Landscape potential from around where I live

A post about a wander through Churchill National Park in search of local inspiration….

Lots of bits of Australia have easily accessible ‘bushland’. I am very close to the coast and some hills, and if you get to about 30 mins drive away you start to get national park and forestry areas that are quite pretty.

I’m not a big fan of super pretty green forestry areas because I kind of prefer arid and semi arid vegetation – none the less this is all local and I thought it would be kind of interesting to see if I can get some landscapes done of the local stuff.

I went for a wander up to Churchill National Park yesterday, which is about as close as you can get to actual nature to my house other than the bats and possums and birds that hang out here. Not overly inspiring scenery due largely to the power lines that run through the park and the roos/rabbits keeping all the grass cropped…maybe something will inspire me one day.

Here are my photos anyway of the walk I went on:

The first thing we saw wandering up the hill was this young lady, munching on some grass. Kangaroos are all over Australia but only in bush areas, and they seem to be pretty common at churchill.  I still get stupidly excited when I see them, they are still uncommon enough to be blase around here. We saw two.

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Or should I say three, cause this roo had a joey (the camera focused on the acacias in the foreground not the roo in the background).

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I like roos. They are a darn fine eating animal too – you can get roo meat in supermarkets now. very very lean.  Yes we eat both the animals on our national coat of arms. Emu is nommy too.  That usually horrifies people that we eat roos. NOM NOM NOM.

It’s been stupidly wet this spring, raining all the time.  The grass is lush and green, there are puddles everywher, I’ve been to this park before and it’s been brown and crispy….The last week has been grey and overcast, I think the whole city has got SADS. I just wanted sunlight. There was none to be had other than in little spurts (was grey today too. So over it).

We did have lots of buzzing and potential electromagnatrons pouring off the power lines. Yes, I just made up a word. ELECTROMAGNATRON is now officially a word.  I liked this shot anyway, it was a broken tree with a power line in the background.

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Did I say power lines? Yes, power lines! To infinity and beyond! You can actually see some blobbles on the horizon in the middle in this pic – that’s the city centre. The power lines are over a vegetation break which is a fire break, we are very prone to bushfires here.

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Anyway we continued the walk up over the ridge line which has some granite rocks all around (so I’m guessing the hilly bit here was once volcanic).  Lots of the vegetation here is quite open – grasslands and trees at this point. I’m guessing this ridge gets a lot of bad weather so the trees are sparse.  We had horrible drought a few years ago too and there were a lot of dead trees around. Wood from dead vegetation becomes part of the environment and things go to live in them – insects, lizards, etc:

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Humans often are seen in national parks, striding over the wilderness.  This human seems quite large, he’s almost as large and as tall as the power lines! No wait. That’s just the perspective…

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Seen here is a rare sighting through the trees of another species of human, Homo pointyfingerii.

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There was some real wildlife around though. We get lorikeets (parrots) here in the backyard all the time, but they are the greeny coloured ones. This one was a scarlet and yellow dude. Beautiful plumage!  The yellow flowers are an invasive weed, originally from South Africa, which has made itself very comfortable here in a similar climate.

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Just next to the national park there is a quarry, which looks kind of pretty from a distance:

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Over the ridge line you get more trees. These are largely eucalyptus and tea trees. The bark is grey and very rough in this area. When you go towards the mountains you get much stringier bark or else the black box bark. The grass is cropped close by the roos and the bunnies, you can see their scats all over the place so you know there are a lot of both.

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Something else kind of cool is the honey-dews – these are carnivorous plants that have round modified leaves. the leaves get long tendrilly things on them and exude a sticky substance. Small insects stick to them and die, and the plant pumps enzymes into the insects to dissolve them and absorb the nutrients.

Australia has some pretty nutrient poor soils. Not a lot of mountain building going on, no soil creation, lots of leeching of nutrients. Plants have to find ways to get enough nitrogen, this is one solution.

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Below is a not vary rare sighting of something amongst the leaf litter that lets one know that the bogans have been visiting and left their scats….

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I did see something really unexpected later – an empty Fosters can. which is really surprising cause NO ONE HERE DRINKS FOSTERS. We export it, it has a bad name, no idea why, but no one really drinks it here, it’s more likely to be VB or crown lager. I did a tour of the Carlton united brewery earlier this year, and we got beer tastings, and it was pretty much the same as crown lager, which is a top seller.   VB is, frankly, disgusting, but sometimes it’s all there is.

Back to the walk! This is pretty typical scenery, coming back east over the ridge line. The Melbourne suburban south eastern suburb sprawl is in the distance.

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Google maps tells me the suburbs to the left in this picture would be around Endevour Hills. Hey, I’ve got a mate who lives there. HI LYZ!

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And a shot over to where i live and Melbourne in the far distance. There is a distinctive little blob between two of the pylons ….

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And it’s Monash University, Clayton campus!  A good view of the Ming Wing south wing, propping up the rest of the building. Good engineering decisions were not made in the 60s while building that.

Monash Clayton is where i did my undergrad and honours, and I live in walking distance to it now.

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I think this is a lily, it was bright purple and very pretty. The day was overcast by then. In front of some tea trees, not in flower sadly.

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And another bit of wildlife – a wallaby! these are smaller than roos but of the same bouncy-type of animal variety. They are more solitary and live all over the place. If you ever meet me, ask me ‘the wallaby skull story’.

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Down off the ridge the track is largely tea trees and is very dense in underbrush. You also get the strappy leaf plants down here rather than the shorter edible grasses up on the ridge.

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I thought this tree was cool. I believe this is an acacia (wattle) plant, these are the seed pods, and they look like WORMS! WORM SEEDS!

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So that is about it.

I don’t really feel at all inspired to paint any of that.  Though I’m thinking it’s time for Roo Burgers for dinner later this week…so an inspiration of sorts has come out of this.

I will wander up to Mount Dandenong some time soon and get some shots of the rainforest (cool temperate rainforest) and see if that inspires me any more.

There you go, no longer is this an art blog, it’s a wander through native oz vegetation blog. 🙂