Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Picnic at Cranbourne …



… with the grandkids.


As we walked to the picnic ground a furry brown animal ran across my foot. A little further on, it or its friend, paused just briefly enough for me to get a shot. Checking the image I decide that the stick out the front makes it look like an ‘elephant bandicoot’, better get another one. Too late – gone!

Southern Brown Bandicoot

Some low depressions in the vicinity were awash with a blue flower I’d not noticed before. Strange looking thing. This’ll be fun, requiring a little research. Turns out to be the plant of many names – Trailing Pratia, Swamp Isotome, Blue Star Creeper, Matted Pratia. From different sources it even has several scientific synonyms – Pratia pedunculata, Isotoma fluviatilis, Lobelia pedunculata and Laurentia fluviatilis.

Pratia sp

Commonly used as a ground cover it seems but can be invasive in a garden situation.

A few of the flowering eucs nearby were attracting armies of Plague Soldier Beetles. Not such a worry for the gardens apparently, (link to a CSIRO site).

Plague Soldier Beetles

They’re really only pollen/nectar eaters and when they assemble in large numbers it’s principally for breeding purposes.

Harmless.

Oops, better check the playground. 

Don't be alarmed, they're harmless too.

All ok, both still alive!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Some Nangara Dragons to Begin the Year



A visit to Nangara Reserve yesterday helped quench my thirst for a ‘dose of bush’ after the silly season.

The omens were good as I got out of the ute at the gate to be greeted by the call of the Olive-backed Oriole and the din of the Cicadas. A small party of Silvereyes seemed to keep up with me as I made a bee line for the bottom dam.
 
Silvereye - a delightful little bird often taken for granted.
The cooler gully regions at the bottom were alive with Craneflys, some determined to begin the futures of the next generation.

Craneflys have a fascinating biology and ecology.

As I sloshed around in the shallows and reeds of the bottom dam chasing some Dragonflys, a Rufous Whistler called continuously from some nearby trees. I’m never very confident with my odonata ID’s, but here goes.

I quickly noted at least four or five different Dragonflys and Damselflys. This first one I think is a Tau Emerald.

My guess is a Tau Emerald - pretty common

A pair of much smaller Dragonflys caught my eye and I waded out to the top of my boots and waited patiently for some shots of this pair of Eastern Pygmyflys, (perhaps?).
 
A female Eastern Pygmyfly (?) on a piece of overhanging vegetation.
The male consistently landed with his colourful abdomen held nearly vertical; a courting ritual perhaps?
 
The eye-catching male Eastern Pygmyfly.
Back on the shoreline and a (immature?) Blue Skimmer (?) paused long enough for a shot.

A Blue Skimmer that hasn't quite got complete colour yet.

The still water of the two dams and the slow trickles of the two creeks plus the associated boggy/swampy areas seem to make Nangara Reserve a haven for dragons and damsels at this time of year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

French Island - Day Two (finally)


Many Xanthorroaea flower heads were covered in assorted invertebrates.

Onion-orchid, Microtis arenaria perhaps?

 
Heath Milkwort, Comesperma ericinum - pink form way less abundant

Heath Milkwort - the common purple form.
Cape Barren Geese.

Early morning 'grunter'.


















 
Large Duck-orchid, Caleana major - multi-flowered plants were plentiful.

















Large Tongue-orchid - Cryptostylis subulata?

Large Tongue-orchid - widespread and common but a first for me.
 
South African orchid, Disa bracteata - an invasive pest.







































































































































The above is a small sample of some flora and fauna I ticked on day two.

The bewildering array of flowers and orchids in particular was stunning. Frequently I would be down on the ground concentrating on getting an acceptable image of one species and from the corner of my eye another would appear. One time I needed to bend a stem away from the lens for a clearer picture and on top of that stem was a flower that to me was a lifer – heaven!