Belair to Crafers along Sheoak Road
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Sheoak, Orchids and More
The grasses along the tree line near the layby are quite dense, broken only by fallen logs and patches of leaf litter dropped by the overhanging trees. In this jumble of greenery, there are a myriad of wildflowers, many of which are invasive species. Nevertheless, the effect is quite stunning.
Donkey Orchid credit Debbie Simmonds
Searching amongst the blossoms I notice the delicate and intricate pattern of a King Spider-orchid one of our most beautiful floral species. I readjust my mindset to search for more orchids
and in the next ten minutes I discover two more species: Donkey-orchids and delicate, little Blue Fairies.
One of many gates and tracks along this stretch of road
I am driving along Sheoak Road between Belair and Crafers; a road which skirts the back of Belair National Park. There are numerous laybys and walking tracks that either provide an entrance to the park or run alongside the fence. The scrub is quite thick and there are substantial growths of stringy-barked gums.
Male Common Brown Butterflies
After driving a little further I stop at the next pull-off where there is a narrow track along the perimeter fence. There are very few butterflies around for this time of year and I am quite pleased to spot a female Common Brown then a pair of males that land on a tree trunk. The little insects then flit around some Everlasting flowers before disappearing on a gust of wind.
Koala near the main road
Despite the dense growths of eucalypts I have not seen a Koala and only a few scats (roo-poo) indicative of kangaroos in the area. Quite unexpectedly, my passenger spots Koala near the road as we are coasting along the road. I check my rear vision mirror, pull up and reverse back and park on a grassy verge. Sure enough, there, in a different, broader-leafed gum, is a large koala neatly wedged between two branches.
On the opposite side of the road, I can see a trail edging along the fence which marks the National Park boundary. There are both Lorikeets and Red Wattlebirds feeding on the eucalyptus blossom and a Grey Currawong perched on a low branch. I decide on one last walk then on to Crafers and lunch at Jimmies Restaurant in Crafers
or the Crafers Hotel.
Luck is with me on this last little foray. I catch sight of two, tiny Common Garden Skinks
foraging in the undergrowth then a fleeting glance of a pair of White-cheeked Rosellas flying from the crown of a tall Native Pine. However, the best is reserved for last; a lovely, and uncommon in this area, Brush Bronzewing
. The pigeon-like bird is ambling along the trail just twenty or so metres in front of me. A nice final image.
This is an easy drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors.
It is dog friendly.
268504 - 2023-11-10 00:17:33