Friday, 31 December 2010


At the peak of insect activity and one of our more unusual visitors are the Mountain Grasshoppers acripeza reticulata, and in particular the female of the species. The male is small, can fly and is generally insignificant. On the other hand the female is a robust insect and is generally found wandering through the leaf litter with slow steady steps or little hops. The colour suits the suroundings and they can be hard to spot if not moving, but when disturbed you cannot miss the display that is designed to frighten wouldbe predators.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Lace Monitor portrait

Our resident Lace Monitors varanus varius (second largest lizard in Australia growing to around 6') are now seen at least a few days a week, particularly on the warm days.The younger ones come closer to the house than the big characters who generally stay further away, as they are generally more wary. This afternoon one of the younger ones with full breeding colour, wandered past, just outside the office and stopped long enough for me to take  a portrait.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Horsefly times

This is the time of year when the insects reign supreme, awake to the sound of the cicadas,  that as the day warms up becomes a non-stop background noise. However it is the biting insects that are impossible to ignore, mossies, midges and horseflies. The horseflies give a painful bite that at times can draw blood so when you are outside in the garden you are always on the watch to give them a swat when they land on an exposed bit of skin. They also bother the wallabies and kangaroos which can be seen flicking their ears & tail and swatting with their paws. Our resident wallaby, that sits just outside the office on many mornings and afternoons, is being pestered at present whilst she is doing a bit of cleaning. The biggest of the horseflies Erephopsis guttata, is fortunately a slow flier and as it has a very noisy buzz you can keep a watch on them. They also seem to lack the sense to find the skin easily as they more often than not land on your shoe/boot etc and spend some time looking for a spot to bite, this gives you a chance to swat them or if so inclined chase them away.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas flowers

We have two of the flower species that we associate with Christmas in NSW, being Christmas Bush Ceratopetalum gummiferum and Christmas bells Blandfordia nobilis and grandiflora. Usually our Christmas bush has just about finished by now, whereas in Sydney it is coming into its peak, but this year we have a wonderful display.
However our Christmas bells are just in bud, so it will be well into January be for they are in full bloom.

Christmas bells from a previous year
NSW Christmas Bush

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Moon eclipse

Last night we were fortunate to have a wonderful view of the partial eclipse of the moon as it rose in the east, althoght we missed the start as it was behind a bank of clouds on the horizon.However by about 8.30 it cleared the clouds and we were able to see the shadow gradually leave the moon. I have been lucky to get a new camera from the family that has a wonderful zoom, so tried out and the following is the result.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Dingo in the backyard

11am on the tractor to do some slashing and spooked a dingo that was chasing a red-neck wallaby, so lucky day for the wallaby and not so good for the dingo, that looked to be in need of a good feed. Think it was a young one and must have been fairly desparate to be out hunting so late in the day.