Friday, 24 October 2014

Happy snaps from Carwoola

The following are more or less a collection of photographs I captured around Carwoola today.  To a large extent they reflect the coming of warm weather.

This first was an Australian Painted Lady snapped as I went up the block checking on the snu orchids.
Next we have a combo of a beetle (details to be provided) on a Wahlenbergia sp.  There will probably be a special post on Wahlenbergias on our property in the near future, when we have sorted out what is what!
The orchid news is that the patch of Diuris semilunulata has hit it s straps.  Here is a good specimen ...
 .. and this is part of the main patch.
We have two species of Kunzea on the property.  The mass of K. ericoides has white flowers in December.  The less abundant (here - towards the coast it is the main offender) is the mauve K parvifolia which flowers much earlier.
 A sample of an individual flower has been provided earlier.

The warm weather has got the leggy reptiles out on the road.  This Common Blue-tongued Lzard was on Whiskers Creek Rd.
 A little later this Eastern Bearded Dragon was challenging traffic on Widgiewa Rd.
The black shade reflects (sic) the melanin used to prevent damage due to sun stroke!  I have in the past mentioned their ability to shift pigment around.
Fortunately it took off to the verge once I had got my images.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Small excitements at Carwoola

This morning was rather warm, which made the pollywogmouth chick emerge from the feather blanket.
 I retreated indoors and took this shot from my computer chair.  It gives a better idea of how big the chick is.
 A few minutes later and I finally got a decent view of two chicks,  All previous views this season have been of a single chick and "a lump" which might just have been a bit of Dad.
 There are still a few Glossodia major around, but looking rather tired.  The first orchid excitement was the appearance of a few Diuris sulphurea in the upper parts of the block.  Here is a close-up ...
 .. and here a habitat shot.
 By 0945 it was warm enough (20oC ) to go hunting for sun orchids,  To my delight I found at least two plants.  Looking at the shape of the column and (particularly) the tufts I have concluded these are Thelymitra nuda, rather than the T. pauciflora I had been expecting.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

ANPS considers the Lilies of Baroona Rd

Let me begin by thanking Jeremy and Sandra for hosting us this morning

I had thought of the above title based on past visits to their property and knowing that there are examples of Bulbine glauca to be found there.  (I have in the past used the phrase in a game of charades referring to a Lillee, Denis of that ilk. who did not follow the words of St Matthew (6:28) but toiled mightily in the field.)

To get to the start of the day we gathered at Michelago for final car pooling and there was a small amount of wailing about the appearance of the weather.  However the first sentence of the cited verse And why take ye thought for raiment? - in the King James version, was appropriate by the time we started walking, with a beautiful fine day.  
The B. glauca did appear as hoped for.
 Its smaller relative B. bulbosa was present in good numbers .
Thysanotus patersonii, the Twining Fringe Lily was considered very carefully by our hosts: we managed to find several examples in various parts of the property.
 The final 'lily' I observed was Dianella revoluta.
 Others in the group found Arthropodium minus (Vanilla lily) and a few Wurmbea dioica (Late Nancies).

Sticking with monocots the first orchid found was an Onion Orchid, Microtis sp.
 In the field I had thought it was M. unifolia but looking at the shape of the labellum (smooth edges, the 'notch' isn't evident. and the apical calli are very small) on my computer screen I now think it is M. parvifolia.
One additional point of interest here was the way that some of of the Microtis were developing flower stems even though the leaves had been well grazed.  Jeremy suggested that most of the current grazing damage on the property was caused by feral deer rather than the usual suspects, Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

Diuris pardina was represented by one specimen, but further thinking and peering closely at the image has led me, on advice, to make a call of Diuris semilunulata.
Reflecting the march of the season, D sulphurea was present in good numbers in the higher, wooded areas.
 Only a single Petalochilus was found.  It was very pink and as the sides of the labellum are pretty much vertical I will be bold and call it P carneus.
 Quite a few buds of Thelymitra sp were evident, but they need a couple more warm days.
 Its bean time! Mirbelia oxylobioides kicks off the Fabaceae.
 Dillwynia sericea
 Moving to the right of the spectrum a few examples of Indigofera australis were found.
 In the grassy areas there were lots (sorry about the technical term) of Swainsona sericea. Here they are in various sorts and conditions.

