Monday, 21 November 2016

Moths known and unknown

A few moths fluttering around the windows late in the evening were captured to enable photos the next morning.
The largest was a hawk moth that I was able to identify as a Coprosma Hawk Moth Hippotion scrofa, a moth that is found throughout Australia as well as Fiji and India. Its caterpillars are not too fussy with a wide range of food plants such as sweet potatoes, dahlias, impatiens and fuchsias, however I expect the main food source here is the native slender grape Cayratia clematidea which is quite widespread on our property.

  

The other was one of the timber moths and the caterpillars are a pest of many agricultural crops throughout Australia, such as apples, apricots, cherries, peaches and the one that gives it its common name the Pecan Stem Girdler maroga melanostigma

  

 Finally a moth that I found the following night and managed a photograph with the torch light of my phone. 


It is quite a large moth with distinctive markings but as yet I have not been able to find its identity. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Ironbark blossoms beckon

I have regularly seen Musk Lorikeets Glossopitta concinna in small flocks flying at high speed, which seems to be the only speed that they know. They spend a lot of time in the treetops  of Eucalyptus when the blossoms are thick. However today I was lucky as we have a large Ironbark Eucalyptus paniculata  which is in full flower with lots of the branches quite low that are loaded with blossom which enticed the lorikeets.


Musk Lorikeets are not as showy as the Rainbow but the colouring is quite beautiful in an understated way, The brilliant green with highlights of scarlet and touches of blue and yellow which I was able to capture on a couple of photos as most of the time the birds are almost obscured by foliage and blossoms as they feed.

  
They range down the east coast and around to the border of South Australia and a pocket of naturalised birds around Perth in WA.

  

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

An attractive pair

An unusual shape on a verandah post caught my attention and a close look explained as it was two not one contributing to the shape, a pair of moths caught In Flagrante Delicto.


A beautiful pair oblivious to having their photo taken, for which I was pleased as I had not seen this species before. The markings are quite stunning and the false "head" making them look like something other than moths.

  

It took me a little time to find the identification but finally found enough sources to place them in the COSSIDAE family, Endoxyla mackeri one of the wood moths whose caterpillars bore into the branches of trees, with a particular fondness for Acacia.
The caterpillars are also a favourite food source for Yellow-tail Black Cockatoos.


They stayed in place all day and in the evening the female (on top) departed whilst the male remained for sometime  onlyleaving later in the night.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Another visitor to sip nectar

Watching the birds feeding on the mistletoe while we were having our morning coffee when I noticed an infrequent arrival to partake in the nectar feast.
A Red Wattlebird anthochaera carunculata which was our most common honeyeater visitor to our Sydney garden, but only occasionally visiting here where the Little Wattlebird is our largest resident honeyeater.


the Red Wattlebird is around the same size as the Noisy Friarbird and it showed as much aggression to chase them off when they tried to encroach on its patch of mistletoe.


They range from southern Queensland through to southern Western Australia but not Tasmania where the large Yellow Wattlebird is endemic.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Mistletoe attraction

The spotted gum Eucalyptus maculata that is just across the driveway from our deck is quite loaded with mistletoe Dendrophthoe vitellina in full flower and as I posted previously the lorikeets have been flocking to feed on the flowers. The Scaly Breasted are still arriving everyday but now Noisy Friarbirds Philemon corniculatus have also discovered the abundant nectar supply.


True to their name they arrive and setup a cacophony of calling as they squabble over the perceived best bunch of flowers although the next bunch looks exactly the same. Being so raucous and rather large honeyeaters they do tend to dominate, with the other birds getting in when there is a vacant space.