The weather forecast of a fine sunny day encouraged 22 walkers to step out for our first excursion of the year – a walk along Lemonade Creek track beginning at Blanket Leaf Picnic Ground and leading to the Erskine Falls Car Park.

The group at the beginning of the walk

The large bushes or small trees of the Blanket Leaf Bedfordia arborescens were eye-catching.  Some of the blackened leaves that were still attached gave the impression of ‘bats hanging from the trees’.  It is easy to understand why the species is called Blanket Leaf when one feels the matted-woolly texture of the underside of the leaves.

Bats in the trees?

Lachie was our lead walker making sure that the group kept together and knew which track to take

This is the way we go

Although there was very little water in the creek, the walk through the margins of the cool temperate rainforest and the fern gullies was very pleasant.  The small bridges and boardwalks made easy access across the creek gullies.

Strolling along the forest track

There were some great views of the gully featuring the tall straight trunks of the eucalypts and the tall tree-ferns.

Tree ferns under the canopy of eucalypts

The damp habitat meant that there were fungi species growing along the sides of the track.  We were not sure what they were, but they nevertheless captured the attention of the photographers.

Fungi

Fungi

Fungi

As we neared the Erskine Falls Car Park the leading party decided it was a good time to have an early lunch before leaving the peaceful setting of the forest and came back to civilization, so they sat down on the side of the track waiting for the others to catch up.

Time to stop for lunch

The party agreed, and everyone found a place to sit and enjoy their lunch that always tastes so much better in the Australian outdoors.

Could there be a more pleasant lunch spot?

Just before we reached the Erskine Falls car park the elusive Rose Robin, that is highlighted in the Friends’ Walk Book for this particular walk was sighted by a few of the party causing a great deal of excitement. Unfortunately it quickly flew high up into the canopy amongst the Clematis aristata seed heads and stayed hidden from view.  The call was there, but most of us were denied the pleasure of seeing this attractive little bird.

Other birds we saw or heard that called this habitat their home included Grey Fantails, Eastern Spinebills, Eastern Yellow Robins, Pied Currawongs and Golden Whistlers. The highlight was the sighting of some King Parrots absolutely gorging themselves on the fruit of the Austral Mulberry Hedycarya angustifolia with the fruit falling on the walkers below.  Chrissy managed to capture one of the birds in action.

Caught in action!  Male King Parrot devouring fruit from Austral Mulberry

After reaching Erskine Falls car park, the more energetic walkers tackled the walk back to Blanket Leaf Picnic Ground while the rest mastered the difficulties of car shuffles safely, so ending a great day.

Report by Ross Murray.  Photography Margaret MacDonald, Chrissy Freestone

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