Sunday, 31 August 2014

Daffodils in Winter

We have planted a whole lot of daffodils around the place with an original aim of having an avenue of daffs along the drive.  Think of UK Country Life (although our original catalyst was a place at Riverton in South Australia).

That hasn't happened - a soil profile that descends to shale after 2 inches makes some things difficult - but we do have some nice blooms as we mov from Winter (today) into Spring (tomorrow).  Here are a few photos.

 I have included this image, of the same variety as an earlier shot, because the poor bulb is battling away at the top of the drive, with no soil and very little water.  Well done that plant!
 I am not convinced these are daffodils: perhaps Freesias  jonquils?

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Some "Spring" flowers

Yes, it is still two days until Spring arrives but we had an overnight minimum well above freezing, and have had some rain recently, so i think it is close to Spring.  I was also able to find quite a few flowering plants on a stroll round the block this morning.  (This doesn't include Wattles: they will get featured on Monday.)

Rather than building tension as I usually do, here is the big ticket item up front.  The first orchid of the season, in Cyanicula caerulea - the blue not-caladenia.
The growth in numbers of plants here is interesting (and may be the subject of a separate post).  By 1 September we were up to 15 plants.  Some of them were growing quite happily under the Kunzea ericoides.
In terms of members of the family Fabaceae (aka beans) the only representative I found - and in very good and widely distributed numbers - was Hovea heterophylla.
For reasons that are not at all apparent to me Hardenbergia violacea has become a tad hard to find on the block in recent years.

The only 'heath' - in the sense of member of the Epacridaceae - I could find was the ubiquitous Melicrus urceolatus.
However on 1 September I came across a nice colony of Leucopogon virgatus.
In the grassy bits there were many Wurmbea dioica the Just-on-time Nancy.  This is a Nancy boy (note the anthers rather than the large ring) ...
  .. and here is a Nancy-girl showing her style.
 This is Clematis leptophylla - I think a boy.
 Although this looks like a heath it is in fact a member of the family Rhamnaceae.  Why Cryptandra amara associates with undesirables like Pomaderris is a total mystery to me!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

ANPS sees white on Black Mountain

Unfortunately it wasn't the white of Stegostyla sp. but read on a bit - OK quite a bit - to find out what it was!  There are a couple of rants to begin with, but we soon get to plants!

We were greeted by this very nice sign.
As always I wonder how much they pay for the design, fabrication and installation of such boffo.  My guess is that it could cover the cost of a few staff years of Ranger effort to prosecute litterers, trail bike riders and other degenerates.

So what do you do with a Nature Reserve?  What else than run a squillion power lines through it.
In case you wonder about the soil profile in Black Mountain here it is.
Possibly the term 'soil gets stretched a bit there, but I don't have to dig it, and the plants seem to like it which is the main thing.

As we are getting close to Wattle Day (and there are celebrations advertised on the net by the Friends of ANBG) I will start the floriferosity with some Acacias.  The commonest one today was A buxifolia.
 A. gunnii was, as usual, keeping a low, but attractive profile.
A. genistifolia.
 A. dealbata
 Some purple beans were evident all through the area (at least the bits that haven't been incinerated recently - rant - me rant?  surely not).  Hardenbergia violacea.

Hovea heterophylla
Here is some white, although Leucopogon fletcheri was not what led to the title of this post.
 Neither was L. attenuatus.
 And Melichrus urceolatus is more cream than white (apart from the fertilised bits which are an attractive shade of orange).
We now move into the sphere of things with rather inconspicuous flowers.  My guess is that if you are reading this on a 'phone screen this flower of Omphacomeria acerba will be about 10x life size.  Using a laptop computer - many times life size.  But it is cute.
Luzula densiflora is usually seen as a rosette only, but this one had some nice flowers.
 I think this is the male version of Phyllanthus hirtellus!
 Drosera sp was enjoying lunch (and supper and breakfast -  for the next several days).
Hakea decurrens.
You can run, but you can't hide.  Pomaderris will always get you: in this case P. intermedia.
 Finally a yellow and red bean: Dillwynnia phylicoides.
I was trying to take a snap of a native bee on this Eucalypt blossom but:
  1. missed the insect; and 
  2. forgot to ID the tree!
 This is not Grevillea alpina!
 The traditional Stypandra glauca.
 A non-traditional Stypandra glauca.  That is the white flower I have been banging on about!
Suggestions were raised about there being uranium in the soil to cause the mutation, but I'd rate it equally likely it got zapped by a burst of waves from the Tower!

Fortunately we did find some greenhoods to make up for the lack of not-Caladenias.  Bunochilus umbrinus

This shows - very badly - the biggest bunch.
 I have obviously got right out of touch at snapping orchids.  We found quite a few Pterostylis nutans.
There is going to be a good display of Glossodia major in a few weeks.  This hairy job was the most advanced we saw.
Some interesting moss sporangia.
The only fungus I noticed today was this Stereum sp. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Kellys Swamp gets wet

Early in 2014 Kelly's Swamp was completely dry.  Water slowly returned as it rained, but the growth of vegetation meant that the water - and any birds swimming around in it  - was almost invisible.  The recent rainfall has put enough liquid down the Molonglo that the swamp is now rather full.

This is the view from Bittern Hide
 .. and here is one from Cygnus.  One hopes that the reeds don't erupt as they were doing, or most of this view will disappear.
 A couple of Hardheads showing that the water isn't that deep (or they are standing on a submerged log).
 Water on (and off) a Coots back, as it gives the business to some vegetation.
 First. spot the vegetation under the water ...
 .. then dive for it.   This image might help answer the question what does a Coot's botty look like, as well as displaying the waves created as it dives.
 The adult Swamphens are looking rather lurid, presumably getting ready for an outbreak of breeding ...
 .. while the outcome of last year's breeding still looks a tad dowdy by comparison.
I am surprised, given the size of their feet that Swamphens aren't able to run across lily pads as do Jacanas.  Presumably they are a good bit heavier.