Monday, 12 March 2012

General Nature Study at Carwoola

This post is to be a repository of a range of images I took while wandering our block on 11 March.  The only unifying feature is that I thought the observations interesting!  It starts rather scatologically and gets somewhat arachnophilic towards the the end: that is all the warning you get.

The observations began with a second round of my battle with Fleabane.  As noted in those posts as I wander around I am always looking down to check that I am Whacking Weeds rather than my boots.  Thus one sees proof that the wombats are still around.
We had seen one wandering around the day after the floods which was pleasing since many of their burrows, in the banks of the Creek would have been inundated.

The next image is also close to the ground showing a 2-headed Eriochilus cucullatus.  Not that unusual but very attractive.  After a slow start to their season these are popping up in large numbers.
This fungus is not in itself that interesting.  However the yellow material is a slime mould, possibly Fuligo septica, the Dogs Vomit slime mould.
We now move to arthropods.  Before the spider (just a little foreshadowing) we have some insects.  The first two images are of a Robber Fly, looking rather like Ommatius mackayi.
It then decided to sit on my hand for a while!
I was intrigued about this specimen which looks like a wasp but just sat clasped tightly to a grass stem.  I wondered if it had been paralysed by the Robber fly.  Roger Farrow has advised that it is a thynnid flower wasp - possibly Hemithynnus sp - mimicing a Vespid wasp.  The stillness may be due to a fungal infection.
Lurking in the grass below the fly was a rather large SPIDER.

From the arrangement of the eyes visible in the second image I have decided that this is a Wolf Spider Lycosa sp.

Birds were very evident on our lawn, investigating the grass seeds. During one particularly active period there were up to 6 Superb Fairy-wrens and 10 Red-browed Finches hopping around an area about 10m by 4m.
One of the finches appeared to be still fed by its parents: this makes it a Dependent Young (DY) record, seen as an indirect indicator of breeding activity.
Personally, I reckon it is old and big enough to feed itself so would prefer to regard this as an IY (Indolent Young) record.

As  dusk fell we were sitting in our sunroom enjoying some grape juice - my goodness, it had fermented and developed a nice finish to it!  - when I noticed two Eastern Rosellas perched in the pine trees.
The photo is not great technically but I felt it captured the impression of the event.  So paint it on a cigar box lid and call me Tom Roberts!

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