Tag Archives: Wildlife

Parasites and Carnivores

Regarding parasites, many of the gum trees around the farm where I currently live have large woody mistletoe plants hanging from their branches (below left) which are just coming into flower. Australia has 10 genera and 65 species of mistletoe and I think this one (above) is Amyema pendulum. There are several large dams on the farm (below right) with beaches kept clear buy the fluctuating water levels, perfect for a swim although the water is still a bit murky following the floods and one day we found a dead sheep floating in the water. Not to worry he was fresh.
As for carnivores, growing in the open patches of sand that are kept damp by seeping ground water there are tiny Pimpernel sun-dew Drosera glanduligera (bellow) plants only a few inches across. If you stand still for only a moment you end up covered in biting ants as I found taking these photos. The ants seem to be their main food, the leaf curling up around them as they struggles to get free of the sticky hairs.
Whilst on the subject of carnivores I thought it would be fitting to include a gallery of some of our eight legged house mates. The most impressive of which was the huntsman spider top that was a good five inches across and was gingerly extricated from the house with a squeeze mop. As well as looking around at the ground for snakes you have to look up as well when walking through the bush to avoid getting an orb spider (second down) across you face. (third and fourth down) A hairy chap we found living on the BBQ, didn’t seem too happy to be put in a glass. The hermit crab of the spider world, many of the webs in the bush have a curled up gum leaf hanging in the middle of them with a tiny spider tucked inside.

Ruined Castel Rocks

On an early morning hike out to the Ruined Castel Rocks, before the coach loads of day tourists spoil the silence. In the cool forest on the floor of the canyon I came across a male Liar bird, the master of mimicry. They are like a small brown pheasant with an airy peacock tail all in sepia tone. Not being the most birds they woo the mates with elaborate and quick-fire impressions of all the other bird sounds in the forest. They even mimic man made sounds though this one has no camera shutters and chainsaws in his repertoire it was non the les impressive.
Video of Liar Bird
The Snake Orchid, Cymbidium suave, was growing in a Eucalyptus tree in the hollow left by a fallen bow.
Snake Orchid, Cymbidium Suave ORCHIDACEAE
The Ruined Castel Rocks reach up just above the tree line conveniently arranged like a giant spiral staircase. Sitting atop of a rise in the middle of the canyon floor they offer a 360o view of the surrounding cliff faces that are other wise reduced to fleeting glimpses through the canopy.
Around the rocks and up on top of the cliffs where the conditiond are hotter and dried grows the Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus sclerophylla. It is called the Scribbly gum due to markings left on the bark by browsing moth larvae.
Scribbly Gum, Eucalyptis sclerophylla MYRTACEAE
In amongst the greener the large, bright yellow, buttercup shape flowers of a shrubby twining, Hibbertia dentate shone out advertising their wares and a bright clearing left by a fallen tree was full of Senecio linearifolius, making though most of the available light.

DILLENIACEAE and Senecio linearifolius ASTERACEAE

Hibbertia dentate
Two lizards spotted on the walk were the Leura Water Skink Eulamprus Leureansisand the as yet un-identified by me little bearded dragon like lizard. The Leura lizard was amongst the foliage in the cool damp forest and the little bearded dragon was sunning himself up on the hot castle rocks.
Leura Water Skink Eulamprus leuraensis and the as yet un-identified lizard.


View of the forest under-story.