Sunday, 29 July 2012

Where we have been

This blog has been rather quiet recently as we have been off on a trip West.  The main destination was Lower Eyre Peninsula and all is contained in the pages of the Tick Magnet blog.

The main thrusts are birds, plants (including some nifty orchids) and old buildings.

A few days are yet to be finalised, and will be updated in the next day or so, but by and large it is done and dusted.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Scatology revisited

I recently posted about some strange scats I found in a grove of pine trees.  I left a sheet of cardboard under the trees to see if I could pick up any later donations.  Nothing had appeared until this morning (2 weeks later).  I then noticed as we passed on our dog exercise that the cardboard was decorated.
The most interesting aspect of this is that there have not been any Yellow-tailed black-cockatoos in the area for several days as far as I am aware - and they are not a surreptitious species!  So: if it wasn't YTBC what was it?  Crimson Rosellas have been around a lot and they might be doing it dry?  Certainly the following morning there were 4 vocal Rosellas sitting near the pines.

Being around with my camera I thought I would snap a few other things.  This moss was attractive in presenting a range of shades of green.
 As usual at this time of year close inspection shows that plants are starting to get ready for the new season.  (Such news is necessary to get through the bitterly cold - but clear - days and the slightly warmer days that are cloudy and miserable.)  The next few images are of Acacia buds.
Acacia rubida
 Acacia buxifolia
 Acacia dealbata
 Acacia pravissima
 Two common eucalypts are notable for their different tones.

The red of Eucalyptus macrorhyncha
 and the yellow-green of Eucalyptus mannifera,
 Down closer to ground level a single flower of Dillwynia sericea - a bean - was found (and promptly lost again).

Sunday, 8 July 2012

It ain't half hot Mum

This is nothing to do with a British TV series but more a reflection that on the Monaro at present it isn't even one-tenth hot.   Here are our (OK, Canberra Airport BoM) recent minimum temperatures: note especially the last week!
According to the Canberra Times 9 July was also cold at -4.9!  

This shot over the Hoskinstown Plain from our dog-exercise this morning (8 July) shows the mist rising at about 8:45, with the temperature around zero centigrade.
 When we got home I was very surprised to find our closest dam was iced over (except where the drips of water off the trees had kept it open).
 Here are some impressionistic shots of ice crystals on leaves and such like.  I'll have to do some more work to focus on transparent objects!

 Of course if you have a nice fur coat ...
 ... or a friend with feathers
 ... you don't notice the cold so much.

Nearby these buds on a Eucalyptus mannifera suggest that it will eventually get warm again!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Art and abart in and near Canberra

I found I was going to have some time on my hands in Civic this morning so decided to take some photos of the street art scene.  A few other items suggested themselves along the way and could be tortured to fit a narrative so here we go.

The first image is near the start of the outing showing the descent into Queanbeyan.  It is mainly here because I finally had the camera on hand, and Frances poised to use it!
Further along the road we go past Canberra Airport which has erected this to distract motorists who are rude (their view) or sensible (my view) enough to ignore this place.  It does seem to be mobile and suggests to me the business plan of a pyramid sales organisation.
In Civic there is quite a bit of official art here and there.  This first one is on London Circuit, near where we parked.
In so far as Civic has a centre it is probably Civic Square which includes the Canberra Theatre, the Canberra Museum and Gallery and the ACT House of Assembly.  The forecourt of these includes this rather nioce fountain.

Across the road in the Canberra Memorial.  This is a memorial to the people who have participated in peacekeepng work as well as armed conflict.  It  was done by Matthew Harding.
Near the Carousel is this rather whimsical figure titled Big Little Man by Dean Bowen.
This is an old favourite which I have often referred to as "Ramming the Shears" with apologies to Tom Roberts.  It is actually titled "Ainslie's Sheep" referring to the original Scots settler who grazed his beasts in the area, before deciding a Canberra Winter was too warm and headed back to a Summer in Scotland.  The artist is Les Kossatz.
Where there are sheep there are usually dogs.  This fine lot "Bush pack (nil tenure)" are by Amanda Stuart.
I can't say much about the artist's involved in the following images, from the service alleys behind the nice shops, since they generally don't leave their names.  However they do all IMHO have considerable skill in execution unlike the vandalistic tags.

In many cases in large cities one of the questions about graffiti is how did they get up there to do that? That question is easily answered for this final sample.
It also links to these images in an alley where I thought the piping and other industrial stuff made quite artistic shapes!

Somehow I found that a bunch of tourists taking photos en masse was quite amusing.  Somehow stranger than me doing it solo!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

ANPS does orchids, fungi and Lizards at Bango NR

I will offer the caution that this post includes about 30 images so beware of load times!  

