Here are a few examples of this diverse family. Many members of this family have ornate leaves.

Banksia:
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... some Banksia here are mostly subterranium with only the leaves and flowers protruding above the sand:
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"Dryandra" (now considered a Banksia)
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Fan Hakea
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Lambertia sp.
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Pixie Mop (Petrophile longifolia)
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Smoke Bush (Conospermum floribundum)
[img]http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c386/moloch05/Stirling%20Range%20WA/Nov2008/flower_smoke2.jpg

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Synaphea polymorpha
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Stirlingia latifolia
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After the Stirling Ranges, we returned to Perth for a couple of nights. Our trip was lots of fun, but as always, it came to an end much too soon.

Regards,
David
 

DDALDD

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Every time I finish looking at one of your posts I leave with a sense of jealousy. Beautiful mate.
 

the.badger

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I always look forward to your threads, especially the WA ones. But they do make me a bit home-sick... Hehe.
 
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borntobnude

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top pics david can' t wait for your next trip away , also can't wait for my children to be old enough to go away without weekend sport taxis birthday parties etc . having said that we are going to camp on the wolondilly and yeranderie in the hols both of which have lots of reps cheers rodney
 

moloch05

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Thanks, everyone, for the kind remarks.

Rodney, I remember days like that but they pass all too quickly. Fortunately, my son still likes the adventure trips. He and I are off tomorrow for a few days to southwestern QLD.


Regards,
David
 
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FAY

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Fantastic photos David.The native flowers are just beautiful espte smoke bush.
Thanks once again!!
 
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