Friday, 18 November 2011

A very large slug

We're in the middle of replacing a section of floor in the old farmhouse at Homerton and found this resident beneath the floorboards. I believe it is the large introduced Leopard Snail Limax maximus. I now have the correct identification. It's the introduced nocturnal Yellow Slug Limacus (Limax) flavus. See comments. (Thanks Snail.) This one was about 6 cm long. We used to find slug slime tracks across the carpet so hopefully the new floor will keep this creature outside.

Limax maximus Leopard Slug Yellow Slug Limacus flavus

Monday, 14 November 2011

A plant survey (and more)

I was helping with a plant survey on a private property near Bannockburn, west of Geelong, but I might have been a little distracted by the insect life.

Common Jassid Eurymela fenestrata

Caterpillar of the Senecio Moth (on what's left of a Senecio leaf)

White-banded Grass-dart Taractrocera papyria on Pink Bindweed

We found a few special plants amongst the flowering grasses. Now I have to get the microscope out to try and identify said grasses.

Pussy-tails Ptilotus spathulatus

Curved Rice-flower Pimelea curviflora

Friday, 11 November 2011

Harvey Street

It was a beautiful morning and I was in Anglesea with some spare time. Perfect. The woodland off Harvey Street seemed like a good option and it proved to be a good choice.

The austrostipas, poas and austrodanthonias were flowering and waving in the slight breeze and as always look spectacular when backlit. There were a few plants flowering (pimeleas, peas, lomandras, an orchid or two, fringe-lilies, daisies and even a few violets), there were a few insects on the shrubs (dragonflies, damselflies, wasps, flies, ants, bees, moths and butterflies), there were one or two birds calling (but as it was midday I wasn't expecting too many) and I had the bush track all to myself. It was a delightful hour.

Thysanotus tuberosus subsp. tuberosus, Common Fringe Lily

Caladenia tentaculata Mantis Orchid


Day-flying moth. Family Crambidae, Corynophora lativittalis. Thanks MH.

Male Common Brown Heteronympha merope

Varied Sedge-skipper Hesperilla donnysa.

Metallic Jewel (Shield) Bug Scutiphora pedicellata

PS I'll update the IDs when I've done some homework. Any ideas?
Update: All sorted now. Thanks CT for help on the bug, MH for the moth and VWD and DM for the sedge-skipper butterfly.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Little desert wildlife

Well, to be more exact, Little Desert National Park and south through Meereek State Forest.

Granny Moth Dasypodia selenophora

A damselfly caught on the sticky globules of a Drosera peltata.

Stumpy-tail Lizard Tiliqua rugosa

Emus. We saw a lot.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Eel obstacle course

Hopkins Falls on the Hopkins River north of Warrnambool. We hadn't been there for years so we went to have a look. It's a lovely spot. I particularly enjoyed the patterns of rock, vegetation and water above the falls.

It wouldn't have been worth going during the drought unless you're interested in the geology - all the basalt rocks would have been exposed as can be seen in this photo. But we missed a spectacular show after rain events in the last year or so as can be seen in this photo.

Every summer the elvers of Short-finned Eels have to climb the 13m falls or the slopes on either side in order to reach the still water in creeks and lakes further upstream. They enter the Hopkins River estuary at Warrnambool after a long trip from the Coral Sea off Queensland and live in the fresh waters for many years before moving back to the Coral Sea to breed and die. You can read more about their story here and here. Apparently they move up the falls under the cover of darkness. It would be wonderful to see.

When I was a child growing up on a dairy farm in Western Victoria we used to go 'eeling' at night in the Darlot Creek. Dad was a genius at skinning an eel (they're very slippery critters) and my mother was a genius at cooking them. We kids loved it all, including the eating. And so did the local Gunditjmara people whose extensive eel traps in the lava swamps now have international protection and recognition. They really knew how to catch and smoke an eel.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A South African visitor

In the Little Desert and Meereek State Forest south of Edenhope we found a plant we didn't want to find.

South African Orchids Disa bracteata were growing beside the road in several places. It's a robust plant that was introduced to Western Australia about 60 years ago and has since spread to South Australia, and Victoria only a decade or so ago. Apparently it seeds very readily and is self-pollinating.

I think it's here to stay unfortunately. And maybe we became vectors by walking around it observing and photographing, getting back into the car and then walking around different areas.

A little about the Little Desert

The plant list for the Little Desert is very impressive and if you're there at the right time it can be spectacular fun searching for gems. We've been there when the floral display has been overwhelming in its beauty but that wasn't the case this weekend.

As we were there to give our cameras a workout it was disappointing but we found plenty of interest there and elsewhere. The heath was a sea of white - kunzeas, teatrees, melaleucas and grasstrees were all flowering. This is Creeping Muntries Kunzea pomifera which, as the name implies, is a ground cover.

We explored a small area of the park where there is an active Malleefowl nest. We didn't see the birds at the large nest, below, or in the bush (of course) but we could see where they've been. Their scats are huge and absolutely full of seed husks.