Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Plague Locusts - mad use of poisons.

I have written about Plague Locusts before. Article 1 and Article 2 . This is a topic which has attracted a steady stream of visitors and of comments.

  1. The most touching comment was from Owen O'Brien who was writing to supporting his brother Eris O'Brien, Eris had earlier written in support of my first Blog posting about the madness of wide-spread spraying of Plague Locusts.
  2. Apparently Eris O'Brien has been roundly criticised for his campaigning against compulsory spraying of farmers' lands - that's right compulsory spraying. He has a website now and a compelling 8 minute video.
  3. Please take the time to watch it.

The Australian Plague Locust Commission and even the Victorian Premier, "Mr Feral Horse" (John Brumby) is trying to whip us all into a frenzy over this. His best effort was to declare that the Locusts pose a threat to the running of the Melbourne Cup.

Crikey has carried a story about the looming Locust Plague today.
Pretty lame interview, I would say.
Since when is the only measure of "environmental safety" judged by this question: "Are the pesticides used on locusts a problem for humans?"

What about the impact on birds and other native animals? What about the impact on frogs and fish (even if they claim to have "buffer zones" around water courses). What chance there is no spray drift?

Here is the Wikipedia article on the Australian Plague Locust

Tom Cowie writes:

You’d think the heavy winter rains in Australia’s south-east that broke the drought and filled a struggling river system would have been welcomed by all. But the Big Wet, which looks likely to yield some bumper crops for farmers, may also come at a price. The downpour has been the equivalent of mood lighting and a Barry White record for one of our most feared pests -- Chortoicetes terminifera, the Australian Plague Locust.

The widespread rainfall and warmer temperatures have seen large numbers of locusts begin to hatch across wide areas of regional Australia, leaving more than just farmers nervous about the mischief they might cause. Crikey spoke with Chris Adriaansen, director of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, about how a few billion scary grasshoppers might ruin it for everyone.

Why are there going to be more locusts this year than in the past?

It’s a seasonal thing that is a combination of rainfall, aggregation and how each generation multiplies. Australian plague locusts have four generations each season and each generation can multiply on the previous if conditions are good. It’s an unfortunate coincidence of nature that the same conditions that gave rise to a good crop and grassing situation have led to this locust plague. Primarily it’s all about widespread rainfall and good temperatures.

When are the locusts expected to hatch?

There have already been some hatchings and we have seen some significant locust populations in the north-west of NSW. Those locusts hatched 7-10 days ago and have aggregated in large numbers (full predicted locust hatching dates can be found here).

How many locusts are we talking?

How many grains of sand are there on a beach? We are talking literally billions of locusts. Anything up to 5 million hectares of land will be infected by locust eggs, so do the maths if you have a calculator with enough zeroes.

How many locusts are there in a swarm?

According to the APLC, a swarm of Australian plague locusts, covering one square kilometre, could contain anything from 4 million to over 50 million locusts. The size of a typical Australian plague locust swarm is highly variable, from one to over 25 kilometres squared

Which areas are at greatest risk from a locust plague?

We’ve got a number of key risk zones. The central-west region of NSW, the Riverina region of NSW, the north, in particular north-west, of Victoria, and the eastern Flinders region of South Australia.

How long will it take before the locusts begin to cause problems?

Locusts have five stages of development as nymphs when they have no wings, so we won’t see any swarms of locusts for at least another six weeks. The majority of the high density areas in places like Victoria are yet to hatch, so it will be at least eight weeks until we begin to see swarms in those areas. But the swarms are only part of the risk. The nymph’s sole purpose is eating and growing, so they can still do quite an amount of damage.

How far and how quickly can they move?

When they’re at the nymph stage they don’t move very far at all, because they don’t have wings they can move around 200-250m per day. Once they grow wings it’s a different story, they can move around 20-40km per day. Overnight they can fly up to 700km, as long as they get the right wind conditions. So basically they can be here today and gone tomorrow. But I don’t think we will be seeing that this time, there is just too many of them.

Which industries are at greatest risk from a locust plague?

The normal diet of these species is grass and the associated plants. Probably the most significant risk is to grain crops, so wheat and barley and other crops such as canola and the pastures areas where livestock grows.

What kind of damage can they do to crops?

