Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Splash about

The Red-browed Finches that frequent the garden shrubs are such a gregarious bunch and provide lots of entertainment and today was one such example.
They arrived at the bird bath and decided one in all in for a splash around.


Monday, 25 April 2016

See-through wings

I think I have posted a photo before but can't see it on the list so here is another of a Glasswing Butterfly Acraea andromacha andromacha.
There have been quite a few fluttering around lately but today I saw this one take a break on a grass stem and stayed long enough to get a photo or two.

 This is the only species of glasswing found in Australia with their range mainly in the north and occasionally as far south as Sydney.
The larvae feed on wild passion vines Passiflora spp. but eggs laid on the edible passionfruit  do not see the larvae develop.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Left an impression

As today is Earth Day I thought I would post a photo of a rock that we found on our property that has an impression of part of a plant that was quite common in the Carboniferous era some 300 to 360 million years past.

I don't know the specific plant species that left this impression although it seems to fit the LYCOSPIDA family.

We have found a number of rocks that show similar impressions but often just a small section rather than this one which is just on 20cm in length.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Cuckoo pose

I have previously posted a couple of photos of the Fantail Cuckoo  Cuculus flabelliformis but they have been either side on or back views. This morning one posed on a branch for some time, allowing a number of photos, although from some distance away.

Some cropping was needed to get this front on view but still reasonable resolution. They range down the east coast and also in SW Western Australia and migrating north to Papua New Guinea.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Morning sunbath

Fairy Wrens are favourite birds to have in the garden as they are busy insect eaters and they are just a delight to watch. They used to be quite common in suburban gardens but as houses have grown larger and blocks of land smaller, the gardens have shrunk and are often planted with shrubs and other garden plants that are not suitable for the small Fairy Wrens. The other problem is the current landscaping fad for architectural plants that are planted in mass almost becoming mono cultural and not at all suitable to birdlife.
However we are blessed to have plenty of space and with gardens that blend in with the natural bush that surrounds the property. Consequently we have lots of Fairy Wrens both Superb and Varigated with an occaisonal sighting of the Red Backed Wren, which is not that common in our region.
This morning I found the wrens busy with their morning preening, which involves having a wash in the dew on the leaves of shrubs, then finding a nice sunny spot out of the breeze to do a bit of preening and soak up the sun.
The pair below a female Varigated Wren Malurus lamberti and an immature female were in a sheltered position amongst the foliage of a Grevillea.

The next couple, a female with an immature male still showing a spot of colour of its breeding plumage, not yet moulted. They were amongst a pile of sapling trimmings that are waiting to be chipped, a favourite spot to work over for the insects still amongst the foliage.

Another male with the tail of the female in the background.

I have posted a few blogs of Wrens but they are lovely birds and they do allow you to get quite close to observe their acvtivities, so felt I should post this one.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Marbled and not

Must be something about the weather we are having or had that has so many moths around and species that I have not seen before. The species below is a Twisted Marbled Moth in the  Parepisparis excusata,  as opposed to the Grey or Brown Twisted and this one was attracted by the house lights. I thought it was possibly caught in some spider web on the wall however it flew off as soon as I touched it so obviously not caught.

This moth took some identifying and I didn't expect to find it among the 1200 odd moths in the GEOMETRIDAE family but finally tracked it down among the 241 moths in the OENOCHROMINAE sub family. It is found in Queensland, NSW and Victoria and the caterpillars feed on eucalyptus.

The other moth I found on the glass of a door and I was able to get quite a few photos as it didn't make any effort to fly when it was moved.

 As you can see it had quite stunning antenae for its size but with little markings I was worried about finding the id.

After some time on the Butterfly House site I tracked it down in the Tussock Moth family, LYMANTRIIDAE Euproctis fimbriata which is a moth that appears to have two colouring type, the pale form as this one or a brown form. They are found on the east coast of Queensland and NSW where the caterpillars feed on a number of plants including macadamias and avocados.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Tussock tussle

Mowing the grass yesterday and as I passed a patch of long grass I noticed a flash of white as something was blown out of the grass. On stopping to look saw that it was a bright white moth which was now in the typical defensive position which gave me time to get the camera for some photos.

 The white wings were in stark contrast to the hairy body in the curled position displaying smooth green segments and the tan coloured rear end. 

As it became less defensive I was able to turn it for a photo of the upper surface of the thorax and wings.

It is a moth that I have not seen previously so I was keen to identify it and thought that it could be in the NOCTUIDAE family and there were a couple of white moths that looked similar but not close enough. I then checked the Tussock moths which are in the same super family of NOCTUDIEA, family LYNANTRIIDAE and found two moths that were a much better match, the Omnivorus Tussock Moth Acyphas semiochres and the White Tussock Moth  Acyphas chionitis. However it was extremely difficult to tell from the reference photos so had to do a lot more searching on the web before deciding it was a female of the former and was the most appropriate identification.
It is widespread throughout Australia and the caterpillars feed on a wide range of native trees and shrubs but in South Australia they have become somewhat of a pest in Pinus radiata plantations. 

Monday, 4 April 2016

ID solved, maybe

I took a photo of a moth in 2011 which I was unable to get enough features for identification but today I think I have found the right species, but there appears to be some question regarding whether there are two distinct species that look very similar or is there just the one.
Today's photo is of a female Epicoma contristis (or tristis)  a species in the NOCTUOIDEA genus found throughout southern Australia whose larvae feed on eucalyptus, leptospermum and kunzea species as well as others in the Myrtacea family.

The photo below is of the male photographed 22/11/2011


Sunday, 3 April 2016

Grass yellow on a gum leaf

Quite a lot of butterflies around at present with our continuing summery weather and I have posted photos previously of most. However one that has been fairly elusive as far as getting a photo has been the Common Grass Yellow Eurema hecabe as they seem to be constantly on the move fluttering from plant to plant and hardly alighting for any length of time.
Today I was in luck as I spotted one that was just warming up after a night that was not that cool but a very heavy dew was coating all the vegetation.

 They are distributed through the northern half of Australia with to as far south as Sydney where they are found in autumn where as in the north the adults can be found throughout the year.
The larval food plants include many that can be found on our property such as, Breynia, Acacia spp and indigofera.