Monday, 8 September 2008

Fern Glade and the Emu River (Photos and Video)

...a short walk along the river.

Fern Glade and the Emu River are located on the eastern end of the city of Burnie. The steep slopes of the Emu River valley have protected the area from being cleared. It's easy access makes it a great spot to explore. Among other things, the Fern Glade Management Plan lists 30 orchids, 12 millipedes, 9 snails and slugs, 10 mammals with a further 13 mammals listed as likely to occur. Surprisingly it only lists 15 birds, the list itself being lifted from another report which is a bit lazy as you could easily list 15 species in under an hour.

I took a short walk there this morning. I was hoping to have another go at photographing a platypus but they were not cooperating today. The only mammals I saw were a Pademelon and a Staffordshire terrier (along with it's owner). A pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles were flying high overhead. Also a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos which you can hear in the background in the video below. My companions spotted a Pink Robin. I was content to see a Dusky Robin (see photo). There were also, Yellow-cheeked Honeyeater, Grey Fantails, Tasmanian Thornbills, Green Rosellas and more. The Sundew, Drosera peltata was widespread along the sides of the track and we also found three, possibly four, species of orchids. The video runs for around two minutes and will give you an idea of the surroundings.

(Click to Enlarge Photos)

Emu River from a lookout along the track.

Sundew - Drosera peltata

Dusky Robin - Melanodryas vittata

Greenhood - Pterostylis sp.A

Greenhood - Pterostylis sp.A

Greenhood - Pterostylis sp. B

Mayfly Orchid - Acianthus caudatus


  1. Mosura, all great photos but the drosera is a blinder. Looks like you got yourself a Trim Greenhood this time. ;-)

  2. Thanks Duncam - Trim Greenhood you say. I'm soooo confused :-) I do have a list of what has been recorded at the site and it doesn't mention Trim Greenhoods.

    * Pterostylis melagramma C
    * Pterostylis nutans C
    * Pterostylis parviflora R
    * Pterostylis pedunculata C
    * Pterostylis stenochila R

  3. Hi Mosura
    Lovely photo of the Creek from the lookout. Are those Wattles in flower?
    Re the Greenhoods, I was going to suggest Pt. pedunculata for all three flowers. I feel the dark flower (marked sp. B) is just a juvenile flower, but it is always a bit hard to be sure. As these flowers mature, the angle of the "ears" changes. The amount of white on the flower (at the rear) is not reassuring, however. When photographing Greenhoods, I always take the same flower from at least two angles. Front, to get the labellum if I can, and side on. If the rear is distinctively marked, I get that as well, just to be sure.
    I will publish some Pt. pedunculata photos tomorrow night, so have a look then. I have some photos of very early buds, which are barely recognisable as Greenhoods. The ears, or points, are protruding straight up out of the very tight buds. Very odd looking, but actually typical of Greenhoods.
    Just a point, the leaves of pedunculata are relatively large, with a quite distinct stem, making the leaf almost paddle-shaped. Leaves of Greenhoods can be distinctive. The presence or absence of "stem leaves" even more so.
    I don't have my "Jones" book with me, I will check those other names you mentioned tomorrow.
    Very nice Acianthus caudatus.

  4. Thanks Denis - Thanks for the extensive reply. I shall read it again later when I'm awake. (currently 4:00 am) and will be able to digest it more thoroughly.

  5. I should have been more specific when I commented Mosura, the one that caught my eye as a trim was the second one. Denis reckons the maroon, pedunculata, that's certainly a possibility, the way to be sure is to look at the labellum, the trim has a v notch in the tip.In our area that can be the only way to be sure of some as the trims are often coloured quite like the maroons and the second one is a dead ringer for many of the trims I see around here. There's a picture of one of our maroon hoods here
    They can be a bit confusing sometimes due to natural variability.

  6. Hellow again Denis and Duncan - I'm awake :-)

    First, yes Denis those are Silver Wattles flowering in the first shot. Acacia dealbata and Duncan, no need to be more specific. That was my fault. I snuck the third greenhood photo (species B) into the post after you had commented.

    As for the ID I appreciate the input from you both. I think I have to remember to pull the notebook out more often. In these days of digital cameras it easy to rely on the photos instead of notes. This is a good reminder why that is not a good idea.

    The first two photos are of the same plant. Here is another photo of that plant which has been blown up and brightened.

    (Click for Photo)

    Is that an ovate labellum I see? (the dark splodge). It certainly is not notched. Is that enough to say P. pedunculata? I imagined they would be much darker than mine.

    Thanks for the photo Duncan. Looking forward to yours Denis.

  7. That could well confirm Denis' opinion Mosura, I just had a look in Jeanes and Backhouse, and there is a form from Wilson's Promontory that is very much like the one in question. Both species are quite variable, there are pictures of three trims and one maroon in my gallery for comparison.
    The fact that it's not recorded for your location would also point to the maroon.

  8. Oops, that link didn't come through, just bring up and go to the greenhoods in the orchid pages.

  9. Thanks Duncan - Zooming in on your 'Troms' I can see the V notch, which mine seems to lack, in two of the shots.

    I was going to go and get better photographs today but my hip was mucking up so I ended up getting a bit of video of a platypus instead,

    I notice you mention "Jeanes and Backhouse" and Denis mentions "Jones". Looks like I need to visit the library again (or the bookshop) :-)

  10. It might be worth your while and the management authority might welcome your bird list of the area.

  11. Hi Mosura.
    I just checked Jones' "Native Orchids of Australia" for those species you mentioned. Nutans and parviflora are very distinctive. Melagramma and stenochila are both forms of the "Leafy Greenhoods" which have distinctive deflexed lateral sepals (which drop down, below the flower, leaving the labellum exposed). That group are very different from the regular Pterostylis, and have now been reclassified as Bunochilus (though not everybody accepts the new names). So that really only leaves pedunculata as the last choice - based upon your list of known species in the area.
    Duncan's book "Jeanes and Backhouse" is effectively the Bible for Victorian Orchids.

  12. Thanks Treeroo - Thanks for the suggestion.

    Thanks Denis - thanks for the additional info. You've been a great help!