Monday, October 20, 2008

Pardalotus striatus Update

It's appropriate I post an update today because if I'm right, the chicks are one week old!

In this photo, the black square thing you can see (extreme right) is the plant tube tunnel leading to the nest.

There has been a huge amount of food ferried into the nest but I've been unable to grab a photo because the birds are far too quick! I've seen black things which might be caterpillars or millepedes going in.

At the moment, one adult remains with the young until the other returns. There is a quick exchange of Pardalote dialogue and the guard is then changed! :-)

This photo shows one parent ready for the other to arrive as it did a second or two later after this photo was taken.

(Click images to enlarge)

I hope the chicks make it to adulthood and I will keep you posted as to their progress.

By the way, I couldn't find the egg shells anywhere. These ones must have seen them off a fair distance from the nest. The Pardalotes that nested in my stable just dumped the shells on the floor beneath the nest.

Memo to Denis ;-)

LepSIO has this premises under surveillance!

OK for those who don't know what I'm talking about, this is the Willie Wagtail nest in my Melaleuca. I would not have known the nest was there had I not seen a Wagtail picking up some nesting material from the lawn and then go straight to the nest. It is so well camouflaged on a branch high up in the tree. So far, the hen has still not begun to brood.

The reason LepSIO (me) is alert but not alarmed is because one of the Waggies whacked a butterfly I was observing who was looking to lay its eggs in some Mistletoe growing in the Melaleuca! :-)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sloughed And Ready To Roll

Today, I came upon this Shingle-back lizard enjoying the sun. It's pretending it's not there, of course!

I was really pleased to see it as the local population appears to be dropping.

This one is only half-grown.

(Click to enlarge)

Trachydosaurus rugosus

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Striated Pardalote

Gouldiae recently provided very useful data about constructing nesting boxes on his blog. For Pardalotes, I've had success by using a simple Finch nest one buys from a pet shop. The "tunnel" is nothing more than a square plant tube with the end cut off. A bit of rasping to smooth the edges and a bit of a rasp inside the modified plant tube to provide a non-slip surface. Fix into position; a couple of perches and you're in business! Obviously, my method will only work in a dry environment, such as a stable, open shed or in this case, under the eaves of my verandah on the eastern side of the house.

I have used the recommended nesting boxes for Pardalotes and they didn't even look at them!

I had a very successful Pardalote nest in a stable and all I used for the tunnel was a the cardboard cylinder of a toilet roll!

The Striated Pardalote is one of my favourites. These little birds have a range of communication calls, including hissy-fits from the female when the male approaches the nest! I never tire of their presence and they are quite the acrobats.

This one is putting the finishing touches to their nest.

I must confess the photo could have been better, but the position of the sun can pose a bit of a problem (and if I had adjusted the camera settings)! :-)

(Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September Fungi No. 1

Do you ever have one of those days when you and your camera are simply not working as a team? I had one of those days yesterday when I went off to investigate what fungi had emerged since the 22mm rain over the past few days. Half of those I photographed, I had to bin!

(Click images to enlarge)

Two for the price of one, here!
I don't know what the orange
one is. It could be a fruiting lichen. The hairs
around the cups are quite interesting.

Another Bird's Nest.
Crucibulum laeve again, I suspect.

I think these are Entoloma moongum.
Cap width: 2.5cm
Gill colour was whitish/mauve.
Height: 2.5cm

These, I'm sure are Poronia erici.
This species grows on herbivore dung,
particularly, macropod and wombat.
These were on kangaroo dung.
They are very small.

Another Earthstar. Geastrum triplex, I think.

The gills of one specimen belonging to
the colony below, growing on a log.

Another cup fungi. If I'm right with
my identification of Peziza thozetii,
then apparently, this cup fungus is
uncommon. They are normally found
in pine plantations.
UPDATE: (Thanks to Fungimap) This is
actually Aleurina ferruginea. I have photographed
this species previously in a different location at this
site, so it makes sense! :-)

A gilled bracket, possibly
Lentinellus aff. ursinus.
The gills of an older specimen growing
on the same log.
Don't even ask me where photos of the greenhoods I found are!! :-(
I have marked the location and will have another go later in the week. They weren't quite out, anyway.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Portraits In The Rain

It rained yesterday! I tipped 14mm from the gauge this morning. It was needed.
During a couple of lulls between rain periods last night, I took my camera for a bit of a walk around the traps!

