Jump to content

A field trip to the Kimberley region


Recommended Posts

Hi,

this is the second part of my northern Australia field trip report which I started last December ( http://www.cpukforum...showtopic=48215 ). Sorry for the delay.

The Kimberley region in northern Western Australia is a perfect example of remoteness. There is exactly one sealed road in an area larger than Germany or California! The population density is a whopping 0.09 people per km² (UK: 225 people per km²) :wink:

I will start this report with a few impressions of the stunningly beautiful landscape in the Kimberley.

There are some of the world’s most beautiful and remote coastlines:

9365434202_571ea9a846_b.jpg

The “horizontal waterfalls” are created by the huge tidal difference of over 10 m:

9362642943_68c73de5d5_b.jpg

One of the most beautiful mountains in the region is Mount Trafalgar (a table-top mountain). Allen Lowrie landed on its top in 1996 (before I was born :wink: ) and surprisingly discovered several extremely rare carnivorous plant species including the never photographed Utricularia kenneallyi!

9365443694_86f8d88d82_b.jpg

The Windjana Gorge belongs to the most beautiful Gorges in the Kimberley:

9362554039_ff74f64272_b.jpg

The Spider crater is an almost never photographed impact structure in the central Kimberley region

9362535457_3f33d48628_b.jpg

The famous “Bungle Bungle” rock formations:

9365274430_331414d6f9_b.jpg

9362496359_a6982d6e87_b.jpg

Swamplands:

9365288798_f87fe602cd_b.jpg

A typical creek on a sandstone plateau:

9364211729_4ac2af7986_b.jpg

The same creek forms the famous Bell Gorge:

9364196957_3131e13a25_b.jpg

Without question, the very remote Mitchell Falls are the most beautiful and spectacular waterfalls in the Kimberley region:

9365468628_53442ccfbc_b.jpg

Overall, the falls are 80 meters high.

9365120578_cfb1decbc5_b.jpg

Drosera burmannii is definitely the most common carnivorous plant species in northern Australia. It grows in almost every seasonally or year around wet spot.

A typical plant growing in extremely sandy soil:

8648567556_c5c6c7a08e_b.jpg

The pretty flower:

8647467175_e0a44832fa_b.jpg

Sometimes they form dense clusters:

9363695553_254b23c68f_b.jpg

Drosera burmannii can grow in some really extreme habitats. This plant, for example, is growing in pure rock just a few centimeters in front of a roaring waterfall.

8648441622_42af3a3629_b.jpg

At Twin Falls (Northern Territory) these plants grow in an 80 meters high cliff together with the triggerplant Stylidium semipartitum:

9362912615_b5cf242504_b.jpg

Utricularia chrysantha is another very common species. It prefers to grow along creeks:

9362371855_5c73e0358c_b.jpg

This habitat is just a couple of meters away from the beautiful Mitchell Falls

9362383615_8902f85063_b.jpg

9362379877_9c5a03780b_b.jpg

9365164994_5c9459bbc1_b.jpg

9365163836_c69ea6c127_b.jpg

9362372577_0dd7321106_b.jpg

Near Darwin (Northern Territory) I was able to find some different forms of U. chrysantha. This beautiful “Noonamah” variety has a red outer surface:

8648555886_9466812fcf_b.jpg

9365401928_073fd4db38_b.jpg

Edited by Thilo K.
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another form:

8648590824_c8c2fb6e4c_b.jpg

And some flowers with a more deeply divided lower lip:

8648464866_a81210676d_b.jpg

9523676578_18f1b6c2c0_b.jpg

Utricularia limosa is - especially during the dry season - not a very common species in northern Australia. Nevertheless I was able to find this plant at three different locations in July (two in the NT and one in the Kimberley).

8648462076_4723ac874f_b.jpg

A completely white form:

9363956185_4516f9c560_b.jpg

The palm-like Pandanus plants are good indicators for CP-suitable habitats. At this particular spot near Kununurra (with 3.500 inhabitants the biggest city within a radius of nearly 500 km!) some nice plants of Drosera ordensis and Byblis filifolia grew just next to the Pandanus palms.

