Thursday, 30 October 2014

More doings in Carwoola

You know it is getting towards Summer when interesting moths appear.  This one was sitting on our bedroom floor this morning, after a spell on the pelmet. It was about 10cm across the wings.
Starting with a scan through Zborowski and Edwards got me the link to the Catocalinae subfamily within Noctuidae and a run through Donald Hobern's images for that subfamily soon got me to Dasypodia selenophora  with the intriguing vernacular name of "Southern Old Lady Moth".  Que?

Towards the other end of the size bracket for insects, I went to check on the progress of a humungous Microtis sp and found it hadn't opened yet.  However a fruit fly was visiting.  Those familiar with the size of Microtis flowers will realise this fly is not a giant.  To assist the rest of you, the florets are about 3mm long, which makes the fly ~2mm in body.
Later in the day some interesting birding happened.  A female Pallid Cuckoo had us confused when it flopped out of a tree on to the ground where it walked around for quite some distance.
It turns out that they feed on the ground quite frequently and presumably that is what this lady was up to.  

We got several breeding records including 3 White faced heron chicks in a nest.  They don't stand out very well - probably not an accident - so I have put a red dot more or less on the end of their beaks.
A Little Eagle kept its eye on us from about 10m up in a tree.
Some Eurasian Coots have raised red-head chicks.
Several days later (and after several fruitless visits in the interim) I found that the flowers on the monster Microtis were beginning to open.

The crinkle cut edges of the labellum label this as Microtis unifolia

ANPS Bang(o)s on!

On 29 October we headed off to Bango Nature Reserve a few kilometres North of Yass.  It is quite a large Reserve  and we only covered a small part of it, as shown by the yellow line in this snip from Google Earth.
As soon as we got into the Reserve we were greeted by a host of golden Daffodils Yass Daisies.
This is more typical of the bulk of the Reserve, although there were some very large trees.
Our turning point was this rather spectacular gully.
Other than the Ammobium craspedioides the major excitements of a floral nature were orchids.  The commonest species were Stegostyla moschata delivering a musky scent (referred to as 'hippy shop') to those - unlike me - with a functional sense of smell.

 After many white not-Caladenias had been smelt when almost back at the cars I found this plant which is pretty obviously S. cucullata with the prominent purple labellum.  (And, I am advised, a pleasant perfume.)

In the depths of the gully where we turned our only Petalochilus fuscatus for the day was lurking in the shade.
The first 'beardie'  of my season was found quite early in proceedings.
It is Calochilus platychilus given by the purple colour of the beard and the two sham eyes connected by a ridge

Early on - just after traversing the gate some members (possibly all except me, who was off looking at Leaden Flycatchers) found a Microtis unifolia.  Roger Farrow has provided an image thereof.
Many bits of evidence of sun orchids were seen and eventually I found two plants with open flowers in a sunny clearing near the turn round point.  I sought advice from the ACT Orchid Group  and the eagle eyes noted finger like glands which identify the species as Thelymitra juncifolia.

Nearby, other eagle eyes in the field noted this closing plant which I thought might have been T, carnea although the stem didn't appear noticeably zig-zagged.  A suggestion has also been made that it is a Steg. moschata, as they can have very pink undersides to the flower parts: having received that suggestion I reckon it has a lot of merit!
In the depths of the turn-round gully 3 example of Pterostylis nutans were found.

On to the other floriferosity.  In the fist paddock there were quite a few Burchardia umbellata (aka milkmaids - que?).
The only member of the Fabaceae I noted was a tiny Dillwynia sericea.
Cheiranthera linearis: apparently an indicator of gold in the soil!
One nicely flowering example of Amyema pendula was located.
 Detail of the Amyema flower
A closer-up of the  Ammobium craspedioides.
There were a squillion Arthropodium minus throughout the walk.
Wahlenbergia luteola being tortured into a position to showing the blue and yellow colours.
An attractive Asteraceae seed head!
There were a gazillion (approximately 10X a squillion) Bulbine bulbosa.  This one was kind enough to host a bark beetle (Eleale sp.).
 Moving into vertebrates this smart chap's presence was not greeted with universal acclaim
 By pure chance this blurry image did capture the forked tongue !
A fair range of birds were noted, although considerably less than the 40 species COG recorded a few days earlier.  Leaden Flycatchers were calling all over the place.
 There were at least two pairs of Sacred Kingfishers zooming about and calling noisily.  I didn't actually spot them emerging from a hollow so could really call it a breeding record.

 On the other hand the White-winged Choughs were definitely breeding.
 The property has been grazed in the past.

Monday, 27 October 2014

A planty visit to the 6 Mile Reserve

I have previously discussed the name of this TSR in terms of its geography.  Wherever it is 6 miles from, it puts on a very good show of native flowers in Spring.  Here are a couple of panoramas.

The first features Bulbine bulbosa, Craspedia variabilis and Podolepis jaceoides.
This is primarily Podolepis jaceoides, many of them in bud form.  Plus a small dog which is allowed in a TSR.
 The main business was various swathes of Asteraceae (I still reckon Compositae is a more descriptive name!)
 Leucochrysum albicans tricolor in 1.5 colour forms!
Coronidium scorpioides
 Brachyscome rigidula (I couldn't get the leaves in focus: sorry)
 Calotis scabiosifolia (ditto)
Fabaceae (the beans) were also well represented,  Dillwynia sericea.
 Bossiaea buxifolia (leaves in image for once).
 Pultenaea subspicata: More leaves!
  Velleia paradoxa
 OK, it's bluebell time.  I will now go and wash my fingers out and get down to Wahlenbergias of 3 varieties.  First up is the small W multicaulis with small sepals that don't get to the end f the floral tube.
 It also has a tripartite style.
 The bigger species seen on the day was W. stricta which has hairy leaves.
 Back down to small, going on tiny, we have W gracilis with sepale that do reach the end of the floral tube.
 The style isn't so obviously split.