Well, one side-benefit of rainy days is that one sometimes finds cobwebs like this one, bejewelled with sparkling diamond-like rain drops.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Well, one side-benefit of rainy days is that one sometimes finds cobwebs like this one, bejewelled with sparkling diamond-like rain drops.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
It shows the red soil though.
These days some of these "seedlings" planted out here are 25 feet high.
That's another feature of the red soil of Robertson, its fertility.
I was able to stop before I careered sideways into my bed of my favourite Peonies, planted in front of my house. I knew I was in no danger, but I was certainly concerned for the Peonies, but they are fine. The next thing was could I back out, up the hill? After chocking my wheels, I was able to reverse back up the hill about two car-lengths, in 4WD mode, fortunately. Then I could drive safely away, forwards, and down the hill. But even then, I could feel the rear end wandering away sideways, somewhat. Clearly I need to arrange for a load of blue metal to be dumped on my front driveway area, as soon as the weather dries up.
Until then, I clearly cannot drive my car off the formal driveway, which is made of compacted "road base".
I shall have to warn Brendan not to attempt to drive his vehicle into the front yard, when next he returns.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I could tell that it was a Fly, (single pair of wings, not double wings; and prominent short, sharp antennae on the front of the face). That's what I look for, anyway, in trying to start working out insects.
- So, "tick" Fly.
- It was on a piece of fruit, so, I immediately suspect a "Fruit Fly".
So, I did a Google Image Search for "Fruit Fly + Australia". OK some likely looking things pop up there.
Lets look for the "Melon Fly" - it seems to have the right shaped wings.
The detailed description there seems to fit, But I am far from being an expert. "Number of pale whitish to yellow postsutural stripes three. Subscutellum uniformly brown."
Then the description of the wing venation comes into play: "Wings with crossvein r-m covered by short, diffuse infuscation, or covered by short, well-defined infuscation; crossvein dm-cu covered by a major crossband which reaches posterior margin of wing."
My photos are OK, but not really good enough for me to trace out the veins in the wings. All I can say is that the wing structure looks "similar" between my image and this linked image.
The AQIS (Quarantine) site says: "Melon fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae) mainly affects plants such as cucumbers, pumpkins, rockmelons, squash, watermelons, but also chillies, green beans, mangoes, papayas, tomatoes, citrus and stone fruits.
"It has a worldwide distribution including China, India, Hawaii, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan and Thailand. It is occasionally detected on islands in the Torres Strait but is not established in Australia."I conclude that my fly on a Melon is in all probability not a Melon Fly, but something with the same sweet taste-buds.
Any Fruit Fly experts are welcome to offer advice on the ID of my Fruit Fly.
peonyden (at) bigpond (dot) com.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Here are some leaves of Chiloglottis sylvestris.
These plants had finished flowering when I took those photos (last year)
The point of this illustration today is to show the bare soil
(under the thicket of tall Melaleuca squarrosa shrubs).
potential flowering plants with narrow leaves (on the left).
Those plants may flower, but they will be several months away from flowering yet.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
These insects were around my house in late April.
DJW Comment: Here is Donald Hobern's image of that species.
I would have to say I am not totally convinced it is the same species.
That particular window was brand new at that stage, and it was not dirty, as it appears. Moths are covered with tiny scales, which tends to make them very smooth to our touch - almost waxy, sometimes. That is because they shed these scales very easily. It is that characteristic which has resulted in the spots all over my brand new window - moth scales shed as the moth tried to beat its wings in a frenzy, trying to escape the clutches of the spider.
This spider does not rely on a web to trap its prey, it pounces on its prey - that's why such spiders are often referred to as "jumping spiders". Obviously once the poison of the spider's bite takes effect, the Spider then holds on and begins to suck the juices from the moth, and then the Spider will simply drop the dried up moth, and go on its way.
This is Niceteria macrocosma (in the Ennominae group) according to Donald Hobern's Moth Gallery. In my notes on filing this Moth image, I have referred to it as a "round headed" moth.Duncan has said: "The one named Niceteria macrocosma is actually Proteuxoa tortisigna in the Noctuidae."
Denis says, that image from Duncan's (DJW - Correction: Donald Hobern's) moth gallery is a great match for my Moth. Thanks Duncan for directing me to it.
