Friday, 30 December 2011

Unsquare Swamp

I posted in November about a visit to Square Rock in Namadgi National Park.  Today we visited the area again, but instead of visiting the Rock we spent most of our time in and near the swamps to the North of Corin Road.  The primary objective was to look for Orchids in the company of a group of friends who are expert in such matters.  Cutting to the chase we - needless to say, mainly "them" - found 10 species.

This first image is of Simpliglottis valida.  It is going over (orchid-speak for a flower being fertilised  which is equivalent - in the current generation -  to 'passing away', 'joining the majority', 'croaking' etc etc) but this was about the best example of a flower we found.
 The only 'donkey orchid' found was Diuris monticola which added to the many yellow plants in the swamp.
 We now move on to the 'potato orchids".  Two species were found on the day, on the slopes above the Swamp.  The first two images are Gastrodia entomogama - recognisable by the warty appearnce of the base of the flower.  First a close up ...
 .. then a shot of the whole spike.
 The examples of G sesamoides were rather scrawny.
 Hiding amongst the grasses and reeds were a few examples of Prasophyllum canaliculatum.  Despite its vernacular name, this doesn't look at all like any part of a leek!
 There were quite a few examples of the Greenhood orchids.  Fortunately they tended to be the larger and more exciting genera.  The first example is Pterostylis aneba the smallest species found on the day, and also the rarest, this being about the only colony known in the ACT.   I am advised that in this case the labellum has been 'triggered' due to someone's size 9 having gently tapped the plant.
 Pterostylis falcata is much larger with a definitive shape to the dorsal sepal.
 The next three images are of P. monticola, with a much darker labellum.
Sometimes a hitchhiker turns up ..
 ..  and, like buses, after a period of none around there is suddenly a rush.  In this image I have put red dots on the 10 flowers in the image.
 The final greenhood is Diplodium decurvum.  It was described as a 'baby' as it wasn't fully open, but the decurved dorsal sepal, and bronze tip thereto are visible.
 Although the day was relatively mild a colony of sun orchids Thelymitra cyanea were kind enough to be open for us. 
 The curlicues on the column produced interesting effects!  Put your own name to this face!
Moving from orchids, but sticking with monocotyledons for a little longer here is a small vanilla lily Arthropodium minor.  In close up, I was particularly struck by the woolly stalks on the stamens.
The only dicotyledon to catch my fancy was a Comespermum.
The first animals to be sighted were a bunch of kangaroos that seemed rather reluctant to shift from the only bit of dry ground in the swamp.
As with our previous visit there were hug numbers of skinks in the area. 
The insects life was interesting but largely not hungry (at least not for our flesh).  This March fly (possibly Dasybasis sp) just sat on my jeans to be photographed.

While a turquoise moth posed obligingly (now, if only it will offer up its name so helpfully...).  The nearestt I have come, with thanks to Denis's comment below is the family Geometridae.
Back at the car this colourful insect appeared.  After a side track into paper wasp (subsequently rejected as it doesn't have a waist) I have concluded at a Steel-blue sawfly, Perga dorsalis.  
I noticed surprisingly few members of the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets) around.  This one, a Katydid, Acripeza reticulata, is a wingless female.
Over the day I recorded 24 species of birds. The highlight was a family of Little Ravens: as the adults fed one of the very noisy chicks this became a breeding record.

I will conclude with a photograph taken by Frances, proving that I too get down and dirty when the Gastrodia demands it.

5 comments:

Denis Wilson said...

Stunning collection of Orchids Martin.
I am jealous as ...
Your Prasophyllum canaliculatum is on the NSW Threatened Species list.
Makes interesting reading.
http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/profile.aspx?id=20064
There are at least 5 species of Orchids there which I have not seen.
I think your black and orange insect is a paper wasp, rather than a Cicada.
Check Donald Hobern's insect site:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhobern/2943046019/in/set-72157608036815194/
Jealous, jealous, jealous.
Have a good New Year.
Denis

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin, again.
By the way your little pale green Delta-winged Moth is in the Geometridae family.
They come to my front porch light regularly.
Many similar species.
Hard to photograph, as colour varies according to light strength and angle.
Take your pick from Donald's site.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhobern/sets/72157607370313311/

Flabmeister said...

Denis

Thanks for those comments.

I was not happy with the cicada call as the wings looked too small. I decided against wasp since the abdoment looked too blunt - not pointed as shown in the Chew families images (Donald's image doesn't show that part of the body).

WRT to the moth I had contemplated Geometridae but couldn't get quite what I had seen from Donald's excellent collection. I will just leave it at the family level.

Changes made.

Martin

Flabmeister said...

Denis

I should also comment on the relative wonders covered in this post and those in your posts from the Southern Highlands (and indeed the plants you kindly showed us).

IMHO you live in a wonderland - which I know you appreciate - and need not worry that we occasionally get a purple patch. Or indeed a green/brown patch!

Martin

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
As long as you don't deny me a tinge of envy at your Orchids.
I was going to comment on the effect of altitude on flowering times (a theme I have been addressing recently in my Blog).
Our Sun Orchids all finished here in the second week of December (even the late ones).
Re the Geometrid moths, I seldom get past family level. It really requires a pinned specimen and a desk microscope, and a very good reference collection - which is why we leave it to the likes of Donald and his pals in CSIRO Entomology Division.
Happy New Year.
Denis