Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Out of the fire

When it comes to opportunists the Pied Butcher Bird (as well as their cousin the Grey Backed Butcher Bird) are great examples and nothing brings them more quickly for an easy meal than a burn off. One of our front paddocks is due for a burn and today the weather looked as though I might get a burn in before forecast rain arrived. With in a minute or so of lighting the grass a couple of Pied Butcher Birds arrived, ready for any insects, lizards or frogs looking to get out of the way of the flames.
The burn was not going too well as the ground still has too much moisture and the grass not quite dry enough, but there was still good pickings until the rain came, earlier than expected and that was the end of the burn today.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Natural lattice work

Visiting the hens in their yard I was surprised to see on the grass what looked like a white plastic ball, (about 70mm diameter) of a lattice design. On closer examination it turned out to be a fruiting body of a fungus.
 A very weird fungus indeed and the tumbleweed of the fungi world, as once they form from the gelatinous egg they often break free and are blown about by the wind depositing spores as they roll along. Two species are very similar and the difference is in the colour of the gleba,  on the inner surface of the lattice work and in this  Clathrus cibarius the gleba is a slimy dirty brown, where as on the other it is a sage green.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Small Green-banded Blue

A small fleck of white amongst the leaves of a Melaleuca bush, just below the verandah, gave away the presence of a small butterfly; one I didn't think I had seen before, so a quick dash for the camera. It was in a very awkward position for a photo, but I did manage to get one with the light shining through the wings.
I couldn't get a better position so decided to move the branch and take the risk that it would disappear.
Fortunately it just took off for a short flight before alighting on some bracken fern where I thought I might be lucky with a better shot.

The morning sun full on the wings was somewhat glaring but also shows some of the greenish iridescent markings. On looking up the species found it to be a Small Green-Banded Blue, Danis hymetus taygetus (F) whose range is coastal from mid Queensland to near Sydney.