Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Some like it hottish

Unfortunately neither Marilyn Monroe nor Tony Curtis graced the cemetery at Mongarlowe today.  I decided to drop out there as a member of the Canberra Orchid group had reported that the orchids were very good.

I checked out a few damp places in Bungendore and can report there were good numbers of Australian Shelduck but as far as I could determine no Plumed Whistling Ducks.

Heading on out towards Braidwood (10am 30oC) I found that Palerang Shire Council were doing what they do best: blocking traffic.  I seemed to sit there forever, but it was probably only 7 or 8 minutes.
 When traffic finally started coming towards us I counted 30 cars coming through so Lord knows how long they had been waiting.  The only evidence of any actual work at this point was this guy moving the cones around.
In fairness when I came back a few hours later it did seem that some tar had been sprayed, but again there seemed to be massive delays and no sign of the workers.

On getting to Mongarlowe (about 10:45, 33oC) I noticed someone in the RFS yard close to the cemetery.  As they were on their knees I guessed they were another orchid hunter, which they turned out to be.

I soon found some orchids.  The first were Eriochilus cucullatus commonly known as Parson's bands.
The vernacular name is apparently a reflection of the laterals looking like the collar worn by a parson.  In my mind when looked at from the from they always look like fire-and-brimstone  evangelists with big fat lips and waving arms.  The two specimens below exemplify this metaphor.
 Some more Eriochilus can be seen behind the two Dipodium reflexum.
 I found it difficult to get the camera to focus on the flowers today and this is the best I could do for Greenhood.
 I could only find one species of Corunastylis, in flower.  This was C. olignantha

There were, as forecast, a lot of Spiranthes australis in flower, although it seemed a lot of the florets had gone over.
 There were a few dicotyledons in flower as well.  Comesperma ericinum (que? how come the genus ends with 'a' and the species with 'um' - oh, of course it is taxonomy) cooperated in posing for a photo before the breeze got up.
Epacris impressa was also evident but was not helpful.  I have no idea what the next flower is, but it is pretty so probably a weed!  My friend Ian Fraser has identified this example as an Epilobium.  A high proption of the ANPS WW records for this species are " Epilobium sp." probably from finding it without flowers.  From looking at the entries for the genus in Plantnet I rate the most likely species to be E. billardiereanum.  (I don't think it is E. hirsutum - also possible in the area - but introduced and thus a weed!) 
 After leaving the cemetery (11:45, 35oC) I decided to go down Northangera Rd to see what is there.  My first bit of excitement was a Spotted Quail-thrush running across the road.  Hello, Bird of the Day!  A kilometre or so further and two huge Wedge-tailed Eagles - in truth there is no other sort - took off from a roadkill kangaroo on which they were dining, and flew into a tree.  The images show the contrast in plumage between the young bird on the left and the much older - possibly fully adult - one on the right.

I paused in Braidwood to get a very good (9/10) Steak and Kidney pie at the Bakery.  I deleted a point as it wasn't that hot - but possibly I waited too long to start eating it.  Less delay at the roadworks and on home.


Ian Fraser said...

Does your camera not allow for manual focusing? Maybe it's not perfect after all! After that rudeness the least I could do is offer an id on your mystery flower (trying to ignore the "pretty so probably a weed" comment!); I reckon it's an Epilobium - and native...

Flabmeister said...

A bad workman blames his tools? That is good because I don't blame my tool (camera) and am thus not a bad workman! A logical, albeit strained, outcome to the fact that I have never really mastered the manual focus function which is indeed available on my camera. I shall have to try harder.

Sorry about the unfair comment on pretties. Whilst it is again strained it is based on the illogical position that many weeds are superficially attractive. Again, I shall have to try harder. The genesis of the comment possibly comes from a number of ANPS outings on which we have found an unusual looking and attractive plant only to be told "Its just a weed." A recent example was Chicory on Old Boboyan Rd! (A more worrying possibility is that I was corrupted in my youth by the third character in "Bill and Ben".

The post has been edited to strikethrough the "weed" comment and acknowledge your identification.