Saturday, 29 December 2012

Hungry mouths

Our pair of Mistletoe birds are now being kept very busy with a family of three hatchlings to feed.

As usual it is the most aggressive youngster that gets out in front to try and get the major share of the food.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas star

This year our native flowers associated with Christmas have not been their usual best, our Christmas bush has a very sparse flowering and we were looking forward to having  a stem of Christmas bells just right but some critter nibbled through the stem. However we do have flowers that I associate with Christmas, as in my childhood they were in many gardens and were always called "Star of Bethlehem".

Of course this only makes sense in the Southern hemisphere and another plant is generally given that name in the Northern climes.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pink tongue again

For the past week we have been seeing the Pink Tongue Skink in a position just above where we first had a sighting in Oct.2011. Each day as the day warms up it emerges from the space between the base of a wall and a wooden screen, but apart from one occasion, just the head is in view as it is very wary and if approached quickly withdraws.

It spends a lot of time in this spot, so I assume that it is foraging and hunting at night after warming up all day.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

No antlers on this stag

Found a beetle crawling along with some difficulty due to spider web caught up on the legs but a bit of cleaning up and it was on the move again.

Checking for identification and it looks to be a Brown Stag Beetle rhyssonotus nebulosus that is partial to old decaying wood particularly as lava.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Fiery tail

Hot days bring dragonflies on the hunt and for a rest they find our bog garden ideal so it was not all that surprising to find a dragonfly at rest on a stem of a pitcher plant.

I guess it is also a good spot to wait for a female to come along to deposit eggs and after a bit of research I found that this one is a male, Fiery Skimmer Orthetrum villosovittatum.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The living dead

Mud dauber wasps are ever present around the house and the sound of their buzzing and tapping as they build their nests in nooks and crannies becomes background noise. One of their unfortunate nesting sites is between the top of sliding doors and the door frame, resulting in broken nests and disgorged contents raining down on you, on opening the door. I was busy cleaning up the mess when I looked at the variety of spiders that had been entombed as living food for the larva and thought worthy of a photo.

 It is amazing just how fast the wasps will get their nest built and how many spiders are captured to be carried or dragged to their final resting place. All  totally paralysed and unable to avoid being eaten alive.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Home in a babies bootee

At last some rain, our fire threat is over and now time to enjoy nature. The Mistletoe Birds that have been around a lot must have considered that our abundance of mistletoe was an ideal location to set up house. Today I discovered they have built their nest in the Native Peach tree below our verandah just across the driveway from the Spotted Gum with all the available food. Both the male and female were busy taking turns in the nest and also eating mistletoe berries.
Male on mistletoe (berries on the branch)

 Their nest is quite special as it is made from quite a collection of leaves, feathers, fur and held together with spiderweb and sticky mistletoe gum. It is generally described as looking like a babies bootee or a ladies purse, that has been decorated by the birds with items of brownish tones.

Female in the nest

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Smoke & Fire

Dry weather of late and a hot dry wind today send a fire racing towards our area causing many homes to be put at risk. Fortunately a wind shift has reduced the current risk to many homes although some are still in the danger zone. I was checking the direction of the fire from our driveway as the sun was setting, a ball of fire  through the smoke.

Helicopters water bombing and dozens of fire crews on scene trying to keep it in containment lines. I expect to be on a relief crew soon.