In January we had three short rambles, all in Aireys Inlet.
The first was a PLANT WALK from the mouth of the Painkalac creek up to the lighthouse, and then down to Allen Noble sanctuary. We were very pleased to see a few flowers on two plant species which are growing on the seasonally exposed river mud flats. Creeping Monkey-flower Thyridia repens, has delicate butterfly-like mauve flowers among small crowded stalkless leaves.
Creeping Brookweed Samolus Repens var. repen, has small leaves, and erect, five petalled flowers which are usually white, but sometimes a luscious soft pink.
Beside the pathway going up to the lighthouse there were several dense bushes of Sea Box Alyxia buxifolia. The oval leaves are dark green and leathery to touch. The very distinctive, small white scented flowers have petals forming flat propeller-like spirals…a bit like children’s pinwheels. There were also berries, some green and others colouring up to bright orange-red.
At the sanctuary there were a number of plants in flower, the most obvious being the bright yellow papery flowers of Common Everlasting Chrysocephalum apiculatum.
The BIRD WALK was around the edge of the Painkalac Creek estuary to the Great Ocean Road, which is only possible at times of really low water. We saw a few quite unusual birds for this area. The highlight was three ‘Hoodies’ (Hooded Plovers), which I have never seen there, a Caspian Tern and a Black-shouldered Kite.
Black-shouldered Kite (by Margaret Lacey)
The MARINE RAMBLE was at Step Beach on the other side of the Aireys Inlet lighthouse.
Let’s all have a look
We were very fortunate to have a young summer ranger from Parks Victoria to lead the group, and to enthuse and inform the children.
What is this?
He started by showing them a large jar containing cigarette lighters which were found in one hour in a city marine sanctuary. He then went through his treasure-trove of shells and other marine species, which included some nearby seaweed with Sandhoppers.
Box of beach treasures
It was then off to the rock pools.
Unfortunately it had been a fairly high low tide and we were not able to get out very far. However the children had a satisfying time looking in the higher pools. At the end he handed out stickers and badges to the new young marine rangers.
‘Official’ Marine Park Rangers