Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Monarchs of Dunmore

After looking at the "Little Dumpies" yesterday, Kirsten and I went for a little drive to "other places of interest" in the Shellharbour district. We went firstly to Bass Point Reserve, a small patch of Littoral Rainforest, right on the coast. That site is highly disturbed, being favoured by tourists, fishermen, and being adjacent to a large Blue Metal quarry. The roads within the Reserve are quite rough.

After looking around for a few minutes I suggested going to Swamp Road at Dunmore, so I could show Kirsten one of my favourite Fig Trees. In effect this tree has two separate trunks which act together, to feed and support the tree. It is, I believe a Small-leaved Fig, Ficus obliqua.

The trunk of this tree is not "split" as such, but rather started as a seed which germinated off the ground, on another tree, and then it sent its roots down to the ground.

That first set of roots, once they reached the ground, they coalesced, forming into a solid trunk (at left of the tree). From the angle of this first "trunk" it seems most likely that the original supporting tree was collapsing under the weight of its own canopy, plus the weight of the Fig Tree.

Then as the Fig grew further, it sent down a second set of adventitious roots, which also coalesced, acting as "prop roots" in this case, eventually becoming the main trunk of the tree (on the right hand side).

While we were there admiring this magnificent, but quirky Fig Tree, we noticed a number of very bright Monarch (or Wanderer) Butterflies flying around.
Monarch or Wanderer Butterfly flying past
 We noticed several pairs of Wanderer Butterflies mating.
Mostly they sat very still.
Mating pair of Wanderer Butterflies on a Peppercorn Tree
Pardon the blurry image, but these mating Butterflies
both opened their wings briefly
momentarily revealing their upper wing colours.
I only got one slightly out of focus shot
before they resumed their closed wing position.

Fortunately Kirsten was there to take a decent photo
and this is it.
It shows only four legs
Most adult Butterflies in the
Nymphalidae family appear to have only have four legs.
In fact they have an extreme reduction in the front set of legs.
Kirsten's photo of the mating pair of Wanderer Butterflies.
As with most Butterfly species, the underwing colour
is much paler than the upperwing, which is usually only seen
when the Butterfly is flying.


Joy Window said...

Hello Denis,

I've just awarded you [sound of trumpets] a Liebster Award. Check out my blog to see what it involves.

Denis Wilson said...

Many thanks for the honour, Joy.