It was a small group that came together at Sheoak Picnic Ground where we started our walk along the Swallow Cave and Sheoak Falls track.
Group on track
As we walked along the shady section of the Sheoak Creek valley we admired the vegetation along the sides of the track - just so many ferns, mosses, lichens, liverworts and fungi, and even one sole greenhood in bud, probably Mountain Greenhood Pterostylis alpina. We were enthralled with the calls of the birds as they echoed through the valley. The Crescent Honeyeater was particularly vocal.
Ferns and mosses
Tall eucalypts towered overhead and we were able to identify some of them from the fallen fruits and flowers that the birds had obviously enjoyed and dropped to the ground – Manna Gums, Mountain Grey Gums and Southern Blue Gums. The flowers from the Blue Gums were very spectacular.
The Bootlace Bush Pimelea axiflora was in bloom and its almost lacy-like appearance looked so attractive with its creamy-white flowers against the long green open foliage. The tough fibrous bark along the slender branches was used for string by Koories and early settlers.
Sections of the track were lined with stands of Balm Mint-bush Prostanthera melissifolia and a few early mauve flowers were appearing. This will be a delight in spring with its visual appearance and perfume permeating the environment
Another unfamiliar plant the Austral Mulberry Hedycarya angustifolia was coming into flower with its small clusters of flowers starting to open at the top of the branches. The mature yellow or orange fruit that will develop is like tiny mulberries.
This very pleasant track followed the creek through regrowth forest, recently burnt sections and woodland. As we walked along we could hear the creek flowing down the gully and eventually were rewarded with good views of the cascades.
Sight of cascades
Crossing the creek a few times we made our way to the viewing point for the Sheoak Falls at Swallow Cave where we had late morning tea as we watched a few swallows, or were they martins, flying around the opening of the cave.
Having been informed that the shutdown was on at 1 pm we made our way back to the picnic ground where we had lunch before returning home with memories to reflect on and treasure for the next few weeks.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.