A Pilgrimage

Today we were back in the saddle on a trip in Michel’s car again but this time the roads and journey were less arduous. We were heading for Mount Buffalo which is a picturesque peak and national park topping out at 1,723m.

Mount Buffalo viewpointThe reason that this was a pilgrimage is that Francine’s mum’s ashes were divided three ways between herself, her brother and her sister. Her brother, Michel, scattered his portion of their mum’s ashes at one of Mount Buffalo’s overlooks. Having not seen her brother for about seven years, this was naturally something of an emotional day. Given the view, you might understand why this was considered a good resting place.

Lake CataniI couldn’t/wouldn’t say whether this was the main point of the day or whether our picnic at Lake Catani, near the top of Mount Buffalo, was. They were both important and, once we unpacked the hamper beside the lake, we realised that Sandrine had done us proud on the food stakes. We’d found a splendid picnic table, with a little shade, overlooking the picturesque lake.

Given the lake, I couldn’t help but research any dragonfly sightings that might have been recorded here. There were several and it wasn’t long before I spotted a few subjects flying around some bushes near to out picnic table. I was torn between eating and stalking. OK, stalking won, at first, at least. Eventually I managed to snag one settled. I could see it was a Tigertail and I hoped it might be another new one for me. Sadly not, it was a Swamp Tigertail (Synthemis eustalacta), the one I’d first met in Yack-and-and-and-and-dah. [Whoops!] Nonetheless, it was good to see more.

Synthemis eustalacta, Lake CataniWhen I say more, there were loads. After eating, along with Michel who seemed to be getting into this dragonfly hunting scene, I went down to the water’s edge where there were shallows and reeds. In the reeds, dozens of male Swamp Tigertails were staking claim to territory. I hoped to find a female amongst them but sadly didn’t.

Ischnura aurora femaleEventually I spotted a very small damselfly lurking in the reeds, looking a bit nondescript. A brief glimpse of a male, which I failed to capture on pixels, told me that this was a female Aurora Bluetail (Ischnura aurora).  They’re always good to see and can be tricky to photograph, lurking in vegetation and being only about 20mm long.

As is frequently the case when it comes to Francine’s brother, there was a bit of a detour on the way home. Visions of refreshingly cold beers may drift around before my eyes but they have to be suppressed for a while in the knowledge that we’ll eventually get there.

Passionvine HopperWe popped off up a there-and-back road to a small bridge that crossed a delightful modest river, slightly more than a stream. There were Hawker-type dragonflies buzzing tirelessly up and down, so tirelessly that they proved too elusive. However, Michel, who seemed to be a new recruit to the wildlife spotting fraternity, found this terrific little critter on an information sign beside the stream; it’s a Passionvine Hopper (Scolypopa australis).

We made it back to the main road and I got my refreshing cold Hazy IPAs eventually.

A good pilgrimage.

Posted in 2024-01 Australia