Tag Archives: hoverfly

Coronablog 2, Mellow Yellow or how to pass the time in Corona Virus Isolation… Day 7

20 Apr

Mellow Yellow

 

Dear Reader:

As mentioned in my previous post (Coronablog 1) I am in isolation and exploring the wonders of my own garden rather than exploring South Australia’s rural and wild destinations.

 

Garden on the day

 

Yellow flowers

 

I am wandering around the garden observing the variety of creatures that live in, on and around yellow flowers. Yellow being the predominate colour of blossoms this time of year; early autumn. It is a little overcast which is not the best for creating vivid images but the absence of shadow does have the advantage of not frightening the timid creatures that live amongst the blossoms.

 

Gerbera and beetle

 

My first sighting is a tiny black beetle that is crawling across the petals of a bright yellow Gerbera. It resembles a lawn beetle, but in all honesty, there are so many beetle species, it is hard to identify.

 

Tiny Flower Spider

Munching the blossoms

Lynx Spider

The African Daisy bush has always been home to a variety of invertebrates from spiders and flies to caterpillars, and today is no exception. There is a ‘late-in-the season’ Woolly Bear Caterpillar munching on a flower bud, a tiny Flower Spider perched on a petal and a larger Lynx Spider poised on another bud ready to pounce on any unsuspecting prey.

 

Hoverfly

 

While I have been working on the African Daisy I can see some hoverflies buzzing around the more common white and yellow or English Daisy bush. These remarkable little insects are garden friendly as their larvae eat aphids. The black and yellow colouring mimics wasps and is a useful form of defence. Their ability to hover in one place then zip sideways is interesting to watch.

As you can see; by simply picking a theme and using some observation skills you can pass some pleasant hours exploring an aspect of your garden.

 Enjoy the solitude

Stay safe

 Cheers

Baz

 

See more South Australian stories and pictures in Weekend Notes

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

 I have recently spent time in Africa and the link below will allow you to enjoy images and field notes describing some of my encounters with the wonderful wildlife of Botswana and Zambia. I will try to attach a new image and notes each month.

https://wildlifemomentssa.blogspot.com

Backyard Safari With My New Tamron Lens

5 Mar

Dear Reader:

There is little doubt that the South Australia has some fascinating and inspiring countryside from the rugged coastline of the south east to the wild expanses of outback in the north. However, it is often what is right under our noses that can prove most interesting. With that in mind I decided to try out my new Tamron 18-400 lens in the back yard.

 

Wattle Bird enjoys the trellis

 

Backyard

 

 

Spotted Doves are quite common in our suburb and each morning I spread out a handfuls of seed to encourage them. It is wonderful to watch their antics especially around mating time with the males bobbing and cooing to get the females’ attention. Over the years they have built their simple twig nests in our gum tree and raised several broods of young.

 

Spotted Doves

 

The Tamron lens is reputed to have quite good macro capabilities and with that in mind I spent some time fossicking for insects in the foliage and flowers of Daisy and Correa bushes. There were crickets, ladybugs and hoverflies in some numbers and I settled on an image of a hoverfly that had landed on a blossom to feed.

 

Hoverfly

 

Even though cats are generally a menace to wildlife I have a soft spot for them if controlled in urban areas. I have two and the Abyssinian is well past being a menace to anything as he is 16 years old an it is quite amusing to see the proverbial ‘cat amongst the pigeons/doves’.

 

Too old to worry about

 

Each day I leave an apple and two orange halves spiked to my trellis which attract a wide variety of birds from noisy Rainbow Lorikeets to delicate New Holland Honeyeaters. It is a pleasant enough task to sit quietly in the garden and photograph them feeding and squabbling over my offerings.

 

Apples for Lorikeet lunch

 

Even the humble lawn has its role once I have spread a little seed about for the Doves, Pigeons and occasional Mudlarks. And, after the sprinklers come on in the summer or there is good rain, the local Blackbirds forage for worms.

 

Just a glimpse

 

There a very few mammals in our suburb bar cats and dogs. We are too far from the hills for Koalas and possums are rare. But one late afternoon as I was sitting reading the paper (camera as always on the table) I watched a little Fruit Rat bound across the path. Not the most welcome of guests but for me it is always a treat to see something new in the garden.