 A grab-bag of other species follows, beginning with Stackhousia monogyna.
 A crinkled Goodenia pinnatifida
Brachyscome dentata: a single flower in close up ....
 ... and a couple of flowers also showing the leaves.
 Chrysocephalum semipapposum 
 Two specimens of Wahlenbergia sp.  I am intrigued by the differing shapes of the stigma - possibly just a matter of stage of development.

This Mirbelia gets the species a second suck of the sauce-stick by inviting a small red-abdomened bee for a meal.
I have searched for this and the closest match I have got is Ecnolagria grandis, the Brown Darkling Beetle.
Birds I am more comfortable with.  Two Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes posed obligingly in a dead tree.  Sandra wondered if they were nesting in the vicinity.

I have saved the best until last.  Thanks to a call from Cheryl (and a small amount of shutter-lag on my camera I was just able to catch this Striated Pardalote emerging from its nest hollow.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Show me the way to go home

All good things must come to an end and so it was with this foray to Mallacoota.  The weather seemed keen to bookend the trip with another day of typically changeable Victorian weather.
There was in fact very little rain apart from the 2mm which fell overnight.  As it was pack up quick day - some other folk were due at the house sometime during the day - we only did a short walk but did get a reasonable image of the Myoporum acuminatum along the shore of the Inlet.
This lurid item growing in a front yard is Alloxylon flammeum - a tree waratah.  If that is correct its a native of NE Queensland.
Having packed up and headed off we noticed that 15o C was insufficient to get the sun orchids on Genoa rd opening.  We made a first stop at the Gipsy Point Cemetery which was in magnificent flowery condition.  It was a trigger plant forest!
A couple of plants of Caleana major were found, but to my mind the dark colour suggests they have done their dash for this year.
 A spider web full of raindrops.
 This was the only evidence of Dipodium sp we noticed on this trip.  (On other trips later in the year there have been many of these Hyacinth Orchids throughout the area.)
Ther were many sun orchid plants evident (both T ixoides and T carnea)  but this was the closest we found to one being in flower.
 On up the road, being very surprised to see a male Emu grazing beside the Highway.  Since commenting on this to the COG Chatline I have received a couple of emails about them being evident in the these SE Forests.  Here is an image, of a very similar bird,

... taken by Ben Miller, in Towamba SF in December 2013.  My informant, Alida Miller, says:
They were in a logged radiata planting/mixed grassland near a creek at the Pericoe end of the forest. We saw a full mob. Probably about 12. So imposing. A little scary actually, but a wonderful sight."
Further information comes from Mark Clayton who was surveying
 " ...the logging crews checking to see what arboreal mammals that were dislodged living in the trees destined for Japan as they were cut down. We became well know by both forestry staff and logging crews and they took an interest in what we were doing – many were actually sympathetic to the plight of anything that came down with a tree!!. On one occasion we were taken to an unfished forestry road well south of Eden near the Victorian border, and well west of the Princes Highway, that had been halted because there was a male Emu sitting  on a nest, obviously with eggs! I don’t know what happened to the nest. There is a population of Emus along part of the NSW/Vic coastline and these could also be augmented from the population in the southern ”High Country”."
We stopped to check out the Imlay Creek rest area.  The first time we came here it seemed magical but today and the previous time it has been rather disappointing.  Possibly this is due to works in the area?  This was the only place we found much Epacris impressa in flower: the coastal crop has finished for the year.
A couple of species of Fabaceae were also in flower but haven't yet been identified..

 After climbing up to, and passing through, Bombala our final stop was at Black Lake near the village of Bibbenluke.  Another birdie surprise here was seeing a White-bellied Sea Eagle.  It scared the feathers off this raft of Eurasian Coots.
I have counted 240 birds in this image and there were a few more off to the right (and others scattered across the lake) so my field estimate of 300 is not too far off.

WRT the Sea-Eagle, Alida has reminded my friend Denis Wilson that they had seen one at this location.  This caused me to look up Birdata and find that there is an isolated location for the Sea-Eagle marked right on this spot:
The birds must be permanent residents of the area.

Warning: image of former animal coming up.

Some local with a sense of humour, presumably enhanced by consuming the depicted product, had augmented this poor road-killed wombat.  It did look to exemplify the old headstone epitaph "Not dead, just sleeping".
It also links, through an old musical hall song, back to the title of this post.