They can completely wipe out a crop. If they don’t take 100% of the vegetation, they can destroy large amounts of plant material so that a crop’s yield is significantly reduced.

Is there a chance they could move from farms into some of the larger regional towns, and even cities?

We do see that from time to time. Certainly the swarm of locusts in April did move into some larger regional centres. In the Mildura area during April we saw a number of community events halted, including sporting events. The local airport was also closed and Virgin Blue halted their flights into Mildura because of the problems posed by the locusts.

What kind of damage can they do to cars?

One is obviously visibility; these locusts are going to be well fed and fat, so when they hit the windscreen the fat will be smeared everywhere. The other issue is the blocking of air intakes, which can lead to an engine overheating.

Who is in charge of the response to the locusts?

It’s a collaborative arrangement. APLC has a role and responsibility; our stated mandate is to monitor and manage locust populations that are found in more than one state. But each of the state’s agencies has a key role to play. What we have done since April is bring everyone together and plan a response so we can have this covered as best we can.

How are you managing the locusts?

There are range of different control agents that can be used to manage the locusts, whether from the ground or air. Landholders and ground control contractors undertake ground-based spraying, while the state controlled agencies and APLC undertake aerial spraying.

Are the pesticides used on locusts a problem for humans?

First of all of these pesticides are registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. Secondly, we leave a very significant buffer zone around human activity, water courses and restricted or significant areas. Thirdly, we have developed a number of techniques in that we don’t blanket spray areas, we leave 90% of land area untreated and then leave it up to locusts to discover the discreet chemical strips we lay down.

This is not a pest eradication program; locusts are a native insect and we are trying to manage the issue as best we can.

End of the Crikey Article.

To show you how lame I think that interview was, take a look at the chemicals which are licenced for use on cereal crops, to help kill Plaque Locusts.

That's right. These chemicals may be sprayed on cereal crops (which you or your meat animals are meant to eat). But the intention is to poison the Locusts which try to eat the cereal crops.

Sure there is such a thing as a "withholding period" That is meant to be a time after which the poison has broken down sufficiently to be "safe".

But do you really want your food, or the food your own food animals eat to be sprayed with this list of chemicals?

Table 2 from the newly revised Plague Locust Control Fact Sheet (page 3)
authorises the use of these chemicals on cereal crops.

APVMA permits – users must obtain, read and adhere to the conditions of APVMA permits prior to use.

Approvals for all cereals (Including but not limited to wheat, barley, durum, oats, cereal rye, maize, sorghum & triticale)
carbaryl Registered Registered # 1 day 1 day
chlorpyrifos Registered 10 days 2 days
diazinon 14 days 14 days
cypermethrin PER10928 # 21 days 35 days
alpha-cypermethrin PER10927 # 7 days 14 days
beta-cyfluthrin # 14 days 7 days
fenitrothion Registered 14 days 14 days
maldison Registered Registered 1 day 1 day
metarhizium anisopliae Registered not specified not specified
methidathion PER11658 * 42 days 7 days

Approvals for individual cereal crops

Wheat & Barley
gamma-cyhalothrin PER10927 # 14 days 14 days
lambda-cyhalothrin # 14 days 14 days

alpha-cypermethrin PER10927 # 7 days not specified
cypermethrin PER10928 # 7 days not specified

diazinon Registered 14 days 14 days
fipronil 14 days 14 days
alpha-cypermethrin PER10927 # 7 days not specified
beta-cyfluthrin # 14 days 14 days
chlorpyrifos Registered # 2 days 2 days
cypermethrin PER10928 # 14 days 49 days
gamma-cyhalothrin PER10927 # 14 days 14 days
lambda-cyhalothrin # 14 days 14 days

WHP (withholding period) - Following pesticide application, the relevant withholding period MUST expire BEFORE cutting for hay, windrowing, harvest or the undertaking of any similar operation.
  • # Permit not required as Victorian ‘control-of-use’ legislation allows this off-label use in Victoria. For further information contact DPI Victoria.
  • ^ The Safemeat Plague Locust Brochure should be consulted for information on managing residues in livestock –
  • * Methidathion, an S7 chemical, cannot be used off-label in Victoria unless an S25A permit has been issued by DPI Victoria.
"S7" is a chemical listed on the Schedule 7 of restricted chemicals:
"Schedule 7s are substances with a high potential for causing harm at low exposure and which require special precautions in manufacture handling or use. These poisons should be available only to specialised or authorised officers who have the skills necessary to handle them safely."

