Monday, 30 September 2013

4 orchids and a smelly dog

When we started on our walk with the dog this morning I called in to see how our large - 60+ plants - colony of Cyanicula caerulea (the blue not-Caladenia) were going.  The short answer is that they have gone for this year.  However I did find my first Stegostyla sp. for the year on our property.  I will take a punt on it being S. ustulata in view of the absence of purple on the visible areas.
I thought I should go back and see what else I could find in the afternoon.  First off, I proved that " everything there is a season ..." (attribute to Ecclesiastes or the Byrds as you wish, but the Byrds have a better melody line).  So it is with orchids: I found quite a few more S. ustulata and got down and close:
Then as I neared our house I found this:
I believed that to be S. cucullata but a couple of folk whose opinions I completely respect have explained that it is still S ustulata - see comments for details.

Somewhat later in the morning walk I stumbled across our first Diuris chryseopsis for the year.  We tend to have very few of these but this was in the usual spot.
Glossodia major are common on the property (there are currently about 100 flowers in the main colony) and have been around for a couple of weeks.  However it made a nice addition to the collection for the day.
Next to the Glossodia, was a single Cyanicula caerulea.
As well as the orchids we found our first significant outbreak of members of the Fabaceae.  This is, I think' Dillwynnia sieberi which I have only found once or twice before on the property.  Today we found three plants in a small area.
 The patch of Daviesia mimosoides was also coming out into serious flower.
 We have one patch of Clematis microphylla which is coming nicely into flower.
In between all this excitement I was a little concerned when the small dog slumped over and writhed on the ground.  However she arose and trotted on with no concern.  I concluded that something had parked a coil on the ground and it required rolling in.  Somewhat later in the walk the process was repeated and this time "Essence du Reynard" was detectable through both visual and olfactory senses.  Probably also taste, but I wasn't going to go there!

So job #1 was to decon-Tammie-nate the beast.
 Applying a towel got rid of much of the surplus water and shampoo.
 Earlier in the day Frances had noticed a brown pile on the lawn which I initially identified as where said small dog had been digging after wascally wabbits or wodents the previous day.  On going to look more closely the excavation was more significant.  Obviously one of the local wombats had decided to deepen the hole.
 Hopefully a 20kg rock will persuade it to go somewhere else!
After positioning the rock this rather attractive blowie turned up nearby.  From Brisbane Insects I have tentatively identified it as Calliphora (Neocalliphora) ochracea.

Queanbeyan by-pass site revisited

Two weeks ago we went for a short walk in the outskirts of Queanbeyan.  The area is the Council preferred route for the Queanbeyan by-pass, and an alternative route which had been suggested is probably off the table following the ill-advised judgement of voters at the recent Federal election (not that I'm bitter and twisted or anything).

Feeling like another stroll this afternoon we decided to take a similar route to see what had changed.  The overall change is that the Acacias have largely finished flowering while the Fabaceae have started to hit their straps.
(On the former visit Dillwynnia sieberi, a member of the latter family, was very evident from the start of the walk but on this visit the flowering of this species was restricted to the upper end of the route.)

The main species visible on this walk were Pultenaeas.  To begin with they were mainly P. subspicata ..
 ... while P. microphylla kicked in at various spots.
 Some Leucochrysum albicans was beginning to emerge (as it is along the roadsides of Palerang Shire).
 Others specimens of this species were still in bud.
 Daviesia genistifolia had done its dash, and was showing the characteristic triangular fruits as well as the gorse-like leaves.
 In terms of Epacridae (ie heaths) Leucopogon sp, were still around but, like your author, getting a bit senescent.  Lissanthe strigosa, noted last visit as "just starting to burst", was very evident in the lower areas but had gone to the relatively boring white flowers rather than the pink buds which give it the vernacular name of peach heath.

What looked like a heath in a few areas was in fact Cryptandra amara which is a member of the family Rhamnaceae...
 .. as is this Pomaderris eriocephala which was really starting to flower in profusion.

