Monday, 24 October 2016

Sundews and orchids

Pale Sundew Drosera peltata

 It is well into spring now in Canberra and I have been running around trying to keep up with the wildlife as the breeding and season flies on. So, I have not had time to upload many posts, there is just so much to do, see and record. As there has been so much rain, the wild flowers are all blooming well. One species that is normally quiet reluctant to flower and tends to grow on moist banks or in gullies is the Pale Sundew, and I have never seen it flower so well as this season. There are large stands of it in places and all the plants in the groups are flowering.

Insects trapped by the sticky tips  on the specialised sundew leaves - adapted to digest nutrients from the insects bodies 

The tiny petals on the flowers do not seem to last long, and flies were the main pollinators this day. Their individual flowers were insignificant to our eyes, but on-mass they were unusually spectacular, dotting the greenery on the floor of the forest.

The sundews growing on this bank shone like fireworks in the backlight

The backlight also picked out the dramatic drooping flowers of the Nodding Greenhood orchids growing nearby. This orchid is listed as rare/threatened in the Canberra area, but on this shady bank there are scores of plants. Perhaps the species would thrive better if it grew as more individuals or smaller groups. I know of a few other colonies, but not many.

Nodding Greenhood Pterostylis nutans

And while I was photographing these spectacular plants, a pair of Tawny Frogmouths were looking down on me . The male from the nest and the female from her daytime roost. Well, it was while I was checking on the progress of this pair that I found the flowers.

The male frogmouth on the nest during the daytime

Frogmouths are so difficult to find, that one has to look really carefully and pay attention to everything in the forest. Some clues to the birds' presence, such as their droppings, lie on the ground. So my eyes are up, down, all over the place, checking everything for signs. If you are looking for frogmouths, you are likely to see everything else.

The female frogmouth in her roost


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