Did you get that?
These chemicals have to be "handled safely" (by specially trained and authorised personnel), but they can be sprayed on cereal crops which you or your food animals will eat. Just as soon as the "withholding period" has expired.

Please enjoy your next meal, as Mr Brumby thinks that it is reasonable for these chemicals to be used on your food, to ensure the Melbourne Cup goes ahead .

Sunday, September 26, 2010

First Tree Peony of the Season

My wonderful old Tree Peony plant "Destiny" has given me its first flower for the season.

This is a large flower, larger than my hand.What a joy it is !

Here is the "eye" of the Tree Peony.
The red structure in the middle is the fused "Carpel" of the flower,
After pollination, the carpels diverge as they fatten up.
This apparent single unit splits into its component sections - usually 5.
The flower is dominated by a huge boss of stamens surrounding the carpel.

Tree Peonies are self-fertile.
If you look closely (click to enlarge the image) you will see the
raised edges of the female part of the flower (the stigmas) in the middle.
You can see the dusting of pollen already delivered by the bees.

Bees love Tree Peonies even more than I do.
It is the abundance of pollen which attracts them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"rufa Greenhoods" - another "first" for me

Today I went to Yalwal, south-west from Nowra, to a place where Alan Stephenson had showed me last autumn. The reason? To see the Oligochaetochilus rufus (otherwise known as Pterostylis rufa) which are to be found in this spot.

This is the first time I have seen this species, in flower.

When I first "got into" Orchids I became fascinated by the many shapes of Greenhoods, and then I discovered that some "greenhoods" were red. That's when I first realised the mystery of Greenhoods - which lay in front of me.

Regular readers will recall that I published a post about the "Gibbosa Greenhoods" several weeks ago. And then the related "bicolor Greenhood" the next day. Both those plants are related to this plant, which is the "nominate species" for what is known in Orchid circles as the "rufa group" of Greenhoods. Yet the similarities are not in colour (for both those two plants are green). No, the primary similarities lie in the shapes of their "labellums" and their dome-shaped "hood" (galea) and the wide flange under the galea which is nearly closed off. There are other factors, such as the leaf rosettes and the sheathing stem leaves. Anyway, that's all getting a bit technical - sorry.

To me, this is a very exciting "first" for me, because these plants are quite iconic for me, for the reasons given above. So lets look at the plants themselves.
Oligochaetochilus rufus - a profile view.
Note the deflexed lateral sepals underneath the hood.Here is a lovely plant with three flowers and several buds yet to open.
It is relatively tall for this species,
but it is still only about 6 inches high (12 cm approx).
Here is a lovely pair of plants growing in close proximity.
These were barely 4 inches high.
The open flowers were even lower than that (buds above yet to open).
Here is the most distinctive feature of this plant
- the labellum with stiff hairs.
These hairs are long, all around the sides and the lower edge.
There is a band of short stiff hairs across the upper edge of the labellum.
Here is the botanical illustration for this species from PlantNET.
Here is my best cropped image of the "labellum".
You can see how well drawn is the image above.
Here is another plant with the labellum having been triggered (closed).
You can see the yellow "hinge" of the labellum,
which is now closed right up inside the galea.
With the stiff hairs all around the labellum,
any insect which might have triggered the movement sensitive hairs
would be "imprisoned" inside the galea,
being unable to squeeze out past these stiff hairs.
The labellum relaxes and opens after some time, freeing any insect
which might have been trapped inside.
That is a technique designed to help the plant achieve pollination.

The "gibbosa" had a quite different shaped labellum.
It had only two of these long, stiff hairs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Glossodia major

Here is the matching partner to yesterday's blog.
Glossodia major - the Waxlip Orchid.

Forgive this brief Blog posting, but I am rushing out for a while. But I could not resist matching yesterday's posting with this plant I found two weeks ago at Thirlmere Lakes (where I am going as soon as I finish this post).
A nice tall stem, about 20 cm high
with two flowers.
Well deserving the title "major".

Here is the flower, more or less as one sees it with the natural eye.
And here is is through the Macro Lens.
Please click on the image to see it fully.
Note the densely embossed white patch on the labellum.
It is in fact covered with very densely set fibres.
Above the Labellum there is a yellow protruding callus with two lobes
giving it a Y shaped form.
The top part of this illustration is the bright yellow object
you can see clearly in the image above (if you clicked it).