I believe that this pretty little green camouflaged moth is :Aeolochroma metarhodata. As usual, with moths, I might be wrong.
from my gallery, it differs a lot from your last one that I haven't seen: http://www.natureofgippsland.org/coppermine/displayimage.php?album=54&pos=65
That is polite Blogger speak for saying that I have the wrong name, but he likes my Moth (whatever it might be).
Edit: Donald Hobern has come through (in the comments below) with a name for this pretty green moth. Thalatha trichroma Many thanks Donald.
This dear little fellow is a Cricket, but I am afraid i cannot say what type. But I like its fine antennae. I can say that it is much smaller and lighter in body than the huge Illawarra Raspy Crickets which I get here.I have received a message from the Nature Blogger, Duncan, who writes the Ben Cruachan Blog.
He has kindly offered correct names for the moths I named, and a name for the one I did not attempt to name.
"The one named Niceteria macrocosma is actually Proteuxoa tortisigna in the Noctuidae.
The one the spider has is Oenosandra boisduvalii.
He has also added: Here's a picture of Aelochroma metarhodata from my gallery, it differs a lot from your last one that I haven't seen: http://www.natureofgippsland.org/coppermine/displayimage.php?album=54&pos=65"
Duncan was almost apologetic about suggesting corrections, but he understands that I like my Blog to be accurate, where possible. I have thanked him for the suggested names.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
When she emailed me today, about this I immediately asked:
- How much is Thelymitra kangaloonica worth?
- Its about time someone started asking the right questions.
- Denis, one little economic rule of thumb is scarcity+demand = value.
- If you keep promoting the little blue friend on your blog with continued reference to its scarcity then the scarcity and demand components might be in sufficient quantity to give the little thing a quantifiable value.
I can but live in hope.
Meanwhile, if you can make it to one of these Lectures
I am sure it would be worthwhile.
Hosted by the Centre for Policy Development
What is the World Worth?
Sydney 3 August | Canberra 4 August | Melbourne 5 August
The BP oil spill, which is dumping around 60,000 barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico every day, is a tragic example of the environmental destruction business activity can cause.
Cleaning up the coast and compensating for lost income will be expensive, yet these costs are small compared to the impact of this disaster on ecosystems.
Pavan Sukhdev, pioneering economist and head of the UN Green Economy Initiative, is an expert on the natural capital that gets left off corporate balance sheets: the services that nature provides for “free”, like clean air, fresh water, healthy oceans, fertile soil and stable ecosystems. This week he warned that as long as we allow corporations to avoid paying the costs of environmental damage, CEOs will continue to take natural capital for granted - with dangerous results.
A senior business leader himself, working at UNEP on secondment from Deutsche Bank, Pavan recognises that the way we do business needs to change:
"We have created a soulless corporation that does not have any innate reason to be ethical about anything...So it's up to society and its leaders and thinkers to design the checks and balances that are needed to ensure that the corporation does not simply become cancerous."
So Pavan has been putting a price on nature, measuring the economic value of the world’s ecosystems - and the costs of losing them.
The numbers he has crunched so far are alarming. Global destruction of forests alone is costing the world's economies between US$2 & US$5 trillion a year. More can be found in The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Report for Business, released this week.
If the US Government had required what Pavan calls a "holistic economic assessment" before BP started offshore drilling, the estimates of ecosystem damage might have led to more stringent safety measures. As things stand, Pavan says "we only think about them after there is a problem, and then scurry about and chase our tails for a bit."
The BP oil spill is a powerful lesson in how NOT to protect nature's precious assets – and a reminder that neither business nor government can afford to bailout bankrupt ecosystems.
Book or register now to hear how we can avoid an environmental credit crunch that could see vital ecosystems collapse. We cannot afford to ignore Pavan’s ideas for the next generation of economics and environmentalism.
SYDNEY – TICKETS SELLING FAST!!
6:30pm Tuesday 3 August 2010
Sydney Opera House, Playhouse Theatre
Don't miss out. Tickets $25.
Call t: 02 9250 7777 or book online.
5pm Wednesday 4 August
Australian National University
J G Crawford Building
132 Lennox Crossing 0200
This event is FREE.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
5:30pm Thursday 5 August
Law Building (GM15 Theatre), 185 Pelham St Carlton
This event is FREE. Register here
More ideas from CPD & Pavan Sukhdev
Monday, July 12, 2010
In fact, the bird was fairly relaxed in his presence, and moved in to feed on the Melon, while Brendan was only one and a half metres away.
