Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oddities in Nature

I've been having a great time taking photographs of late, as we seem to have been doing nothing else but riding around the paddocks watching water rise, fall, and now rise again.  I thought some readers might like to see some of the odd things that are happening here, which I feel are a direct result of our most unusual summer rainfall.  Of course, I know for me, seeing kangaroos is not anything out of the ordinary, and quite honestly I'm not their number one fan.  But to see them sit up and look at you [almost pose in fact], in a field of lovely green grass is something I don't see all that often, so thought it worth sharing.

As you know, I'm totally obsessed with our pair of Tawny Frogmouths that come back to our houseyard to breed each season.  They hatched a pair of young chicks in late October, set about teaching them how to survive, and we thought that was that.  We then began to receive some more rain [you think!!], which appears to have triggered a second hatching for the season.  This photograph was taken yesterday, but it's not an overly good one I might add.  You can make out one tiny fluff-ball and one ever watchful parent.  We assume there is another little one, and will keep a watchful eye in the coming days.  The parents have had to endure some driving rain as they've struggled to hatch this lot.

These photographs were taken just as the flood waters were rising the first time.    When I saw this I was intrigued.  I can only assume this was an escape mechanism by the spider population.  It appears as though the top of the grass supported a mat of web.  I've taken a closeup shot so you can see it a little more clearly.  All of this webbing appeared around the perimeter of the rising water.  In 'real life' it looked like tulle had been thrown across the grass!!

The bird life has been prolific of course in and around the water line, we've even seen pelicans!! I've noticed the plovers have been in a sort of daze, appearing to not understand what was/is happening.  I did think that perhaps they were in nesting mode and at a loss to find a suitable 'venue'.  Well, I now think I must have been correct.  This morning my husband came back to get me, and show me that the plovers have indeed laid, and in a most inappropriate place, the gravel road where we drive.  They've gathered a few small sticks and simply laid the egg right on the gravel!!!!!

Warning - not a pretty sight

I know this isn't the prettiest of images, but I did want to include it in my post.  I snapped these caterpillars in a feeding frenzy [yes they were all moving at the time].  I could not believe my eyes when I passed one of the smaller trees the other day.  They had all but stripped the tree bare.  Thankfully, this morning I saw new shoots on it, and the larger ones look to have thickened up slightly, so hopefully, all's well with them.  I'm sorry if these photographs aren't to everyone's liking, but I did find them an interesting additon to the post.  I've included another image to show how these creatures fold themselves into the leaves, and eat their way out.

I am always amazed at what the natural world has to offer.  It's been a long time since we've had a summer like this, so I thought I'd share my findings with those who read my blog.   We've also seen a few snakes, but nothing to be alarmed about.  I daresay it would be rather confronting to encounter one inside your house as you try to clean up the mess left from the flood waters.


DIAN said...

Wow, Linda, these pics are fabulous. The kangaroos looks quite unafraid don't they. Those owls must have known there would be plenty around to eat - isn't it funny how the animals know what is happening. Having a second clutch of chicks is so special.

As for the caterpillars and the spider webs - what fantistic photos. The web on the top of the grass would be great for a stitching project. The picture I mean not the web itself.

Thanks for showing the positive side of this natural event.

CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Good Day Linda, Yes it is beautiful to see Australia green after so many years of drought. The spider photo is amazing. Never seen anything like it. Love the wee bird nesting. Thank goodness they know how to survive the worst of conditions. And the Nest in the road with the pretty big egg is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing all your lovely photos. I enjoy them all. Hugs Judy

Jensters said...

Oh my Linda such amazing photos....i do feel for these poor animals as they must be wondering what the hell is happening!! and what a strage place to lay and egg. xx

Juliettecherry said...

These photos are very interesting, unlike anything we might see here. I wonder how spiders minds work to do that?

fabriquefantastique said...

As I said before I like a blog with a sense of time and place....I'm certainly getting that today.

Radka said...

I love the webbing left by spiders. Just amazing!

Robin Mac said...

That seems to be about par for the ocurse for plovers! Are you managing to drive around the nest? The frogmouth is gorgeeos. Have you seen a second chick yet? I am only catching up with a few blogs tonight, seem to have been flat out for days. cheers.

Iceni UK said...

Just catching up too. Your pictures are amazing, I love the Frogmouth Owl picture, I hope both chicks survive.
Looking at the caterpillar picture enlarged, it looks like a skeleton. Quite amazing and to think the tree will recover and be ready for the next caterpillar invasion. :)