Considering the variable weather we had in November - everything from snow to 30ºC heat - the day for our hike to Lockley Pylon high above Govett Gorge was pleasantly sunny if a bit windy on the heights. We set off on the track towards Mount Hay...
... and stopped for morning tea in the shelter of a rocky outcropping.
We were travelling mainly across heathland with views over the surrounding valleys and plateaux.
As we walked, we could hear the first cicadas singing among the surrounding shrubs, and came across one on the path which stayed still long enough for me to photograph it. Cicadas come in various sizes and colours, and have equally colourful local names like Greengrocer, Yellow Monday, Cherry Nose. This one is a Black Princess.
It was a perfect time for catching the spring wildflowers in bloom, especially flannelflowers ( Actinotis helianthi) which had sprung up in the most inhospitable places:
... even among the branches of a banksia blackened by bushfire two years ago. While it may have killed the banksia, the fire is the direct cause of the proliferation of flowers this year.
The flowers of Dampiera stricta are truly this intense blue:
On the way back, we came upon a well-camouflaged cow orchid (Cryptostylis subulata)in a clump of greenery. Although it is supposedly common in this area, it is not common enough to make it into either of my encyclopaedias of Australian plants.
Waratahs have already finished flowering, but their new young foliage glowing in the sunlight is very attractive.