9363810947_d949acd577_b.jpg

Drosera ordensis is endemic to the region around Kununurra and normally flowers only during the middle to late wet season (January to April). But these plants curiously decided to flower in late July! Unfortunately, I was too early in the morning to observe an open D. ordensis flower…

9363806351_b907133d2e_b.jpg

9366578618_518a8236bb_b.jpg

This species is one of the most hairy petiolaris Drosera:

9366565114_6f5f12d9df_b.jpg

9363795195_5d563907ae_b.jpg

Some beautiful glowing Byblis filifolia at the same location:

9363581967_a52e68d819_b.jpg

9363577053_ceb6a7dd64_b.jpg

A symbiotic bug (Cyrtopeltis sp.):

9521108049_6362389de4_b.jpg

This plant is almost covered by these Cyrtopeltis bugs:

9398394153_8851874ced_b.jpg

Close-up of the flower:

9366511760_bd057b43f4_b.jpg

9363564213_753436c48c_b.jpg

An unusually branched plant:

9366353722_20419461e9_b.jpg

And a plant with an unusual long flower stalk:

9363551767_782141fd0a_b.jpg

During the trip, Drosera broomensis and D. derbyensis belonged to the few sundews that were already in (nearly) full dormancy.

A big population of Drosera broomensis (of course near Broome :wink:):

9401233482_d5ed5c47f7_b.jpg

9398473961_0804a38074_b.jpg

This plant curiously formed a significant “stem”.

9398460345_b60a635a40_b.jpg

9398461609_e246cbd4ae_b.jpg

Drosera derbyensis (of course near Derby :wink:):

9398321917_ac5ee283ea_b.jpg

9401120876_41a601bbb8_b.jpg

9401096050_ba18e86e83_b.jpg

Edited by Thilo K.
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A very young plant:

9401093642_dfbda96fc0_b.jpg

The common Drosera indica glowing in the morning sun near Bell Gorge (see photo of Bell Gorge above):

9364214731_f3df1f4bca_b.jpg

9364212849_16253d206e_b.jpg

This is maybe the most beautiful D. indica form I was able to find during my trip. It has very large, pink flowers (up to 5 cm!).

9398402377_bb801ddd49_b.jpg

9401127296_0e4e59bd19_b.jpg

The biggest flower:

9398332227_50c5029424_b.jpg

Near Derby, I was very happy to find Drosera hartmeyerorum since there are almost no pictures of this species in its natural habitat. It was a fairly big population:

9401156886_ddfe8dd5c1_b.jpg

9398347097_e0d93e76da_b.jpg

A very large plant:

9401214364_46a5b8fe35_b.jpg

A “normal-sized” plant

9398342387_05d4f8fc4c_b.jpg

Drosera hartmeyerorum is famous for its strange yellow trichomes at the base of the leaves:

9401108700_c4bb2e2db4_b.jpg

Most plants were inhabited by many Cyrtopeltis symbiotic bugs:

9398378613_94182fe7e8_b.jpg

Prey:

9398339299_1d6ec8b4a2_b.jpg

The flower of D. hartmeyerorum:

9401142244_060d6e12a2_b.jpg

9398445271_429f9a492a_b.jpg

Even some parts of the flower stalk bear these interesting yellow trichomes:

9401104094_504de23491_b.jpg

I also visited a second site of Drosera hartmeyerorum. It is a lake called “Taylors Lagoon”. There should be at least seven species growing at the edge of this relatively famous carnivorous plant site, but I was only able to find very few D. hartmeyerorum plants in a very small part of the lagoon. A possible reason for the poor diversity of species:

9401210294_a012d2865f_b.jpg

This Drosera has narrowly escaped death! I think farming at Taylors Lagoon has become a serious threat for native plants mainly because of eutrophication (cattle dung) and soil compaction.