When the ANPS WW visited the area in 2009 the Coordinator commented that "We were surprised to find one major gully and several tributaries full of Pomaderris eriocephala which will look spectacular in spring.".  Now is the time she meant and it is starting to look spectacular.  This shows the density of a thicket from inside!
 Indigofera australis was developing further, although there aren't a huge number of plants around.
 We came back mainly along the same route, to avoid annoying the pig-dogs (although they still heard us 100m away and proceeded to emulate either pork-chops or the Hounds of the Baskervilles).  This led us to an area in which the Pimelea curviflora (I think that is the species) was in various states of emergence.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Tulips, Camellias etc

Having given the daffodils around our place a bit of webspace I thought the tulips should get a go.  I will begin with some shots of the mass plantings in a friend's garden.

 We don't have the massed plantings but the next three are close-ups of some blooms in our gardens.

This is a lily which has appeared in our garden for the first time this year.  We have no memory of buying or planting this bulb but it also would be strange for it to suddenly appear after 6 years!  So I presume it must have hitch-hiked on some other things we have acquired and planted!  My friend Alison has suggested this to be a Tritelia, which has shown many of the same characteristics in her garden.  (On looking the genus up on Wikipedia it seems to be a taxonomist's delight with splits and lumps all over the place!)
 We do remember planting bluebells and this is the first year they have flowered.
 Close ups of our camellias.  They are proving attractive to Eastern Spinebills.

 A Native plant!  This is the first Daviesia mimosoides I have seen this season.
 This beetle was lying on the road.  It wasn't well, but was still alive.  It has been identified by my entomologist friend Roger Farrow as Amycterus abnormis which is apparently very common (and also very tough skinned).

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Carnival is over

I do apologise to The Seekers for using their song in this context.  Even though one of their members was a Liberal politician I would be surprised if he is a fan of Tony Abbott.

It now seems that the results of the recent Federal Election are known and it is about as bad as could be expected.  My support for our local Member, Mike Kelly, has had the usual result for people I work for: they lose.

Some aspects of the likely future have been foreshadowed in a recent blogpost by my friend Ian Fraser.  In commenting on that I suggested that "... in 10 years time there will be a popular game of picking the worst decision by the Abbott hegemony.".  In the first week since the Gang of 40 (ie 10 times as bad as the final days of Maoist rule in China) were sworn in - rather than sworn at - there have been a number of omens of what is to come which might be contenders for that title:

  • The decisions about secrecy on asylum seeker boat arrivals;
  • Sacking the Secretaries of 3 Departments (possibly 4 if the announced future resignation of the Secretary to the Treasury was really a form of "gardening leave") and abolishing a number of other bodies;
  • A set of decisions about tertiary education; and
  • Pushing the exploitation of Coal Seam gas in NSW (Queensland needs no encouragement). 

I have commented a couple of time recently about fracking up the country for CSG.  In my post about our voyage to the Southern Highlands I concluded with:
Obviously the local landowners share the views of the Council.  Unfortunately the State Government (and the new, unimproved Federal Government) are unsympathetic.  I suspect Hume Coal, POSCO and the other frackers will be putting their better bottles of bubbly in the fridge.
I reckon I got that one right.  In one of my posts about our July trip to the UK I also commented on the attempts of the frackers and their Tory mates to spoil the view from the Temple of the Winds.

To quote from the Gruen Planet series "What would Putin do?" .  The answer is simple: APPLAUD.

Against this background what are the Greens doing?  A suggestion was made in a media column somewhere that what they should be doing was following the Don Chip example of "keeping the bastards honest".  It seems however that they have skipped that section of the Australian Democrats playbook and gone directly to the B&B (bickering and backstabbing) phase.  

