Birdwatching in Wagga Wagga


Native Orchids in Livingstone National Park, Autumn Edition
May 21, 2010, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Flora | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Livingstone National Park has been logged, mined for gold, tin and wolframite, and used as a bombing range. And yet it is almost certainly the best-preserved area of remnant vegetation in the vicinity of Wagga. It was finally gazetted (as Livingstone National Park and Nature Reserve) in 2001. In 2006, the southern end (adjacent to the locality of Burrandana) was declared a State Conservation Area.

The park is apparently home to 20 or more species of orchid. Nine spring-flowering species were documented in this earlier post. PlantNET lists four further spring-flowering species (Caladenia dimorpha, C. phaeoclavia, Pterostylis mutica and Thelymitra ixioides) in the park. The management plan lists another four species: the greenhoods Pterostylis curta and Pterostylis longifolia, the ruddyhood Pterostylis pusilla and the tiny finger orchid Caladenia mentiens. Additionally, four species of autumn-flowering orchid are known from the park. These are profiled here.

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Eriochilus cucullatus is a tiny, delicate and inconspicuous species. Each plant may carry up to five flowers, though most have only one or two. It has been recorded from the both the northern and southern sections of the park, and also from Murraguldrie Flora Reserve.

This identification is tentative. Genoplesium is a large genus, but G. rufum is the only species listed by PlantNET for the NSW South-West Slopes bioregion. This species is extremely variable. Its colouration runs the gamut from deep purple-black to mostly green with reddish or brownish tips to the lateral sepals (as in this case). Some debate exists as to whether Genoplesium rufum constitutes a single species or a complex of related varieties. The flowers on this particular specimen have closed for the year.

The Pterostylis sp. aff. parviflora complex accounts for almost a dozen species, subspecies or varieties of orchid. The variety found at Livingstone (assuming there is only one) may be the one referred to in Bishop’s 1996 field guide (currently out of print) as Pterostylis sp. aff. parviflora (Large Red-brown). Complicating this identification is the fact that many plants were found to have seven or eight flowers, whereas Bishop claims that Pterostylis sp. aff. parviflora (Large Red-brown) only rarely has more than six. Another variety it resembles commonly has up to eight flowers, but is known only from the Melbourne, Victoria area (designated by Bishop as Pterostylis sp. aff. parviflora (Eastern Melbourne)).

Tthe genus Speculantha has been proposed to distinguish the tiny greenhoods from the larger species, like the one below.


Another complicated identification. Pterostylis falcata is not recognised by Bishop and does not have an entry in PlantNET’s Flora of New South Wales. Nevertheless it is the only autumn-flowering greenhood that comes up in a PlantNET search for the flora of the Wagga Wagga LGA. (That list is not complete, however)

This species is extremely common in Livingstone National Park, often occuring in colonies of up to thirty plants. These colonies are composed of plants at varying stages of maturity. Younger and older flowers often take on unusual shapes:

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Coming soon: posts on Nest Hill Nature Reserve and Plum Pudding Hill TSR and a series of posts on common urban and suburban birds of Wagga.

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Fungi — Wallpapers
May 15, 2010, 6:02 pm
Filed under: Fungi | Tags: , , , ,

I’ve produced three wallpaper versions (1024×768, 1280×1024 and 1600×1200) of the Resupinatus cinerascens shot from the previous post, if anybody is interested.

Resupinatus cinerascens

Resupinatus cinerascens

All links open in new windows:

1600×1200
1280×1024
1024×768

I may do this with other photographs (flowers, birds, and so on) if there is any interest.



Fungi
May 10, 2010, 7:18 pm
Filed under: Fungi | Tags: , , , , ,

This post has been a long time in coming. Apologies!

The rains in December, February and March brought out a large crop of fungi of various kinds, and now, with the temperature dropping and dew beginning to form, there seems to be a constant supply of unusual and interesting fungus species. A few of the more interesting are shown below.


Resupinatus cinerascens is a tiny fungus – the largest fruiting body being around 1cm in diameter – found on the underside of rotting logs. This particular specimen was found in Wallacetown.

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Coprinus plicatilis is a common but inconspicuous fungus of lawns and gardens. The fruit has an extremely short life, sometimes lasting only a few hours before putrefaction sets in. It occurs in clusters as seen here:
Fairy's Parasols (Coprinus plicatilis)

Fairy's Parasols (Coprinus plicatilis)


Young fruits are only a few millimetres across.

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The genus Calocera contains a number of very similar ‘jelly’ fungi. This specimen was photographed on the side of a rotting log in Ganmain State Forest.

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Geastrum triplex is larger and more attractive than most of the Earth Stars found in the area. It seems to occur in colonies in very wet leaf litter.


This particular colony was found in a wet gully on the northern end of Livingstone National Park.

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This fungus has been tentatively identified as Phylloporus clelandii, one of a group of large, fleshy fungi sometimes referred to as gilled boletes (true boletes have pores rather than gills on the undersurface of the cap). This fungus is, according to Bruce Fuhrer’s field guide, generally uncommon. This particular specimen was again photographed on the northern end of Livingstone National Park.

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Macrolepiota species are very large (around 20cm, in this case) and are found in a variety of locations. The specimens seen here were part of a very large colony found in the grounds of the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens. Despite their size the young fruiting bodies grew very close together:
Macrolepiota sp.

Macrolepiota sp.


Competition for space may explain why many of the fruiting bodies had been uprooted. This particular species – found as it was in a lawn composed of exotic grasses – may not be native to Australia.

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Finally, the bird’s-nest fungus Cyathus stercoreus. This extraordinary species is usually found on herbivore dung – in this case cow. The small ‘seeds’ or ‘eggs’ are called peridioles. These contain the spores and are dispersed by raindrops. This cluster of fruiting bodies was spotted at the Kyeamba TSR (which may recieve a full profile at a later date).

I hope soon to add a post on the autumn-flowering orchids recorded in the area. The bird count remains unchanged.