Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Something A Little Different..

....and probably cranking up the debate about feeding wildlife again!

I first saw this young Shingleback lizard about three weeks ago as it was walking up from the house dam.

We had an encounter again on Saturday 31st October. This time it had taken up residence in my back door garden. Ignoring common sense but noticing it was looking a bit 'thin on it' I dropped a little 'care package' of fresh minced pet meat (chemical-free) which disappeared almost before it touched the soil!

Last Saturday, I noticed it bolting up a path on the northern side of my house while I was moving a hose. I might well have watered it but who is to know. It came round the corner of the house towards the back door and again, I felt a little pang of pity so I brought out a small bit of banana.
This is what happened in seconds!

(Click images to enlarge)

Applying the Sniff Test

Passes Taste Test

Now for the Scoff!

Tiliqua rugosa.

I will probably pamper this little guy whilst it wants to live in my garden but only once a week. The rest of the time it can earn its keep by reducing my snail population! :-)

I checked a couple of Herp. sites just to be sure I was feeding the right kind of food. Some fruits, leafy vegetables (not Iceberg lettuce, apparently) and fresh mince meat. I think I read they can eat grated carrot, but if it wants that on the menu, it will have to grate its own! Tinned pet food is a no-no.

A comment from one of the Herpetology websites I visited stands out in my mind. They are little PIGS apparently !! :-)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thelymitra ixioides & Friends

We had some warm weather a couple of weeks ago so I took advantage and went on the Sun Orchid trail again.

Denis has an excellent post on Thelymitra species here .

(Click images to enlarge)

Thelymitra ixioides on the wrong side of the sun for optimum photography, hence they are a bit "hot" ! :-)
This, I think, is the Common Rice Flower, Pimelea humilis. There was quite a little colony of them growing in the block containing remnant vegetation about 50 metres from my house. No orchids this year, unfortunately, but I have seen Petalochilus there in the past.
Leptospermum myrsinoides or Heath/Silky Tea Tree.

This Pimpernel, a small member of the Primulaceae family is classed as a weed but not a rotten one, apparently. I found lots of it adding a lovely splash of blue and red colour to my walks during October.
Anagallis arvensis

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Beard, A Sun and A White Petelochilus carnea

It's been a wonderful orchid season here and as a baby botanist still on her training wheels with regard to Australia's Native Orchids, I would like to make a public acknowledgement; Denis Wilson from the Peony Den Blog. Denis, thank you for your encouragement and your research above and beyond the call of duty!. Without people like you lending a friendly hand, the exercise alone would be pretty daunting for people like me!

Another thrill! I found this Bearded Orchid growing with my previously posted Diuris orientis (Wallflower Donkey Orchid) which I found earlier on the verge of heathy bushland.

I believe it is Calochilus Robertsonii, endemic to my region. It's common name is the Purple Beard Orchid.

(Click images to enlarge)

This next one, I believe to be Thelymitra rubra aka the Salmon Sun Orchid. These were also growing in the same spot as the Wallflowers and the Bearded Orchid but at the time, were not fully open. I found these ones in full flower just across the road.

Today, I decided to check a fungi haunt of mine. It's private property.
I was gradually building up a bit of despondency, having only found a few small plots of Petalochilus carnea. However, I came across a small collection of the Hooded Caladenia, Stegostyla cucullata, growing on a macropod path.

I snooped around and found this lovely white form of Petalochilus carnea. I am calling this one because of the horizontal purple banding inside and outside the labellum.

It's not over yet, folks. I will be out and about Orchid Country very soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Arachnorchis dilatata and "White Fingers"

What a thrill I had yesterday finding my first Spider Orchid!

Because of the relative warmth, I went in search of Sun Orchids but only found one lonely little Rabbit Ears (Thelymitre antennifera) and a minute version of the Slender Sun Orchid (Thelymitre pauciflora) the flower measuring no more than 10mm in diameter. Well, I assume it was that one. I am yet to process the shots.

It happens a lot to me, finding stuff only strides away from my vehicle and that's how it was yesterday. On my way back to the Utility, I cast a glance to the right as I passed beneath a large Eucalypt and there it was!
Cursing the wind which had picked up considerably, I hoped I would manage a couple of printable images of the Green-comb Spider Orchid.

(Click images to enlarge)

Flushed with enthusiasm, I decided to have a bit of a look around other vegetation close by before leaving the area and found these beautiful white Fingers orchids.
I'm pretty sure they are Petalochilus catenata, the White Fingers. They were growing through a heathy type plant. There are two rows of very pale lemon cali and the labellum 'tongue' is pale yellow. These were lovely. You will notice some damage to one of the flowers.

Now for something a bit different, here's the Common Hover Fly doing its thing on Burchardia umbellata or "Milkmaids". These pretty little flowers are bursting out everywhere now. The Hover Fly was not the focus of this photo! It's a cropped version of a larger photo of the flowers.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stegostyla et al

A couple of tough ones today!

This has to be Stegostyla species. Two known to be in my area are Stegostyla iridescens (Western Bronze) which this one possibly is and S. cucullata, the Hooded Caladenia.

UPDATE: Thanks to Denis' research, this orchid is Stegostyla cucullata. If you open the link, you will see Denis found a different species of the tiny Caladenia, Petalochilus mentiens and he has confirmed (in comments to this entry here) mine is Petalochilus pusillus.

(Click images to enlarge)

Stegostlya cucullata

There was no colour on the petals (they were white) but for the speckling on the tips. Now this is where it becomes confusing! From what I've been able to determine with regard to S. iridescens, there is some petal colouring. However, the very dark purple labellum and composition probably rule out other Steogstyla species.

