I found the first flowers of Golden Wattle this morning … I’d be keen to hear how this magnificent shrub is faring elsewhere in the box-ironbark.
Golden Wattle, Demo Track, 8th July 2017
There was bird action as well – this male Spotted Pardalote in a party of four + Scarlet Robin, White-throated Treecreeper, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Grey Fantail and Yellow-faced Honeyeater providing lots of interest.
Spotted Pardalote in Red Box on Demo Track
by Patrick Kavanagh
I think most people around Newstead are pretty fed up with mosquitoes at present. Pausing anywhere outside for a few moments seems to inevitably involve a blood donation to help the ladies with their breeding. On Sunday night, I was checking out the possibilities for macrophotography and amongst an abundance of Brown and Green Lacewings, Crane Flies and other flies, there were many mosquitoes that were feeding in the glands at the base of Golden Wattle leaves. I have found mosquitoes very hard to photograph (on vegetation rather than my skin) as they fly off at the hint of an approach, but these were so intent on their feast that I could move the branch quite roughly to get a better composition and they would not move. Neither did I get a single bite. I was quite amazed at how beautiful and graceful they appear when they’re not sticking their proboscises into me or buzzing around my ear. It looks like there are 2 species here, but I don’t know if they are males or females not in the midst of breeding.
Brown Lacewing, Strangways, 23rd October 2016
by Patrick Kavanagh
With some warm days and lots of flowering in the front yard, there is an abundance of arthropods keen to collect the bounty of pollen and nectar.
The bee in the Wirilda blossom looks like a Lasioglossum sweat bee. I think the mosquito-like insect resting under an Everlasting leaf is a Midge, as the hind legs are on the substrate and I gather that mosquitoes hold their rear legs up at rest. The feathery antennae are possessions of the males, I gather from my reading. This one looks like an insect I’d posted on bowerbird.org which was identified as Chironomidae. I think the wasp is a Paper Wasp, but would appreciate a more precise identification.
Hoverfly, Strangways, 7th October 2016
Possibly a paper wasp?
We are witnessing an extraordinary display of wildflowers in the local bush this Spring – the birds will get their place in the sun soon, but for now enjoy the delights on offer.
Bulbine Lily Bulbine bulbosa, Bell’s Lane Track, 23rd September 2016
Cat’s-claw Grevillea Grevillea alpina
Spiky Guinea-flower Hibbertia exutiacies
Musky Caladenia Caladenia gracilis
Pink Bells Tetratheca ciliata
Rough Wattle Acacia aspera
Tall Sundew Drosera auriculata
by Patrick Kavanagh
Spring is in full tilt in our front yard at Strangways. The Brown Thornbills that nested in a lemon tree are now caring for two noisy fledglings who stay well hidden in the Hedge Wattles. I was surprised to see this little one pop up briefly into clear view.
Juvenile Brown Thornbill, Strangways, 25th September 2016
Adult Brown Thornbill
Having just completed a nest in some Gold-dust Wattle, a pair of Superb Fairy-wrens have been canoodling lots. It was a pleasant surprise to see them so unconcerned by the presence of the paparazzi that they consummated their courtship whilst I had my camera. Twice.
The grevilleas have been hotly contested territory between New Holland and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters. Whilst the latter have been moderately cooperative sitters, the New Hollands have been more circumspect and only occasionally put a head into view.
New Holland Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater feeding on Grevillea flowers
The local bush is a riot of colour after recent rain. Last weekend I didn’t find a single flowering waxlip – now the colour purple is dominating the ground layer and will for the next month with chocolate lilies to follow. I’m encouraged by the way many of the smaller shrubs – rice flowers, peas and wattles, have rebounded. This is wonderful for small shrub-dependent birds such as Brown Thornbills whose numbers fluctuate according to annual breeding success. This season is a chance to rebuild flagging populations.
Waxlip Orchid, Fence Track, 23rd September 2016
This spring promises to be one ‘out of the box’. The early show of wildflowers throughout the Muckleford bush is terrific and it looks like late winter rain will linger. Enjoy it!
Spreading Wattle Acacia genistifolia, South German Track, 14th August 2016
Golden Wattle Acacia pycnantha, Mia Mia Road, 14th August 2016
Scented Sundews Drosera aberrans, Mia Mia, 14th August 2016
Nodding Greenhood Pterostylis nutans, South German Track, 14th August 2016