This is completely different from the two lumps
on the labellum of yesterday's plant.

I was fortunate to find this plant when the sun was dull, (behind clouds).
It can be so shiny, (reflective) in full sun that it is hard to photograph
without getting massive patches of reflected light.
Frequently one has to stand over the plant
to photograph it in one's own shadow - it can be that shiny.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Glossodia minor

This tiny blue-purple Orchid has started to flower down along Tourist Road, in Kangaloon. Such tiny flowers - I love them.

The name Glossodia minor means: "big-tongue orchid - (small one)". The official common name is "Small Wax-lip Orchid".
There is of course, a Glossodia major.

Here is one plant with my camera lens cap for scale
It happens to be growing out of a patch of old wood chips
dumped on the ground.
I usually use flash when taking close-up shots of Orchids - to get light inside the flower. It can cause distortions in colour, however. And few colours are as susceptible to colour distortion as these purple-blue flowers.
This is not a new phenomenon, as I remember my father complaining about colour reproduction on film (slides) for native plants, back in Melbourne, which dates my memory of that discussion back to pre-1959. Of course, he was talking about good old fashioned slides - way back before digital photograph was ever imagined. But we still have the same trouble.

I have done my best to show these plants as close as possible to their natural colours.
Here they are growing in their grassy habitat
on very poor yellow clay soil.
Even here, you can see a colour variation,
which I assume is to do with the age of the flowers.
Two of these little Glossodia flower growing side by side.
I assume that the one on the left, which is showing more purple
is in fact a fresher flower than the one on the right.
I have not adjusted the colour of this shot in any way.
Finally a portrait of a nice flower.
The colour is a little too bright.
But I wanted you to be able to see the details of the flower.
Click to enlarge the image.
The two "dogs balls" glands are scent glands
which attract pollinators to the flower.
If you enlarged the image you will know why
I have described those glands as I did.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bird Orchids are back!

I have posted about these little charmers previously, but I am going to write them up again, because they are special.

They are highly localised plants, occurring in an area just near Robertson, on the Budderoo Plateau.These Bird Orchids get their name from the manner
in which the flower is held high,
resembling the open beak of a small bird, begging for food.
There are a number of closely related species, in other areas.
This is the only one I have seen.

This Bird Orchid is known as the "Wollongong Bird Orchid", the Green Bird Orchid, or Simpliglottis chlorantha (or Chiloglottis chlorantha).

It is found here on the Budderoo Plateau, and further south to the Budawangs. There may be some records from the Blue Mountains.

Botanical Illustration courtesy of PlantNET

Although David Jones mentions this locality in his book as Knights Hill (approx 6 Kms away), that reference is quite misleading. Knights Hill is a basalt capped mountain, with tall, wet Eucalypt forest, whereas these plants grow on shallow, sandy, peaty soil over a shallow sandstone rock shelf. They grow amongst small "heath" vegetation. In fact, they are quite hard to find, because of their tendency to grow in and amongst these low shrubby plants. One can clearly see Knights Hill from where these plants grow, but that's about all one can say in favour of that "location" note. Budderoo Plateau would have been a much better location descriptor.

You could hardly get more different habitats than Knights Hill (with a 30 metre canopy of Eucalypts and Sassafras), and where these plants are, growing under and amongst heath plants scarcely 30cm high.

Here is a close up of the Labellum.
The botanical description says: "Labellum cordate, 12–13 mm long, 9–12 mm wide, with c. 12 linear to terete, erect or curved calli on the basal two-thirds, the largest c. 3.5 mm long."

I prefer to describe the pale green, almost "luminous" green glands (calli) towards the tip of the labellum as looking like blobs of soft jelly. There are two large ones, and two small upright ones, flanking them. Behind the green glands are a series of upright glands, which look like they are made of red jelly. From the front-on view, these structures vaguely resemble chess pieces in some bizarre Chess Set, perhaps from an Alice in Wonderland story.

In the typical positioning of Chiloglottis Orchids, the column is held high, but directly above the labellum, ready to dob the sticky pollen grains on the back of a wasp which tries to mate with the flower (which smells like the female wasp).

