Monday, 29 June 2015

Moonta Mines walk

Moonta Mines is a fascinating place,  as members of the aus plants society rediscovered last week.

We followed Trail 3 around Richmans area, initially in search of native plants.  Large sections had been revegetated thanks to many people replanting in the past, and those currently working in the area.
Scaevola spinescens (spiny fan flower), a rather drab and very prickly plant, could be seen in much of the understorey. It’s a valuable safe haven for the little robins and finches we saw only fleetingly. Pimeleass  (riceflower) and zygophyllums (twinleafs) were in flower, making them more easily identified than some of the other plants we came across. The zygophyllum were found only on the high ridge around the Magazine so it’s possible they had been planted by someone, rather than seeding themselves. The species has a distinctive twin leaf and it’s lovely to see them regrowing in the area. The amyema (mistletoe) was growing on an acacia (wattle) and the fruit was really sticky. We came across them along the bitumen road to Richmans.
We were soon distracted by the old copper processing constructions.  The size of the mines buildings and the intricacy of the stone work were good reminders of the industry that went on over a hundred years ago.
We were intrigued by the hardiness of the opportunistic plants that have found niches within the buildings – possibly acacias and scaevola in this photo.
Towards the end of the trail we came across plants that could only be described as giant weeds – boxthorns and pepper trees in particular.  Wonder if our forebears planted them as part of earlier attempts to revegetate the skimp and slime areas. 
When we stopped our chatter we could hear birds twittering and tried to find them. We were rewarded by sightings of robins and mistletoe birds and one of our young walkers caught them with her camera.
Walking along the mines trails can be a relaxing stroll, a history inspiration, a botanical delight, a bird watcher’s ramble, a photographer’s gift – whatever the walker chooses.

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