Monday, 29 August 2016

More sights and sounds of (nearly) Spring

According to my definitions of the seasons (contained in this post) Spring in Carwoola is September and October: not too many frosts (so can't complain about the cold) and not too many days over 30oC (so can't complain about the heat).  It isn't quite here yet but one can almost smell it.

I went for yet another walk to check on the blue orchid situation but the answer was still nil.  However a few of the native(ish) plants in our garden are beginning to flower.  Foremost amongst these are some commercial varieties of Grevillea.

 Although expert advice says don't rely on them to attract a diverse range of birds they do do a good job of bringing in honeyeaters, with Eastern Spinebills being favourites at the moment.

A couple of days later we did a dog walk around the block and found some goodies.

The first is the Just-in-time Nancies (Wurmbea dioica).  Nothing at all to do with current debate in the madhouse at Barton.
 Then Frances noticed a raft of Drosera sp.  They are the bright green patches.
Here is a close up.
Their vernacular name is Sundew, from the drops of liquid exuded to lure unwary insects into the sticky leaves.  In this case I suspect the liquid is more likely raindrops, of which there was a good supply,  Note that whatever the liquid is, a number of insects are definitely 'was'.

Getting back to the original timeline, further up the block I was pleased to see these little fungi appearing all over the place.
I call them Omphalina chromacea, but that shows I am an old stick in the mud and not a trendoid mycologist who would call them Lichenomphalia chromacea.  It appears the name change reflects them always forming an association with an alga - and the combination is defined as a lichen.  (Apparently the lichen in named after the fungal component - although this seems to be controversial.  Context seems rather important here!)  Obviously a soggy Winter, such as we have had is good news for algae and lichens.

There was also a fair bit of rustling in the bushes (fortunately of a leggy variety) so I turned over a few rocks to see what was there.  Initially, scorpions (Cercophonius squama) was the answer,
 This one beat a retreat: and I certainly wouldn't challenge those claws.
 Incidentally such finds - as well as legless items - are why it is always a good idea to turn the rocks so that the rock is between you and any inhabitants.  We developed this as a practice when wading coral reefs in Tanzania - home of inter alia stonefish

Of a less threatening nature was this Striped Skink (Ctenotus robustus).
 Birds are becoming vocal.  This Fan-tailed Cuckoo ...
.. called continuously for about an hour.  I suspect it was showing the Striated Pardalotes who really deserved the vernacular name of Headache Bird.

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