Birdwatching in Wagga Wagga


(Some of) the Flora and Fauna of Lake Albert
November 5, 2009, 4:01 pm
Filed under: Flora, Fungi | Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve added a list of species recorded in the Wagga area since March of this year. It is available (as are all other lists) from the “Links” section on the left-hand column.

The vegetation surrounding Lake Albert is in places quite dense, and probably consists of several hundred species of plant. There is no chance of my ever documenting it thoroughly, but I hope through a series of posts to give a general idea of the sorts of plants likely to be encountered. At the same time I intend to point out a few of the interesting animals that may be spotted there from time to time.

Even a cursory examination of the lake’s flora reveals the presence of many introduced species, some of them highly invasive. They are a mixture of escaped ornamentals (Patterson’s Curse, Echium plantagineum, being the most well-known) and pasture grasses. I have made a special effort to locate and photograph the native species, but these posts will inevitably be dominated by exotics (indicated by an asterisk).

Bluebell (Wahlenbergia sp.)

Bluebell (Wahlenbergia sp.)

 

Jersey Cudweed (Pseudognaphalium luteoalbum)

Jersey Cudweed (Pseudognaphalium luteoalbum)

 

This is one of many species of plant with the word ‘weed’ in its name, despite actually being native.

Knotweed (Persicaria sp., formerly Polygonum sp.)

Knotweed (Persicaria sp., formerly Polygonum sp.)

 

This is another one.

Windmill Grass (Chloris truncata)

Windmill Grass (Chloris truncata)

 

This is a common and widespread native grass (according to PlantNet it is found in every botanical subdivision of NSW). The image shows it flowering, which it does opportunistically in response to rainfall.

Patterson's Curse (Echium plantagineum)

Patterson's Curse (*Echium plantagineum)

 

Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula)

Capeweed (*Arctotheca calendula)

 

These two are the most conspicuous and prolific of the weeds in the Wagga area. They tend not to be actively managed, probably because there is simply no hope of getting them under control. A recent spraying within Livingstone National Park may have had some success in reducing the Capeweed population there.

Medic (*Medicago sp.)

Medic (*Medicago sp.)

 

There are a number of Medicago species that are difficult to separate without close examination. There is no such thing as a native medic, however.

Wild Oats (*Avena fatua)

Wild Oats (*Avena fatua)

 

Tall, drooping exotic grass. Extremely prolific in the area (Willans Hill is covered in it) but less colourful than Capeweed and Paterson’s Curse, and hence less conspicuous.

Narrow-Leaf Clover (*Trifolium angustifolium)

Narrow-Leaf Clover (*Trifolium angustifolium)

 

Hare's-Foot Clover (*Trifolium arvense)

Hare's-Foot Clover (*Trifolium arvense)

 

Paradoxa Grass (*Phalaris paradoxa)

Paradoxa Grass (*Phalaris paradoxa)

 

Phalaris paradoxa is another major pasture weed. There are a number of similar Phalaris species in the area.

Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus comatus), aka Lawyer's Wig

Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus comatus), aka Lawyer's Wig

 

Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus comatus), aka Lawyer's Wig

Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus comatus), aka Lawyer's Wig

 

Many interesting and unusual species of fungus are found in the damp ground around the lake. The first picture shows a young Shaggy Ink Cap fruiting body. The second shows an older member of the same species, close to completing auto-digestion. This process can take only a few hours (according to Australian Fungi – A Blog) or up to 36 hours (A Field Guide to the Fungi of Australia, A. M. Young, 2005). Eventually only a stem and an inky black blob will remain.

Water-Rat (Hydromys chrysogaster)

Water-Rat (Hydromys chrysogaster)

 

This sighting was a one-off. Lake Albert seems like an unusual choice of habitat for a Water-Rat: too open, and too many predators (seven species of raptor have been recorded in the area). They are typically seen in closed-in bodies of water with convenient hiding places, like Wollundry or Flowerdale Lagoon.

More to come.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’ve found that the water rat is pretty common in the lake, or it was. I used to see water rats quite often in the lake whilst I was fishing but over the last 2-3 years the sightings have gone down. I think its because of the removal of the willows and how dry the lake has been.

Comment by Jack Zyhalak

Water rats need a bit of cover, so removing the willows might not have helped them much. I assume there are still a couple living in the wetland near the boat club, although with the lake overflowing they might have been flooded out.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the information. This site is just my observations and I’m liable to be wrong from time to time.

Comment by wwdavid




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