The ANPS outing today was to Bango Nature Reserve about 12km North of Yass.  It is the patch of green under the 'ngo' of "Bango".  Our activities were in the NW element of the Reserve and thus out of the COG area of interest shown by the grid.
 This was a new area for the group, and myself having done a brief foray in the past I was a little worried that it wouldn't be too exciting.  I think I was wrong.

Not far into the Reserve we found a colony of greenhood orchids - perhaps 30 flowers.  They were put into the genus Diplodium fairly quickly and after much consulting of The Book a tentative ID of D.  fischii was arrived at.  This is rather late flowering (cited as February to May) but nothing else seemed to match.  Comments and alternatives welcome.  Tony Wood from the ACT orchid group has endorsed this ID commenting that "D. fischii with its tall flower, non bulging sinus and concealed labellum is quite distinct, although flowering somewhat late. "

 We had barely got over that when a colony of Acianthus collinus was discovered.  These matched the image in the book rather well and it flowers June to August, so spot on.
 The aim of this photo was the leaves so please ignore the out of focus flowers!
A little further on and your humble servant (OK I am no-one's servant and have never been accused of being humble) found another colony of Acianthus sp.  They are a very different colour to the first colony but

  • the shape of the dorsal sepal is similarly 'humped'; and
  • in yet another colony the flowers appeared to grade in colour between the two extremes
so we think they may just be a different form of A. collinus,  Comments and suggestions welcome.  Again, Tony Wood has endorsed the identification.

As I discussed with a member of the group - sorry, can't remember who, you're all excellent - there was an astonishing collection of fungi today.  Numbers of fruiting bodies were very high and the diversity was amazing.  I am having lotza issues re names so unless I have some clear ideas I have just put the images up for your enjoyment.  I may be able to get some help from mycologists!

The "found"truck mirror really earned its keep today!  The identification of the fungi which follow was largely provided by Graham Patterson and Tom May at Fungimap to whom many thanks are offered.

This first one is Dermocybe austroveneta - with a vernacular name of Green Skinhead: as the average Spurs supporter might say  "Yer got 'ny problem wif dat then?"

 This one Tremella foliacea appeared purely black but when the image was taken red tones became apparent.

The next is Gymnopilus allantopusThe veil remnants around the rim are characteristic.
There were masses of this species Cortinarius sinapicolor in the higher areas,  It was very slimy (which may, or may not, be an aid in ID).  In this image it has been infected by mould.

These are, as suggested by another reader (thanks Marco), Licenomphalia chromacea ( previously Omphalina).  They look rather different to my usual sightings of the species but I bow to more knowledgeable people!

 These are Earthstars (Geastrum triplex: I doubt if I will be able to do any better than that).  I couldn't but Graham and Tom did!  The thick cracking rays are the clue.
The next one looks most like Macrolepiota procera - especially the dark umbo (pointy bit in the middle) - but that grows with exotic trees, and there were none of those in the area.  Given that the substrate wasn't correct, and after looking at Fungi Down Under I now wonder if this was not Coprinus comatus.  A reader has commented by email that by the time C. comatus had got to this stage black gills would be visible, so I think we strike that. Help!  Ask and ye shall receive!  Fungimap advises Macrolepiota clelandii!

Perhaps Podoscypha petaloides?  Confirmed
Fuhrer delivers on the next one.  It is an ascomycete, Chlorocibaria sp.  Confirmed.

OK so we get to Lizards.  Specifically to Shingelbacks (Trachydosaurus rugosus).  We saw 3 of these today and all were intrigued what they were doing out and about in these temperatures.  The first one might have been warmed by its accommodation ...
 .. but this was a baby and should surely have been hibernating,
 Here we have a very big specimen: possibly a gravid female.
 Someone asked what colour their tongue was.  After a stroke of its back, the answer was clearly "blue"!
My new reptile book notes that they can give a painful bite!

 There were a few flowering dicotyledons around as well.  Here is Gonocarpus sp,
 Hibbertia obtusifolia
 and Acacia ulicifolia
 Why has this area not been cleared?  I think Roger nailed it as we drove up.  It is very rocky!
To some extent this trip was a bit like the Ascent of Rumdoodle.  The group did scale the peak but it was the wrong one!  I took the chance to correct this by visiting the higher summit while others socialised over lunch.  I suspect the claim in the Management Plan that this is a cairn (ie a human assisted pile of rocks) is a tad dubious: that top rock would weigh a motza.
At various spots there were bones of domestic stock.  I left these artistic rams horns in situ.
 At the top of the incorrect peak this blaze on a fallen tree indicated that a representative of the State (Colonial?) Government had been there at some time in the past!