Thursday, August 14, 2014

More pics

Here's more discoveries from the archives...

Fingers of ?algae growing up over a tree stump

Two jelly-like growths on rotten wood - a millipede is feeding on the left

These two mites were on the top surface

Not easy capturing these moving critters

A red mite - apparently these 'ram' Collembola and pierce their skin

Still trying to get that sharp shot!

Another kind of mite

Unknown critters

A 'family' of Collembola

Upside-down Collembola
An upside down spider with legs slowly unfurling

Horizontal cobweb - a great feat of engineering

What on earth...??

I'm accumulating lots of photos of weird and wonderful things but, despite poring over books and websites, I'm no nearer identifying them - so I'll throw them open to you in the hope that we can learn together.

This caught my eye - it was on some rotting wood and I thought that
it was eggs of some kind 

Zooming up made them less egg-like but definite structures of some kind

This long skinny thing didn't move so I'm leaning toward it being a seedhead

Unusual fungi growing on the side of a rimu log

A white grub feeding on very soggy rotten wood

A sprouted seed perhaps?

A see-through grub of some kind

Another grub with red innards

Close-up of above

A native slug?

A wormy-looking 'thing'

The 'worm' when it unravelled

Some brown fungi - but what's that on the right? See bigger pic below

It moved so I guess it's a mite of some kind

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Winter walking

Last week I walked to Bragg Bay after work to check out a pile of soil that might be suitable for filling the tyres on my planned retaining wall. It was an overcast day with showers breezing through but again I was blessed by the Weather Gods and avoided getting wet. It's about a 30 minute walk with plenty of interest along the way.

Google map - walk from work in red, walk home in blue

The 3 'B' beaches - Bathing Beach (top), Butterfield Beach (middle)
and Bragg Bay (bottom)

The heap of dirt will be fine if the guys can avoid the clump of the Aluminium plant, Lamiastrum galeobdolon, that's growing at the back. This exotic garden plant has 'escaped' and is now forming dense mats in a number of places; I really don't want it transferred to my place - read about it on the excellent T.E.R.R.A.I.N website.

The tide was going out so I went exploring...

Seaweed species growing on rocks

An old chain, now a solid chunk of rust

A red mite clambering among the seaweed - wish he'd stand still so I could
get a sharp photo!

Looking across Bragg Bay toward the main road

An interesting wee island off Bragg Bay - I'm not sure if you can get across
at the lowest tide but the Google aerial map suggests you might be able to.
Halfmoon Bay and Oban village in the background.

This delicate gill fungus was growing a metre from the road

A large rock completely covered in various coloured mosses and lichens

Close-up of the moss showing their spore capsules
T.E.R.R.A.I.N has a great explanation of mosses, complete with diagrams of their life cycle here

A puff ball - maybe a Lycoperdon??

A red fungus - it might be a decaying Weraroa erythrocephala (Scarlet Pouch)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Snow time

Rolling fronts have been the headline act this week and the unstable weather has brought gale-force winds, thunderstorms, cool temperatures and some heavy showers. Yesterday morning had a different 'feel' about it though and when I peeked outside at 6.30am I could see white glistening back. Bright stars twinkled above and a female kiwi called from next door, her hoarse call muffled somewhat by the snow.

I was expecting the steps to be slippery but the snow on them was soft, unlike this morning when they are smooth sheets of ice and too dangerous to descend.

The icing on the cake was the snow falling as I left for work - it only lasted until I was halfway down the Back Road hill but what a way to start the day!

Looking back down my driveway at 7.30am

Snowy roads at the Airport Road and Main Road corner

A snowy Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre
We may have had snow in Oban but it was pretty light compared to the mainland and the sunshine between the hail showers brought the temperature up to a balmy 12°C. The winds have brought down several small branches that I've gathered as I've walked home and the rough weather usually means more ratties in the traps.

Crown ferns with a dollop of snow in their centres

An adult male ship rat - great to have him removed from the gene pool