Jan Carnes reports on a walk by APS Northern Beaches Group at Manly Dam on 20 February 2021. The story first appeared in APS Northern Beaches newsletter, March 2021, edited by Jane March.
Manly Dam circular walk
A record 20 members attended this circular walk, including two new members – welcome Beth and Trent! Starting at the Nyrang Road carpark, the firetrail track wound down to the water flanked by many beautifully orange and grey-barked grey gums (Eucalyptus punctata), scribbly gums (Eucalyptus haemastoma), Banksia ericifolia and Acacia longifolia.
The understorey included Epacris pulchella, Pultenaea elliptica, Leptospermum scoparium with pale pink flowers, Banksia oblongifolia with its velvetty tan new growth, Angophora hispida and the occasional Lambertia formosa and Hakea gibbosa. Glochidion ferdinandi was already carrying its little pale green camemberts!
Around the dam
As we approached the dam Baeckea linifolia dominated above tangles of coral fern (Gleichenia dicarpa). Clear water lapped the little beach, with a beautiful view of low hills on the other side where healthy bush abounded. Much to my astonishment two swimmers came overarming by.
Walking along the boardwalk through the very damp, swampy shoreline we experienced a very different range of plants. The tallest were Callistemon citrinus and Casuarina glauca. Dodonea triquetra, Bauera rubioides and Hakea teretifolia occurred. The star of the show was the sedge Baloskion tetraphyllum ssp. meiostachym with its metre high, fluffy lime-green foliage topped by spikes of tan seed heads.
More in flower
In between, Velleia lyrata wound its vine-like stems and in the wetter areas sundews (Drosera spathulata) gathered. There was a lovely example of Grevillea linearifolia covered in delicate white flowers, Leptospermum juniperinum and Micromyrtus ciliata. There was a cooling background sound of lapping water.
We began the walk up to drier heath habitat. There was Woollsia pungens (pure white flowers – no pink) Crowea saligna, Dampiera stricta, Acacia brownii, Xanthorrhoea resinosa and many flannel flowers (Actinotus helianthi) alongside the white, sandy track which snaked between and over sandstone rocks.
We came across a large fallen Kunzea ambigua with its roots exposed. The poor thing had been growing on a flat sandstone rock with hardly any soil at all. Nearby was an enormous termite nest within a fallen dead tree. The maze-like nest walls felt as hard as timber.
The return leg and a local cafe
Down the thinner track back to suburbia and the carpark, Banksia serrata and Acacia suaveolens made an appearance plus many Kunzea seedlings. It was a very hot and humid morning so we were rather glad to gather in the shade of a large scribbly. Sixteen members then retired to a local café for a well-deserved lunch.
Who would have thought that so many of our wonderful native plants would be flowering in February? What a little bit of rain can do!
Photos by Russell Beardmore.
Find out more about Manly Dam here: https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/parks-and-trails/parks/manly-dam