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Showing posts from March, 2017

A little more nature study

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Yesterday morning was fairly humid so a spider web stood out well.  Note the rolled up leaf (aka spider roost) in the centre of the web.

Late on the afternoon of the 31st March Frances noticed a leg-challenged reptile on our nice sunny bank
Once it had passed on its way I went back and measured a conveniently placed rock.
I reckon the rock is about 1/4 of the length of the snake which makes it about 1.4m long.  Not gigantic, but a good size for a red-belly.

Trees get furry

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I had expected that sometime after the fire many of the eucalypts would display their adaptation to fire by sprouting from the small buds that lurk below their bark.  (The technical name is epicormic buds.)  I had noticed a few examples of this in the recent past but today it all seemed to be happening.

This brown tree is a Eucalyptus stellulata (Black Sallee), which I planted soon after moving as being a more or less native species with great frost tolerance.
 Seems to have good fire tolerance also, as it has sprouts.
 E. meliodora (Yellow Box).  A small specimen compared to many on the block.
 A very nice shoot.
E. macrorhyncha (Red Stringybark).  A very common species in the area.
These buds have obviously been growing for a few days.
 E. viminalis (Ribbon Gum).  This row were planted for dust control along a no longer used right of way.
 They are sprouting nicely from the trunk, rather than the branches.
 Many of the large E. polyanthemos (Red Box) by the Creek appear to have kept …

You can't keep a good Photinia robusta down

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In another forum I included a photo of a row of Photinia robusta growing on our secondary lawn, much like the one below.
We had decided to wait and see what happens with regrowth, but were not optimistic about those close to the camera.

Looking more closely today I found signs of regrowth in most of the bushes.

 This one looks really dead?
 Not so!!  Despite the pruning scar being brown and brittle it is pumping out some leaves.
 This one survived best: check the regrowth on the RHS.
What makes this even more pleasing is that last Winter our local Swampies browsed the daylights out of these shrubs and they had only just started to recover from that.  One tough species.

I am not genusist however.  Check out this scorched Melaleuca.  Gone for all money?
 Nope, just girding its loins!



Ants are go

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When I was a kid growing up in darkest Essex on Summer evenings we observe swarms of flying ants heading skywards.  Typically they were soon attacked by a flock - sometimes 100+ birds - of Black-headed Gulls.

This afternoon we went for a walk up the block, looking for field mushrooms.  What we found everywhere was the meat-eating ant Iridomyrmex purpureus nests were about to swarm.  Every nest we came across ...
 ... was a heaving mass of insects.  We first noticed the shimmer of the wings,
 ... but on getting closer it was apparent that the vast majority of the insects were unwinged.
They were, as usual for this species very aggressive and I soon fled, with numbers of ants all over my boots - and heading upwards.

Thus far I haven't seen any activity by potential predators.

Wildlife and washoff

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We have been getting some nice rain recently (although according to my correspondent Paddy Hanrahan we need more).  This has led to an outbreak of fungi along Widgiewa Rd.
Later in the day we came across a puffball ...
 .. and some field mushrooms.
The weather has also caused frogs to be very evident in and around the house.  On a recent evening I found these 2 sitting at the bottom of a window.
 My best guess at an ID for this one was a Broad-palmed Frog (Litoria latopalmata) but on listening to its call I have never hard anything like that on our property.  My second guess is Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera) which is quite common in the area.  However a Frogwatch expert has identified it asLitoria verreauxii- whistling tree frog
 The other is a Perons Tree Frog (Litoria peronii) aka The Usual Suspect).
Interestingly, this morning 21 March we went to check that the water pumped satisfactorily to the main tank and found a Peron's Tree Frog sitting on the float in the big …