6 April

April 6.

The night had been mild and clear and the sun rose in a cloudless sky. We
traversed plains of firmer surface than those crossed on the previous
day. So early even as nine o’clock the heat was oppressive.

SNAKE AND BIRD.

On one of these plains I witnessed an instance of the peculiar
fascination attributed to the serpent race. A large snake, lying at full
length, attracted our attention and I wished to take it alive, but as
Roach, the collector, was at a distance, some time elapsed before
preparations were made for that purpose. The ground was soft and full of
holes, into one of which it would doubtless have disappeared as soon as
it was alarmed. The rest of the party came up yet, unlike snakes in
general, who glide rapidly off, this creature lay apparently regardless
of noise, or even of the approach of the man, who went slowly behind it
and seized its head. At that moment a little bird fluttered from beside a
small tuft within a few feet of the snake and, it seemed, as the men
believed, scarcely able to make its escape.

When we were near the spot on which we intended to encamp a native
pointed out to me a small hill beyond the river where, as he informed me,
Mr. Oxley and his party had encamped before he crossed the Lachlan. It
was called by this native Gobberguyn. We pitched our tents a little
higher than that hill where a favourable bend of the river met my line of
route. The cattle were much fatigued with the day’s work although the
distance did not exceed eleven miles. It was in my power however to give
them rest for a day or two as the grass was tolerably good on that part
of the riverbank, and I was within reach of Mount Granard, a height which
I had long been anxious to examine, as well as the country to be seen
from it. Among the usual grasses we found one which I had not previously
seen and which proved to be a new species of Danthonia.*

(*Footnote. Danthonia pectinata, Lindley manuscripts; spica simplici
secunda pleiostachya pectinata foliis multo longiore, palea inferiore
villosissima; laciniis lateralibus membranaceis aristae aequalibus.)