Saturday, 6 September 2014

Mallacootie September 2014 (pt2)

This post is sort of thematically organised I hope.  Lets see how we go.  No Koalas today unfortunately.

A nice clear dawn with cloud on the far side of the Inlet.
Again the small dog was off the lead on a beach.  Here she is returning on a call- note that even at a trot three feet are off the ground!
 The reason she was called back was the imminent presence of two very large dogs: a Rottweiler and a Great Dane.  Somewhat later in this walk we met these dogs again and social niceties were exchanged between all.  Tammy was not at all fussed by the fact that the other two dogs' heads were bigger than her whole body.

That was our second walk of the day.  The first was notable for p[assing through waves of pleasant perfume.  This was being emitted by Pittosporum flowers.
 Let us head towards the main business.  After walking towards Betka Beach (pleasant but not exciting) I saw some pretty Leptospermum flowers.
 Then Frances looked down and there was a pretty pink orchid,  Woo hoo!  Here is the flower...
  .. another, closer, view of the flower ..
 .. and the whole plant.  My guess from memory is that the stem was about 120mm high.  A little later we found several double headers.  Referring to "Orchids of the Shoalhaven" - we're only about 400km South of there suggested Petalochilus hillmanii.  However the bigger tome by David Jones suggests the range of this species cuts out about 300km North of Mallacoota.  Hmmm.

Then we found another somewhat similar plant but a fair bit taller with much bigger leaves.  So I think it is a different species and I take a guess at some form of Petalochilus but ...   Here is the whole plant ..
 .. a close up of the flower ..
 .. and a real close up.
 Any suggestions of ID of either of the above welcome!!

Through great detective work by Tony Wood it turns out these were a single species Caladenia latifolia.  It is very variable in dimension (although all our plants fit pretty much within the recorded range) and also location, being one of the few orchid species found both sides of the Nullabor!  The actual location was not previously logged on the Atlas of Living Australia, although there were other records in the vicinity.  I have added it.

We also noticed at the same time as the first species above several greenhoods.  We believe these to be Pterostylis curta.
 A key feature is a twist to the labellum, as shown here.  By the time we left their habitat we had seen several hundred of these.
Here is the whole plant ...
 .. and part of one of the colonies.
 OK.  Enough with the orchids.  This is Acacia longifolia - the coastal wattle.
 A pretty yellow flower.
 A pretty white flower for which we couldn't guess the family!

 Casuarina flowers in the heathy section.
 Burchardia umbellata (aka milkmaids)
 Comespermum ericinum
Hybanthus vernonii
 This flower looks like a Solanum, but the leaves don't!
 A Lomandra flower spike.
 Hakes dominates in some parts of the heath.
 Swans plus cygnets on the morning walk.
 Two Royal Spoonbills give grief to watery things
An Australian White Ibis joins in.
 Meanwhile back at the Ranch, a Satin Bowerbird munches on yam peel.


Mary Chamie said...

Very nice photos, Martin. Tell me, what kinds of foods are you leaving out for your wild birds? I never heard of setting out raw sweet potato peels in the bird feeder. How do you decide what to put out?

Flabmeister said...

G'day Mary
The idea is to put out stuff similar to the natural diet of the birds. In the case of Bowerbirds this is fruit, which often has coloured flesh. (Which is why people down here have netting of one sort or another over their fruit and vegetable plots.) They love the yam peel (and mango peel when we have it) but reject banana skin and are not keen on apple core - the colour seems important in attracting them.

I'm sure what sort of birds might be attracted in CT, OR or Abaco. It might be an interesting experiment to put out some yam peel and see what happens!

Best wishes


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
I have never seen anything like that Caladenia you have photographed. The coloured labellum is most unusual. Usually they have a series of dots and "clubs", which yours appear to not have.
Colin Rowan of Retired Aussies dot com has worked the orchids of Mallacoota quite a lot.
That's where i would start looking.
Gotta go now.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Denis. My current expert advice is that it's a natural hybrid between a Petalochilus and Glossodia major! An on-going debate - I will follow up with Colin.


Judith Gray said...

Well done getting an i.d. for your flower. They are all stunning, including the beautiful bowerbird.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Judith. One of the benefits of living in Canberra is that there are a lot of folk around who are happy to advise on such matters!