Monday, 3 July 2017

Snakes an' a plane

One of the few unpleasant things about the Topi area is that the RAAF rev-heads fly over at zero altitude for several hours every weekday.  Presumably they have to keep their flying hours up (or they suspect a terrorist cell is based at Dungog due to that town's lobbying for beatification of Doug Walters).

I initially thought that they only had one plane available and it had to go back to Williamstown to let the next pilot have a go, but eventually we saw two in the air at once.  Even though they were only trainers they were still as noisy as the powerboats yesterday.

Having got the plane out of the way, I'll just give a nod to Samuel Jackson's work on a pot boiler and deal with the snake.

Frances was heading on to the deck at Topi this morning (after our dog walk) and rushed back in telling me to shut Tammy in and bring my camera. She claimed there was a huge snake on the lawn.
She was of course spot on. 

Its ID has been confirmed as a Diamond Python (Morelia spilotaand I estimate it as about 2.5m long. It has been suggested that we are doubly lucky for (a) seeing the beast and (b) being somewhere warm enough for a snake to be active!

It wasn't that warm when we started the dog walk about 2.5 hours earlier, but there were quite a few birds around.  Of course the Pied Butcherbirds were negatively phototropic and launched off as I pressed the button.  So its a technically naff photo, but does the job of identifying the species.
 As this rascal was hanging out with a bunch of adult Pied Butcherbirds I will write it down as a n immature Pied Butcherbird.
So we get to some fotos of phlora.  As we walked along Wattley Hill Rd we noticed that there were a lot of elkhorn ferns on the trees.  Since they appeared to be of a range of ages we concluded they were naturally occurring rather than someone bolting them on to the hosts.
 This seemed to be an epiphytic angiosperm rather than a fern.
 Blossom was evident on this tree - which I think is some sort of Myrtaceae.  Whatever:  it was very popular with Rainbow Lorikeets and Noisy Friarbirds.
 There were quite a few flowering Acacias beside the road.  I think this one is A. longifolia ..
 .. buthave no idea below species on this one.
 A Bean (ie member of the Fabaceae)!
 With this one, it is possibly some form of Epacris (or possibly something else).  But it is white and pretty so gets a photo here.
In the afternoon (OK, we're not into a linear temporal sequence here) we noticed this impressive ant nest as we walked up to the lighthouse at Seal Rocks.
 We also reminded ourselves how spiffy this natural arch was ...
 .. and how bloody steep was the final slope up to the lighthouse.
 The rocky islands were still attractive.
 And the sea was still full of migrating Humpback whales.  They are on a mission so don't stay up for long, which made photography difficult but I managed to get a snap of one whales head ...
 .. and then fluke a shot of its tail.
A little earlier in proceedings we had watched one out near the furthest rocks in the image 2 up do a massive tail slap at least 6 times.   Whatever it was doing attracted attention from every Crested Tern in the area.  I missed a photo but got very pleasing views of this.

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