Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dalton does good

Frances and I have very fond memories of Dalton, just North of Gunning, as a native flower site.  It became less attractive a few years ago when the cemetery was incinerated by the Bush Fire people for reasons best known to them.  However, we wanted a shortish trip out of Carwoola so pointed the Jetta in that direction this morning.

First up, we swung in to the Cemetery and found things very much better.  The area out of the burial grounds (which seem to have acquired some new fences) was regenerating very well.
Jumping ahead a tad, we also visited Broadway TSR on the road to Boorowa.  That had some damp patches ..
As a result of the dampness both areas were well endowed with mosquitoes.  The cemetery was very much sun orchid central.  When we first got there (about 0920) they were not yet open, possibly as the temperature was only about 16oC.
 We called back on the way home (about noon) and the 23oC had not only got the Thelymitra carnea displaying but ...
 .. quite a few T. pauciflora had joined in,
 The carnivorous leaf of Drosera peltata was a bonus!

Getting back to our first visit to the cemetery, next cab of the rank was Diuris semilunulata - looking a bit sunburnt and generally used.
 Sticking with the genus Diuris, at the TSR D. sulphurea was found.
 As were at least hundreds of what are now called Caladenia again, even though giving the white Caladenias their own genus of Stegostyla was very sensible.  I think most of them were C/S ustulata due to brown tips.
This pink one had me a tad puzzled, but the dorsal sepal ain't right for what was briefly called Petalochilus!
 And this looks a bit greenish which made me ponder C/S cucullata.
 As I said there were lots of them.
 Staying briefly with monocotyledons both sites had many twining Fringe Lilies (aka Thysanotus patersonii).
 Into the Fabaceae (aka beans - from the latin faba = bean): Pultenaea microphylla and ...
 .. Daviesia leptophylla
 Heaths were represented by Brachyloma daphnoides.
 Reflecting the dampness there was a lot of Sundew around.  Some of them were fully flowering, and in this case showing the furry underside diagnostic of Drosera peltata.
The "daisies" were subject to a lot of insect attention, I think mainly hoverflies.  Here on Leucochrysum albicans ...
 .. and here Microseris lanceolata.
 The first vertebrate seen today was a Shingleback.
Indeed there were two present and both seemed rather sleepy.  Perhaps there will be more in the nearish future.
The final stage of this outing was a swing into the Merino Cafe in Gunning was an 8/10 beef pie.  The  specimen touched most of the bases for a good pie but lost a bit for being "just a pie" and a bit more for being somewhat small for the price.  But all other criteria were met well.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Spring doin's

A couple of days ago I posted a snap of a snake repeller enhanced with a sizable wombat turd.  To refresh your memory (although I would understand if you'd rather forget the image):
I poked this off with a stick, but the next day another large brown cube was evident.  That does make it rather difficult for the solar panel to work.  Also, over Winter,  one repeller was broken when the marsupial backed up to do the business.  So I installed a deterrent.
Not only wombats cause problems with renewably sourced energy. (No, I haven't been graced with a visit from Senator Malcolm Roberts, the man who stood for village idiot but was over-qualified.) I have erected a few fairy lights as a bit of fun on the lawn and somehow a passing Eastern Grey stuck its size 97 (UK system) feet into the wire and snapped it. 4 days later I found the solar panel and 2m of wire about 40m away. A bit of insulating tape and we're back in business. 
A further protectif has been installed!  (The arrow indicates the solar panel.)
It seems to have finally stopped raining, and even getting 10+mm of rain does lead to massive run-off.  So it seemed to be time to get back in to gardening.  The first job that was required was to plants some spuds.

I am not sure of the economics of growing spuds as they only cost $1 per kilo for basic bags, and our rat-attracting sack of most excellent Sebago from Atherton was about the same.  However the normal market stuff is pretty tasteless and it costs too much to drive to Atherton.  So we got 500gms each of King Edwards and Pink Fir and Frances had kept a few chats from our Kiflers form last year.

As a result of the rain the designated patch was rather weedy.  Here we have before and after in one snap.
 My guess is that as I dug I was getting 3 worms per fork-full.
 Now having a bunch of worms suggest that the soil has a good supply of organic matter, minerals, oxygen and water.  Basically what plant roots like.

