Friends of Morwell National Park - October 2022

Orchid Walk and Koala Count

It was the usual group minus a few that turned out for the orchid count. We had Gordon, Ken, Mike, Cathy, Tamara, Caitlin, Anita and Nicole, who was a first timer.

The weather was initially worse than predicted, so it did not bode well for our walk, but as seasoned volunteers and walkers, we just ignored the weather and hoped for the best! As it turned out, we did get rained on a little, but it wasn’t enough to ruin our day.

All bar Ken and Mike (who was on call), left for Stringybark track to see what we could find. I found Bird Orchids (Chiloglottis valida) just before the fire break track. The others had walked right past them! It didn’t matter as they were what we saw the most of during the walk, they were everywhere, even growing in the middle of the track in places.

We found some Maroonhoods (Pterostylis pedunculata) on either side of the dilapidated bridge and Nodding Greenhoods (Pterostylis nutans) on the west side of it. It took a while of walking uphill before we sighted some spindly Sun Orchids (leaves and buds only). Previous years had seen very robust plants at the beginning of the uphill but alas, they were nowhere in sight. We also saw Waxlips (Caladenia major) as well as White Fingers (Caladenia catenata) and Early Caps (Caladenia praecox). There were leaves of the Autumn Bird orchid (Chiloglottis curviclavia) and Helmet orchids (Corybas diemenicus). Mike found the Mountain Greenhood (Pterostylis alpina) as well as a huge colony of Helmet leaves on the Fosters Gully track. He also found the leaves and buds of Beard orchids (Calochilus sp robertsonii), probably Purple Beards on the fire break track.

Other things of interest were also found along the way. We managed to find five koalas, without even trying! Tamara found a very bright and shiny, yellow Flatworm (Fletchamia sugdeni). She also found a Common Garden Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti) that had a blue tinge to its abdomen and an unexpected find at the top of the track in amongst the Wattles (Acacia sp) was Creamy Candles (Stackhousia monogyna).

We eventually made it back to the carpark for a late lunch before heading off again to look for koalas. For this activity Ken and Tamara walked the fire break track and those remaining, Gordon, Mike, Cathy and Anita, walked Fosters Gully.

There were a total of 13 koalas sighted on the day which is a very good number for the park. Some nearly jumped out at you when found while looking through the binoculars, while for others, one needed to have a very good eye to spot them between branches way up high in a Mountain Grey Gum.

A multitude of different birds were mainly heard, of which I only managed to capture a photo of the Yellow Robin, where it perched for a while watching us as we stood watching it while further up the track from Lyndon’s Clearing.

Thank you to Tamara for providing me with a list of Latin names for the orchids and critters that we sighted (as it’s not my forte!), to Caitlin for her people photos (as I didn’t take any!), and to Mike for his contributions and proofing my work!

FoMNP - October 2022 Koala and Orchid Count