Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blogger back up again. Brief post from Thirlmere Lakes, NSW

You may have seen Martin's report of problems with Blogger.
Earlier on tonight it was simply unaccessible at all. But its up and running again. Let's be grateful for small mercies. After all, we don't pay to use it (at least I don't) nor do I try to make others pay via "Adsense".

Am I a dreamer, or can we keep Blogger operating and keep it free?
If nothing else, it gives great kudos to Google. Not sure they count kudos points as readily as they count dollars.

Lets move on.

On Monday this week I went to inspect Thirlmere Lakes again. The main two lakes are both now lower than I have ever seen. The last lake in the system was made more interesting by speaking with members of the family who ran the place for more than 50 years. I inspected the lake, which has previously had as much as 30 feet of water in it. David demonstrated how he recalled swimming with his head just out of water, and being able to touch his toes on this old tree trunk (then submerged). Here he is trying to demonstrate the height of the water level he remembers from his childhood.
Click on image to see details
When I was there, several days ago, the lake was totally dry,
(It has been for two years at least, if not more).
The lake had just one soak hole, scratched out by animals,
in search of a few mouthfuls of water to drink.

This sombre spectacle was made somewhat funny by finding a set
of False Teeth (upper mandible). David said the family reported a
friend having lost his teeth when "duck diving" in the lake.
Here they are.
and an old Tonka Truck model of a Bulldozer,
and several home made oars.
Proof of the previous existence of water in this now dry lake.

Of more usual interest value to me and readers of this Blog, is this image of Chiloglottis diphylla.
Click on image to see details
Chiloglottis diphylla
note the rolled edges of the labellum
and the incomplete coverage of glands on the labellum.

It is the first of this species which I have ever identified. (I may have seen it before, but not recognised it for what it is.) I confess to assuming, at first that it was Chiloglottis trilabra, but after discussing it with Alan Stephenson, and checking all my images carefully I am sure it is "diphylla" because of the "rounded shoulders" of the labellum (they fold under slightly at each edge). That and the fact that the insectiform calli (glands) do not go right to the tip of the labellum, whereas Ch. trilabra has calli which run in a tapering, narrow line, right to the tip of the labellum.
Chiloglottis diphylla - side view.
Click on image to see details
Note the "clubs" (petals) hanging straight below the labellum
not reflexed as in Chiloglottis reflexa.

My colleagues Colin and Mischa Rowan have shown this species, also photographed at Thirlmere Lakes, with photos taken back in 2008. They also have some interesting colour variants of the same species. Mine were all reddish, not greenish in the base colour, as Colin and Mischa's plants were.
Here is another plant of the same species
I also found at Thirlmere Lakes.
Click on image to see details
And large leaves of Chiloglottis diphylla on the ground.
The specific name ("diphylla") is a bit silly, because all Chiloglottis (that I have seen) have two leaves - always opposite, or nearly so. If one were to find a single leafed form, that would almost certainly be a damaged specimen. But I have never seen a triple or quadruple leaf set.


mick said...

Ah! Your post is back. I started to put a comment up (yesterday morning) and then blogger told me it was "down"! So let's try again!
That looks as if it would have been a beautiful lake. Did the water disappear because of the fracturing due to the underground mining that you have talked about? We certainly have not taken care of water resources. Don't know if you people down south have heard about Brisbane's water woes! The state gov. built at HUGE cost a desalination plant and a water recycling plant and associated MILES of pipeline - and they have not been used or needed since the rains began BUT now all the ratepayers down in that area are having their water rates go up and up some more. It all has to be paid for! Fortunately Gympie council is just out of the area that was all linked up with pipe - so far we have not had the huge water rate increases.
Beautiful orchids - as per usual!

Le Loup said...

Dry lake! This is not good.

Mr. Smiley said...

Why are the lakes so dry? Surely there is no drought down your way? Not after this year? I'm miffed.

[Very dry up here in the deep tropics. did not take long for things to dry out after the record wet.]