Showing posts from March, 2014

More orchids and a few other flowers

After yesterday's foray by me another member of the ACT orchid group put up a list of all the Corunastylis he was finding on his block about 30km away.  It sounded like similar country to ours so I went for a more intense look at our place.  Much less result: as he reckons they also have no soil and lots of 'roos I cannot think of a non-embarrassing explanation.

Here are a few more snaps, beginning with a couple of Eriochilus cucullatus.
 I know the vernacular name is Parson's Bands, but why do these always remind me of the Rev. Ian Paisley?
I did eventually find a single Little Dumpy (Diplodium truncatum).
The rain seems to have rekindled floral enthusiasm in a number of species.  This is definitely a Wahlenbergia, possibly W. gracilis.  A bit unusual to find them in flower at this time of year. Hibbertia seems to flower at all sorts of times, so not so surprising.
 Ditto Vittadinia.
However I normally expect to find Melychrus urceolatus in bud through Winter and flowerin…

Rain brings out the Fungi, mould and some orchids

After the appalling dry of the last year March 2014 has brought measurable rain on 13 of the 28 days thus far.  Our total (still going up) is 65.2mm.  This has caused fungi to appear in fair profusion.  And a few other things.

To begin with the fungi.

These two rather adult-content-looking items were growing beside the Kambah Pool walk yesterday.  I wonder about Macrolepiota sp. but these were in a rather open area and from comments in Fuhrer that genus seems to favour forest.
I will take a punt that the next two images are Mycena sp. Top view ...
 .. and underside.
The next day (29/3/14) I snapped these at the start of Whiskers Creek Rd,
On the same date there were a couple of other species along the roadside:
This next is clearly a puffball, and I will take a punt on it being Pisolithus arhizus, the Horse Dung fungus.
This is clearly a bolete ...
 .. which rapidly stains blue when bruised.
I have included this revolting image of maggots as Fuhrer  says that Phlebotus is a favourite …

Recent Rainy Rambling ...

... or Wecent Wet Walks.

On Monday I managed to fit in a good walk before the rain started.   Possibly the highlight was watching a Wombat head for its burrow.

Yesterday I returned to the Queanbeyan STW for a quick bird foray.  In 20 minutes I racked up 19 species including 8 Freckled Ducks.  As I left, I observed what would have to be the world's least necessary sign.
That ain't chocolate milk shakes behind the railing!

Today I headed off along the track from Kambah Pool to Red-Rocks Gorge.  The weather wasn't great (for walking - but as a positive, you could hear the grass growing as you passed).

The next image was taken from the lookout up the Gorge itself.  There is a substantial flow in the Murrumbidgee!
I had hoped that some of the Grevillea would be flowering, and bringing in the New Holland Honeyeaters but it wasn't to be.  (They are too clever to be out and about in weather like this.)  However the condensed moisture on the twigs was attractive.
 There are mor…

Did it rain or what?

We seem to have entered a spell when the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecasts precipitation a few days out and then gradually reduces the forecast intensity and/or likelihood as the time gets closer.  Even whe it stays as "Possible showers", they don't seem to occur here.

On 20 March the forecast was as show below:
Basically some form of rain for the next 7 days.  The thrust of this post will be to reflect on what happens.

On the evening of the 20th there were a few thunderstorms around on the radar including this impressive cloud, somewhere near Bungendore.
Getting a slightly different perspective on it the convection column was breaking up, so presumably even underneath it was getting zip (matching exactly that which we received..
On the morning of the 21st the impending humid weather caused a good array of spider webs to be visible.

 In this image the spider's home - a rolled leaf - is visible in the top of the image.
So lets get on to reviews of what happened:


Qu: Why does Telstra exist?

Ans: to make QANTAS look good.

I do not use Telstra as an ISP or voice provider because I don't wish to pay their inflated prices.  However as they have a monopoly on the wires in the ground my ISP (iinet, who also provide my voice service) have to use Telstra as the carrier.  Today both voice and broadband service crapped out at about 8:30.

Cutting to the chase it emerged that this was (99.99r%  certainty) due to some meat brains from Telstra installing - 3 months after it had been requested - a new broadband connection to a property between our house and the exchange.  This has happened at least once before.

Why can't these {reference to disciples of Onan deleted} let people know that work is about to be done? It would take them 20 minutes to drop a note off to everyone the day before!

And if anyone thinks the coming of the National Broadband  Network (NBN) will fix the problem, think again.  Whether one looks at either the Turnbull or Rudd versions of NBN our area - some 3…

A Mayfly visits

I couldn't come up with a funny title suggesting that a May fly shouldn't come in March!  In fact as the name comes from the Northern hemisphere, May is equivalent to a Carwoola November, so it is 5 months late rather than 2 months early!

We went up to our nearest dam yesterday and this interesting insect landed on Frances.

I am reasonably sure it is a Mayfly (family Ephemeroptera) but I can't get closer than that.  Brisbane insects has very few images and comments that the family is rather uncommon.  Having found it close to water seems to fit the family habitat.

The family seems to be a favourite of trout fishermen - no doubt due to them breeding in profusion and thus engendering a frenzy among the trout.  However there are no trout in our dam!

Bird bath time

When we first set up our red bird bath, outside the kitchen window,  it seemed to take about a year to get any clientele despite having a nice perch close to hand and some Grevillea from which to launch a dive.  However it is now quite popular, especially with smaller birds.  (It's also a good indicator of evaporation, but that is another story.)  Here are some of the visitors from 20 March.

This soggy bird is a Brown Thornbill, judging by the colour of the rump.  (I rarely find eye colour a help: they all look dark to me!)
In this case the diagnostic feature - because it isn't wet - is the relatively plain crown.  I was also fascinated by the position of the feet, twisted round to keep balance.
This is a very crappy image, apart from showing the white-streaked crown, a field mark for Striated Thornbill.  I often distinguish this species and the previous one by level in the canopy (Bro-Low, Stri-High is the mnemonic) but there isn't much liquid high in the canopy!
As well …

A frog called Evita?

While watching TV tonight we were startled by a strange noise outside against the window.  When the Frogmouths come to dine on moths they don't usually make much, if any, noise.  Frances turned round and spotted a moderated sized frog  which occasionally jumped up the window to massacre an invertebrate.

Taking close-up photographs  through a window isn't great, but I didn't want to miss completely.  Of course if I had used flash all I'd have got was a white reflection.
It had moved off a little by the time I got outside but this flash shot gives an idea of size - perhaps 50mm nose to 'tail'.
 I got a bit closer with the flash.
 Obviously I wouldn't want to use a flash very close to the frogs eyes so turned it off and got this.  Definitely tree frog toes.
 Getting really up close there was definitely a cross shaped pupil so it is Peron's Tree Frog (Littoria peronii)
The species is known generally for a maniacal cackling call in the breeding season.

It se…