Monday, April 14, 2008

At last, a bird

This is the first photo I've been able to take of a bird. Why? Because my camera zoom is totally inadequate, and the birds are usually too far away (or too fast for me). So this one was taken with a borrowed camera, and I got it because the bird happened to be on the tree right next to the shed, and obligingly stayed there for a while.
Now, identification. My bird book has a million options, but I think this is a White-throated Treecreeper - I know the treecreeper bit is right by the way they move up and down the tree trunks (I'd called it a brisk trot rather than a creep!).

Monday, April 7, 2008

From Out of the Earth

We found two of these last weekend - one on the ground next to its hole and one half out. Of course the casings were empty, and we guessed that they had been the pupa of something large, as they were around three inches long.
Friend Snail came to the rescue and told me they were very likely to be goat moths - or were goat moth pupa before the moth came out and flew away. That sent me Googling to discover that the larva is from the witchety grub family (of edibles!). I can see why a few of these would make a good meal. If you could eat them raw, as the Aborigines do.
Apparently the goat moth larvae like wattles - or acacias - and the larva burrows deeply into the trunk of the tree. When it's ready for the next stage, it burrows down into the ground where it stays until "hatching". Often it doesn't come completely out of the ground, but leaves the casing behind (as in the photo above).
I imagine these are big moths, although I couldn't find anything that told me their average wingspan, but we'll be keeping a lookout for them at dusk.
This might also explain why so many wattle trees up there tend to fall over!
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