SKIPA Port bushland excursion
Sunday 19th July
A small group met down near the Port on Sunday morning ready for some birding and botanising. We wandered along a sandy track and enjoyed the fact that it was still quite cool although sunny.
The pindan in the area is host to Broome Bloodwood Corymbia zygophylla and Cable Beach Ghost Gum Corymbia paractia, Ironwood Erythrophleum chlorostachys is fairly common, and we encountered six species of wattle, including Soap Wattle Acacia colei, Scratchy Wattle Acacia monticola, Pindan Wattle Acacia eriopoda and the low shrub Acacia adoxa with its ball flowers and phyllodes attached to the stem in whorls (hence fitting the description in Broome and Beyond). Some of the wattles had been heavily infested with a mistletoe, Lysiana spathulata, and we had several sightings of Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum active in the area.
We managed to see three kinds of birds of prey (‘BOPs’); Black Kite Milvus migrans and Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus (single bird) are common species, but the Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura is not that common, so it was nice to see it floating by over in the direction of the dunes. We also observed a small group of Red-tailed black Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus banksii, several Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata with a single Diamond Dove Geopelia cuneata, and Black-faced Woodswallow Artamus cinereus in an open area. A highlight was a group (7 or 8 ?) of Grey-crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis making its way through the bush, foraging along the way.
Toward the end of the walk we visited a small patch of Monsoon Vine Thicket, supporting Mangarr Sersalisia sericea, Supplejack or Medicine Bark Ventilago viminalis, and the vines Oystercatcher Bill Tylophora cinerascens and Snake Vine Tinospora smilacina, the latter also occuring in the pindan more generally. Someone also spotted the green fruit of Magabala or Bush Banana Marsdenia viridiflora in the canopy of a Helicopter Tree Gyrocarpus americanus.
A final point of interest was what appeared to be a hybrid of two of the wattles. This small tree had fine but not very long phyllodes and minniritchie bark (like wood shavings), and seems to be a cross between Pindan Wattle and Scratchy Wattle. Broome and Beyond indicated that this hybrid has not been observed to set fruit, but the tree we saw had quite a few pods on it. The next question would be whether or not the seeds produced are viable.
Helicopter Tree in the dry season – no leaves and dry fruits (helicopters)