And down it goes, with the brush-tongue lapping up the juice.
For most Honeyeaters, the juice is of more interest than the fruit tissue.
Several days ago I showed the Brush Wattlebird "lapping" the juice
from the outside of the Melon, rather than pecking at it,
as the Bowerbirds do.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Botanical Illustration from PlantNET
This particular species (B. tunstallii) was first described from the area where Alan showed it to us. This is its "type locality". In fact it is very restricted in its distribution, roughly from near Robertson, down onto the coast below Nowra (where we saw it), and there are possible records from further south in NSW. Interestingly Colin Rowan (Retired Aussies), who has photographed this species in the same area as my record, also reports this species from Wilson's Promontory, Victoria.
The main differences in these two (closely related) species is apparent when the flowers are compared closely. Tunstall's Greenhood is much darker in the labellum, whereas the Tall Greenhood (B. longifolius) not only has a dark stripe on the otherwise light labellum, but it is also notably spiky along the edges of the labellum (Clearly visible on the image below). Apparently there are also internal differences in the structure of the hood, but I cannot comment on those details.
B. longifolius compared with B. tunstalliiHere is B. tunstallii seen from the side.
A very small flower, with a particularly dark labellum.
This plant was growing some distance (several kilometres) away
from the main colony of B. tunstallii plants.
Here is another flower viewed from more directly in front.
This next flower has a story, in that Alan had inspected the flower closely, and proclaimed that it was indeed the species we were looking for (B. tunstallii). It was the first plant of this species which we had found.
Alan then took some photos as did Kirsten. Then as I got down to photograph it, I realised there was a grass leaf in the road,
between my camera and the flower.
I removed the grass leaf, and in so doing I shook the plant, and the movement sensitive labellum was "triggered".
The labellum snapped closed.
This commonly happens when photographing these Leafy Greenhoods.
So, for the record this image shows the
underside of the labellum (in its closed up position).
This image shows that the underside of the labellum is dark in B. tunstallii.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The Nowra end of this road is extremely good - one is tempted to say too good for the traffic demand on it - and too good for the fact that in the late afternoon, the country it runs through is prime Kangaroo habitat.
The road runs through a mix of poor sandstone forest, tall Turpentine forest, and some wet schlerophyll (Eucalypt forest) before heading back into shallow soil (mixed Scribbly Gum and Banksia scrub) over sandstone as you head towards Tianjara Falls, on the way to "Sassafras" (the village, not the tree). "Google Maps" names this road "Turpentine Road" at that point (as linked above).
Anyway, Alan and Kirsten and I (all members of the Illawarra Branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society) were taken into some of the side tracks off the Braidwood Road, and after some searching we found a number of these strange little Ground Orchids.
They are now called Anzybas unguiculatus (formerly Corybas unguiculatus)
The specific name means "with a claw" (see the "Dictionary of Botanical Epithets" (a veritable gold mine of a discovery, that one!). If such things interest you, I suggest you "bookmark it" immediately. In fact, from the derivation, it seems the name might be taken to mean the plant has a "finger nail". That works for me.This plant certainly has a covering, like a nail, over the labellum, which is long and tubular. Most dissimilar from the other members of the Corybas tribe I have seen, and from which it has now been "split" by Jones et al. (See explanatory note by PH Weston on the top of that page).
in this pair of images below.
(on the right hand side of the image).
The central section of the flower is the labellum.
they are more (or less) apparent. These plants were well protected by an army of these
yellow-striped Leeches which sought to draw blood from the three of us.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Anyway, this afternoon, on schedule the birds started coming in for the fruit platter on display on my back deck. This is the "Feeder" which my brother has built. Did I say he is very proud of how well it works?
Well, the first to arrive today was the "Blue Bird" - the adult male Satin Bowerbird. He was very wary of me, and so I had to use a long lens through a partially opened doorway, to get any sort of shot at all.
This bird is a juvenile of indeterminate sex.
Note the yellow gape, indicating its relatively young age.
Here is a Brush Wattlebird on a juicy piece of watermelon, on the feeder.
It is licking juice from the fruit, not "eating" the fruit.
Here it is, in heavily zoomed image, with its brush tongue out,
wiping over the fruit, to collect the juice.
When the larger birds are feeding, the Lewin's Honeyeater hangs around,
waiting for the table to be clear of the competition.
While it loses out in size, it makes up for it with persistence.