 

Cheers

Baz

 

See more South Australian stories and pictures in Weekend Notes

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Tea Tree Gully-An Afternoon in San’s Garden

12 Jun

Dear Reader:

Sometimes, it is not about four wheel drives, walks in the bush or diving on a reef. Sometimes, South Australia’s wildlife wonders are the common animals and plants that live  right under our noses in the backyard. Last weekend I grabbed a pie and a doughnut from the local shop, pulled out the recliner and watched the antics of the local critters in my friend’s garden. I hope you enjoy the pictures and a few minor, explanatory observations.

Spotted dove snoozing on the garage roof

Spotted dove snoozing on the garage roof

To initiate proceedings, a spotted dove landed on the garage roof, much to the consternation of a local cat, who sat and stared at it for a few minutes, decided it was too much work then nonchalantly strolled off to find easier prey.

New holland honeyeater feeding on orange honeysuckle

New holland honeyeater feeding on orange honeysuckle

Oleander seeds pods

Oleander seeds pods

New holland honeyeater catching insect in mid flight

New holland honeyeater catching insect in mid flight

While the dove dozed the high energy brigade arrived in the form of a squadron of new holland honeyeaters who proceeded to feed on various blossoms, hawk for insects and in one bizarre instance; pull apart the seed pods of an oleander. Fair enough if it was nesting season but a little hard to fathom at the beginning of winter!!

Hover fly grabbing a suck to eat

Hover fly grabbing a suck to eat

Bee on lavender

Bee on lavender

The winter months are not too conducive to insect life but a few ‘die hards’ do persist and the lavender and daisies played host to quite a number of bees and hover flies respectively.

Noisy miner surveys the garden with a bandit glare

Noisy miner surveys the garden with a bandit glare

Whatever the season my little bandit friends are always around with their masked faces and grey plumage. A small flock of noisy miners did the afternoon rounds, harassing the other birds and making their presence felt; arguing as much with each other as the other species.

Singing the team song in the old gum tree

Singing the team song in the old gum tree

Strutting his stuff on the back lawn

Strutting his stuff on the back lawn

Just as I was settling for a little snooze when the warbling (carolling) call of white backed magpies brought me to my feet. I walked around to the front garden to see a trio of the large black and white birds high in the crown of a roadside eucalypt loudly proclaiming their territory. Then, the largest and obviously most confident bird flew down into the garden only a few metres away to search for grubs.

Quinnus muchsuddliusforaging in the fairy garden

Quinnus cuddlius foraging in the fairy garden

Back to recliner, pictures taken, lunch finished; book or snooze again beckoning…when the most active of all the garden’s wildlife toddled in and a restful, lazy afternoon dissipated like an early morning mist evaporating when the sunshine arrives.

Enjoy your own gardens

Baz

Yellow Flowers on a Winter’s Day

8 Aug

Dear Reader:

Adelaide is generally blessed by an amicable climate but it does have its grey days. Usually the winter showers are interspersed with long fine periods when the sun shines through the clouds and brightens up a chilly morning. Today was not one of those days.

1 Euryops or Little Sunray

Euryops or Little Sunray (click to enlarge)

I had been staying at some lovely little units on the edge of the foothills and planning to take some shots in the gardens to promote the virtues of a South Australian winter’s day but the weather refused to cooperate. It was overcast with a little drizzle and no sign that the curtain of clouds would lift. Undaunted, I headed into the manicured grounds looking for something to lift my spirits and lend a little colour to the day. Fortunately, the perfect candidate was growing right in front of my unit in the form of a robust Euryops bush; a non native, daisy species that blooms right through the winter months.

Hoverfly landing and feeeding on blossom (click to enlarge)

Hoverfly landing and feeding on blossom (click to enlarge)

Despite the cold weather, the bush appeared to be supporting a small but diverse population of insects some of which I would normally associate with the spring and summer months. A couple of hoverflies were sitting in the centre of the flowers probing them with their stout little proboscises. These hornet coloured little insects usually flit between flowers pausing for a brief instant to feed. The cool weather seemed to have slowed the insects down a little and made them for more amenable to having their portraits snapped.

