Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Egg on a string

I saw a program once and knew what came out of these little eggs on a string.

Although I have forgotten the creature that laid them, I am aware of the reasons behind the structure....those long, and slippery, strands are a perfect way to stop predators reaching those tasty little packages.

Have a look at the photo below. My first impression was that they are from a butterfly, though I am not so sure....

Blog comments are always welcome.
Some help in solving this one? :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lizards great and small

I posted these shots especially for Gaye of HunterValleyBackyardNature .
(Who has a few such friends at her place ).
While on a swim with my kids this lizard came up to see what i was photographing with such interest.
It managed to creep within 1/2 a meter of me, when noticed by my children.
An Eastern Water Dragon, with an interest of its own.....wondering what the heck I was doing at its waterhole.
It posed for the following shots :)

My Daughter, Aeron, met a reptilian friend of her own.
This skink displayed the head bobbing associated with territorial ownership, walked up to her, and bit her...showing it meant business.
Aeron, not the least perturbed, offered it another chance to prove its courage. So it bit her again.
Seems that tourists at the waterhole are barely tolerated by these game fauna of the Australian bush.

As I keep rather large snakes for pets, It was all in a days work for my adventurous children.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

More nests

Back in December I posted a story with a few shots from my new camera.
One of the shots was of a Snt Andrews Cross in her web.

Well she, like Charlotte in that famous story, has gone now and has left her legacy in the form of egg sacks....pictured below.
I have taken a shot from different angles so that you my appreciate the unusual shape and construction.
The following shot is what happens after about 2 months........
The Snt Andrews Cross spider did well this year in her attempt to continue her species....producing 3 such nests.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The eyes have it

Robber flies have great eyesight.
They have to, as they are carnivorous hunters of the insect world.
Built stout and sturdy, they grab insects in a vice like grip.
Anything their size or smaller is fair game.
They will often fly with their prey locked under them, held in place with strong legs.

I was lucky enough to see one finishing a meal, though not lucky enough to capture it with the camera. I was able to photograph those sharp compound eyes though.

A couple of photos below: one showing the eye structure, the other the design of the insect itself.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Photos of a Walk

When is a fly not a fly?...When its a walk, of course.

The pictures below are of a fly, sorry, a walk I spotted in the Robertson Reserve.
It was in the process of traversing the surfaces of a number of leaves on the top of a small bush.
The photo immediately below giving the best idea of how this little insect preferred to "leg it".
It is reaching out for the next leaf in an attempt to continue its stroll. When it couldnt reach, it turned around and took the long way around.
The wings seem to be in good condition, and fully serviceable, so the creature was on a hunt of some sort....a hunt that required not being airborne.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Heads Up...Summers almost gone

With the approach of Autumn its "Heads Up" for our reptile friends.
Its time for building body fat reserves for winter before hibernation begins.

Isis was out for her afternoon "walk" when I took these photos.
The raising of the head as seen in the LH Shot is so that she can get a better look at things.
She has been a bit hungry of late, consuming a large rat a week.
The tongue of the snake is a complicated device. The "fork" smells in stereo,
enabling prey to be tracked down by triangulation.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A few more Arachnids...and a Slug

Just when I thought I had done enough arachnid shots, I came apon this water spider ( found by my daughter Aeron) at Carrington Falls the other day.
It is amazing how they can suspend themselves on the surface tension of the water.
I was tempted to give this guy a little push to see if it would glide on the surface...and so I tried.
A word of warning...these spiders have a temper, and i was severly scolded in the form of many bites in quick sucession....luckily on my nail. ( you dont think that I would poke it with a stick...do you? )

Denis wilsons post on the day can be found Here. and has
further descriptions on the behaviour of this spider with further links.

While I am on the subject of spiders, I might as well put in this little Leaf Spider.
I loved, as a kid, placing flies in the web and watching the reactions of the spider as it tested the vibrations, spring into action to capture and subdue its prey, then haul the lot back to the safety of its home.

....And finally, something that is not a spider.
This slug, found by my kids in the backyard, was in the process of consuming a worm.
It managed this rather quickly, to my suprise, and took around a minute to consume a good 75mm of its dinner. The baby slug tagged along for the meal. A most unusual sight.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Carrington Falls trip

A trip to Carrington Falls proved to be of interest with the recent rains having boosted the water going into the gorge by a reasonable percentage.
Following are some shots from the day.

On the right hand side of the above photo is one of the usual suspects in these photographic trips, Denis Wilson, who kindly donated his car for the day to run Rhiannon, Aeron and myself out there. The kids had a great time spotting local fauna and flora while Denis and I busily snapped away at some of this areas most magnificant scenery.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Robertson, having only been converted from a dense rainforest some 150 years ago at the most, still has some strange creatures come to visit your home. The spider, below, is not so strange. It is a common species in many surrounding areas, though I thought the nest was worth a photograph.

Suspended from my ceiling, and about 70mm in diameter, it is host to the female and her young.

I must admit a fascination for arachnids, though my distaste for mozzies is what keeps her there.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Chat with a Mantis

The picture below gives an idea of the character of the Mantis.

Although diminutive, this curious little insect will check out
a relative giant such as myself.
A group of mantids inhabit one of the citrus trees in my backyard.
With quick reaction times, great eyesight, and fearsome apendages they keep the area on which they live free of insect infestation.

They make an interesting study within a relativly small environment and seem to live in harmony with another resident of the tree on which they live- The Orchard Butterfly. The Mantids seem to have no interest in the juvinile caterpillers at all, with the larger ones being too big to consider. These mantids may even
provide a service to the caterpillers by reducing competition and providing some protection from parasitic conditions.