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 - http://www.elfram.com/fungi/fungi_home.html
Morrie - https://morrie2.wordpress.com/

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?