Saturday, November 16, 2013

Daisies at Felton, 6 October 2013 (by Trish)

It was a pleasure to tramp around Len and Frank Mengels’ place on the last outing. Our morning walk took us to a paddock which hadn’t see the cattle for a while, so was in a very “natural” looking state.  Grasslands really need to be grazed to keep them in good condition, and the Mengels’ paddocks are a botanical delight. They’re probably also a gastronomic delight, if you happen to be a cow. 

A “rule of thumb” for a healthy Australian grassland is that it would have about half a dozen grass species and up to three dozen varieties of small herbs. I didn’t count, but we were certainly seeing something like that. It contrasted strongly with the heavily grazed grassland which we saw at Allora Mountain Conservation Reserve on our outing in August.

We found the Native Cornflower (Rhaponticum australe), Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) and Tall Oat Grass (Themeda avenacea), all plants which tend to be lost with heavy grazing and are on the decline in Australia. The cornflower is now so rare that it is listed as vulnerable, and Kangaroo Grass, once the most common grass in Australia, has disappeared over huge areas of the country.

We also saw lots of the delightful little paper daisy, the Chamomile Sunray Rhodanthe anthemoides
Neil taking photos of the Chamomile Sunray,
Rhodanthe anthemoides. Inset the Chamomile Sunray.
(Photo by Trish)
Many of us took photos. It’s an annual or sometimes biennial plant, easy to grow from seed. 

Species report; compiled by Don
Butterflies: Greenish Grass-Dart, Chequered Swallowtail, Tailed Emperor, Wanderer, Lesser Wanderer, Common Grass Blue, Grey Ringlet, Orchard Swallowtail, Common Crow, Caper White, Cabbage White, Small Grass Yellow, Dingy Grass Skipper, Meadow Argus, Painted Lady, Common Brown, Black-ringed Ochre, Glasswing. (All common names from Butterflies of Australia M. Braby).
This is an impressive list, considering that butterflies are an indicator species, and that the greater the number of butterflies in a given area the better the health of the ecology of that area. The best find of the day for me was the Black-ringed Ochre, which I had not come across before. 
Black-ringed Ochre, Trapezites petalia (photo by Don)

Moths: Agrotis infusa (Bogong Moth), Helicoverpa punctigera (Native Budworm Moth), Chrysonoma fascialis (no common name), Utetheisa lotrix (no common name).

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