Tag Archives: nature

beetle bombing….

8 Dec

Well…we really know it’s Christmas time. ….Not because of the arrival of  Mickey Mouse and his Friends on our neighbours front lawn…. or because the elves encouraging little kiddies to come and sit on skinny Santa’s lap in every shopping mall ….nor the impossible task of finding a carpark within a kilometre of the stores….

No… here in Aus we know it’s Christmas because of the shiny flying beetles that  dive bomb you when you’re at the BBQ, flock to the lights, and take every opportunity to swoop through an open door into the house, only to be found somewhere random, stuck on their backs in their death throws and unable to re-launch and escape.

 

Beetles

 

So I’ve been wondering ….who are these pretty,shiny and harmless Christmas creatures … (I mean ….really) ?? I know we call them Christmas Beetles  but  I thought that was because of their colours. By now you will all realise I am certainly no nature expert….. so you guessed it …I googled!! and thanks to the CSRIO I discovered:

  • The Christmas beetle’s formal name is  Anoplognathus
  • They have a seasonal life cycle, which is either annual or biennial depending on the climate
  • Christmas really IS the silly season for them, because all they do is spend  December to January mating and then laying eggs into the soil surface.
  • They are large glossy beetles often seen clustered on the leaves of eucalypt trees during summer.
  • Larvae develop through three stages , and in warmer areas of the country spend one winter in the soil, (or  two winters in cooler climates).
  • They emerge in several waves late November through to February depending on species, rainfall and number of life cycles they need to go through.
  • They launch late in the afternoon and can fly distances of several kilometres. Most flights occur at dusk, with beetles often attracted to outdoor lighting (hence crashing into anything light)
  • They come in colours ranging from dark brown to iridescent green
  • Thunderstorms can trigger mass emergence as the ground becomes moist enough for adults to escape .

So THAT is why these strange little creatures have been particularly prominent these past couple of weeks ..as if the thunderstorms are not enough to deal with.

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feeling smug ….

16 Nov

There is no doubt that today provided plenty of blog-fodder …catching up with old friends after knee-replace2 years was a feast of fun, food, life observation and  crazy conversation that traversed everything from family to… knee surgery…  work…  building… knee surgery…  politics… travel… knee surgery…  study…  school….  plans …. aging parents….oh and did I mention knee surgery ???

We had a blast, laughed a lot, talked at cross purposes and covered SO much ground in a relatively short space of time …BUT …while I could write a book on knee surgery (or maybe even perform it) after today’s conversations… it’s been gazumped as tonight’s ramble.

Instead I’m going to make yet another confession about my lack of nature knowledge.

As Mr 50Something flicked the TV onto one of his preferred action fishing documentaries (is that an oxymoron? …somehow ‘action’ and ‘fishing’ don’t quite seem to fit) …  I heard mention of death by  ‘electric eels’ somewhere in a remote Amazon jungle.

electric eelPlease forgive my ignorance.. BUT I seriously thought electric eels were a plumbing tool for blocked drains. I had NO IDEA that they not only exist in the real world… but they electrocute people. I was so stunned by hearing this, that (of course) I googled it and learned all there is to know about them. If you want to surprise your workmates with your brilliance have a read of this.

So all in all it’s been a huge day … I can now say I’m expert on both knee surgery and death by electric eel attack …Reckon I might just go and update my CV.

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birds of a feather …

6 Jul

the birds

I have never professed to be a nature expert …not even close.

I mean yes, I like to admire the beauty of a landscape or sunset…and I do like small furry creatures …. but when it comes to actually knowing anything about ethology or the environment I’m pretty hopeless.

If we take this a step further and consider bird-life and the habits of our feathered friends … then I draw a complete blank.

This brings me to my (pretty pointless) point.

Driving home the other day, I crossed the bridge and noticed a gathering, pack, group, gang, flock…(well a whole bunch)… of black birds perched high on the electricity bird on cablecable. There they sat, about 30 of them grouped tightly in a row, high above the MIDDLE of the river. There was plenty of cable remaining either side of them but they were huddled close, all perfectly positioned and facing the same direction, a bit like an army regiment on parade.

As I drove on, it got me thinking about the life of a bird and I realised just how much I don’t know … Like… what DO they do all day ? Surely they get tired of hanging around in the air, and if they stop to rest, they have to perch on a branch, (or worse still a cable like the ones in question), and cling on tight with those poor little claws. No kicking back and relaxing at all… and as far as I know they even sleep in that position, which doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

If there happens to be an ornithologist reading this nonsense, you may care to shed some light on the subject to help me (and no doubt, others) to more fully appreciate the life of these small feathered creatures.

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cats… pigs… kangaroos…and black ice

20 Apr

After another day of road tripping,  it’s hard to single out one particular highlight or blogworthy moment… So many bizarre and interesting sights.P1130621

Like yesterday, the changes in landscape have to be seen to be believed…  we left the lush green grazing land of the Murray Valley and headed into the High Country, crossing the rugged great dividing range before emerging back into the wide open spaces that looked like a moon scape covered in huge P1130647round granite boulders …it was as if there had been a nuclear attack and we had missed the news (which would have been very possible given the remote location and lack of phone or internet reception).

Throughout the 500 plus kilometres, I was struck by the seemingly unnecessary bends in the road…I mean had we driven in a straight line I reckon it would have been a 300km trip.. Now I’m not silly … (noP1130665 comment please) I DO realise that if there is a mountain or a lake there needs to be consideration of the best way over or around it…. BUT there were so many wide open spaces where we twisted and turned for no obvious reason…and I began to wonder if the road gangs responsible got bored and decided to get a bit creative with their graders.

I know I am not a geologist or a road engineer, but seriously did it need to be that complicated?

At one point we were winding through one of the more scrubby landscapes and came across…

sign #1 care black ice on road...then

sign #2 pigs on road…then finally

sign #3 cats crossing…and bugga me a cat ran across the road as if on cue…all this as we negotiated the twists and turns that could easily have been a a straight road…and NO mention of the kangaroos that appeared from behind the bushes when we least expected them.

If anyone reading this blog has a clue …I would appreciate an explanation… because it sure doesn’t make any sense from where I sit.

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some days it sucks to be a frog…

17 Feb

Driving to work minding my own business this morning and something very odd caught my eye. As the car in the next lane passed, I saw what looked like a leaf poking out the crease of the back side door; so after deciding it was no big deal, I continued to daydream and drive on.

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That is…UNTIL the traffic slowed a little, and I found myself alongside the car. I looked closer and the leaf started to wriggle. Trying not to run up the back of the car in front, I was soon close enough to identify the suspicious site as a small tree frog that was trapped by his (or her… I’m not real good a sexing frogs on the move) left foot.

WHAT SHOULD I DO ??  

Feeling compelled to do SOMETHING I try to get the driver’s attention. I wound the window down and tried to yell across to him…a big ask for anyone at 40kph …but without a voice it was just NEVER gonna work.

Next, I thought I would jump out and run to his window when the traffic was held up. But I began to imagine how he might react to a ‘crazy voiceless woman’ running between the traffic and up to his window to say there is a frog hanging out of his door.

Clearly I thought about it a minute too long and the traffic began to flow.

So…I just headed to work, feeling a little sad but amused by the thought of the little guy hanging on for the ride of his life. Wherever he is tonight, I’d reckon he has one very sore foot. … It’s days like this I’m glad I’m not a frog.

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