Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sydney Rock Orchids being returned to the host trees

These plants were rescued from a magnificent old Fig Tree at Wollongong Hospital. They were  removed because the host tree was condemned, apparently because it was "diseased".

Alan Stephenson was contacted by the Hospital administration, and was asked to rescue the plants, if possible. A few have now been replanted by being tied onto branches of several more Fig trees in the grounds of the Wollongong Hospital.

Moreton Bay Fig at Wollongong Hospital

Many more plants are potted up, and will soon be sold as a fund-raiser for the Hospital.

Alan has tied these plants onto the Fig stems
where they should be able to grow successfully again.

Photos of the replanted Orchids are visible at my Facebook album which is an open file, accessible to all viewers.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Views of and from the Canberra Arboretum

Wonderful Eagle Sculpture at Canberra Arboretum
Sculpture by Richard Moffatt

 The Eagle at its nest, with Black Mountain Tower in the background.

For more images of this sculpture and the views from that hilltop, go to this Facebook album. It and the other Album are both open and publicly available.

For a "study in late afternoon light - from the Canberra Arboretum" please check out these images on my Facebook Album:

Just after the sun had set.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tree Dahlia - probably its last days of flowering.

I love my Tree Dahlia. It is the most optimistic plant I know of. (I am embarrassed to see that I have used that line over many years). Oh well.

Tree Dahlia flowering up and over other shrubs.
It needs some protection from winds,
otherwise, it gets flattened.
Several stems on left and right have fallen over
but the flowers will still open.
Every winter, it gets cut back to the ground (or under it, technically). Then in mid-spring it starts all over again, growing fast (imagine Jack's Beanstalk plant). Then in April, it starts to open its first flowers. Today it was in something approaching full flower. In old money, these flowers are over 10 feet off the ground.

Tree Dahlia stems holding many flowers
as seen from my Back Deck.
But late this afternoon, it started to rain. If the rain comes on heavily, the flowers will bow to the ground under the weight of the water it has to carry on its 3 metre plus stems.
Normally its enemy is frost. But we have not had any here, yet, because the long dry autumn mild spell. I will know more tomorrow, or the day after.

Tree Dahlia flower
That is a shot of a single flower (as best I could manage, by holding one stem over). The flowers are simple (open) whereas most Dahlia flowers are "double". But as far as I know Tree Dahlias are always delicate flowers, like this. Some are white. A heavy flower, such as the "Exhibition" Dahlias, which the Dahlia people rave about, would surely be too heavy for the stems to carry more than three metres above ground, and catching the wind.

I have a fairly dull Japanese Maple
But today it was looking charming
in the grey light of this afternoon.

Daddy's Girl

I am so angry about this.
I just added a caption onto the photo.
But the image is real - and proudly displayed on this guy's Photobucket page.

This is real Hunting
A "family friendly sport"
As endorsed by Eurobodalla Shire
for "HuntFest"
The original photo (minus my caption) is all his own work (except someone else probably took it for him). But it is on his Photobucket site.
The inspiration is all his, clearly.

This is the kind of thing that HuntFest will be displaying to Narooma visitors on June 8-10, 2013.
Endorsed by Eurobodalla Shire Council.
Does it makes you want to visit there for a peaceful Long Weekend in the bush?
I wouldn't be seen dead there, myself. (Pun intended).

For my South Coast Friends
May I suggest you ought organise a Boycott of Eurobodalla Shire, and its branded "local" products.
  • "HuntFest has been organised by the South Coast Hunters Club and is officially approved by the Eurobodalla Shire Council as an important tourism event for the region.
  • Entrants are encouraged to enter their best hunting photographs and videos and then come with their families to enjoy a festival of hunting-related culture and local Narooma attractions during the long-weekend of June 8-10, 2013."
Your Council Rates are being abused here.
Please tell your local Councillors you do not agree Council ought sponsor such an event.
Read the terms and conditions of the HuntFest Photo and DVD competition.

I like visiting Narooma, but this makes me sick.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bowral rally reaffirms community's opposition to shooting in National Parks.

This is a direct lift from the ABC website.
It is such good coverage I can't resist it.

Thanks to Nick Rheinberger of the ABC Illawarra Morning Show on 97.3FM. He is a good bloke (and a good interviewer) and knows I care passionately about the bush.  Thanks to Ainslie Drewitt-Smith who put together the News report for ABC Illawarra.