IMHO, instead of worrying about the electorate 'blaming them for aligning with Labour" which seems to be their explanation of their poor performance I suggest there are a few other areas they could look at.
  • The performance during the last Parliament of their lead Senate candidate for South Australia.  The way I squirmed every time she opened her mouth  I suspect she turned off masses of voters.
  • The focus of the party on protecting, without question, the rights of anyone that appeared to claim to be downtrodden went well beyond the bounds of social conscience into the territory of OCD; and 
  • Their allocation of preferences.  Two examples spring to mind.  
    • In NSW they allocated a very high preference to the Wikileaks Party.  Supporting the Party of Julian Assange must indicate a strange set of priorities.  
    • In South Australia they preference the theocratic Family First Party above the group of Nick Xenophon.  If they are interested in a social conscience why not support the one politician in Australia who has got one?
The next three years are not going to be pleasant.  When Johnn Howard was in charge it was thought he was trying to drag Australia back to the glory days of Menzies in the 1950s.  I suspect Abbott is aiming a little further back.

I started with a reference to a past glory of Australian entertainment.  I will finish with another "Australia you're standing in it."

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

ANPS does the third bit of Nadgigomar

I followed direction and didn't get out of the car at the quarry so the images start when we eventually got to the Nature Reserve.

My expectation is that the snaps which follow will pretty much come in the order in which I took them. Some of the ones I ended up with were - to quote the current Princess Royal from a few years back - pretty naff, so I don't have any of two of the commonest genera Patersonia and Leucopogon.

Good of the NPWS to have put up this sign, but a pity that there is no mobile coverage in the area to check if they had in fact finished.  In the event we didn't hear any gunfire so I presume they had.
 On to piccies of things natural  Here is - I think - Bossiaea buxifolia.
This is the overall habitat.  The soil was basically sand.
The flower of the Schoenus sp.
 A grasshopper nymph.
 Mirbelia platylobioides
 Berries of Persoonia mollis.
 An orchid!  Diuris pardina.  (I think we were a little - about 100km - too far from Black Mountain for the usual D pardina vs D nigromontana war to erupt.)
 Lomandra glauca.
Philotheca salsolifolia
 Berry of Persoonia micropylla
 Acacia obtusata
Lomandra longifolia
Petalochilus fuscatus.  There were several colonies of the species located.  As usual they varied in colour from all pink to nearly white.
 A major zoom in to a flower of Exocarpos strictus.  At a rough guess these flowers are about 2mm across.  (They are of course not to be confused with Exocarpus strictos!)
 Epacris microphylla
 Hakea sericea
 Aotus ericoides: about the most elegant member of the Fabaceae seen today.  Note avoidance of the pea/bean controversy!
 Daviesia leptophylla
 Glossodia major
 Leionema diosmeum
Chloanthes parviflora: I didn't think these flora were at all 'parvi'.  In comparison to the Exocarpos they were huge!  Thus they earn two photos!

Kunzea parvifolia: why are all 'parvi' things mauve: is there a nuance of botanical nomenclature I have missed?
 Acacia brownii.
 There were some of the densest collections of scribbles I have ever seen.
A leaf beetle.  Possibly Paropsisterna sp?
 Being brave I will say this is an insect:  Roger Farrow has advised that is is Nysius vinitor.  It was perched on a Petalochilus petal.
The second rarest thing we saw today was a pair of rangers.  Apparently they were checking for illegal shooters, looking for cut fences etc.  (Why anyone would cut a fence when the gate was wide open when we arrived is a mystery.)  I have obfuscated the number plate: The NSW Government is not expressing its love for biodiversity.
 A bee fly perching on a rock showing the pretty pattern on its wings.
Moving right along to Claypit road this is Pultenaea microphylla, swathes of which decorated all the roadsides in the area.
This is much rarer - rarer even than the sight of Rangers in a Reserve - Bossiaea oligosperma of which only 2 sites are known.  Hopefully the landowners on whose property most of the plants here were growing will protect them.
 I was asked by a member to include an image of Lissanthe strigosa so here it is!
Very close to Claypit Rd was this display of gardening equipment.  By way of contrast the pair of toilet pedestals on Oallen Ford Rd seem to been moved.
After a surprisingly damp start to Sandy Point Rd, we drove along Willow Glen Rd pausing to take these two images of the most spectacular of the Pomaderris.