Saturday, 28 April 2012

Silver on gold

This afternoon a small flock of Silvereyes Zosterops lateralis arrived in the Grevillea "Honey Gem" to get an energy boost from the nectar.

They are delightful little birds to watch as they go dashing from flower spike to flower spike chasing one another off the perceived best feeding spot. They are migrant visitors to our garden passing through on their way north for winter.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Candle power

A standout native plant hybrid that we have in the garden is Banksia "Giant Candles" a cross between B.spinulosa & B.ericifolia, both being standout plants in their own right. However "Giant Candles" combines the best features and has fantastic flower spikes that are a powerful attraction for honeyeaters.
We have a spike on ours that is 300mm in length and today the honey eaters were busy flitting down for a quick sip and I managed to get a shot of a Yellow-Faced Honeyeater before it dashed off.

The birds would alternate between the Banksia and the Grevilleas along side and they are not inclined to spend too much time at any one plant and were not particularly cooperative in getting in ideal positions for their photos.

Immature Eastern Spinebill on Grevillea "Orange Marmalade"

Eastern Spinebill on Grevillea "Honey Gem"

Monday, 23 April 2012

Colourful weaver

It is the season for Garden Orb Weavers Eriophora sp and we have lots of webs stretching between shrubs,across paths and that means you need to watch where you are going if you are to avoid sticky web all over your face. Once you know where the webs are built each day you learn when to duck and where to dodge aside. Today I noticed one that was a little out of the ordinary as it had strong red colouring in the upper leg segments and was quite striking; worth a photo.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Often overlooked

When things are ubiquitous we often overlook them, not actually seeing them because you see them every day and garden or grass skinks just fit nicely into that category. However today while we were sitting in the garden having coffee I just happen to notice the activity of lots of Grass Skinks or Delicate Skinks, just two of a number of common names for  Lampropholis delicata, as they scampered around on a log.
There were many different sized individuals, many obviously from this season's hatching and they were all enjoying sunbathing after many days of wet weather. They are one of a number of small skinks that are common in gardens and around houses and most likely one of them would be the first reptile remembered from childhood.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

High & low

In between rain showers our Red-browed Finches Aegintha temporalis were out and about searching for grass seeds high and low.

A family group spent some time just working over the ground around the grasses and ground cover plants feasting on the seeds that the rain had knocked down. We have these birds around the property year round and at times it is easy to overlook them when looking for some of our more rare visitors but they are such gregarious guys they are very entertaining to watch . Their range is right down the east coast of Australia excluding Tasmania.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


We don't have any swampy areas, but the thick grass on the road frontage is a spot that Swamphens find attractive and are seen every now and then. Today I could hear something that was unseen in the grass and then a Swamphen  Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus wandered out onto the road verge, where it spent a few minutes surveying the scene and then moved back into the grass.

This is the Eastern sub species that ranges through areas of Australia from northern WA down to Tasmania around swamps, the margins of rivers, lakes, farm dams, and creeks and they are also found in NZ.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Weed and a Wanderer

We have a lot of Wanderers Danaus plexippus plexippus around at present and today one was very cooperative whilst having a feed on Lantana flowers in a shaft of sunlight coming through the trees.

As it moved over the flowers the wings were being opened and closed and that allowed a couple of variations for me to photograph.

Lantana Lantana camara is a weed of national significance, particularly in NSW and Queensland where it has invaded large tracts of land. We have our fair share and it is an ongoing battle to keep the weed under control. Butterflies however love the flowers as do some of the small birds but it produces a prolific amount of small berries that many birds find irresistible and then spread seeds far and wide.

I particularly like the shot above with the sunlight showing through the wings giving a stained glass window effect.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

With the mail

When I collected the mail today I found the box occupied not only by mail, but also visitor that I am sure didn't arrive with the postie.

 The weather has changed to not only wet but cold so this character found quite a good spot to keep a bit warmer. One of our regularly seen tree frogs, Peron's Tree Frog Litoria peronii are common throughout NSW and across the borders into Qld & Victoria. Their colouring is quite variable from greyish through to dark brown with their most striking colouring being yellow and black markings behind the thighs, groin and armpits and the emerald green spots not always as evident as on this guy.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Not a mouse

Over the past couple of days I have noticed one of our furry critters quite active late in the afternoon around the rockery outside the office. I has been scurrying in and out of the holes between the rocks and through the ground-cover plants.

This grainy photo was taken yesterday evening in low light as the Antechinus exited one of the holes.
Antechinus are not mice but a little larger sized marsupial that is carnivorous but will also vary its diet with flower nectar, seeds and other plant material. Normally I see these little characters when I disturb them where they are nesting in a cupboard or draw or box in the shed where they are somewhat of a pest for the mess they make. I am not sure which this one is of the two Antechinus species that we have in the area, either Brown Antechinus Antechinus stuartii or Yellow-footed Antechinus Antechinus flavipes. Antechinus breed only once a year and all the males are so active during mating that they wear themselves out die shortly after mating leaving the females to bring up their young (up to 12).
Today I caught a glance of the Antechinus as it scurried up the trunk of the Grevillea Honeygem and was fortunate to get a shot of it taking a quick sip of nectar before it was down and back into the rocks.

Monday, 9 April 2012

A blowfly to keep in the garden

I rescued a very colourful fly from the pool and I got a couple of photos as it groomed.

 On checking the identity I found that it is a female Snail Parasite Blowfly amenia imperialis which as the name suggests is a parasite on land snails and slugs. More accurately it is the maggots it lays that chomp their way through the host, as the adult flies feed on nectar from flowers and are important pollinators. They are commonly found through NSW and Queensland.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Kite flying

This evening caught a glimpse of a bird soaring just above the tree tops and just had time to grab the camera and get a couple of shots (although at a distance) before it glided across the next ridge.
It had a different look to the Raptores we have regularly visiting and when I had a look at the photo and checked the identification I was fortunate to have seen a Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura. 

  They are regarded as somewhat rare in our area and the first that I have seen; just unfortunate I did not get a chance for a closer photo.