I found two colonies of them, both growing around old gold diggings.

This tiny Caladenia species is probably Petalochilus pusillus, the Tiny Petalochilus Orchid. The ones I've found are all the same colour and the flower measures no more than 10mm diameter.

This is Platylobium obtusangulum - Common Flat Pea. The leaf quite angular and it has a spreading habit.

Dillwynia globerrima - Smooth Parrot Pea, I believe.

I almost missed this small plant.
Grevillea alpina or Cats Claws/Mountain Grevillea.
Corrections welcome as usual.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rabbit Ears, Wallflowers & A Dash Of Lace...

We are expecting a weather change later today so I made the most of the sun whilst it lasted! I'm glad I did. I explored some heathy bushland and on the side of the goat track I was driving on, I spied these!

(Click images to enlarge)

Corrections welcome, but I suspect they are Diuris orientis - the Wallflower Orchid. There were quite a few in the colony.

Came across these yesterday. Unfortunately, they were not fully open.

Thelymitra antennifera or Rabbit Ears Sun Orchid. The labellum of this small Sun Orchid certainly looks like a little rabbit face!

I treed this bloke as I was trundling around today. I was delighted with the encounter as I haven't seen a Lace Monitor (Varanus varius) in the area for about 15 years. This one was obviously enjoying some sun when I disturbed it. Also needs a good meal too, I suspect.

I'm happy with the shot as it was a quick point and shoot because the Monitor was not planning to hang around while I changed camera settings.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Diuris behrii?

I had another good day wandering around yesterday. With the first relatively sunny day for some time, I decided to check my Sun Orchid site again.

There were a number of these Diuris growing and at first glance, I thought they were "Golden Moths" except the stems were quite long.

I photographed a couple of different specimens and after I processed the photos, I compared them to Diuris behrii on Colin's Victorian orchid site, together with a couple of other images I found on the Internet.

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Diuris behrii is known to grow in Western Victoria.

This was a fantastic find in a different location to the Diuris. A pale form of Glossodia major which was growing through a shrub. To the left of this flower was the normal Wax lip growing through the same shrub.
I understand this pale form is quite uncommon.

The first Kennedia prostrata (Running Postman) I've seen this season.

It looks like another sunny and reasonably still day coming up so I will go for another patrol sometime today. I managed to mow the lawns yesterday, so I reckon I've bought myself a little more 'botany' time! :-)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Petalochilus carnea

Yesterday, I decided to enter my orchid area from a different access point. The purpose of the exercise was to actually check for populations of Petalochilus ornatus (see blog entry 5/10) in a different location. Of the 10 "Pink Fingers" colonies, I found at least 7 of them had 1 to 3 P. ornatus represented.

(Click images to enlarge)

I think this is Petalochilus carnea because of the greenish column and the horizontal red striping on the labellum. Corrections, welcome - as usual!

Here are some wildflowers just starting to bloom. Again, I have no idea what I'm doing but I'll have a stab at identification. Those identifications cited are known to be in my area.

Stackhousia monogyna?

Hibbertia sericea?

Lissanthe strigosa? Leucopogon species? Or Epacris species?

A spikey looking leaf. This was quite a small plant.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Petalochilus ornatus?

UPDATE (2) I received confirmation on my ID from the Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE). This orchid is Petalochilus ornatus. Furthermore, it is now listed as rare in Victoria and remains vulnerable in other states. The Department is likely to require specimens to be sent to the Herbarium.

There may be a touch of excitement in the air here - but we must remember, I have no idea what I'm doing with this orchid caper!

On my little walk today, I found heaps of what I think were "Pink Fingers" (Petalochilus carnea) but a few looked a bit different from the others although they were growing together. The labellum seemed really red. Remembering Denis' advice regarding some Pterostylis changing as they age, I thought at the time, that's probably what's happening here.

Then I found a dark specimen (top photo)

On Colin's Orchid site, I discovered Petalochilus ornatus (Ornate Pink Fingers) which has a red labellum; known to be in my area and furthermore, it's vulnerable!

(Click images to enlarge)
Could this orchid be Petalochilus ornatus? If it is, then I would let 'those who need to know' know!
I am very guarded about my orchid locations, but something of significance would probably help ensure my site retains its current classification, protected by the State Government, one would hope!

This was the first one I found today. The petals were paler than the one above and was in a different location.
This specimen was found in the same location as the darker one (1st photo)
UPDATE: Currently awaiting 'phone call from local DSE officer (endangered flora) to confirm/negate my identification of this orchid!

Now for something a bit easier, I think this little pea flower belongs to the prostrate, minute leaved Eutaxia microphylla. These are the first pea flowers I've seen so far this season.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sun Orchid

Today was the first day in a couple of weeks where the weather was not rotten and a warp factor 10 gale blowing! I took advantage of the relatively still and sunny conditions to try a new wildflower spot close to where I've worked in the past.

It was pretty disappointing until I was about to leave the area and spotted a colony of these!

I will defer to Denis' experience but I think they might be the Slender Sun Orchid, Thelymitra pauciflora.

(Click images to enlarge)

There was a variation in colour from pale mauvish blue to darker mauve-blue.
This shot shows spotting on the outer part of the labellum which I thought was rather neat!
I was probably very lucky to see this orchid as apparently, they only open on warm, sunny days. It's not particularly warm today but definitely an improvement on what we've been experiencing here of late!