Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another Midge Orchid - Corunastylis formosa (ID now uncertain 8.2.2014)

I am not going to waffle on much tonight, 
but simply present a bunch of photos from today.
Some of them are here simply because they are so "pretty".

Golden Everlastings with a "Looper Caterpillar"
feeding on the pollen of the Daisy flower.
From Mt Gibraltar - at the edge of the wet Eucalypt forest there.

A "Looper Caterpillar" feeding on pollen of  Golden Everlasting Daisy
An exciting moment for me. 
I saw a Wedge-tailed Eagle on the ground 
feeding on a road-killed Grey Kangaroo.
It was beside the road, 
and did not fly when I drove past.
I stopped up the road about 200 metres, 
and turned and drove back very quietly.
By the time I got back, the bird had flown to a tree
but it had not flown away....... Remarkable for a shy bird.
Click to enlarge. The "Wedgie" is giving me the "stare"
It was watching me intently
and even giving a high-pitched call.
Clearly it wanted me to drive away, 
so it could resume feeding.
I obliged it - by leaving it in peace.

Wedge-tailed Eagle, head turned reveals red colour on back of neck.
This post has been revised as the original plant ID was
eventually found not to be correct. 
Now, to deal with the promised Midge Orchid.
It is another "new species" for me.
Corunastylis formosa
It is known as the Cathcart Midge Orchid,
because it was first described from there - 
a small place east from Bombala, south-east from Cooma. 
See Map here. 

Apart from a single image in David Jones's Orchid book
I can find no published images of Corunastylis formosa
to act as a "verification" of my ID of this plant.

If I am correct in that comment, by the way,
then this may be the first photo of 
Corunastylis formosa available
on the Internet.
(DJW - I now regard that ID as uncertain - 9 Feb 2014)

I shall publish another Post in several days time,
with more detailed images of the plant and
also the original Botanical drawing published
by David Jones in the Orchadian 
when he formally "described" the species (i.e., "named it").

I believe I saw this species last year, but they were "past it"
and I don't believe I got a proper ID for these plants then.
I have since confirmed this ID with Alan Stephenson
and also by phone and email, with Colin Rowan.

These plants were growing in moist grass, 
close to (but not in) Butlers Swamp
at Tourist Road, Kangaloon.
Corunastylis formosa along Tourist Road
A slightly closer shot - showing the Cathcart Midge Orchid 
as one sees it when walking past.
It seems to like growing amongst grass 
about 12 inches high (approx 300mm).
Open grassland, with Eucalypts about, but not shading these plants,
Base soil is derived from sandstone, but fairly moist soil.
Corunastylis formosa - purplish labellum is fringed, dorsal sepal is not.

And I promised to give you some more "pretties". 
The best Christmas Bells I have seen this season.

Christmas Bells at Butlers Swamp (on roadside verge)


Gouldiae said...

G'day Denis,
Thanks for the heads up on the Gouldians in WA. Nice to see.
Some years back when I was keeping the birds, there were many disparate research results on their population size and number of colonies. I was suspicious then about their numbers in the wild and often dreamed of volunteering with various groups to help monitor particular areas.
Great little bird - I loved my Gouldian aviary and found them very easy to maintain except that for best results, they needed 'fresh' half ripe grass seeds nearly all year round. I grew my own grasses for their seed heads. Thanks for thinking of me Denis.
Best regards,
Peter Ware,
PS: Your word verification letters were 'unsolike'. Put an 'n' in the front and it just about describes the Gouldian Finch!

Mr. Smiley said...

It's incredible how many orchids you are finding in your area.

The eagle encounter was something special.

mick said...

I like all the "pretties"! Nice to have the Wedgie sit long enough to get a few photos. We saw lots of them out west a year ago but none of them stayed long enough or close enough for photos!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Gouldiae.
I remember you sharing with me ages ago the background to your Nom de Plume.
Nice to know there is a separate population over there in WA.
The colonies in NT are in trouble, as you probably know.
Beautiful creatures, but too beautiful for their own good.
Lets hope this colony is well protected from trappers.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick and Dave.
I was happy with my various encounters yesterday.
The Wedgie was "nice".
Dave, the number of orchids one finds is related to the time spent in the field.
I am sure you can relate to that!