Interestingly, the Labellum although looking quite stiff, is actually very lightly "hinged" and the labellums *** of these flowers were trembling in the warm breeze today.

This specimen has given its pollen away already,
to an unsuspecting wasp. one assumes. The yellow housing for the pollen is now empty,
and the receptive female part of the flower is clearly exposed.

Compare this flower (complete with pollen grains still present)
with the empty one, above.
This flower has an ant crawling across it, (click to enlarge image)
but the ant is not the suitable pollinator for these flowers.

*** Please forgive the use of the word "labellums", but "labella" seemed pretentious, and liable to confuse.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Honeyeaters love the "Honeyflower"

I love the way that some birds intuitively "understand" the plants I grow.

Our Australian Honeyeaters love plants which produce nectar in long tubular flowers. These birds relate to Mexican Salvias as easily as they do to native Australian Waratahs and Grevilleas. And then there is the spectacular "Large Honeyflower" from South Africa.

I love this plant mostly for its intricately patterned leaves. I have mentioned before, that this plant reminds me of my (late) Mother and her beloved dressmaking scissors - her "Pinking Shears". The deeply incised leaves look as if cut in that zig-zag edge pattern of Pinking Shears.

But for the birds, the nectar is the important part of this plant.

This plant is called Melianthus major .
That name translates easily as Melia = Honey; Anthus = flower + major = large. Large Honeyflower. That South African plants site says: "The nectar-rich, bird pollinated flowers rise up above the leaves, drawing attention with their unusual rusty red colouring."
And that, dear reader, is a reminder of the Gondwanan link between our Australian birds and the plants of South Africa, Australia and Mexico. There is a tendency for plants from those three regions to produce long tubular flowers which have copious nectar. Our Australian bird family of Honeyeaters are specialists.

An Eastern Spinebill on an Australian Grevillea.
Here is a close-up of the head of a young Spinebill
which died of concussion when it flew into a friend's window.
Look at the long thin beak.
The scientific name is: Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris
Wikipedia says: "The generic name is derived from the Greek translation of its common name, namely acantho-/ακανθο- "spine" and rhynchos/ρυνχος "bill". Its specific name is from Latin tenuis "narrow" and rostrum billed."
Got that?
"Long thin spine beak" - perfect for getting into long curved flowers.

Here is a Brush Wattlebird feeding on the Melianthus major.
Note the yellow pollen dusted all over its forehead.
Here is the bird sizing up the best flower head to go for.

And here is the Wattlebird perched on the flower stem.
Note the similarity in posture with this image, and that of
the first picture of the Eastern Spinebill.
These Honeyeaters are great acrobats.
This posture, poised underneath a flower stem,
reaching up into a protruding curved flower is a classic pose.
They are even able to feed upside down.
They do that, if necessary,
to get their long tongues inside the flower.


These birds do not care where the flower originated.

They know it carries nectar,
and they are perfectly adapted to harvest it.

Party Time!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Crazy Eyes - (Satin Bowerbirds)

Here are some images of the heads of Satin Bowerbirds.

One cannot help but be fascinated by these birds when they are so active in one's backyard.

A female Satin Bowerbird.
The eye colour shows blue in this image (no red),
but that might be a factor of the light (at the time this shot was taken)
or possibly it might even be a factor of the season.
Note the dark beak of the female
and the yellow flecked feathers on the throat.
Bowerbirds are not easily ignored.

This one is an immature male.
It is developing the bone-coloured beak.
Its head and neck feathering is smoother (less harsh markings)
than the female and juvenile birds.
Besides, who can ignore these crazy eyes?

The Male, in prime condition like this is not to be ignored.
He dominates everything in the backyard,
with the exception of the Pied Currawongs.
These birds are more likely to hang around
(than the Currawongs),
so they end up getting the "lion's share" of fruit on the table.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Many Moths are Hairy - This one takes the cake

I am used to finding moths which are very hairy.
After all, their caterpillars are usually extremely hairy, and that is a protective strategy, frequently, to protect them for being eaten by birds and animals.

This was how I first saw this lovely moth.
On the outside of my kitchen window.

In this case, I could scarcely believe how hairy this Moth was, and where it was so excessively hairy.
A front on shot.
Lovely dark eyes and fine antennae
Presumably a male, with such large antennae.
I sent out a plea for assistance in identifying this moth, as I am a genuine novice at this "mothing" stuff - but I obviously live in a good area for moths.