The No Hunting in National Parks Rally
in Bowral was organised by the
Southern Highlands Greens
but many non-aligned groups were also represented.
National Parks Association
Public Service Association
(the Union representing the NPWS Rangers)
And the Australasian Native Orchid Society.

Bowral rally reaffirms community's opposition to shooting in National Parks.

Over two hundred Southern Highlands and Illawarra residents have staged a protest in Bowral against the State Government's plan to allow amateur shooters into National Parks.
The rally focused on the impact the proposed legislation could have on the local use of Morton National Park.
Amateur naturalist, Robertson resident and member of the Australasian Native Orchids Society Dennis Wilson addressed the crowd on Sunday, along with NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, local council representatives and members of the National Parks Association.
Mr Wilson used his speech to outline his concerns with the plan including problems it may cause for local tourism.
"If they close the national park [for shooting] what's it going to do to the economy of Bundanoon."
Mr Wilson said the nature of his own visits to local national parks could leave him at risk of being shot.
"I hobble around using a walking stick these days and I crawl around on the ground taking photographs of plants that are three inches high.
"I'm more likely to be perceived as just something causing movement down in the shrubbery."
Speaking at the meeting in Bowral, Greens MP David Shoebridge said the plan, which would allow amateur shooters in National Parks to cull feral animal numbers, wouldn't work.
"They might knock off half a dozen rabbits, a fox, the odd pig, the odd wild goat, but because these feral pest species have such high reproductive rates sending a few amateurs in an knocking out even half a dozen, has no impact on the numbers that you'll have in the forest or the National Park, the next year."
Mr Shoebridge said a risk test of the plan conducted by the Office of Environment and heritage has revealed the proposal could see someone killed.
"Their analysis says there is a high risk of someone being killed if you have unsupervised amateurs or in fact, amateurs, out in National Parks.
"People will inevitably - if this program gets rolled out - will be sharing their national parks with untrained amateurs highly armed, dangerous, untrained amateurs."
Mr Wilson said the community expressed a strong opposition to the idea and brushed off any argument the proposal would help decrease the number of feral animals in forests and national parks.
"Absolutely everyone was in agreement that is was a crazy idea.
"If they want to spend $18 million solving the problem of feral animals in National Parks [the State Government] should fund the rangers properly."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Not Happy Barry - No Hunting in National Parks

When I am not chasing Orchids to photograph, I am campaigning against the prospect of accidentally being shot in a local National Park.

There was a No Hunting in National Parks Rally held in Bowral today. Great weather helped with the roll up, and our appreciation of the speakers.

  • Clr JIM CLARK        Welcome to all; Welcome to Country and to introduce Peter Moran.
  • PETER MORAN   Greens Candidate for Throsby, to MC the event.  
  • DAVID SHOEBRIDGE  MLC. Greens spokesperson on the Environment.
  • STEVE CASLICK (Public Service Association)
  • TONY HILL, President, National Parks Association and member of South Coast Regional Advisory Board of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
  • DENIS WILSON, Australasian Native Orchid Society, and Robertson resident.
  • MARK SELMES, from Mt Rae Forest, near Taralga, speaking on behalf of Goulburn Field Naturalists.
Photos from the Rally are visible at my Facebook Album. This is a public album, you do not need to be a Member of Facebook to view them.

Photo of me explaining why I am at risk
when crouching down in the undergrowth
photographing tiny Orchids.
(Photo by Andrew Lambkin)
my friend Caroline, from Bowral.
Mark Selmes from Mt Rae Forest
speaking on behalf of Goulburn Field Naturalists
An imaginative Wombat
expressing its view about the prospect of
Hunting in National Parks.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Autumn Flowering Orchids in Shoalhaven

A range of autumn flowering Orchids starting up in the Shoalhaven region. Alan Stephenson and I did a tour of the most likely sites, and found a few nice Orchids, plus some Boronia nana plants which is a species I have not seen for a few years.

Best find was Diplodium longipetalum - a "first" for me.
*** My memory was faulty, but my system of "Labels" showed me that I had recorded this species two years ago, at Douglas Park.  The dates coincide perfectly.


Diplodium longipetalum
click on that link to see a good
line drawing of the shape of this flower,
especially the long down-curved labellum.

Prettiest flower was of course, Petalochilus pictus.
Petalochilus pictus
A harbinger of spring, even though it is
a genuine autumn/winter flowerer
It reminds me of the other "Pretties" to come.
For a look at the other species we saw along the way, check my Facebook Album of Autumn Flowering Orchids in the Shoalhaven.
You do not have to be a member fo Facebook to see these photos.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Anni's naturally sculptured Bracket Fungus.