Flower spider hunting amongst petals (click to enlarge)

Flower spider hunting amongst petals (click to enlarge)

 Euryops blossoms provide are the whole world for a common flower spider. I watched through my lens as one wait immobile on a petal for several minutes then moved to another one to maintain its frozen stance, primed for a sudden jump should either prey or predator come too close. During the day I caught glimpses of several different species of flower spiders and they are certainly an interesting group of common garden animals worth exploring further.

Fly feeding on blossom (click to enlarge)

Fly feeding on blossom (click to enlarge)

 The winter months see a decrease in virtually all arthropods especially spiders and insects. The common bush flies that can be a nuisance in summer and early autumn are a welcome absence in the winter. However, several of the more solitary species of flies seem to persist through this chilly season. Their iridescent green bodies and bright red eyes provide a striking contrast to the bright yellow flowers as they probe their dense centres searching for nectar in the delicate folds.

 Breakfast for two (click to enlarge)

Breakfast for two (click to enlarge)

 Perhaps the most prolific insects that I saw on this grey, chilly morning were the common woolly bear caterpillars that appeared to be munching both the leaves and flowers of my Euryops bush. These furry little creatures grow into black and white tiger moths and seem to be immune to the cold weather that decimates other insect populations. Indeed, I seem to remember that they can survive temperatures below freezing because of the glycerol, a form of anti-freeze, they produce.

 

Then the rain came down and sent me scampering inside for a glass of mulled wine and time to review the images I had captured while thinking about the next sunny day.

 

Until next time

Baz                      

Photo Reflections 2

16 Nov

Dear Reader:

South Australia is an extraordinary place to live and work especially if you are a wildlife writer and photographer. Our fauna is both diverse and fascinating and en route to any destination there are always interesting country towns, world class wineries or vast rural properties to explore. This blog is a reflection of those attributes and is a collation of images and notes that remind me of the reasons I live and work here.

A Camping near Arkaroola

Camping near Arkaroola

 

Arkaroola is a world heritage wilderness area approximately 700 kilometres north of Adelaide. Its geology, Aboriginal heritage and wildlife make it a premier destination for off roaders, photographers and those who simply like a taste of real outback life.

B Nankeen night heron

Nankeen night heron

The wetlands around the Adelaide region have a core of commonly sighted species that include a variety of waterfowl, pelicans, ibises, swamp hens and swallows; to mention but a few. The nankeen night heron is one of the less frequently encountered birds which made photographing this one, as it hid in a willow overhanging a lake near my home, a special moment.

C Vines near McClaren Vale

Vines near McLaren Vale

 

The coast road that runs south from Adelaide along the Fleurieu Peninsula is a drive I have made countless times on the way to a dive site. On this occasion I was drawn to the dormant vines that stood in stark contrast to the overcast sky and yellow oxalis flowers.

D Biscuit star

Biscuit star

 

Sometimes the simplest creatures, the ones encountered countless times, catch your attention. Perhaps it is the light or just the way the animal is positioned. This common biscuit star caught my eye as it crept along the edge of a rock face covered in algae and a melange of encrusting organisms.

E Hoverfly on blossoms

Hoverfly on blossoms

 

Hoverflies are one of the most common invertebrates in our gardens. These agile little insects hover, flit and settle on a variety of flowering plants. They seem to be in constant motion. On an afternoon stroll through the Botanic Gardens an accommodating hoverfly settled on a nearby blossom giving me just a split second to get down low and capture this image which emphasises its startling compound eyes.

F Echidna foraging

Echidna foraging

 

Echidnas roam the length and breadth of Australia but they are not commonly seen. This one was trundling through the bush in the Adelaide Hills close to a termite mound that it had been ripping apart. It was the sound of the little spiky battle tank that gave away its location. Stealth does not appear to be part of their defensive repertoire. You don’t need to be furtive when you are armed with a plethora of sharp spines.

 

I hope you enjoyed this little reflection

Baz

%d bloggers like this: