I thought I’d finish off my Dryandra posts with a few images taken in and around the wonderful Lions Dryandra Village– we’ve stayed here a few times and always been very impressed. The cottages were originally built to house the woodcutters working in the area, so they are lovely old buildings with creaky wooden floors and outside ‘dunnies’. Each cottage has an outside and inside fireplace – a plus for us as my husband loves being able to build a real fire (safely). The caretakers (Lisa and John) are very helpful and a fund of useful information; they do appreciate visitors who respect nature and the tranquility. If the cottages are full there is a DPaW campground at Congelin.
Numbat cottage at Dryandra
Eucalypt sunset silhouette
Kangaroos in the paddock
The cottage verandas face west, wonderful for sunset viewing across the paddock populated by Western grey kangaroos, with eucalypt forest in the distance. You don’t really need to move very far to see all sorts of interesting birds, like the very obliging male Red-capped robin shown below. Possums often make a night-time appearance and if you’d like to see more of Western Australia’s nocturnal marsupials the Barna Mia santuary is open some nights. Just dress warmly if you are visiting in winter. An early morning walk near the village should result in some close-up kangaroo sightings. There are plenty of other walks, good for wild flowers in spring and if you are really lucky you might see an echidna or a numbat (I’ve glimpsed a numbat once – would love a photo opportunity!).
Dryandra and the surrounding area is always good value from a birding point of view, particularly considering the proximity to Perth (about 2 hours driving). From a photography point of view, I appreciate the fact that I can just wander off from the cottages and find plenty to see and photograph. On our last visit, the old arboretum was very productive, as the yellow eucalyptus flowers were attracting several different species of honeyeater. Although the Singing honeyeater is a common species in Perth, it was great to have them feeding at eye-level. I enjoyed seeing and capturing the smaller Brown-headed honeyeaters – they were quite a challenge as they flit about busily.
An entertaining spectacle was provided by a very fierce Willie Wagtail that seemed to have a kamikaze approach to life; diving and swooping at the much larger Grey Currawong. Currawongs probably do eat nestlings of other birds, so I guess the wagtail could be justified – the strange thing was that only one of the pair of currawongs seemed to attract the Willie wagtail’s ire. Meanwhile, a Ringneck parrot quietly went about feeding in the weeds in the adjacent paddock.
Australian ringneck feeding
Some of the first bird images I took with my ‘big lens’ (the Sigma 150-500) were taken in Dryandra in July two years ago. I have learnt a lot about photography since then but am still fond of these pictures – partly due to the subjects being such beautiful birds. They were all feeding on another eucalypt species where the flowers had fallen onto the ground and attracted heaps of bees.
It is already starting to feel like spring in Perth – the days are warming up and flowers are appearing everywhere. As I haven’t had much chance to get out with the camera so far this year, I thought I’d travel back to spring in 2012 when we spent a few days at one of my favourite spots in Western Australia. Dryandra Woodland is a nature reserve in the middle of the Wheatbelt, protecting remnant patches of native vegetation. Spring is a great time to visit with many interesting species flowering.
This main image is a bug’s eye view of sundews or Drosera on a gravel path at Dryandra. Sundews are one of the largest groups of carnivorous plant; these particular ones are pretty small.
On the other end of the scale are these huge flowers of Eucalyptus macrocarpa or mottlecah. I’m not entirely sure if they are native to the specific area, as they were growing in an arboretum, but the species is endemic to the south-west of WA.
Bee on Eucalyptus macrocarpa
If you look carefully, you might spot the tiny orange spider on the white Pimelea flower below. I didn’t spot it until I got home and saw the image on the computer screen. The image on the right is Red Leschenaultia (Lechenaultia formosa) on one of the less-travelled roads in Dryandra; I love the way it just grows in the middle of the road. The other white flower is another tiny sundew or Drosera. Crawling around on the gravelly roadsides capturing these flowers was rather painful on the knees!
Pimela flower with tiny orange spider
White drosera flower
Parts of the reserve are dominated by sheoaks – here pink paper flowers make a very attractive understorey: