02 December, 2010

Ruined Castel Rocks

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On an early morning hike out to the Ruined Castel Rocks, before the coach loads of day tourists spoil the silence. In the cool forest on the floor of the canyon I came across a male Liar bird, the master of mimicry. They are like a small brown pheasant with an airy peacock tail all in sepia tone. Not being the most birds they woo the mates with elaborate and quick-fire impressions of all the other bird sounds in the forest. They even mimic man made sounds though this one has no camera shutters and chainsaws in his repertoire it was non the les impressive.

Video of Liar Bird

The Snake Orchid, Cymbidium suave, was growing in a Eucalyptus tree in the hollow left by a fallen bow.

Snake Orchid, Cymbidium Suave ORCHIDACEAE

The Ruined Castel Rocks reach up just above the tree line conveniently arranged like a giant spiral staircase. Sitting atop of a rise in the middle of the canyon floor they offer a 360o view of the surrounding cliff faces that are other wise reduced to fleeting glimpses through the canopy.

Around the rocks and up on top of the cliffs where the conditiond are hotter and dried grows the Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus sclerophylla. It is called the Scribbly gum due to markings left on the bark by browsing moth larvae.

Scribbly Gum, Eucalyptis sclerophylla MYRTACEAE

In amongst the greener the large, bright yellow, buttercup shape flowers of a shrubby twining, Hibbertia dentate shone out advertising their wares and a bright clearing left by a fallen tree was full of Senecio linearifolius, making though most of the available light.

DILLENIACEAE and Senecio linearifolius ASTERACEAE
Hibbertia dentate

Two lizards spotted on the walk were the Leura Water Skink Eulamprus Leureansisand the as yet un-identified by me little bearded dragon like lizard. The Leura lizard was amongst the foliage in the cool damp forest and the little bearded dragon was sunning himself up on the hot castle rocks.

Leura Water Skink Eulamprus leuraensis and the as yet un-identified lizard.

View of the forest under-story.


  1. Just love this blog and can't wait to see next posting! GG

  2. I love the lyrebird (and all of David Attenborough's "The Life of Birds"). Every time I see that clip I'm amazed by the chainsaw. We have the DVD set and my daughter watches them over and over again.

    I've seen insect scribbles similar to your scribbly gum eucalyptus when bark peels off dying trees, but I've never seen it right on the exterior like that. Very cool!

  3. That Cymbidium is beautiful. Our native one has longer internodes but of the same color. Are there really no snakes in Australia?

  4. Sitting here in a snow covered UK I am very envious of you. The photos you have taken are stunning.

  5. The liarbird was very cool, no man made sounds but still impressive.

    I haven't seen a snake yet, lots of lizards but no snakes. I'll keep my eye out.

    The snowy weather has made it to the news down here. Don't be too envious its cool and vere wet here, Id rather be in the snow than fruit thinning in the rain. Hope the sun will come out soon.

  6. Wow that Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus is pretty cool.

  7. That's great lyrebird footage... also spelt like 'liar'? I haven't seen them up my way but even as I was watching that video I could hear birds it was imitating in the bush - very confusing!
    I've recently seen lots of pythons and tree snakes around, one of which was sleeping in my room!