Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, October 27, 2014

Two days in Kangaloon

As happens these days, I create albums in Facebook and post links here,
You do not need to be a Facebook Member to view the Albums. No need to sign up for anything.

Yesterday's Album has the iconic Critically Endangered Thelymitra kangaloonica - the Kangalooon Sun Orchid. Also a very nice specimen of the Copper Bearded Orchid, Calochilus campestris.

Orchids and some others, from Kangaloon yesterday

Copper Bearded Orchid  Calochilus campestris

Kangaloon Sun Orchid Thelymitra kangaloonica

Margot and Bryan visit Kangaloon

Today's Album had several nice Orchids, especially the Red Bearded Orchid and a nice (open for a change) Thelymitra carnea - the tiny Pink Sun Orchid.
Various other annoying non-Orchids found their way in front of my Lens.

Red Bearded Orchid Calochilus paludosis 

And my favourite "Pretty" the diminutive Pink Sun Orchid Thelymitra carnea

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My garden is looking pretty good after the big storm last night.

Here is a link to a Facebook Album of recent photos.

You do not need to join Facebook - this album is fully public to everybody.

Here is a sample. My favourite Waratah flower growing just outside my front door. It is looking at its prime right now.
The styles (the pointy bits in each flower)
are now opening out well.
The whole head of flowers is called a "conflorescence"
About 50% of the individual flowers are now open.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Spring Orchids of Robertson and Kangaloon

Here is a link to a Facebook Album of photos taken over the last few days.
This album is open to the public. You do not have to be a Facebook Member to see these photos. 10153242702784829.1073741963.809229828&type=1&l=efb6c7d14f

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Prunus glandulosa 'Sinensis' - Double-flowered Dwarf Almond

Prunus glandulosa 'Sinensis' - Double-flowered Dwarf Almond
Double-flowered Dwarf Almond
Prunus glandulosa 'Sinensis'
Bush seen from 2 metres.
Close-up of Dwarf Flowering Almond
Prunus glandulosa "Sinensis"

A dwarf Double-flowered Prunus. Some authorities say it is an Almond. I know it has tiny red "plum-like fruit". It is very pretty in flower. It suckers like crazy though, which is a disadvantage in a "neat" garden. Not a problem in my garden.
There is a white-flowered variety as well. My friend George grows that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Petalochilus mentiens - a delightful Spring surprise

I have been away from Robertson for several weeks and more specifically I have not been out Orchid hunting in the local area for about a month. 
In that month it has rained and rained and rained. I have had 560mm since 17 August. 

So I was delighted to find that the tiny, (minuscule one might say) Petalochilus mentiens has just started to flower. It is a Caladenia, of course. These plants are all less than 2 inches high (in the old money) or 50mm if you prefer. 

Petalochilus mentiens.
Note the erect dorsal sepal,
the tightly hugging labellum wings and the protruding labellum tip
and the prominent v shaped tip of the labellum.
One of them was a delightful pale pink. The others were all white or cream
Pink specimen of Petalochilus mentiens

In each case,the dorsal sepal was held erect, and the labellum wings are tightly curved around the column, but the labellum tip is prominent, and very tightly v shaped (but not re-curved).
In one area there were about 8 plants within several metres, One shot shows 4 plants - a restriction of my macro lens and my inability to walk back to the car to change lenses.

a nice group of 4 flowers together.
This plant is not exactly rare, but it does not flower here every year, so I am making a bit of a fuss about it now, seeing as I found it today.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Is Pru Goward capable of being an Environmental Hero?

This morning, there was a gathering of Environmental campaigners outside Pru Goward's office in Bowral.
Cranky Koala, with an endangered Gang-gang Cockatoo
and Batwoman
all characters, of course.
(thanks to Lindy Boyko, Alex Walker and Mark Selmes)
The idea was  to invite Pru Goward to be a Climate Change Hero and use her powers as NSW Minister for Planning, to block the huge Whitehaven Coal mine which threatens to destroy Leard State Forest, in north-west NSW. 

This mine will greatly increase Global Warming when the coal (which is currently safe in the ground) is dug out and burnt for electricity in Australia, or sold off to India or China. Either way, it still adds to global pollution, leading to Climate Change, and of course, acidification of the Oceans.

Who would think that the humble Local Member for Goulburn has such power?
More to the point, why does she do nothing with it?

Send her a letter at

Mark Selmes in character as Cranky Koala
He is in fact "conducting" the Choristers of Ecopella

The members of Ecopella, spell out their message.

Two more Super Heroes for the Environment,
Spidergirl and the Incredible Hulk
both asking the question what does Pru Goward
think is more important?

Cranky Koala and his young off-sider, Pesky Possum.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wonga Pigeon RIP

As should be evident from the title of this post, it contains images of a freshly deceased bird.
There is no better opportunity to study details of birds which one can not normally see.
If this is likely to offend you, please come back to this blog on another occasion.
One of my local Wonga Pigeons flew into a window on my back deck. It died almost instantly - it fell just 2 metres from the window, but off to the side. So clearly it was flying across the back deck and I stood where it had apparently come from, and clearly it was confused by the reflection of some flowering wattle trees below the house. In other words, it did not see the window, and instead thought it was flying towards those trees. Bang. Dead. Stone dead.

The strongly marked belly and under-tail coverts
(feathers of the underneath side of the bird)
apparently act to camouflage the bird when it is nesting,
as Wonga Pigeons raise their tails when nesting,
and when they land on a branch.
(HJ Frith "Pigeons and Doves of Australia" P.285)
Wonga Pigeons walk just about everywhere. So it is hardly surprising that its feet are well adapted to that lifestyle. The toes are spread wide, and they have nails which are strong, but not grasping claws. These are "walking feet",

As such the structure of the Wonga's feet is quite unlike "perching birds" (passerines) and very different from the grasping toes and talons of Owls or Hawks. This Pigeon's toes are strong, individual toes, in a 3 forward: 1 hind toe arrangement which is a classic bird arrangement (think of a Chook's feet).
Toe structure of a Wonga Pigeon.
In that sense, they differ from Parrots. "Parrots have two forward pointing toes (which are relatively long), and two thicker, stronger, backward pointing toes ("zygodactyly"). When the foot is closed, the forward pointing toes nestle in between the two rear toes. The claws on the rear toes are very powerful." See this image by way of contrast.

Here is a close-up of the head of the Wonga Pigeon.
The beak is that of a seed eater. The soft tissues around the nostrils and the eyes are a delicate pink flesh. as are the legs.