Although it was the second month of autumn the weather was more typical of a summer’s day with blue skies and sunshine as we set off on this joint activity walk with Friends of Eastern Otways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ANGAIR organisation that was formed in April 1969.
Our two leaders Donna Lannan & Marg MacDonald (apologies to Donna for placement of track sign!)
At Donna’s suggestion we retraced some of the steps that we took in the first ‘Get To Know Our Tracks’ walks in 1996 that Margaret had also led.
Group at start of Red River Track
The first section of the walk along Red River Track really brought home to us just how badly affected the bushland is by the drought conditions. Dry brown bracken and drooping vegetation greeted us on either side of the track. We were amazed however to see a white punk fungus growing on one of the eucalypts. The track is very badly eroded and being cut up by 4WD vehicles and trail bikes that are using the area. It is one of the tracks that Parks Vic is considering closing and perhaps making a walk circuit in the area..
Margaret identifies Scentbark Eucalyptus aromaphloia surrounded by dry vegetation
However, as we got closer to the Salt Creek area things did improve and Kaye spotted a banksia in flower –the first flowering plant we had observed and Margi then found a spray of pink heath so all was not lost. A little bit further along and the Propeller Plant Spyridium vexilliferum was flowering quite extensively.
Kaye with banksia in flower Banksia marginata
Margi with Pink Heath Epacris impressa
Propeller Plant Spyridium vexilliferum on side of track
We had morning tea and a rest at the intersection of Red River Track and Denham Track and then set off along Denham Track.
The Twisted Beard Heath Leucopogon glacialis that had been a feature of the walk in 1996 showed that it was not concerned with the dry conditions and was really spectacular with its white fluffy flowers and spirally twisted leaves. There were good views across the Otways as we made our way out to No2 Rd.
Twisted Beard Heath Leucopogon glacialis
We then walked on the roadside and on the roadside verge as we made our way back to Bald Hills Rd to where we had started the walk at Red River Track.
Group on Bald Hills Rd
We then looked for a shady spot to sit and enjoy our lunch.
Lunch in shade of the trees
It was indeed a great day to be outdoors and it shows that even in the extremely dry conditions there is beauty to be found and admired in our wonderful environment. The plant list that we started compiling included approximately 60 plant species. Thanks to Donna for listing the species.
Report by Marg MacDonald
Photography Ros Gibson/Marg MacDonald
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.