Showing posts from February, 2011

Go East young (?) man

Following Denis Wilson's post and a subsequent email, about the orchidaceous delights of Mongarlowe which lies to the East of Carwoola, Frances, myself and the small dog took ourselves off there to see what we could find.  The possible query is whether I still qualify as young (Frances is younger than me, and if anyone questions the small dog's youth, just watch her go after a wabbit)?  I have decided that relativity is the go: see a helpful entry in Wikipedia to confirm that I am a spring chicken.

For those coming from Braidwood it is possibly useful to know that Wilson Rd, which runs from the main street past the dunnies becomes signed as Little River Road.  Google Maps and Google Earth seem to call this Budawang Rd, which caused a little confusion in my mind.  However if one ploughs straight ahead along Wilson Rd all works out OK.  When you get to Mongarlowe take a right turn and keep an eye out for the fire shed, going behind it to get to the cemetery.  Possibly check out …

Berrying before digging holes

I have posted on my vegetation monitoring blog about my efforts to control the blackberries around the property.  It is more a matter of control rather than eradicate since we do enjoy eating the fruit so will probably keep one or two bushes once we get on top of the ones we don't want.
 Note the thorns on these bushes. If people in the mediaeval times had picked blackberries there would have been no need for people to get leeched to let the bad blood - or come to that the good blood - out!

Last year we got very few fruit since the bushes were influenced by the preceding very dry year.  At a rough calculation this year human foragers (us and my friend Rob) have taken about 28 litres of fruit.  Here is an expert picker at work.
Being up by the dam one gets a chance to view the wildlife.  Rob viewed a duck which had been sheltering under a bush he was picking: I think it was only the leech-like efforts of the brambles that prevented his systolic pressure hitting four digits!  We didn&…

The "standard" Autumn Orchid

This is IMHO Eriochilus cuculata or Parson's bands.  We did see this on the Settlers Track as well as the more flamboyant Magenta Autumn Orchid but I have saved posting about it until I found one on the home block.  That happened this morning 25 February as we patrolled the place with the dog.  Here is a snap:
Note the much paler colour.  I'd like to say note the absence of hairs on the sepals but I can see a few small ones! However they are not as big as the other day so i will merely mutter about taxonomists and move on.

In case you wonder why they are called Parsons Bands look at this post from the Nature of Robertson and learn!  It really pleases me when Google puts such a relevant post up front!

Some bouquets and a large brickbat

I will start with a couple of bouquets, mainly because that will allow my wrath over the brickbat to stew a little further.

The first bouquet goes to Country Energy for the effective and courteous way they undertok the inspection of poles on our property.  They really are a great organisation and I hope that if the sale goes through the new owners of the utility keep the staff and keep up the good work.  (It is interesting that I normally have a lot of time for Premier Kenneally but think she has dropped the ball on this one.  Equally, the mere fact that Fred Nile opposes something would lead me to support it but not this time.)

My second bouquet gets shared around a bit because lots of companies get involved but they all more or less done good.  The remote control for our DVD player went belly up and I needed a new one.  On visiting the Good Guys (our electrical retailer of choice) they didn't sell them, but were kind enough to tell me who did and where to find them.  The vendor …

ANPS Walk to Settler's Track

Today, 23 February 2011, the local chapter of ANPS took a walk along the shorter version of the Settlers Track in Southern Namadgi National Park. Please note that the linked page is about 1.5Mb - so if you are on a dial-up connection, now might be a good time for a coffee! 

It was a snorter of a day.  Great weather, a pleasant track with not too many hills and lots of nature to look at, hear and photograph.  I haven't done much with the images of the huts since that is included in the linked brochure.  However I did find this interesting newspaper snippet in Brayshaw's Hut.
This was particularly interesting to me as when a teenager in the UK I used to visit Linnet's Cottage at Bradwell in Essex which had been similarly decorated - but in about 1810, with newspapers reporting blokes being transported to Australia for stealing blazers!

This image - of a lichen covered branch framing a view across the valley to a frost hollow - summarises a fair bit of the walk.
There were a…

COG visit to Googong South

Let us cut to the chase with the trip report submitted to COG:
Report on Walk to London Bridge

The day started well both in terms of the weather (fog disappeared as the 22 members and guests left Burra Rd) being a beautiful fine day - at least to start with- and a good crop of birds. 

The birds of the day appeared early in the walk in the high speed forms of 4 Peregrine Falcons.  There was considerable interaction between the birds flying at one another and vocalising loudly.  Two perched in a dead eucalypt and were duly chased off by a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.  Two Australian Pipits posed nicely on dead Mullein stalks at the end of the London Bridhge arch.

On entering the woodland we were treated to good views of two Eastern Yellow Robins and a little later to 4 Scarlet Robins.  Only a single Leaden Flycatcher was seen, close to the Queanbeyan River.  This was seen attacking a Pied Currawong but we couldn't determine if this was defending a nest or simply good policy…

Jezabel, but not a Painted Lady

I could have put this on an Invertebrates page but then I would have missed using that title, which would have annoyed me intensely.

The allusions in the title refer to the wife of Ahab (king of Israel not he of the Pequod) who seems rumoured to have put herself around and about more than somewhat.  However this blog eschews all such matters in favour of butterflies.  We have been visited recently by Imperial Jezabels (Delias harpalyce) and not by either Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi) nor the European Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).

The Jezabels are rather flashy butterflies.  In these images they are feeding (I think) on nectar from our Dahlias.  In the top image note the presence of a bee just above the butterfly.

In support of my thought about feeding, in the next two images the proboscis is clearly visible and unfurled for action.  I am beginning to define a decent insect shot as one in which the proboscis is clearly visible!

At last the birdbath gets some use

On 30 December last we went for a prowl around the garden centres at Pialligo, to see what the traditional places were offering (as opposed to our usual blat to Bunnings - Australia's equivalent to Wal-mart).

Amongst the goods on offer were some very attractive glazed birdbaths and we decided to buy one.  Even if it didn't attract the birds it would look pretty!

I installed it so we could see it from the kitchen and erected a convenient perching twiglet nearby.

For 50 days (if my arithmetic is correct) not a damn bird used it.  Thank goodness it looked nice.  Then this afternoon (18 February 2011) I noticed some fluttering near it.  Yes! Yes! Yes!  some birds had finally decided to investigate it.  Over the next 10 minutes a pair of Superb Blue Wrens had a splash as did 2 White-browed Scrubwrens.  I fired off 16 photographs (using a burst process to fiddle with exposure) and got 1 good image:
The "scrubbie" isn't at its best in this image so I have cut a better sh…

Vertebrates of February

This post starts with bad news: a wascally wabbit!
We are beginning to get very excessive numbers of these.  An excessive number is 1, and more than 3 is very excessive.  They seem to be coming out of the Kunzea, thus avoiding my trap and I am not sure if they are dining on the improved oats I have on offer for them.  The small dog does her best, but is constrained by being on her lead (most of the time).

Although I despise the Shooters Party with a passion, I really think that landholders should be able to acquire a low powered gun for vermin control on their property with little bulldust.  Unfortunately the forces of political correctness will not allow that to happen.

On a happier note this Eastern Water Dragon was checking out some rocks near Whiskers Creek.
Even happier has been the appearance from time to time of a little dragon on the rocks beside the Creek crossing.  This must be an indication of a breeding event.  The chappie in the snappie is about 40cm long counting the tail …