Near Derby grew another species from the “D. indica-complex”. Maybe this one of the Drosera species that will be described soon…

9398335953_55887664be_b.jpg

The flower:

9398333529_cb22c952d5_b.jpg

It was covered with Cyrtopeltis bugs:

9398396539_02800cb1fa_b.jpg

There is just one Utricularia species I encountered in the Kimberley region but not in the Northern Territory: Utricularia lasiocaulis

The huge Airfield Swamp near Mitchell Falls is the perfect habitat for this species:

9365482632_baa74c0e37_b.jpg

Utricularia lasiocaulis is a widespread and very beautiful species:

9362451399_19eae8c5fa_b.jpg

9365232504_3a2714f1c1_b.jpg

9362456091_2537dc50d5_b.jpg

U. lasiocaulis is also a highly variable species even at the same location:

9365229982_7bd9438581_b.jpg

Edited by Thilo K.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9365229314_4874e00254_b.jpg

9362454181_f742d2af93_b.jpg

Two flowers on the same flower stalk:

9362453491_233de0fcd2_b.jpg

9365227372_74818195b9_b.jpg

The outer surfaces of the flowers are always of this interesting color:

9362450725_d74f8049b3_b.jpg

The following pictures were taken at the type locality of Byblis guehoi. I don’t know if these Byblis are B. guehoi or just some unusually branched B. filifolia:

9401240810_60d073768c_b.jpg

9398456655_430bff809e_b.jpg

9401242108_f8affb8d1a_b.jpg

There was a great variation in flower shape and size:

9398452981_6269a31603_b.jpg

9401244014_d5da693e92_b.jpg

9401223330_d9699f7e56_b.jpg

9398453841_f14d710471_b.jpg

The sepals:

9398458525_644574c907_b.jpg

Finally, some animals from the Kimberley:

The “Merten’s Water Monitor” (Varanus mertensi):

9398147021_53faa545e4_b.jpg

I almost trod on this nearly invisible snake while walking through the high grass of a CP-site near Kununurra:

9363775543_234bc34933_b.jpg

It was a highly venomous Brown Snake or Mulga Snake… :ermm:

The very common cockatoo birds eating the fruits of a Grevillea tree:

9363637469_f5881aba73_b.jpg

9366410104_d1ccb0a124_b.jpg

A kangaroo…

9400939118_d2385b3892_b.jpg

These road corrugations are very common in the Kimberley region. It is a nuisance but it can also be dangerous when driving at higher speeds:

9400905098_cec13fc47f_b.jpg

Another hazard are stones that are thrown by the tires of oncoming vehicles. These things can be quite big :

8577901920_bb910846d3_b.jpg

With this broken windscreen we still had to travel at least 400 km of unsealed road. The cracks got bigger and bigger and we had to cancel many waterfalls and carnivorous plant sites (including a very promising site with B. rorida, D. banksii, D. subtilis, U. antennifera, U. kenneallyi, U. leptoplectra “white”, U. fistulosa and many more… :sad: )

More pics:

B. filifolia, D. indica, D. ordensis:

http://forum.carnivo...-bei-kununurra/

Mitchell Falls, U. chrysantha:

http://forum.carnivo...mitchell-falls/

U. lasiocaulis, U. limosa, Mitchell Falls:

http://forum.carnivo...airfield-swamp/

D. burmannii, D. indica, D. derbyensis:

http://forum.carnivo...den-kimberleys/

B. filifolia, D. aff. Indica, D. hartmeyerorum, D. broomensis, B. guehoi?:

http://forum.carnivo...-hartmeyerorum/

Sorry for my English… :wink:

Regards,

Thilo

Edited by Thilo K.
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i came chiefly for the petiolaris photos--not only was i amazed with the plants, and the other carnivorous plants, but your photography skills are great as well! thanks for braving the harsh elements (i tend to overheat easily) and allowing me to live vicariously through you. awesome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great photos and really good detail. It's a fantastic area to be let loose in. I've never seen U. chrysantha looking so yellow. I'm more used to seeing them orange/reddish.

The cockatoo birds are Little Corellas, Cacatua sanguinea. The Water Monitor has much more distinct markings than the ones I usually see. Almost looks like a Mitchell's Water Monitor, but I have a photo of a Merton's from the Bungle Bungles with similarly distinct markings.

And that road, looks very like the road out the front of my place, LOL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone, I'm glad you are enjoying it!

The cockatoo birds are Little Corellas, Cacatua sanguinea

Thank you very much for the identification! I am really no bird expert.

And that road, looks very like the road out the front of my place, LOL.

Wow, this could be quite difficult during the wet season :wink:

Best regards,

Thilo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...