Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Welcome Back YTBCs

From the kitchen window.

Such beautiful birds and a joy to have around, even though I love my fruit trees!

Their habitat in the Adelaide Hills is taking a beating from smaller scale individual clearings and general "tidying up" for houses, though so many smallish clearings add up to fairly large scale habitat loss, especially as it is the understorey food sources like hakeas that tend to "go" because they are "fire ladders" to canopies in bushfires.
with bird calls

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Adelaide Rosella

Adelaide Rosellas are a sub-species of the Crimson Rosella with rather subdued colouring; they are among the most numerous individuals here of any of the local birds species.
There are three nesting boxes that suit them in the trees here, which might account for their numbers, I suppose.
I provide shelter, given the amount of clearing of trees in the valley, but I do not feed them.
Many neighbours do put out commercial seed mixes prepared for parrots.

The combination of increasing numbers of open/cleared patches for lawns etc and additional food probably accounts for the increase in Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Lorikeets and Corellas moving into the area in the last few years.

 There is some angst over this as they can be seriously destructive to housing and people often realise, too late, that their own activities have encouraged them (AND reduced critical habitat for the Yellow Tailed Blacks).

This pair have raised young for each of the past three years.
They vigorously defend "their" nesting box against other rosella pairs, flying at them each time they come too close.

We have been lucky enough to see individuals take their first flight; the adults' calling to them is an excellent alert :)

Rosellas make good use of the water provided, drinking and bathing.

Incoming ...

uh oh ... the camera sound often disturbs the birds at the water, even though quite a distance away.
(in fact, I photograph them from my glorified bird hide ... my little house (from the window over the kitchen sink, in fact))

Their liftoff is impressive when "stopped" by the camera, though too speedy to appreciate in real time.

In reading more about them I was astonished to find that a virus is responsible for the colour variations of the Crimson Rosella

More Information for any interested

The following two links have recordings of the calls.

Finally, those over a certain age will remember the Rosella logo of products long ago ... and South Australians will  know about Fritz and Sauce.


2017 Already!

*sneaks back in*

It's not only January already, but it's January 2017!

I will pick up where I left off, with the Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos.

The cockatoos are tentative at the bowl, I think because it had fallen off while I was away and they'd been without it for a couple of weeks.

Though the cockatoos are quiet, the magpie isn't ;)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos

The YTBCs , Calyptorhynchus funereus , returned to my little block yesterday, after weeks away.

I have seen a large flock of 20+   further into the Mount Lofties during that time, but not a hint here.

Yesterday morning a small group of just 5 settled in the trees close to the house and took turns jostling each other for best spot at the water bowl.

Their low chatting sounds were interspersed with a kind of "whistle" sound; very distinctive and a real joy after the raucous Sulphur Cresteds who have been here all winter.

I have lots to learn about them, but tend to be more hands on than "study" so my major focus is on revegetating, hoping to ensure their food suppply here.
I have close to well over a hundred Hakea vitata  ready to plant while the soil is still damp.
I have so far removed and replanted countless standing dead ones.

I had NOT realised until very recently that they eat insect larvae and that Acacias (especially A pycnanthat here) are a major food source of galls.

Out and into it!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Our Native Shrubby Violet, Hybanthus floribundus

Herewith one of the prettiest of the wildflowers here.

That's a big call, but it is not only pretty when you look closely, but "glows" from a distance in the winter light.

Over a year ago now, a weeding team, funded by DENR came in and removed a large patch of Erica.
It was not until THIS winter that we realised the Erica had overgrown Hybanthus.
They are now visible and flourishing in the open on very rocky ground.

As can be seen,  they had also to contend with Watsonias, which had been poisoned something like 10 years ago by the previous owner (our son) with the help of DENR then too.

The best news; in that now-cleared area there are as many as 20 Hybanthus, some of them young seedlings and more than ever seen before on the whole of this block.

Fearing that they might now be "over-exposed" to the Summer heat, we will revegetate the area with an Hakea carinata to provide some gentle cover.

Related Links:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

*surfaces ... to Fungi *

After an alarmingly dry start to the year our Year_To_Date rainfall is 255mm,

85mm of that has fallen in this last three weeks ie relatively recently, as you'd expect, it being winter here in Australia.

As a consequence not only is my rainwater tank full and overflowing (all 20,00 gallons of it) but the bush is looking beautiful
It is a joy to be out there, though cold.

The only fungus I have photographed this year has been this one.

An eFriend on ipernity, champion that she is,  has offered the following ID clues;


Ramaria sp.?
R. flaccida up to 55mm high; 
R. lorithamnus up to 100mm high)
Aphelaria sp.? (up to 200mm high)

This specimen was about 100mm at its tallest. 
As I began my hunt through the old photos for clues and prior suggestions I came to morrie's blog, which speaks for itself.

I know I have seen it in previous years ... these two shots from 2010.

At that time, I asked for help and was told
"Start looking here ...

a coral fungus

"Try searching images of Clavaria / Clavaroid fungi

some species are fungal symbionts in some lichens ...    you have candlesnuff fungus, dead mans fingers or coral fungus there."

So ... as you can see, it can be tricky.
So, I went to Wikipedia
... and then pretty much gave up.

Well, I gave up trying to identify them, but persisted with enjoying their beauty.

In 2011, I saw this gorgeous thing, which I presume is something else again (or maybe not) but I have never seen it again.

For those who are able to help with IDs or are interested in the collection of fungi I have photographed here (and elsewhere, but marked if so), then this album might be of interest.

Other (more) useful Australian links:

Long ago Bill and Morrie were active contributors to the old ABC (yes Auntie) Scribbly Gum forum and were incredibly helpful and enthusiastic fungi mentors.
Bill -
Morrie -

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.