Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Six New 'Drouin Birds'



I spent an interesting day yesterday with some of the LV Field Naturalists bird tragics. They visited Drouin and considering the wind strengths we managed some good sightings for the day. I managed to add six new species to my growing Drouin list – Little Pied Cormorant at Bellbird, Flame Robins and Yellow-rumped Thornbills in Settlement Rd plus Black-fronted Dotterel, Blue-billed Duck and Freckled Duck, (wow), in the sewerage ponds.
 
Getting started at Bellbird

Gippsland Water very kindly allowed the group to observe their ponds from the perimeter track. The wind continued to howl and the sky was black and grey one minute and blue and white the next. The water changed colour with the sky.




Telescopes and binoculars proved difficult to hold still until we hit on the idea of using them from our cars. The ducks unfortunately either worked the centre of the pond or rested on a distant mud flat – too far away for a decent photo.

The Flame Robins were more accommodating, chasing insects on the shoreline, with sometimes five males in close quarters.

Male flame wouldn't let me get much closer
4 or 5 males but I only saw the one female

The 3 or 4 Black-fronted Dotterels did the ‘dotterel thing’ and always retreated to just outside decent photo range.
 
Black-fronted Dotterel

A great day, wind aside, spent in great company.
Gouldiae

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Wasp-orchid



I joined the Heyfield bird mob on a visit to the Wuchastch Reserve at Nyora recently. It was a bit of a quiet bird day, although it was good to find the Brown Gerygone in yet another local site. This little bird is almost becoming ubiquitous.

In one or two spots we saw a little bit of orchid leaf and eventually discovered a small colony of the Wasp-orchid. I think it is the Tall Wasp-orchid, Chiloglottis trilabra.


There’s probably four species of Wasp-orchid that grow in Victoria and mostly they flower between late summer and winter. Although flowering can be a bit of a hit and miss event, it seems they will flower profusely after a fire event.


It is thought the calli on the labellum is meant to appear like the body of a female thynnid wasp, thus tempting the male wasp to visit and so enhance the pollination process. Here’s a link to a page from the excellent Retired Aussies site that shows images of such a wasp visiting a Tall Wasp-orchid.


We also spotted a Rosy Hyacinth-orchid beside the track. This one seems to be in flower a bit late in its season in my book. I usually see these orchids mostly through mid-summer.


These epiparasitic orchids derive their nutrition from mycorrhizal fungi that are associated particularly with the roots of eucalyptus species. A beautiful parasite that survives because of another parasite – who cannot be entranced by nature?
Gouldiae   

Monday, April 18, 2016

First Fungi



Trees have been my focus for some months and I have been struggling to publish anything here of late. If I haven’t bored you with Drouin tree stuff as yet, you might like to check out our Friends of Drouin’s Trees blog. Momentum is gathering!

I managed to ‘escape’ briefly into the nearby hills recently and discovered that if one ventures deep enough into the wet gullies, that despite the recent dry conditions the fungi season has begun. As usual, any help with ID’s is appreciated – (heyfieldwaresATwidebandDOTnetDOTau).
 
A coral obviously, perhaps Ramaria lorithammus?

Attractive. Growing on a log.

One of the puffballs - Lycoperdon perlatum maybe.

Cortinarius abnormis?

One of the fleshy pore/Boletus varieties but the non-central stipe has me confused.

All of these were found on the walking track up to Lawson Falls in Bunyip State Park.
Gouldiae