So I reckon the spuds have no excuse for not going gangbusters. Especially since I added some compost and blood and bone to the bottom of the trench.  Here we have the King Edwards ...
 .. waiting to be reburied.
I don't have a rubber turkey on hand, but declare this to be Mission Accomplished!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

A Tawny Frogmouth chick emerges

It is now 13 days since I think the Tawny Frogmouth eggs hatched.  The chicks have quite wisely avoided what passes for Spring weather by lurking under Dad ever since.  On Thursday last at 20:00 I saw two chicks in the nest while both parents were elsewhere, presumably annoying frogs.

This morning for the first time I spotted a wriggler come out from under Dad.  There are distinct advantages to being able to see into the nest while sitting at my computer.
 As the distance - not to mention trying to snag an image through a window - is a bit of a challenge for my camera I went to sneak round closer to the nest.  If you know what you're looking at the shape of the chicks head is just visible in this image.
 That's a better snap.
On the morning of 25 October both chicks were sort-of visible under Dad.
I have outlined the two to make them more visible (I knew they were there as Ihave my telescope aimed at the nest).

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Above the Queanbeyan Fault

Not that I am saying that anything that follows is Queanbeyan's fault.  Just that both the spots covered in this post are higher than the former City - now just part of a Region.

The first site is my own block.  I was walking up to count Glossodia yesterday when I heard a strange scraping noise coming from under a sheet of corrugated iron.
My initial thought was some sort of reptile, so I lifted the sheet very carefully in case there was a deficiency in the number of legs.  All was cool: unless of course you are an ant, in which case your day had just got very bad indeed.
 Today, on a similar orchid-oriented mission I noticed one of our snake repellers had been enhanced.
Obviously  shall have to suggest to Sureguard that they fit an accessory wombat repeller to next year's model.

The scene now shifts closer to the Fault and the consequent Escarpment in the form of Cuumbeun Nature Reserve.  There is a good show of flowers there as well as my specific birding target of a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren.  I saw it well, and the rump was very Chestnut, but didn't get a photo.

My first photo was of a Stegostyla/Caladenia cuculata.
Several plants of Grevillea lanigera had flowers, but none of them were luxuriant.  However I think the shapes are attractive.
 A lot of sedge around a dam were doing their flower thing.
 At the roadside so was Leucochrysum albicans.
There was quite a lot of flowering Fabaceae (aka beans) of the egg-and-bacon persuasion..  The most obvious was Daviesia mimosoides.
 I think this is also a Daviesia, but D. genistifolia.
 No idea of the genus, let alone species on this one.  Ian Fraser has commented that Pultenaea microphylla is a suggestion and I have no argument with that!  The leaves are certainly small.
 The plant here is definitely a Yam Daisy, Microseris lanceolata.  I think the insect is a hoverfly (Family Syrphidae).
 I took this photograph because of the Robber Fly (family Asilidae).  It was only when I looked at the image on my computer that I noticed the approaching spider.  It is possibly a flower spider (Family Thomisidae, perhaps genus Diaea).  That view comes from some illustrations in "A guide to the Spiders of Australia" by Framenau, Baehr and Zborowski.
 This spider (again possibly Diaea sp.)was originally on a flower of a Craspedia sp, but took a dive when I approached.
All told this walk was very interesting - especially since I only walked about 1km - and a good investment of an hour.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Art in Queanbeyan

I went for a run along the Queanbeyan River this morning, as I often do on a Friday.  Today I was running with my friends, as my usual companions on such a foray are currently overseas exploring art in places such as Lyon.

I was astonished to find that in the past week (ie since I last did the run) art has appeared on the pillars of the Queens bridge which takes Monaro St over the Quenabeyan River.  It is possible that I didn't notice it last week, but aforementioned companions are pretty good observers.  So my best bet is that Mike Shankster is not only a good muralist but also a very fast one.  He is sort-of local, being apparently based in Jindabyne.  Anyway here is his work, starting from the one furthest up the bank and moving down towards the River:

This isn't Mike's work but is nearby and rather pleasing, especially given that the weir area is a top platypus spotting area.