I was given this amazing natural sculpture by my friend Anni.
Clearly it is a very old Bracket Fungus, which was attached to a piece of very ancient firewood.
That's all very well, I just fell in love with the look of it.
Fungi are pretty remarkable.
Art is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

Anni's Bracket Fungus
To me the "Brackets" remind me of
the ears of a cartoon dog.
If two ears are good, three are better, right?
Pluto Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas.jpg
Source: The Disney Wiki
DisneyEnchantedPDVD 346.jpg

With a growth point which resembles a face
is it any wonder it reminds me of a cartoon dog face?
It even has an "eye".

Looks like the flap of a dog's ear, to me.
Ain't Nature wonderfully weird?
This is the underside where the pores were.

This poor old specimen was very dry.
I have since soaked it for 24 hours,
and will observe it,
to see if it becomes fresh again.

Seen from above
you can see the growth rings
in the Bracket Fungus
Unlike many "mushrooms"
bracket fungi are hard textured
on the upper side,
and have pores on the underside.
Have a look at this nice image of a species of Bracket Fungus showing the soft white underside of the Bracket Fungus which is where the spores are produced.

Here is a more scientific Blog post about one of the regular, large species of Bracket Fungi in Australia Ganoderma australe.

I anticipate receiving a message from Le Loup, who writes a "Wood Runner's Diary" because he likes these things for use as "Tinder". Keith is keeping alive the art of what he refers to as "Primitive Skills" (including fire lighting) and ancient flint-lock weapons.

There are also reports of the Ice Man (a neolitic corpse found in 1991, in the European Alps between Italy and Austria) having carried pieces of bracket Fungi for use as "tinder" (for fire lighting).
Among the numerous items of the Ice Man�s equipment were three fungal objects: two different shaped, polypore-like fungal fragments, each mounted separately on a leather thong; and a mysterious �black matter,� filling up the major part of his �girdle bag.� The black matter, which was first thought to be resin representing part of a prehistoric repair kit (Lippert and Spindler 1991; Egg and Spindler 1993), was later shown to be tinder material prepared from the true tinder bracket Fomes fomentarius (L.: Fr.) Fr. (Sauter and Stachelberger 1992; Poder et al., 1995; Peintner et al., 1998). The two whitish, polypore-like objects—one shaped more or less like a Scots pine cone, the other more spheroidal—were identified as fruitbody fragments of the polypore Piptoporus betulinus (Bull.: Fr.) P.Karst. (Poder et al., 1992; Peintner et al., 1998).
So far, this represents the only case in which mushrooms were obviously part of a prehistoric person�s equipment;


Saturday, May 11, 2013

400 ppm of Carbon Dioxide - a Milestone reached - in shame.

Wow, we've made it.
Congratulations, Team.
400 ppm of Carbon Dioxide.
You can all feel very proud (NOT).
Now, please stop breathing, and driving cars, and burning coal.
Oh, and kiss goodbye to low lying Pacific and Indian Ocean Islands.
Bangladesh Flood
As George Mobiot says: "this is a moment of symbolic significance, a station on the Via Dolorosa of environmental destruction. It is symbolic of our failure to put the long-term prospects of the natural world and the people it supports above immediate self-interest."
"Two remote, low-lying Pacific islands, Vanuatu and Tonga, rank first and second as worst placed on the World Risk Index as they did last year, based on a matrix of four criteria. These measure what dangers a nation faces, for example, through geology or weather, the probability it will suffer damaging events, the nation's capacity or incapacity to cope, and what resources, if any, it has to adapt after being hit."
View this source: 
and this one:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Chrysalis of Swift Moth found protruding from ground

Today I found this empty "shell" (remains of the chrysalis) of a Swift Moth caterpillar's pupal stage, left empty when the adult moth emerged from the ground. I have seen such things before, (in other areas) left by Ghost Moths, which are even larger than this specimen.
This was the "rear end" of the Moth chrysalis.
This much was sticking out of the ground.

Scale shows it was slightly more than 70mm long.
The body end was quite firm still.
The "rear end" is fragile and weak.
The moth backs out of the case.

Given the number of Swift Moths I have seen recently I am going to assume that this belonged to Oxycanus dirempta.

The split in the shell is visible here.
That's where the Moth emerged.
"The Caterpillars of this species live in burrows they dig in the ground. Typically these are under Wattle bushes (Acacia species). They line their burrows with silk. They feed nocturnally, crawling out of their burrows to feed on leaves.