Anyway, if my friend does come over next week, I am sure there will be more Bowerbirds for her to see.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Claiming that the information is proprietary, drilling companies have still not come out and fully disclosed what fracking fluid is made of. But activists and researchers have been able to identify some of the chemicals used. They include such substances as benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, boric acid, monoethanolamine, xylene, diesel-range organics, methanol, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, ammonium bisulfite, 2-butoxyethanol, and 5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazotin-3-one. (Recently, in congressional testimony, drilling companies have confirmed the presence of many of these chemicals.) According to Theo Colborn, a noted expert on water issues and endocrine disruptors, at least half of the chemicals known to be present in fracking fluid are toxic; many of them are carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, and mutagens. But Colborn estimates that a third of the chemicals in fracking fluid remain unknown to the public.
While the E.P.A. under Obama is finally undertaking a new review of fracking—a 2001 review commissioned by the Bush administration was tainted by conflicts of interest and suppression of science—that report is not expected to be completed until the end of 2012.
Get that? Water wells contaminated by natural gas. Poisonous, and potentially explosive gases in your bore water.
Does the Australian Government want the Great Artesian Basin (and other groundwater supplies in Australia) contaminated with methane, or even Diesel fuel and other toxic chemicals? If not, why does it turn a blind eye to this? CSG drilling is happening right now, in NSW (near Stroud) and in the Namoi Valley and the Pilliga (part of the Great Artesian Basin) and all across central-western Queensland. The State Politicians are falling over themselves in the rush to approve as many exploration licences as they can. And the Federal Environment Minister (Peter Garrett) is refusing to intervene.
Wake up, Australia, before you destroy your precious groundwater resources, on which a vast amount of Australia's rural industries depend.
For more on the impact of the Coal Seam Gas industry on farm lands and farming productivity, please visit the Caroona Coal Action Group website. In particular check out this CSG page on that site, and follow some of the links, especially on Health Effects of CSG mining.
Please view this video linked from the original Vanity Fair story. It takes 11 minutes, but you will find the stories of these people (in their own words) compelling evidence.
Friday, July 02, 2010
In relation to its spraying regimes, it says:
T H E C O N T R O L A G E N T S
The APLC uses aerial spraying to control locust infestations deemed to be a threat to agricultural production. This involves using ULV (ultra-low
volume) spray equipment and the wind to distribute small droplets of control agent over the target area. The APLC uses 3 control agents:
fenitrothion, fipronil and Metarhizium (Green GuardTM). All these control agents are approved for use against locusts by the Australian Pesticides
and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
Fenitrothion: This compound is an organophosphorous insecticide that acts on the locust's nervous system. It is the most commonly used chemical due to its low cost, availability and speed of action. Fenitrothion has been known to affect some bird and small mammal species elsewhere in the world as well as being acutely toxic to aquatic life, however this potential hazard is offset by the low operational dose used by the APLC. The APLC minimises the risks posed by fenitrothion by maintaining 1500 metre down wind buffer zones (no-spray areas) around dwellings, dams, waterways and identified environmentally sensitive areas.
Fipronil: A member of the phenyl pyrazole class of insecticides, fipronil also acts on the locust's nervous system. It has a longer residual life than fenitrothion. This means that a sprayed area can have a noticeable effect on a locust population up to 10 days after the initial treatment.
Because of this, fipronil is effective as a barrier treatment where treated and untreated swaths alternate. Persistence also means fipronil has the potential to be harmful to non-target wildlife.
The APLC uses fipronil at doses of less than 1g ai/ha. At this low dose fipronil proves to be a safe and effective control agent. The chemical compound is potentially harmful to aquatic ecosystems and downwind buffer zones are used to minimise this risk.
Metarhizium: A naturally occurring fungus that infects the locust, Metarhizium is a biological control agent known commercially as Green GuardTM. It has no withholding periods, no detectable residues and is approved for use on organic properties (NASAA, BFA certified). The fungus selectively infects locusts and grasshoppers and is mainly used by the APLC against infestations on organic properties and in environmentally sensitive areas.
The APLC is engaged in research to quantify and minimise sublethal impacts of fipronil and fenitrothion on wildlife. In addition, the APLC also
has a program of research to identify and, where appropriate, test potential new control agents particularly those which show promise in terms of
minimising potential detrimental effects. For example, at present the APLC plans to evaluate an insect growth regulator (IGR) which has a very low
toxicity to non-target wildlife and a relatively long residual life. This means an IGR has potential as an effective barrier treatment with minimal
consequences to the environment."
