Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Sea Cliff Nature Walk

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When I was at Portland a few weeks ago, I went for a stroll along the Cliff Top Nature Walk at Cape Nelson. It was a wet and windy day with occasional glimpses of blue sky. Not the best bird watching weather but I saw all the usual suspects in the coastal heath: superb blue wrens, New Holland honeyeaters, little wattlebirds, crimson rosellas and grey currawongs (black-winged form). None of which had the grace to perch long enough for me to operate my camera with my frozen fingers, you understand. So you'll just have to take my word for it.

The walk is about 3 km long and passes through a range of heath types as it runs from the centre of the cape to the coast and back again. Here's the short version, without the squalls that arrived, unimpeded, from Antarctica.

Grass trees near the start of the track

Flame heath (Astroloma conostephioides) brings a splash of colour to the scrub

The endemic soap mallee (Eucalyptus diversifolia)

Echidna mission statement — we take digging seriously

Wallaby tracks

Close to the cliff top, the trees get shorter and shorter until you feel as if you're entering Liliput

The Nature Walk joins the Great South West Walk on the Cape's west coast

Looking north towards Bridgewater Bay

Ballart (Exocarpos) catches the sun

Correa in the shadows

Out of Liliput and into the Shire

Where the rosella wasn't


Mosura said...

Looks like a great walk. Pity about the weather.

Snail said...

I 'spose we can't do much about winter weather! Did see nice rainbows, though. Just a bit tricky to photograph.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Snail.
Thanks for the nostalgic trip back through time. Great country.
Love that country down around Portland, Nelson, etc. Discovery Bay and Swan Lake as I remember it, is wonderfully wild. Vast sand dunes. Did they manage to keep the dune bugggies out of that wonderful country? I hope so.
You have me turned around with the "looking north to Bridgewater Bay" - Those directions would put the ocean on the western side? Can't quite figure that bit out.
Great photos and I loved the Gulliver's Travels references.

Snail said...

I did't see any vehicles on the beach, Denis. They might be allowed at Discovery Bay but I suspect not.

I'm putting in a link to Google Maps, which shows the walk. (It was in the post originally but I took it out while I was writing it because it was taking to long to load.)

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Snail
Thanks. Sorry I was turned around. I thought you were further west, near Nelson. But I see from the Google Earth image that you were in fact far closer to Portland, and hence the ocean was on your western side, indeed. Cape Bridgewater pokes out a long way further than I realised.
Thanks for setting me straight.
By the way, in the late 70s the National Parks people were trying to block Dune Buggies from using Discovery Bay for rallies. 40 Km of beaches was more than those guys could resist. Hope it has been stamped out now. Some of the best dunes in Australia.

Duncan said...

Looks like Correa backhousiana Snail, correct me if I'm wrong.

Dave Coulter said...

What nice shots! :)

Mosura said...

No need to publish this comment. Just thought you might like a good snail story (if you haven't already read it)


Snail said...

Duncan, I think we all know how rubbish I am at plant ID! I am happy to go with you.

Thanks, Dave. 'Twas a nice walk.

Great find, Mosura! :)