Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cicada singing makes the Orchids flower.

Today I went out in the bush with Len and Jan, looking for Orchids of interest. And we found some. This was great, as one particular Orchid is new for me - one which I have never seen before.This is the Purple Donkey Orchid (Diuris punctata var punctata). It is a truly lovely flower, and although it is not regarded as rare, it does seem to be quite restricted in its distribution. Certainly I have never been fortunate enough to see it before. When we found them, we found several hundred of them, but in a restricted area. I was photographing the much more commonly found yellow Donkey Orchids in the photograph published last Sunday.

We arrived at mid-morning, and already the Cicadas were singing. I found one on the ground, which appears to be called a "Yellow Monday". It was a lovely Orange cicada. It is not yellow, but then, as some Cicadas are green, or black, it is closer to yellow than those colours. I rescued it from underneath some twigs on the ground, where it had become stuck, and I placed it on a tree trunk nearby, at which point it started climbing upwards.
A head-on view of the Cicada's eyes, with those three amazing jewelled marks on its forehead. According to a Lander University (South Carolina, USA) website I found, via Wikipedia, these 3 organs appear to be part of the insect's visual system.
Here is an image for "Gaye from the Hunter" who recently posted a blog entry about a young Water Dragon which resides in her Hunter Valley Backyard. This fine fellow is very wary, being unaccustomed to close contact with people. It has a strong olive green colouring, and a very long tail, even longer than is first apparent from this photo. There is a fine tip of the tail protruding about 4 inches (100 mm) to the right beyond where the thick part of the tail appears to finish. I would estimate the total length to be approximately 900 mm long (just under a metre). I have seen heavier specimens, but this one is clearly in fine condition. This Water Dragon is in a dry clearing, but just beyond the clearing (where the shrubbery starts) is a classic sandstone-based creek, which has shallow running water, and deep pools. A perfect home for this Water Dragon.

This is another example of the Purplish Beard Orchid (Calochilus robertsonii). This is probably the clearest photo I have managed to get of the inner details of the flower, showing the column (the reproductive parts of the flower, the inverted triangle, covered with the little grey hood which covers the pollen grains until an insect touches that part of the flower). The hairs and the dark marks at the top of the "labellum" (lip) are all designed to produce and disseminate scent, to attract insects to the flower. What wonderful and complex flowers these things are. There was another photo of the same species of Beard Orchid published last Sunday.


Gaye from the hunter said...

That's a beaut dragon, Denis :)

And the mauve donkey orchid is a superb photo of a beautiful flower. I have been hoping to find some, but have had no luck.

What sort of habitat and soil was the mauve donkey orchid growing in? Perhaps I could narrow down my search by looking in similar habitats.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye

Thanks - I was delighted with the quality of that image of the Purple Donkey Orchid. One gets lucky occasionally.



miadalbyball said...

Wonderful Blog and terrific images. Awsome close up of teh Cicarda. I've been out with Auntie Fran a D'Awhal knowledge holder (from over the Bulue Mountains) she also works at Mt Annan Botanical Gardens - we have had terrific teaching on Seasons adn Cycles and how the flowering of certain plants indicate what some animals are doing - so your Blog Title caught my attention. The Hawkesbury Nepean is funding more days with her so contact me if you want to come out.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mia
Glad you caught my Blog post.
I have written about Fran's calendar before, as well.