Source: Page 2 of PDG file on APLC website on Plague Locusts, (under "Environmental impacts")
However, on the facing page, in a table under "Control agent comparisons" it says for the three Chemicals listed above (in order) the impacts on fish are: Low/ Low/ Low
For Aquatic Arthropods is says the three chemicals pose the following risks: Moderate / Low/ Low
The previous page had just told us: of one chemical: "The chemical compound is potentially harmful to aquatic ecosystems". Of the other it said: "acutely toxic to aquatic life"
What's going on here?
Who are they kidding? I know they use low doses, but they make up for that by spraying vast areas of rural Queensland, NSW, north-west Victoria and South Australia.
Good to know they keep away from creeks, rivers, wetlands and farm dams, isn't it?
Oh, yes and they only spray in calm, conditions, don't they. No spray drift, right? Never!
Well, with poisoning for mice which are said to be building up into plague proportions, and the double whammy of the Plague Locust Commissions forcing people to accept spraying of the locusts, whether or not they like spraying, it is only a matter fo time till we exterminate the birds which are natural predators to the Locusts.
As an old fashioned Bureaucrat, schooled in the importance of accurate use of words, in the use of I am also fascinated quite how the Victorian Plague Locust can declare the Plague Locust an "exotic pest" under their legislation. They are not in any sense of the word, "exotic"... meaning: "of foreign origin or character; not native; introduced from abroad". They are a native insect "The Australian plague locust, Chortoicetes terminifera," Did you notice the word "Australian"?
This is reprinted from The Age July 2, 2010Drastic action to battle 'perfect storm' for locusts
DARREN GRAY, BIRCHIP
GOVERNMENT authorities will have the power to enter Victorian farms and spray locusts even without a farmer's permission, under measures to combat a ''perfect storm'' of conditions now threatening south-eastern Australia.
This spring and summer, locust swarms in Victoria could be bad enough to destroy crops, disrupt sporting events and possibly cause temporary closures of Melbourne and regional airports, the Victorian Plague Locust Commissioner warned farmers yesterday.
Gordon Berg said locusts would be declared an ''exotic pest'' under state legislation, boosting the powers of authorities to act.
''The reason for doing this is so that we can, in extreme situations, control locusts on land, even without landholder permission,'' Mr Berg told a farming expo in Birchip.
''We don't want to do that, but there may be some occasions where … a person does not want any spraying at all on their property.
''And we will have the ability to enforce that spraying, either by forcing the landholder to do it, or by coming in and doing it ourselves and billing the landholder. It's an extreme last resort, but we need to have that power available to us.''
Mr Berg said the density of some locust egg beds in Victoria was ''extremely high''. An inspection on a property at Serpentine, near Bendigo, on Wednesday revealed eggs at a density of 1000 per square foot, he said.
''We've had our mapping groups within DPI look at the spread of egg beds and where people have seen locusts. We estimate there's probably an area of something like 9.6 million hectares that is affected by locust infestations to some degree. We reckon that 2.4 million hectares may well require some sort of control treatments,'' he said.
The costs of chemicals for spraying locusts will be rebated under the Victorian Government's locust package.
Farmers were also told that a ''perfect storm'' of wet and warm weather over the past six months had created an environment that allowed locusts to breed, spread and band together in massive numbers across large areas of eastern Australia.
The ideal conditions for locusts this year have lifted survival from the normal rate of about 20 per cent to as much as 80 per cent, ensuring that a much greater than normal number of female locusts have survived into adulthood and laid eggs.
Chris Adriaansen, director of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, said about 200,000 hectares in north-west New South Wales and south-west Queensland had been sprayed in March.
''We reckon we took out somewhere in the order of 8 billion locusts. If we hadn't have done so the population that subsequently drifted south during autumn would have been much, much larger,'' he said.
Mr Adriaansen said that while a lot of work had been done, locusts were spread over a massive area in large numbers. ''It's almost the perfect storm for locusts,'' he said.
Urging farmers to keep a close eye on the commission's website, he said it displayed crucial information such as anticipated hatching dates for eggs and when locusts would be ready to fly.
Mr Adriaansen said the estimates would be modified as new weather data was included. He urged farmers to check the dates to determine when to spray.
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