Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Sometimes you can just be lucky!
A month ago I walked out the front door to find a bush cricket or katydid(Caedicia simplex) that had just completed moulting. I took many photographs, downloaded these and then went back to take some more...
When I returned a third time the bush cricket was just finishing a meal - its recently shed exoskeleton.

A few weeks later I found flat shield bug that had also moulted (it didn't seem interested in eating its exoskeleton)

and yesterday the exoskeleton of a spider.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fungi: Banksiamyces

Banksiamyces are small cup fungi (Ascomycetes) that grow on old cones of Banksia species.
Banksiamyces toomansis grows on Banksia marginata, the species that grows at Black Sugarloaf.
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tiny spider

I was photographing the crustose lichens on the old seed cases of swamp paperbark Melaleuca ericifolia when something moved.
This tiny spider survived the stormy weather of the past few days. It rarely moves far from its hiding place.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Moulting Lagoon

heath myrtle (Thryptomene micrantha)
sunset over Great Oyster Bay
Black Swans at Moulting Lagoon

Moulting Lagoon is one of ten sites in Tasmania listed under the Ramsar agreement as a wetland of international significance. It is the most important breeding and foraging habitat for Black Swans in Tasmania with numbers reaching over 14,000 in some years. Many species of waterfowl, including Australasian Shelducks and Chestnut Teal, congregate in late summer; flocks of migratory waders, including Greenshank and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper visit the lagoon and it also has several rare and threatened plant species and unusual geological formations.
Twice yearly assessments of the waterfowl and other birds are undertaken at Moulting Lagoon. The late summer count occurs just before the duck-shooting season and the winter survey is timed to evaluate the impact of the hunt. The ongoing monitoring is a requirement under the Ramsar convention to which the government is a signatory. Despite this, funding is decreasing annually and the assistance of volunteers is becoming ever more crucial.
For the past several years I have participated in the surveys. It is not only important work, it is a very beautiful place to spend a day. The survey takes place early in the morning, so volunteers usually stay overnight at Iluka. This year I had a few spare hours to explore the Hazards, the granite mountains that form a spectacular backdrop to the lagoon.
Being late winter, very few plants of the heath plants were flowering. However, I did see heath myrtle Thryptomene micrantha, a plant restricted to the Freycinet peninsula on Tasmania's east coast.

A trip to Forth Falls

Pterostylis sp.
Geoglossum sp.
Marasmius sp.
cicada exoskeleton
Galerina hypnorum

The local field naturalists group (The Central North Field Naturalists) have regular monthly outings to look at birds, plants, fungi, liverworts and just about anything else that catches our eye.
On Sunday August 3rd we went to Forth Falls near Lake Barrington where we saw several Dusky Robins and heard Flame, Scarlet and Pink Robins, Golden Whistlers and a Grey (white morph) Goshawk.
There were several orchid species, a cicada exoskeleton and, despite being fairly late in the season, quite a few fungi including a beautiful blue-capped Marasmius sp. growing on a small dead branch and Galerina hypnorum, a small fungus associated with moss.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Brown tree frog (Litoria ewingi)

The Brown tree frog (Litoria ewingii) is found throughout Tasmania. I see them frequently at Black Sugarloaf, usually in the garden, but sometimes in the bathroom.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A female raspy cricket

I found this female raspy cricket in the car a few months ago. Her sword-shaped ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen is used to insert eggs into the tissue of plant stems or leaves. Raspy crickets belong to the family Gryllacrididae. There is one described species in Tasmania, Kinemania ambulans, and two undescribed species. Microscopic examination is require to determine the species.