Look at this remarkable tuft of hairs on the "tail".
I can think of fluffy dogs which would be proud to have
such remarkably flowing hairy tails

I got a tip that it was Trichiocercus sparshalli. Thanks to "Epiglyph" for the ID. I would never have got there by myself.

Here the Moth is inside - on a bed cover.
I think it is trying to right itself,
but on the soft material, it is having trouble.The curved abdomen is a position adopted by other related species.
it might be a defensive strategy.

This Moth is apparently the adult of one of those "Processionary Caterpillars". Here is was barely "processing". It was more likely walking around in small circles on my floor. I was getting ready to liberate it, at this stage, having photographed it from just about every angle imaginable.
Look at that remarkable long silky tuft of tail hairs!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The first of the "Finger Orchids" for this season

My friend Alan Stephenson has confirmed the identity of an Orchid I found when exploring Croome Recreation Reserve, at Albion Park, with Kirsten.

The orchid is Petalochilus fuscatus.
(previously known as Caldenia fuscata - but it is the same plant)
I have previously reported finding this Orchid growing on Black Mountain, in Canberra. As I recall it was one of the earliest of the "Finger Orchids" to flower.Here it is with the noticeably long and hairy leaf.
Contrast that tall leaf with the flat (horizontal) leaf of the previous "Blue Caladenia" (now placed in a different genus of Cyanicula)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Satin Bowerbird's Bower

My friend Joan Freere rang me this morning to tell me about a Satin Bowerbird's bower which she found in the Robertson Nature Reserve this morning. Joan was in there, doing some weeding, as a volunteer, to help maintain the Nature Reserve in good condition.
My brother, Brendan, and I went in at lunchtime, and Brendan took the following snaps.

Bower as first approached.
Look for the blue "decorations".
The Bower is just to the left of the blue items.
(click to enlarge image)
A slightly closer shot.
Here you can clearly see the decorations are in front of the "Bower".
Blue decorations include the Bowerbird's favourite,
the blue tail feathers of Crimson Rosellas.
This Bower also has some Rosella wing feathers,
which show some light blue colour.

(Rosella wing "flight feathers" are more curved than tail feathers).
There are also some pieces of blue plastic (which they also love).


Here is a straight-on photo of the Bower itself.
(Click to enlarge).
The "U-shaped" structure has two tall sides, and
the central part of the Bower is a flattened "floor".
The sides are curved upwards and over,
nearly, but not quite, meeting over the top.

Another feature of this Bower is that
there are many fruit of a local plant,

the blue-flowered Solanum pungetium, placed in the bower.
But the fruit are green, not blue.
Hmm, interesting, but a bit of a puzzle.
These rounded fruits are clearly visible on the ground
in the very foreground of this image.
(You need to have enlarged the image to see them.)


And just to remind you about the amazing "Blue Bird" itself
here is one of many shots I was able to take yesterday at home,
looking out from a partially opened back door.
The male Bowerbird is generally pretty nervous,
but yesterday, he was showing off, particularly to one female.
Here he is on the feeder, near an orange.

It is worth clicking on this image, to see it better.
Just about everything about this amazing bird is blue.
His eye is violet blue, (with red veining)
and in this particular shot you can see he has
a bright blue ring around his eye.

You can see the amazing sheen on his feathers.
He is so "reflective" that he generally looks shiny black.

The yellow background colour comes from some wattles in the far distance.


Post Script:
Brendan took with him several pieces of blue plastic, as a "test".
He left them on the ground
some 30 metres distant from the bower.

We walked away, and came back some 15 minutes later.
Both blue objects had been collected by the male Bowerbird
and placed amongst his other decorations
in the front of his bower.

One was a small blue bottle cap,
the other a flat piece of blue plastic.

The photos were taken first,
so those objects are not in the photos above.

I find it amazing that the Bowerbird is so "alert"
to new blue objects in his "territory"

that he immediately collected these "new" blue objects
and placed them within his bower, within just a few minutes.

I would remind you that the
habitat in the Nature Reserve
is very dense vegetation -
tall trees and vines, with dense shrubbery.

The two blue objects Brendan left there

were not placed close to the bower,
well, not in line of sight from the bower, anyway.