Wednesday, 27 August 2014

ANPS sees white on Black Mountain

Unfortunately it wasn't the white of Stegostyla sp. but read on a bit - OK quite a bit - to find out what it was!  There are a couple of rants to begin with, but we soon get to plants!

We were greeted by this very nice sign.
As always I wonder how much they pay for the design, fabrication and installation of such boffo.  My guess is that it could cover the cost of a few staff years of Ranger effort to prosecute litterers, trail bike riders and other degenerates.

So what do you do with a Nature Reserve?  What else than run a squillion power lines through it.
In case you wonder about the soil profile in Black Mountain here it is.
Possibly the term 'soil gets stretched a bit there, but I don't have to dig it, and the plants seem to like it which is the main thing.

As we are getting close to Wattle Day (and there are celebrations advertised on the net by the Friends of ANBG) I will start the floriferosity with some Acacias.  The commonest one today was A buxifolia.
 A. gunnii was, as usual, keeping a low, but attractive profile.
A. genistifolia.
 A. dealbata
 Some purple beans were evident all through the area (at least the bits that haven't been incinerated recently - rant - me rant?  surely not).  Hardenbergia violacea.

Hovea heterophylla
Here is some white, although Leucopogon fletcheri was not what led to the title of this post.
 Neither was L. attenuatus.
 And Melichrus urceolatus is more cream than white (apart from the fertilised bits which are an attractive shade of orange).
We now move into the sphere of things with rather inconspicuous flowers.  My guess is that if you are reading this on a 'phone screen this flower of Omphacomeria acerba will be about 10x life size.  Using a laptop computer - many times life size.  But it is cute.
Luzula densiflora is usually seen as a rosette only, but this one had some nice flowers.
 I think this is the male version of Phyllanthus hirtellus!
 Drosera sp was enjoying lunch (and supper and breakfast -  for the next several days).
Hakea decurrens.
You can run, but you can't hide.  Pomaderris will always get you: in this case P. intermedia.
 Finally a yellow and red bean: Dillwynnia phylicoides.
I was trying to take a snap of a native bee on this Eucalypt blossom but:
  1. missed the insect; and 
  2. forgot to ID the tree!
 This is not Grevillea alpina!
 The traditional Stypandra glauca.
 A non-traditional Stypandra glauca.  That is the white flower I have been banging on about!
Suggestions were raised about there being uranium in the soil to cause the mutation, but I'd rate it equally likely it got zapped by a burst of waves from the Tower!

Fortunately we did find some greenhoods to make up for the lack of not-Caladenias.  Bunochilus umbrinus

This shows - very badly - the biggest bunch.
 I have obviously got right out of touch at snapping orchids.  We found quite a few Pterostylis nutans.
There is going to be a good display of Glossodia major in a few weeks.  This hairy job was the most advanced we saw.
Some interesting moss sporangia.
The only fungus I noticed today was this Stereum sp. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Kellys Swamp gets wet

Early in 2014 Kelly's Swamp was completely dry.  Water slowly returned as it rained, but the growth of vegetation meant that the water - and any birds swimming around in it  - was almost invisible.  The recent rainfall has put enough liquid down the Molonglo that the swamp is now rather full.

This is the view from Bittern Hide
 .. and here is one from Cygnus.  One hopes that the reeds don't erupt as they were doing, or most of this view will disappear.
 A couple of Hardheads showing that the water isn't that deep (or they are standing on a submerged log).
 Water on (and off) a Coots back, as it gives the business to some vegetation.
 First. spot the vegetation under the water ...
 .. then dive for it.   This image might help answer the question what does a Coot's botty look like, as well as displaying the waves created as it dives.
 The adult Swamphens are looking rather lurid, presumably getting ready for an outbreak of breeding ...
 .. while the outcome of last year's breeding still looks a tad dowdy by comparison.
I am surprised, given the size of their feet that Swamphens aren't able to run across lily pads as do Jacanas.  Presumably they are a good bit heavier.

Monday, 25 August 2014

A self-gratifying ad campaign

The NSW Government has launched a new anti-littering campaign.  Here are a couple of the posters the use

This is based around a pun, or possibly a double-entendre.  The premiere entendre relates to people throwing litter around.  The deuxieme entendre is covered well in this page.  The basic thrust that people who chuck litter are wankers is, I feel, pretty much beyond challenge.

We observed a particular example of onanism one Sunday morning at the junction of Widgiewa and Captains Flat Rds when a ute laden with trail bikes stopped, two youth got out chucked a can on the ground and after a couple of minutes drove off.  Presumably to wreck some of the State Forest nearby.

Here is a snap of part of this area as it looked on 24 August.
 This image comes from a bit further towards the forest, at the start of Briars-Sharrow Rd.
My guess is that 2 sacks of litter could easily be gained in about 100m of verge at each of these sites.  On Briars-Sharrow a particular contribution to litter is offered by so-called Energy Drinks with Red Bull evident but the commonest brand being V.  (Mother, which has been a noticeable component of litter in recent years wasn't evident.)

I am not saying that all the litter is down to trail bikers but these two spots are places where people can pull off the road to meet up on their way to the forest.  Hopefully I will be able to get some educational material along the lines shown above to display at the sites.

Proving that this site is fully across recent news, here is a Keep Australia Beautiful comment suggesting that folk in the ACT are relatively unlikely to go blind.  However noting the number plates on cars coming down Captain's Flat Rd on a Sunday morning its not because they have stopped anything with (inter alia) their hands, but just that they do the littering across the Territory border!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Some spring flowers

We have had a small drop of rain (about 17mm so far this month, unlike Robertson) and the temperature seems to be rising.   This has persuaded some of our plants that Spring is in the air and they are responding with flowers, which I show below for your enjoyment.

The first three are Hellebores

 I call this little charmer a snowdrop, but have a suspicion that it isn't the plant so called in the UK!
 Some narcissi.

 A small blue bulb, the name of which escapes me at the (senior's)  moment!
The almond tree is the first of the fruit trees to flower.  It never seems to set fruit (although that may be down to the local parrots rather than the tree).
 Two forms of Correa: both planted rather than naturally occurring.

 The plant with the longest name in the garden: Euphorbia caracias wulfenii - a much pleasanter sound than the vernacular Mediterranean spurge (which sounds like the Greek economy!)