Friday, 25 December 2015

It was Christmas Eve in the Gardens ...

Well, we went for a visit to ANBG today (Dec 24) and this is a record of that visit so the title is not too misleading.

Of course, those of you who served in the World War armies may be led to think of a song, covered here (see song 12).  (The link only refers to WW1, but as we used to sing a version after Maldon Vikings Rugby matches in the 1960s, I'm sure those who served in WW2 also enjoyed the tasteful lyrics.)  Here are said lyrics, as sung by the Vikings and slightly adjusted to fit Acton 2015, rather than the saloon bar of the Queens Head pub in Maldon.:

It was Christmas day in the gardens, 
The rangers were standing around
Wielding their rakes and spades.
When Black Mountain gave a sound,
It was the voice of Santa
Which echoed through the plots
Asking “What do you want for Christmas. guys?”
And the rangers all answered - .... "Tidings of Comfort and Joy"

Which nicely conceals my inability to find an amusing rhyme for plots!  (While wandering through my memories I will note that the list of beers offered at the pub in the linked site  is much longer, and more appealing than those which used to be offered - and only drunk to keep faith with the landlord who provided our changing facilities at no cost.)

Anyhow, on reviewing my photographs from the Garden trip I found I had got quite a collection of interesting things, except surprisingly birds, which were few in number and mundane in diversity.

The first image is not a Callistemon but Xanthorrhoea macronema..
Continuing the theme of what things are not, this is not plastic, Blandfordia grandiflora.
There are many Kangaroo paws (Anigozanthus spp.) beside the path from the Visitors Centre to the Cafe (which was the least crowded I have ever seen it).  I couldn't find a label for this one - another 'not' in this case "not nusual" - but liked the contrast between the lurid stamens and relatively dull sepals.
This is not dull but bright!  Calothamnus quadrifidus.
Epacris longifolia.
Crinum angustifiolium
Up in the display glasshouse there were a few flowering orchids.  The most colourful was Dendrobium chrysotoxum.
I was hopeful of finding some interesting butterflies on the open flowers.  In fact there were few around, other than on and around some asters near the Visitors Centre.  Here we have the underside of an Australian Painted Lady ....
.. and a topside view.
I think this is a Stencilled Hairstreak. Thanks to a friend I now know it to be an Imperial Hairstreak (Jalmenas evagoras) - at least I got the genus right!
Other butterflies seen were Common Grass Blue; Orchard Butterfly; Meadow Argus and (of course) Cabbage White.

Why are these (Chaulognathus lugubris) called Plague Soldier Beetles?
The plague bit is easy when they form clumps like this.
 However I can't work out why they are called soldier beetles.  The species entry from the Australian Museum possibly gives a hint when they comment that  "...the beetles are too interested in mating to bother eating ..... ".

One of the regular items seen around the gardens is the Gippsland Water Dragons.  We found quite a few photogenic specimens ...
.. one of which was just finishing off a moult.
This was the most brightly coloured one I found - perhaps because it had been basking on a road, rather than skulking in shade - but as far as I can see it is only two non-drab colours.
Well that's my Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas to All!

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