Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Gerringong Falls in the mist - plants, fungi, moth.

On Sunday I went with my friend Jim and several other people, on a walk to Gerringong Falls. This is yet another of the small creeks which become waterfalls as they drop into the Upper Kangaroo Valley. This is a smaller, but in many ways more interesting waterfall than Carrington Falls - which is the main "tourist" waterfall in this area - east of Robertson. To clarify, Fitzroy Falls is the largest and best known waterfall in the district - but it drops into the Shoalhaven Valley, well to the west. Ultimately, all these falls end up in the Shoalhaven River.I have done the treck down to the bottom of the Gerrigong Falls previously, but I am not fit enough, at present. The trip down involved squeezing through a "chimney" (a crack in rocks) which is something which I do not fancy, I must admit.Anyway I was happy to walk in with jim and the group, to the top of the Falls, and then, I made my way back to the car, slowly, by myself (with Jim's knowledge and consent). That gave me an opportunity to do some serious plant hunting. Well it would have been better if it had not been misting. But in a weird sort of way, it made for some attractive images, with rain drops on the flowers.
Isopogon anemonifolius - budding up.
Sprengelia incarnata - with rain drops.
Fairies Aprons or Bladderwort.
Utricularia dichotoma
Fairies Aprons - side view.
There were also some Fungi around - not many, but some were of interest.
This is the largest "Paint Fungus" I have ever seen. It was on a burnt trunk of a Eucalypt tree. I have seen many paint fungi before, but seldom have I seen such a well defined, large specimen. It is about 30 cm (about 18 inches) long. It looked for all the world like a patch of white leather spread across the burnt wood. Here is the same specimen, close up. You can see at the left hand edge, that there is a slightly raised surface, and then it is still growing outwards, at a slightly lower, and thinner layer.
This is a golden form of a Jelly Fungus. A small one, with definite shape, growing out like paddles, on stems. My finger is shown for scale, so please forgive the grubby fingernail.The last photo for tonight is of a moth which was unusual in several respects. Firstly, it was flying in daylight (admittedly, it was a dull day). But it was also a moth which holds itself in an unusual way - the body is not visible, but its stance is high, not squatting the way some moths do. Then the wings are held almost flat, but wide spread. There are distinct patterns on th eiw=wings, including a definite line across both sets of wings, and four prominent dots.
Finally, it has some very prominent, but short antennae. Many moths have "rams horn" antennae, which are wide spread. Not this one. Its neat antennae point straight forward. I have never seen anything like it before. Its wing spread was about 30 mm across (1 and a half inches).
The closest I can get to an ID for this moth is a "Triangular Moth" (Epidesmia chilonaria). If I am right, it is of the "Looper Caterpillar" family (GEOMETRIDAE)


mick said...

Misty days are magical! re the fingernail - I assume you had been digging around in the leaf litter and dirt looking for specimens :-)

Mosura said...

Love that first shot. The fog is very atmospheric.

I agree your moth will be Epidesmia chilonaria. What you are seeing as being the antennae are actually porrect labial palpi or in simpler terms, forward pointing sensory organs that are part of the mouth.

You can just see the actual antennae on your moth pointing back and under the wings. Many Geometrids keep there antennae under their wings like that.

The paint fungus is pretty neat and the orange jelly is similar to my Orange Jelly Bells I posted here although I wouldn't like to say for sure as I'm not too good with fungi.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick. Glad you like misty days. We do ots of them here. You were very forgiving of my fingernail, too. Thanks Truth was, the tree trunks in that area were all blackened by bushfires, and walking though the bush, grabbing hold of blackened trunks, etc, ... That's my story, anyway.

As a friend of mine would say - I love it when you talk dirty. Who else could get away with describing anything as "porrect labial palpi"?
Palps I understand, as Spider people talk about them all the time. But "porrect" had me wondering.....
Fortunately Dr Google came to my help, and confirmed exactly what you had said. Many thanks.
Thanks also for the tick on the ID.

Duncan said...

A nice post Denis with some great pictures. You captured the colour of the Utricularia beautifully, a gorgeous little plant. The swamps around here that used to hold it have been dry for quite a few years now, so we may have lost it. However Gouldiae and I were pleased to find it flowering in a sphagnum moss swamp in the high country last season.
I'm getting the Triangular Moth in frequently, had it night before last. Love those misty photos, you can get some wonderful images in the fog.
The Isopogon used to grow along the railway line near here, but was greatly reduced in numbers by too frequent burning and clearing. I've searched for it in recent years without success, sadly it may be gone, it only occurred in two places in Vic, there and near the NSW border.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Duncan, I appreciate your comments.
As you can see from the photos , it was a misty day, in a boggy area, so the Utricularia (Fairies Aprons) were in their element - moisture everywhere. I don't mean to brag, or rub it in, but we do get a lot of rain here. And the swamps on the sandstone plateau hold water like a sponge.
These plants remind me of my youngest (oldest) memories of plant hunting, in Victoria with the Field Naturalists, when we would go along roadside reserves and find tiny little plants such as these.
I have another related plant I found a few days later, and will publish a post about both species shortly. I will incorporate your comments, if that's OK.