Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Interesting things on the way to and from Canberra.

I like to make the trip to and from Canberra as interesting as possible. Sometimes I find it necessary to stop, revive, etc on the way back (I seldom have time on the way down).

This time I did manage a quick stop on the way down to Canberra, to investigate some mysterious sightings (from a previous occasion) of what appeared to be Australian White Ibis nesting in tall Eucalypts, in a dry hillside, near Mack's Reef Road, on the northern outskirts of Canberra. Sure enough, I was right. I published the photos on the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) discussion forum.
Several people followed up my report, and solved one of the mysteries. I had puzzled why Ibises would nest on such a dry hillside, seemingly a long way from any swampy areas. It turns out there is a "rubbish tip" in the vicinity, and as we know these birds have become adept at scavenging. Here is the nest (actually 2 nests), with, as best as I can calculate 7 birds in all - several adults and a number of advanced chicks.
On the way back, after John's funeral service and wake, I stopped for a few minutes at a powerline easement, beside the Highway, near Hanging Rock Road. This is one of my favourite spots for a browse in the bush (especially if I have had trouble staying alert on the road).
That day, there were many daisies flowering, including this fine Waddell Everlasting (Helichrysum adenophorum var weddelliae). The bright pink outer bracts are quite diagnostic (as well as very attractive).

There were also many Trigger Plants, so, in view of the doubt raised in my mind the other day, I checked out the leaves of these plants, and was quite sure that this is the larger of the two varieties mentioned the other day, Stylidium graminifolium. These leaves were 3 or 4 inches tall (up to 100mm).

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