They pupate in their burrow. When the moth is ready to emerge, the pupa wriggles to the top of the burrow, and the empty skin is left poking half out of the burrow after the adult moth has departed."

Here is one of these Head-banging Beasts.
At this time of year, they drive people mad in Robertson
desperately seeking lights, and sitting on windows.
The red eye is a reflection from the flash.
The other colours are normal.
Here is a slightly blurred image
But it shows the frantic wing beating
which makes them so noisy on our windows
It also shows the colour of the underside of all 4 wings.

Here are three different moths, showing the range of colours and patterns we get.
I have been advised (previously) that these are all representative of Oxycanus dirempta which is a "very variable species". So I was told.

My favourite pattern - with the strong white line

A fairly dull looking specimen
with a mix of checkerboard patterns, and
a broad light band across the foresings.
The hind wings are not visible when resting
in the "tent" position.
I really like the bright bronze colours
evident in many specimens like this one.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Happy 25th Birthday New Parliament House

I was there, were you?

The Canberra Times has done a pretty good job in putting together a video - 25 minutes long.
They probably didn't track down the contractors (such as my brother) who actually built it - of course.

The article by Ian Warden is his usual rubbish.
But the video is better.

Old photos of the construction phase and the actual opening too.
I am in the crowd (somewhere).

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Swift Moths as "Head Bangers" on my Windows

This is a link to my Facebook Album of 3 photos of Swift Moths on my windows, with "crazy eyes" (courtesy of the Flash).

Judging by my previous response, anyone can now view these images, without being a member of Facebook.

(This is my reaction against the dominant presence of Mr Mark Zuckerberg).

The same species of Moths at rest on my Front Porch a few nights ago (plus one which got "caught out" when the sun moved around, lighting it up, when the poor thing he had found a sheltered spot.

Monday, May 06, 2013

White-headed Pigeons feeding on spilled grain on railway line

Hopefully, you can all view this album, posted on Facebook.
They swear it is accessible to non-member of Facebook.
I do hope so.

The link is:

Please let me know via email, if you cannot access it.
Do not sign up for Facebook just to view these images.
I am just testing if Facebook is truthful in what they tell me.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Plants of Bells Hill, near Robertson.

There is an interesting patch of Cool Temperate Rainforest on Bells Hill, just south from Robertson. It is accessible by foot, from Yeola Road, but that's via private property, so permission would be required. But there is a road which goes up towards Bells Hill, from Fountaindale Road. It ends up as a "private road" but the first part, Maugers Road, is a public road. There are some great patches of rainforest just beside the road. No trespassing. My kind of road, for exploring along.

The interesting stuff is not always very obvious, as the forest patches are quite thick. and these plants are not necessarily Picture Post-card stuff. But they are interesting, if you check them out in detail.

Pimelea ligustrina
This plant grows to a large shrub,
and has creamy-white heads of flowers
followed shortly afterwards by seeds which readily disperse.
It has a reputation as being a bit "weedy" in places.
It is however, relatively uncommon in Robertson.
I would rate this plants as marginal on the Red Basalt soil.
It is more common in the forest below the basalt,
and half-way down Macquarie Pass.

Ripe fruits of Pittosporum undulatum
Under side of leaves of Pittosporum undulatum
There are a number of seedlings of a very large rainforest tree Stenocarpus salignus growing along this road. Presumably they are successful regenerations from trees which have been cleared from the original rainforest on Bells Hill. In any case, it is interesting to see them here, as seedlings.
Stenocarpus salignusThis is a tiny seedling,
less than 20 cm high.

The fresh leaf tips are reddish brown.

This is the upper side of a mature leaf of
Stenocarpus salignus
There is a prominent mid-vein and
Two other significant veins
which are roughly half-way between

the mid vein and the leaf margin.
Small veins run off
the mid-vein at an acute angle.

That leaf venation detail is shown quite well in the PlantNET botanical illustration.
Botanical illustration of
leaf and flowers of Stenocarpus salignus

Under side of the same leaves
(as above) of Stenocarpus salignusOnly the mid vein is prominently seen,
from below, in this example.

These leaves of Stenocarpus salignus
are really fresh
and light green,
with the characteristic reddish tips.
Old leaves go dull and leathery.

Stenocarpus salignusThis young plant is growing strongly now.Note how the leaf shape and colour make it stand out
from other vegetation in the background.
I have many more photos to show, but I will save them for another day.