Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Out shone

The Grevilleas in the garden are in full bloom and the birds are making the most of the ample supply of nectar. On of the showiest is the Grevillea "Flamingo" a hybrid crossed from two other hybrids G "Moonlight" and G "Superb". The photo is of the "Flamingo" with a male Superb Blue Wren in his uncoloured plumage, so he represented no competition to the flower spike, where as in breeding plumage it would be a riot of colour contrasts.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Waste not want not

I have noticed after we have had a windy day lots of buds blown off the Spotted Gum,  Eucalyptus maculata Subgenus Corymbia that is in our driveway circle. What brought my attention to all the buds was the hum of dozens of honey bees that were collecting pollen and nectar from the freshly opened buds scattered over the driveway. I was quite taken by the fact that there were no other sources of food for the bees in the vicinity at ground level and the flowers on the tree are some 40 feet above ground, that the bees' senses are powerful enough to pick up on these fallen buds.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

A pest with a crest

Found a small moth this morning hiding away for the day, down the throat of a bromeliad and it looked interesting so coaxed it out into the light for a photo, before returning to its hiding place.
In the sunlight it proved even more eye catching as patches on the wings shone bright gold, but unfortunately the photos don't pick up the shine.

The large greenish patch shines like white-gold and the smaller bronze spot in the centre of the wing shines with a rose-gold hue. The tufted crests were the features that first caught my attention.
Checking the ID and came up with a Soybean Looper moth Thysanoplusia orichalcea, which can be a agricultural pest as the common name would suggest. The caterpillars feed on not only soybeans but also potato plants, parsley and chrysanthemums.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Red brow, white nape

Yesterday I noticed a few White-naped Honeyeaters Melithreptus lunatus  in the pepper tree outside the back door but they were deep in the foliage and I was not able to get a photo. However today one was keen to get a drink from the waterlily bowl and spent a few minutes getting in position enabling a quick photo (although I didn't have time to adjust my speed so a bit of blurring).
There are two forms of this bird with the eastern form having the orange-red brow and is found down the east coast through to South Australia. The western form has a whitish eyebrow and is found in the south western corner of WA.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Four eyes

Morning sun warming after a cool night brought out a group of Wrens to soak it up and spend a bit of time preening amongst the foliage of our Grevillea Shiressii. They were very busy and most of the photos I took have them looking away or head in their feathers but I did get this group of four all with their eye on the camera.
 All appear to be females but not sure whether they are Superb Blue Wrens or Variegated Blue Wrens as they are very similar..

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Spot on

Having breakfast on the deck this morning and my attention was caught by a splash of white on one of the wires (3mm diam) of the deck balustrade. a closer look showed it to be a quite attractive moth.

After a photo in this position I carefully moved it onto the rail where I could get a better position and try for a couple of other shots.
The final shot is after a little disturbance which caused the partially open wing display to reveal the rear wing.
As a very distinctive moth it was not too difficult to find the identification as a female Black Spot Moth Epicoma melanospila whose caterpillars feed on plants in the Myrtaceae family, Eucalyptus, Callistemons, Leptospernums,Kunzeas etc.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mountain Grasshopper on the move

Have seen a few female Mountain Grasshoppers moving about in the past couple of days and today found one at the wood heap and managed to get a shot. It was very active and was not going to show the defensive display, just intent on getting to wherever it was going.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

A troop on the nose

Fungi are popping op all around following our period of wet weather and some look quite tasty but looks can be deceiving. I found a troop that went on parade just at the side of a path and they look like common edible mushrooms even with pinkish gills. However just a sniff and a distinctly iodine smell put off any thought of making an omelet with this lot.

A few years back I found some really nice looking "mushrooms" and cooked them up but fortunately the smell of iodine was so strong I decided that throwing out was the best option. On checking the likely culprit I believe they were Agaricus xanthoderma particularly noted for the distinctive smell.
So I think today's examples are the same species.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Small eyes watch the bite

Moving some matting that was on the ground to use in the garden I uncovered a small snake (about 50cm long) which twisted and turned and tried to look quite aggressive. My thought was that I had disturbed a small Red-bellied Black Snake but it did not react as I would have expected. I manage to get a photo ( although not too good) before it dashed for cover.

I thought to check the identification and after doing a few comparisons and reading descriptions I believe it was in fact an Eastern Small Eyed Snake Cryptophis nigrescens, which can be confused with a Red Belly but the slight variation in colour and the aggressive and thrashing movements agreed with the patterns noted for the Eastern Small Eyed Snake.
As the common name suggests they are found down the east of Australia and are mainly nocturnal hunters spending their days under bark, stones etc (matting). Even though they are a small snake they are in the dangerous category with at least one fatality attributed to a bite from one.