Saturday, 29 October 2016

Some blitz comments

No, not referring to the unpleasantness around London in 1940.  This is about a concerted lightning observation of birds around Canberra by members of COG.  No explosives were used in this foray, although some would have been handy when I found a gate which had always been openable in past years now had about $200 of padlocks on it!

As it was about birds, and specifically breeding birds, I'll start with a couple of avian images.  The first is an adult and juvenile Eastern Yellow Robin at Blue Tiles picnic area.  As the juvenile begged, and got some food provided this is a breeding record.
The second image is from Queanbeyan Sewage Works, with some Great Cormorants nesting on a pontoon in the middle of one of the settling ponds.
 As a result of the locked gate we had to hike across country.  That wasn't all bad as Frances spotted this Blue-tongued Skink
This is the first site: a pocket of regenerating native vegetation in a scummy pine forest.  It is basically a geophysical observatory.  Note the poor weather.
 Our second (intended) site was the Kowen Pound.  We added in an unintended site as a result of having to trek through the scummy pine forest.  On the way to the Pound I noticed this nice crop of Leucochrysum.
 Here is the Pound habitat, plus small dog.
The Pound was basically a Travelling Stock Reserve.  What do drovers do?  They drink beer and leave the empties behind.  Back in the day the breweries use to get the year stamped in the bottom of the bottles.  Most bottles found are from the 1950s and 60s (because cattle began to be trucked rather than droved in the late 1960s, not because drovers stopped drinking) but it was most interesting to find one that predated the original Blitz.  I left it in situ.
 Eucalyptus macrorhyncha flower with ubiquitous hoverfly.
In the afternoon I went to a different part of Kowen, on the Molonglo River.  This is looking down at Blue Tiles picnic area.
 Here is a nearby site where a small peninsula juts out causing a large bend in the river.
 This is a different species of Eucalyptus, which was very popular with Honeyeaters.
 A Painted Lady and a hoverfly on Stackhousia monogyna.
 I think this is a Small Grass-Yellow.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Queanbeyan: THE Centre for art on the riverbank

I set off for a run in Queanbeyan today and as seems to be a developing tradition - yes, I know the Committee has to rule on that, but if people go off on overseas trips .. - met some great art under the Queens Bridge.  This is part of a Festival put on by the Council each year.

Fantasmagoricavian Feast by Deidre Oliver: illustrating diversity.
 Effects of Climate Change by Mia Glenn.  Showing the effects of climate change on penguins.  I'm unclear if the stubbies are part of the work or not!
 Carpflute by Tom Buckland.  Made out of abandoned corflutes from the ACT election.  The card compares introduced Carp and introduced politicians!
 The Brolgas by Bob Teasdale with the works to upgrade the Riverside in the background.
 River Culture by Gregory Ross McLean: the two river residents are used to bring the steel to life.
 A very wordy title for a work by Stephen Harrison about literary allusions and veganism (I think).  The conclusion is that the horse-man might just be having a quiet snooze by the river.
Panacea dogs by Sian Watson.  I really like the work, and the admonishment to not sit on the dogs, but couldn't make much sense out of the artist statement.  According to Canberra Times coverage this won the prize.  It was interesting to see that Tammy looked at one of the dogs and immediately went to sniff its bum: the artist clearly captured the look of dog!
This work is apparently based on the wires from champagne corks for the trap and soda bottle tops to decorate the fish!

While taking my snaps (with my phone) the duty volunteer came across and said I didn't look much like Mike Kelly.  It turns out he also worked for Mike at the last election!  I obfuscate others faces so have done the same for myself!
The inspiration for this run was a young friend's run up Mont Ventoux.  It had stretches of slope at 15.0%.  As shown here, this run had the same digits, possibly in a different order, averaging out at about 0.15%.
The following day, when  took Frances to see the sculptures, the festival was getting going with many boats about to be launched.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dalton does good

Frances and I have very fond memories of Dalton, just North of Gunning, as a native flower site.  It became less attractive a few years ago when the cemetery was incinerated by the Bush Fire people for reasons best known to them.  However, we wanted a shortish trip out of Carwoola so pointed the Jetta in that direction this morning.

