Sunday, 5 May 2019

Honey Gem for an energy boost

The Grevillea Honey Gem in the garden outside the office is very popular with nectar loving birds, due to the ample nectar supply. I have noticed that in the late afternoon it is a regular stop for many birds to get an energy boost for the night.
The honey eaters are the main visitors but wrens, thornbills and other smaller birds also visit.
Today Eastern Spinebills and Striated Thornbills made it their stop for the evening top up.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Divergent lacewing

As I went out to the garden a smallish insect on the garden hose caught my eye and required a closer look. At first glance I thought it was a slender moth but a closer look indicated a lacewing but unlike any I had seen before.

I took a few more photos after picking it up for a close look and to get better lighting to pick up the colours and patterns of the wings.

To identify what I had found I Googled lacewings and found lots of photos of lacewing species but none like this and all the reference sites that I use to check for insects had nothing like this.

Finally I found a photo and a name amongst the mass of lacewing images Porismus strigatus one of a family of lacewings Neuroptera:Osmylidae that  diverged from a common ancestor during the Late Permian before the break-up of the super continent Pangaea.

The family are called Lance Lacewings as their larvae have elongated lance-like jaws to impale their prey. Species are found on all continents other than in arctic regions although they do not appear to be commonly recorded.

I found a detailed scientific paper on the Phylogeny of the Family and the divergence on Google. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Eagles in the backyard

The pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles that are resident in our area have been quite active with regular sightings as they soar around the neighbourhood. Today I noticed the pair had stopped for a break amongst the trees around our orchard which gave me a chance for a couple of long range photos. Unfortunately the amount of foliage and poor lighting didn't help with the quality and the pair took to the air after I had a couple of shots.

 Wedge-tailed Eagles are Australia's largest bird of prey with a wingspan of over 2m and a weight of around 4 kg ranking them high on the list of the world's largest eagles.
They range through most of Australia and southern Papua New Guinea and although they are not listed as a threatened species are totally protected. 

 We feel very privileged to have these majestic birds in our back yard to enjoy their aerial skills as they make the most of the air up-droughts around the hill.


Friday, 19 April 2019

unlucky bat

Yesterday when getting the holiday house ready for our family's visit we found an unlucky bat that had managed to get into the house at some point and then been unable to get out.

Being tiny it had dried out and was in good condition which enabled me to make the identification reasonably certain.

There are more than 60 micro-bat species in Australia but quite significant variations in appearance but the large ears or this genera are the identification key.
This one is Nyctophilus geoffreyi Lesser Large-eared Bat which is one of the most widespread of the micro bats.
They generally roost in tree hollows, caves as well as building roof cavities, sheds etc.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Borer result

This little moth was resting on a cushion next to me on the outdoor lounge and as it was one I hadn't seen before it was worth a photo.

The larvae of this species bore into the timber of the Casuarina tree species and the striped wings of the moth would help to hide it in the needle like foliage.

The moth is in the XYLORYCTIDAE family species Catoryctis subparallela with a wingspan about 2.5cm found in Qld, NSW and Victoria.

(almost misidentified, another is very close in appearance)