Monday, April 27, 2015

It's the Little Things that Count

From inside the sunshine is watery ...

but walking, head down, the tiny things are bright in the wintery light.

Eucalyptus seedling

Discarded reptile (skink?) skin

Astroloma humifusum
Native cranberry

Greenhood Orchid leaves.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rain at last!

Suddenly the bush has come alive.

Parsons Bands Orchid
Eriochilus cucullatus

rain drop

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Weeping Fungus is back.

In 2010 I found the most beautiful fungus I had ever seen.

it was growing in amongst fallen leaves on the underside of a living Eucalyptus obliqua stump


(back later .. child is awake)
It took ages to find someone who could help with an ID and eventually I was referred to Pamela Catchside ...
Last word:
I am delighted to have had this fungus identified by Pam Catcheside

Editor, Fungimap Newsletter,
Honorary Research Associate,
State Herbarium of South Australia,
Plant Biodiversity Centre,
Dept for Environment & Heritage,

Among the photos of thata first find are these two.



I have watched that site very closely in the interveneing years, but no sign of it.

Then, last week, in a quite new site about 60 metres away, another.

Yet again, the site is under a slight overhang of the base of a Messmate (E obliqua).

This is the general view.

and looking closer ...

and closer again ...

and again ... 

   and lucky last for today.

Inonotus dryadeus,  The Weeping Bracket Fungus, 

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Grey Shrike Thrush is Back

I can hear one just outside the kitchen window, but not see it.
I took this photo seven years ago at my previous home and am longing to get a clear shot at one here.

Grey Shrike-thrush (cropped)
The call is a delight ... and can be heard at the Australian Birds in Backyards, here.


Along with the thrush, the blue wrens are hopping about on the ground and the thornbills are racketing around in the Eucalypts' foliage.

Or it would be but for the sun directly behind them  :)

*puts the camera away and "just" enjoys watching*

At least if they build a nest here they will be safer than in Stirling, in suburbia and only 6k away.
The previous owners there had hand fed birds, including kookaburras.
If we had a BBQ on our deck outside as many as five Kookaburras would arrive and sit on the handrail, waiting to be fed.
They would fly up into the trees and eat and then return for seconds.

Not only that; if we cooked meat in the kitchen, the exhaust fan over the grill would release enough of that smell to call them!.

As a consequence, the population of Kookaburras (which predate on other birds' young) had exploded.
Our next door neighbours who ran a marvelous (and highly recommended)  B&B really appreciated the many birds close by, but the costs to the environment are high..

This little thrush in the picture made its nest in the crown of a large tree fern.
Each time it raised a baby it was picked out and eaten by the Kookaburras.

(Had we stayed we'd have rigged chicken wire over the top of the fern, of a size the thrush could get through, but not the Kookaburras, but didn't think of that until too late.)
Way too much of our general "good will" has had catastrophic results :(

And the B&B?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yellow Blacks "in the pink".

Yesterday was a beautifully cool day; a max of 25C

The flock of a dozen or so Yellow Tailed Black cockatoos was back again.

Unlike yesterday, when they had sat in one place for as long as an hour at a time, with their wings held out from their bodies and beaks open, they were very active.

They ate, talking quietly to each other, and then at intervals took short flights around their currently preferred food source here (PInus radiata) and longer ones along the valley, calling all the way,  and back again.
It was great to see.

It's been two years since I have been able to get a good photo of them, so today was a special treat.

There is some dispute about what to do with the Pine Trees.
Pinus radiata

They are a pest plant in our bush.
Many want to remove them, but imo a staged removal is vital for these birds, although they are a major means of spreading the seeds, so it is a vexed issue.

We need to undertake major replanting of their original food plants, notably Hakeas, Banksias and Sheoaks before removing any more of the pine trees.

Seeds spread some distance on the wind, and are also carried into bushland by Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.
Impact on Bushland
Radiata Pine establishes readily, creates dense shade, and carpets the ground thickly with needles. It depletes the soil of nutrients and water, changes soil chemistry, and excludes native plants. It favours the growth of weed seeds dropped by perching birds. A significant fire hazard."

And what we most certainly do NOT need here is anything that adds to our already VERY significant bushfire hazard.

Monday, February 3, 2014

More 40C+ Temperatures

Yes, it IS Summer and yes, this is when we expect our hot weather, so that is not worth mentioning.
What is worth mentioning is that the maxima are so high and general AND so variable.
It was 43C yesterday and today's forecast maximum is 25C, though only 18C at present.

We received about 7 spots of rain last evening, so that was a blessed relief, not.

The only reptiles I routinely see are small skinks, and even they were not out on the rocks sun-baking in the real heat, but are scampering around today.

The birds yesterday were clearly distressed.
Sheltering beaks open and wings held out from their body.

The "news" , given that so many different species have been seen to do so before, is that yesterday and for the first time, so were the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos.

These two photos were taken late in the afternoon, close to 7PM

Earlier in the day, at the hottest, three flew down to one of the water trays and took turns drinking.
they have not been seen to do that here before.

I didn't risk disturbing them in order to take a photo.

Their call can be heard here and clearly they do seek out other peoples' bird baths.

More Information




Monday, January 20, 2014

Red Wattle Bird suffered in the Heat

The Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata) does not often look vulnerable.

This one did in our four consecutive 40+C days.

We know them as "WattleJacks" from their call but there were no calls this day.

A summer storm brought rain with a cool change.

Their calls can be heard here ...  http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Anthochaera-carunculata