First up, we swung in to the Cemetery and found things very much better.  The area out of the burial grounds (which seem to have acquired some new fences) was regenerating very well.
Jumping ahead a tad, we also visited Broadway TSR on the road to Boorowa.  That had some damp patches ..
As a result of the dampness both areas were well endowed with mosquitoes.  The cemetery was very much sun orchid central.  When we first got there (about 0920) they were not yet open, possibly as the temperature was only about 16oC.
 We called back on the way home (about noon) and the 23oC had not only got the Thelymitra carnea displaying but ...
 .. quite a few T. pauciflora had joined in,
 The carnivorous leaf of Drosera peltata was a bonus!

Getting back to our first visit to the cemetery, next cab of the rank was Diuris semilunulata - looking a bit sunburnt and generally used.
 Sticking with the genus Diuris, at the TSR D. sulphurea was found.
 As were at least hundreds of what are now called Caladenia again, even though giving the white Caladenias their own genus of Stegostyla was very sensible.  I think most of them were C/S ustulata due to brown tips.  A very knowledgeable friend has advised that he thinks they are all Caladenia moschata, which is known to be variable in colour.  Neither Frances nor I picked up the 'hippy shop' scent usually associate with the species.
This pink one had me a tad puzzled, but the dorsal sepal ain't right for what was briefly called Petalochilus!
 And this looks a bit greenish which made me ponder C/S cucullata.  See above.
 As I said there were lots of them.
 Staying briefly with monocotyledons both sites had many twining Fringe Lilies (aka Thysanotus patersonii).
 Into the Fabaceae (aka beans - from the latin faba = bean): Pultenaea microphylla and ...
 .. Daviesia leptophylla
 Heaths were represented by Brachyloma daphnoides.
 Reflecting the dampness there was a lot of Sundew around.  Some of them were fully flowering, and in this case showing the furry underside diagnostic of Drosera peltata.
The "daisies" were subject to a lot of insect attention, I think mainly hoverflies.  Here on Leucochrysum albicans ...
 .. and here Microseris lanceolata.
 The first vertebrate seen today was a Shingleback.
Indeed there were two present and both seemed rather sleepy.  Perhaps there will be more in the nearish future.
The final stage of this outing was a swing into the Merino Cafe in Gunning was an 8/10 beef pie.  The  specimen touched most of the bases for a good pie but lost a bit for being "just a pie" and a bit more for being somewhat small for the price.  But all other criteria were met well.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Spring doin's

A couple of days ago I posted a snap of a snake repeller enhanced with a sizable wombat turd.  To refresh your memory (although I would understand if you'd rather forget the image):
I poked this off with a stick, but the next day another large brown cube was evident.  That does make it rather difficult for the solar panel to work.  Also, over Winter,  one repeller was broken when the marsupial backed up to do the business.  So I installed a deterrent.
Not only wombats cause problems with renewably sourced energy. (No, I haven't been graced with a visit from Senator Malcolm Roberts, the man who stood for village idiot but was over-qualified.) I have erected a few fairy lights as a bit of fun on the lawn and somehow a passing Eastern Grey stuck its size 97 (UK system) feet into the wire and snapped it. 4 days later I found the solar panel and 2m of wire about 40m away. A bit of insulating tape and we're back in business. 
A further protectif has been installed!  (The arrow indicates the solar panel.)
It seems to have finally stopped raining, and even getting 10+mm of rain does lead to massive run-off.  So it seemed to be time to get back in to gardening.  The first job that was required was to plants some spuds.

I am not sure of the economics of growing spuds as they only cost $1 per kilo for basic bags, and our rat-attracting sack of most excellent Sebago from Atherton was about the same.  However the normal market stuff is pretty tasteless and it costs too much to drive to Atherton.  So we got 500gms each of King Edwards and Pink Fir and Frances had kept a few chats from our Kiflers form last year.

As a result of the rain the designated patch was rather weedy.  Here we have before and after in one snap.
 My guess is that as I dug I was getting 3 worms per fork-full.
 Now having a bunch of worms suggest that the soil has a good supply of organic matter, minerals, oxygen and water.  Basically what plant roots like.

So I reckon the spuds have no excuse for not going gangbusters. Especially since I added some compost and blood and bone to the bottom of the trench.  Here we have the King Edwards ...
 .. waiting to be reburied.
I don't have a rubber turkey on hand, but declare this to be Mission Accomplished!