Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wildlife: Northern Barred Frog

We found this little brown fellow hiding in the grey water pipe during a recent pump replacement. I think it is a northern barred frog and a very junior one at that. If you think I'm wrong please let me know as I am no expert.

The Northern Barred Frog is a large frog, with adults reaching a maximum length of 10 centimetres. It has powerful legs and arms, with a large head and large eyes. It has a brown or copper dorsal surface with irregular, darker blotches along the middle of its back. A dark line runs from the snout, through the eye, and over the tympanum to the top of the shoulder. Like all frogs of the genus Mixophyes, the Northern Barred Frog has bars running across its legs. The toes are fully webbed, the fingers are unwebbed, and the tympanum is visible.
Ecology and beha[[viour

The Northern Barred Frog inhabits dense tropical rainforest (hmmmm), close to fast-flowing streams. It usually hides and hunts in leaf litter. Like Mixophyes iteratus and Mixophyes fasciolatus, this species lays its eggs on the banks of streams. Rain then washes them into the stream where the tadpoles hatch. The tadpoles are very large, reaching a length of 12.5 centimetres. The male will call with a deep "wahk' (that's wahk!) noise.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weather: Orange Day in the Lockyer

Well today is an amazing orange day here in the Lockyer with the dust storms blowing through and damaging trees, plants and the tent we had pitched in the backyard for a week's camp out. These photos were taken at 10:30am today. Amazing!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wildlife: Baby Magpie

Rescue team on the job! This lad fell from his tree and somehow made his way to our vege garden area. We picked him up before Molly had the chance to chomp Hello though mum and dad maggie weren't happy and dive bombed us as we prepared a small ice-cream box as a surrogate nest for him. We put him back up in a tree as per the wildlife rescue services recommendation and he proceeded to leap out (luckily we placed him above a nice soft hay pile). The little bugger was determined to fly I think so we left him be and helped keep a lookout for snakes and predators as he walked and flopped around the place.

The boys have been divebombed for the last 4 weeks so they were quite pleased to be able to help out the baby magpie that mum and dad maggie have been working so hard to protect.

The magpie is a very common bird around Australia and you can see them in parks and suburban gardens all year round. In August/September they nest and protect their offspring by divebombing in about 100 meter radius. Their heads, belly and tail tip are all black and they have splashes of white on their wings, lower back and tail, and the back of their head. Their legs are also black.

They certainly are not shy birds and some people coax them into becoming local residents as they enjoy their carolling song. They also have a great appetite for insect pests so are very welcome at our place.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Peas and Beans: Tasty buds

Well our pea and bean bushes / plants are flowering, much to the boys delight. No doubt they will soon produce a tasty harvest for us. Rain on the weekend has helped everything along nicely and it's good to see that nothing seems to need fertiliser as yet anyway.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wildlife: Bearded Dragon

He's a mid afternoon visitor who got caught out basking in the open yard and when faced with a licky labrador and excited children chose to sit absolutely stock still and pretend to be a stick. Didn't work but allowed some nice photos.

Here's the lowdown on our new friend. Bearded Dragon is the common name for the Pogona which is a genus of lizards containing seven species.

Bearded dragons prefer to live in the arid, rocky, semi-desert regions and arid open woodlands of Australia. They are adept climbers, spending time on branches and in bushes, even found on fence posts when living near human habitation. They also bask on rocks and exposed branches in the mornings and afternoons. The species are found throughout Australia and are well known.

The genus is placed in the subfamily Agaminae of the family Agamidae. Their characteristics include spiny scales arranged in rows and clusters. These are found on the throat, which can be expanded when threatened, and at the back of the head. The species also displays a hand-waving gesture, thought to draw an attack from any predator that may be in the area. They also have the chameleon-like ability to change colours during rivalry challenges between males, and in response to temperature change and other stimuli.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wildlife: Cabbage Moth Larvae

Our Broccoli has been going extremely well and has grown lushously. Each morning we find some little green residents however. Cabbage Moth Larvae...fat, green and juicy (the chooks go nuts for these things)

Cabbage Moth's are greyish and small and around 10mm across. They lay their eggs on the underside of leaves (mainly cabbages he says stating the bleeding obvious). The larvae of caterpillars hatch from the eggs and then feed on the leaves so it’s the caterpillar which does the damage. The green-brown smooth textured grubs start eating the outer leaves before moving to the inner heart of the cabbage. We pick them off as soon as we find them before they tunnel into the heart of the plants. Plants favoured by cabbage moth apparently include cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Chinese cabbage, celery, beetroot, rocket and watercress.

They might look cute but left unchecked they are very destructive. Additional protein for the chooks is always welcome though.