Sunday, December 30, 2007

Flora and Fauna!

This echidna was determined to stay with his nose under the leaves until I went away. We saw him along Burke and Wills Track, and had to stop and take a photo.
At the moment there are quite a few acacia seedlings coming up - this is a Silver Wattle, I think. They often don't last, due to the canopy starving them of light, but those that do persist and grow into trees tend to be spindly and fall over after a few years. However, down the south end there is more light and there are some bigger trees that look wonderful when in flower.
I have only found a couple of these and I'm guessing when I say they're Pink Sun-orchids, but I'm pretty sure they're Sun-orchids of some kind because of the stamens.
There are still lots of bluebells around, but most other things I've posted photos of so far have gone. It'll be interesting to see what the summer flowers might be.
I have spent the last two visits up there with my home-made weed wand, attacking all the dandelions. It's the only weed we seem to have a bit of, and I'm determined to try and get rid of as many as I can. However, as the neighbour's paddock is full of them, it's going to be a long battle!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Beetle Who?

I have a terrific book on plants in my area. Another good one on birds, although a bit complex perhaps for identification. Insects? Nada. This specimen was the second I saw today. Beautiful gold back sparkling in the sunlight, with a little band around its neck.
Any clues, anyone? Snail?

December 16th

Just for a change, some fauna instead of flora. According to the website I consulted, this is: Common Brown - Heteronympha merope - This widespread butterfly is common along the hills face zone and in the Adelaide suburbs. The caterpillars feed on native and introduced grasses. Wingspan - female (top) 64mm, male (bottom) 56mm.
There are lots of these butterflies at Lancefield, and I was really happy to see so many today, along with Wanderers. The drought affects them immensely, I imagine because of less flowers and flowering trees to feed on.
I've posted this flower before, but it's so gorgeous, I had to do it again. Common Fringe Lily. Nothing common about this!
First time I've sighted this so far. A Rosy Hyacinth Orchid. Just the one, in among the bracken.
I spent a lot of time today with my home-made Weed Wand (soaked in weed killer) walking around stabbing dandelions. It's one of the few weeds we have. Then when we drove out of the property to go home, here is the neighbour's paddock full of them. I will fight on!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


It's been a month since I was here, due to work and being overseas, so I wasn't sure what would now be out in flower. I thought I had missed most of the lilies perhaps, but not so. Above is St. John's Wort - interesting to see it in the wild and not in a vitamin pill bottle!
There weren't as many of these as I had hoped, but as they are quite delicate and sometimes hard to see amongst the bracken, I'll keep looking. This is a Pale Vanilla Lily, quite beautiful the way they are strung out along the stem like this.
There were also lots of Blue Pincushions (more than I've ever seen before) and Bluebells in two different sizes. I also have a photo of something I think is a Lobelia, but it doesn't match the photo in my reference book so I'll check it out further.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


A Cut-leaf daisy - there aren't many of these out, just a couple of plants near the east track.
I think this is a Slender Bottle-daisy because although it looks big here, it's only a few centimetres tall and the flower is smaller than a five cent coin.
Now this one is a bit of a guess, and I'm saying it's a Prickly Starwort because of the stamens.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today's Flowers

It pays to read the instruction manual for your camera. I have discovered how to take really close close-ups with mine (ultra macro) which made a huge difference today. Of course, the fact that so many flowers were blooming was even better, so I went a bit berserk. Now to my trusty ID guide. The white flowers are Milkmaids (don't some of these have great names?).
This is, I think, a Showy Violet, but it's much more purple than the one in the book, so...
This one is easy because it's so distinctive. It's a Common Fringe Lily. For obvious reasons.
And this only blooms near the front gate, up the top end. This is a Blue Pincushion. There were quite a few daisies of all shapes and sizes, which I'll upload shortly.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


This is a Rosy Hyacinth Orchid. I haven't seen any yet but this photo was from January this year, so maybe they are summer bloomers.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


These photos were taken back in July, when it was wet and cold. It's the first winter when I've seen this many mushrooms and toadstools and fungi on things. It's amazing how they can grow like rows of fans out of the tree bark, or in a neat row along a crack in a tree stump.
And then I'll be walking along a track and suddenly there's one popping out of the leaf debris on the ground.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


At the moment, the huge fires in California are in the news. Over a thousand homes burned, and no end in sight. Here in Australia, we are finally learning from past mistakes and taking our preparation seriously. For our property, one of the things we had to do was get a safety report done - this outlines how to protect our house and ourselves, if a fire comes and we decide to stay and defend our house (which, I might add, is not built yet but will be as fireproof as we can make it). This photo might show you the main problems - lots and lots of gum trees (the eucalyptus oil in these trees burns extremely well!) and dry undergrowth. We will have to clear out to at least 15 metres - 50 feet - around the house, plus have a water tank just for fire-fighting water.
The photo at the top shows you what it looks like when the bracken has died. Everything is dead and brown - this has happened twice in the last five years because of the drought. Usually the bracken is the last thing to die.

The other problem is that we've also had some big winds, and trees that are under stress tend to just give way, so we end up with lots of stuff on the ground. Now, the environmental people will say this is great because if we leave it there, we are creating habitat. But around the house, you can't afford to leave it there. It's a quandary.
I like seeing the rotting trees with all the activity around them - wombat scratchings, lizards and skinks, insects and birds, other plant life - but if the drought continues, we're going to have more trees on the ground than growing upright!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Beginning

As it is spring now, I'm starting to see a lot more flowers, and waiting impatiently for the lilies and orchids to bloom. Within our property, there are several different areas of plants - what I find in one area (say, around the rocks to the north-west) is different to what is in the gullies to the south-east. Here are some plants in flower right now.
This small white flower (on the left) is a Caladenia - one of the orchid family. According to my book (Wildflowers of the Brisbane Ranges by Clive and Merle Trigg) it's a blue Caladenia - but an albino one!
I have to add here that my identifications should be taken with a spoonful of salt, as I am not a botanist at all. Just a keen observer and photographer.
On the right are Common Rice-Flowers. We don't have many of these, mostly up the top end out from under the canopy.
After much deliberation, I think this vibrant yellow and red flowered plant is Creeping Bossaeia. Again, this grows up the top end of the property, away from the denser tree areas.
This one is a guess from me - I think it's either a Common Hovea or a Coral Pea (or a pea of some kind). If anyone knows better, please do tell me.
This only grows in a couple of places, down the south end where it's damper from water run-off.
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