There are no outings or meetings in December & January, although members will get together for some social events. Watch out for the February meeting/outing details.space
Although the heat has the natters diving for shade, there is plenty of wildlife that love it. A Blue-tongued Lizard, Tiliqua scincoides, wandered through my garden last week. I live close to bushland but it is a rare visitor. My resident lizard species being the Bearded Dragon, Pargona barbata.sp
|Blue-tongued Lizard, Tiliqua scincoides|
It didn't hang around, sliding into some mulch to hide from me rather than show it's amazing blue tongue. I haven't seen it again.sp
The largest member of the skink family, the Blue-tongue used to be despised by people and often killed on sight. Now we are more tolerant towards our native fauna, thank goodness. They are a harmless creature mainly living on native fruits, beetles and snails. They also feed on flowers and soft herbage, but their "enlarged rear teeth .... help crush hard, resistant foods"(Australian Lizards A Natural History, Steve K Wilson, 2012). They are a long-lived species and are found in every state except Tasmania. The distribution is from north-east Western Australia curving around the east coast in a wide band through to central South Australia.
This year I've seen far more Australian Painted Lady butterflies, Vanessa kershawi, around the Darling Downs than for many, many years. They have been flying around my garden since August.
|Australian Painted Lady, Vanessa kershawi|
In the 1800s there used to be mass migrations of Australian Painted Ladies. So large in fact "as to darken the sky". Wouldn't it be lovely to see that again?sp
The males often rest on the ground with their wings open. Although I'm not sure how people know they are males as the sexes are so similar. Vanessa kershawi belongs to the family Nymphalidae. The species of this family have only four proper legs. The first pair are shorter and no use for walking. They are folded up on the thorax.sp
The adults suck nectar from flowers, and the host plants for caterpillars include Paper Daisy or Everlasting Daisy Ammobium alatum, Strawflower Xerochrysum bracteatum, Billy Buttons Calocephalus platycephalus, Carduus species, Yellow Buttons Chrysocephalum apiculatum, Rice Flower Chrysocephalum semipapposum, Cudweed Gamochaeta pensylvanica and other Gnaphalium species, Helichrysum species, Scotch Thistle Onopordum acanthium, Western Sunray Rhodanthe chlorocephalum, and even found on Lavender Lavendula officialis. As some of these we consider weeds, if possible, you could consider a little wild patch in a corner of your garden.
Nature doesn't take a break for the heat, and summer is a lovely time to take advantage of the cooler mornings and evenings. Go for a leisurely walk in the morning or pack up a picnic or BBQ in the afternoon and spend some time in your favourite park. Have fun.