(Click to enlarge)

This is Neobatrachus sudelli (Common Spadefoot Toad) You can see how common this one is because it's wearing some dinner on its head! :-) The loose skin along the side of the body to the knee is characteristic of this species as well as the vertical pupil and absence of tibial glands. Also, there appears to be a mite-like insect in the l/h side of the eye. Males of this species generally call from February to November.

Here we have Limnodynastes dumerili (Pobblebonk or Banjo Frog) I expected to see more than one of this common species. Males call almost all year round, but they have been a bit quiet here, so far.

Apart from Litoria Ewingi, I've been listening to Limndynastes tasmaniensis (Spotted Marsh Frog) calling with its distinct kuk-kuk-kuk or a sound like two stones being hit together. Also, Ranidella signifera (Common Froglet) which has the typical crik crik crik crik call. I actually found one under a log when I was doing a bit of fencing down on the dam the other day. Of course, the camera was NOT in the Ute!! :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August Fungi No. 9

This little collection might be the last for August. Even with the promise of rain on Saturday, the sites have dried out considerably.

This one is not in its natural situation!
It was one of a colony of about 4 growing
in the open amongst unimproved pasture dominated
with onion grass. I didn't have my camera
with me so I brought it home!
Cap width 3cm
Height: 4cm.
The only thing I could find to come close was
Psilocybe subaeruginosa - except for one detail.
It did not stain blue when I handled it or bruised it!

Well, I have no idea what I have here!
It was a minute blob to the naked eye
and this photo does it no justice. (I have
made a note to myself to take more than
a couple of shots of stuff as small as this!)
I'm not sure if it belongs to the Tremella family
or is actually a slime mould.

These two are growing in my garden very
close to Poa. I first noticed them last year
but that was before I seriously took an interest
in photographing fungi.
Cap width: 6cm
Height: 12cm

Gill colour was actually white.
This is what happens when you
try to photograph gills without
upending the fungus! :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August Fungi No. 8

Another fruitful day crawling around on all fours and trying to avoid
the hands and knees coming into contact with macropod manure! :-)

The day was quite nice for a change and I was able to venture into
the jungle without my waterproof coat.

(Click images to enlarge)

I have no idea what this is!
Three growing at the base of a Eucalypt.

An obvious cortina.
Cap width: Approx. 2.2cm
Height: Approx.

This was too small to clearly check the gills
without uprooting it and as I saw only one,
I left it where it was. It was growing in leaf
Cap width: 6mm
Height: 8mm
It might be Cystoderma sp.

Cap width: 5cm
Ground height: 3cm
I think it might be Cortinarius sp.
Possibly C. erythraeus

Again, no idea what this one is!
Cap width: 1cm
Height: 1.5cm
Gills were close and yellow in colour.

I think this Bracket
is Ganoderma applanatum

Possibly Peziza austrogeaster

Friday, August 22, 2008

August Fungi No. 7

Another fungi safari successfully executed today!

This one was really interesting. The naked eye saw a velvet
sheen to this fungus.

It was growing amid substrate litter.

Identification has proved to be yet another challenge! The
only thing coming close is Gloeophyllum sepiarium, but according
to Bruce Fuhrer's (A field guide to Australian Fungi)
G. sepiarium grows mainly on dead conifer material. There
are no conifers at all in the area I am working. However,
if I'm right with the identification, this one may like
rotting Prickly Acacia! :-)

Gill colour: Cream to brown
Cap width: 2cm
Height: 1cm

Another cofusing species!
Gill colour: White
Cap appears to be cylindrical
Cap width: 1.5cm
Height: 2cm

Stem hollow.
This species was growing in moss.
(Homework needed but possibly Coprinus sp!)

Yep, I found me some "Yellow Brain" !
Tremella mesenterica.
This species is on Fungimap's Target Species
list, so this will also be added to my report.
Although this Coral appears to be much lighter
in colour than the one I found a couple of days
ago, I think it's probably the same species:
Ramaria ochraceosalmoncolor and the time of
day may have influenced my camera's eye! :-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August Fungi No. 6

Gee, I'm glad I decided to explore this new site south of my property! :-)

(Click images to enlarge)

This is Amanita xanthocephala or Vermilion Grisette.
It can be distinguished from other Amanitas
by the yellow to orange colouring at the rim of the volva.
(This fungi is one of Fungimap's Target species, so a record of this
sighting will be forwarded in due course!)
I found only one, by the way.

This Ramaria was part of a colony.
I noticed small ones on a kangaroo track, but soon
found better specimens close by. I think it's likely to be
Ramaria ochraceosalmoncolor.

I suspect this to be Aleurina ferruginea.
There were a few beneath a large Eucalypt.

I have no idea what this one is!
The shape of the cap, which is partially
veiled, interested me.
Cap width: 1cm
Height: 2cm
(ID homework required)

This was an interesting little bracket
growing on a live tree. It seems to
have gills rather than pores.
A single specimen about 6mm wide.
(ID homework required)
These were growing on the same tree
as the little job above.
I think they are possibly Rigidoporus laetus.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August Fungi No. 5

Well, no - the first two photos are not fungi, but they were everywhere when I explored my new fungi site on Sunday but only a few were in flower. Boobook has recently photographed Sundews and I agree with her. They are stunning little flowers.

Drosera bulbosa, I think.

(Click images to enlarge)

The fungi below were photographed in my normal site, about 2 minutes walk from the house.

This bracket on decaying branch.

Width of single unit - 2 cm

Possibly Stereum illudens

Single specimen - 4 cm wide.
I think this bracket may be an older
version of one I've photographed earlier.
Pycnoporus coccineus.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

August Fungi 4

Today, I chose a different location for a fungi expedition. The area is approximately 200 metres in a southerly direction from my house.

The land is infested with Prickly Acacia/Gorse (Ulex europaeus) and is pocked with Chinese mine holes, part of Victoria's goldrush during in the 19th and early 20th Century. (The Chinese dug round holes, Caucasians dug the square/rectangular ones!)

Eventually, the Prickly Acacia will be cleaned up. It is a target weed up here.

(Click to enlarge images)

The above photo was kind to the area. Not only is it scarred by non-rehabilitated mining holes, it's also suffered as a dumping place for people's rubbish over the years.

Now to the fungi!

I had no idea what I had here, until I uploaded the photos!

These minute dots on the forest litter turned out to be "Birds-nest"
fungi. I couldn't believe my eyes when I reviewed the images.
It pays to photograph any blob you think looks like a fungus.

Crucibulum laeve, I think.

The spores are dispersed by water and if you look in the
top right-hand corner of this photo, you can see 2 empty
cups just under the dead Eucalypt leaf.
This fungus was stunning. I have no idea what it is.
I only noticed it when I looked up after I'd finished with
the Bird's-nests.
Cap width: 1.4cm
Height: 4cm
Gills: Greenish.
(Homework required!)
Update: It's possible this fungus is Hygrocybe sp.
(Possibly H. arcohastata which changes colour from a purple-green to red as it matures.)
According to Fuhrer, this is an uncommon species and on that note, I am more than
likely incorrect!

Cap width: 7mm
I'm not sure about these but they look a bit
like "Jelly Babies". They might not be Leota sp.
I'd need expert opinion here, I think.

Diameter: About 7mm.
Correction to my previous ID.
More likely to be Discinella terrestris.
(Memo to Mosura: Yep, I was wrong. Got a bit overheated just finding them, I suspect! :-) )

This shot shows three.
(OMG - on checking the above photo, I think I've
missed another 'unusual' fungus! Just beneath the
top orange fungus is something with what appears
to be hairs on the cap!)

Lovely liver chestnut coloured fungi.
Cap width: 2.5cm
Height: 1cm
(Homework required!)
Cap width: 2.5cm
Height: 2cm
Gills: Rust colour
Stalk: White to darkish brown on older specimens.
(Homework required!)