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Posts Tagged ‘natural history’

On the Saturday 21st March, my girl and I took a trip to the Gold Coast – a popular coastal tourist spot in southern Queensland, to visit a former flatmate and friend of ours. After lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, we took a still on the beach at Burleigh Heads. Seaweed, algae and what looked like a type of kelp was washed up on the beach. There were a number intact specimens, where you could clearly observe the stem and roots. I love seeing nature so close to a popular surf and tourist spot. 











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Yesterday on my lunch break I took a walk past the lakes at the university I work at. It was a glorious day and the sun was rather warm. I walked across a small wooden bridge and looked down at the murky water beneath. I was thrilled to not only spot one, but two other turtles, and about three eels swimming past. The animals became more visible as they passed from the darkened waters beneath my shadow into the sunlit water. I observed one particular turtle that surfaced beneath my shadow and poked its head out of the water (with eyes clearly visible) as if looking at me – maybe the turtle thought I was going to throw some food in. I also observed two turtles swimming together. The eels as they swam past moved gracefully. They are fascinating animals I thought.

Further on my walk to the other side of the lake, I observed a Little Pied Cormorant perched on a tree branch over hanging the lake and also later one in the water (it may have been the same individual that I observed). And I was also lucky to observed and photograph what I think was an Oriental Darter (due to the bird’s long neck) perched on a submerged branch/log. I watch the bird clean its feather with its bill and then open its beak and squark. This was the first time I had heard an Oriental Darter make a sound.

And along with these animals, I observed a myriad of water birds (Moorhens, Swamphens, White Ibis and duck) on or around the lakes.

What an awesome way to spend your lunch break – observing wildlife!

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I was going to take a look at the fungi I observed on 15 April, to see if the caps had emerged from their sheaths, but I was disappointed to see that they had been mown down. Damn!!

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Yesterday while walking to work, I observed a number of mushrooms amongst grass on a lawn area near the sandstone columned central court of the university I work at. The mushrooms were of a creamy and dark brown colour . The caps had yet to emerge from the sheaths. Perhaps the cap will have emerged over night.

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Last friday morning while walking to work, I observed a flock of Little Black Cormorants flying, landing on the waters of the lake, and ducking and diving to find found. I counted approximately twenty birds. I have previously observed a flock of Little Black Cormorants on and around the lake area, and I wondered if this is the same flock.

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Over the last few weeks I have observed numerous specimens of Slime Mould on newly mulched flower beds. Most the specimens I observed were of a beige-brown colour, but some were the distinct bright yellow as described in fungal identification books and online.

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As an amateur fungi spotted I was thrilled to spot a myriad of different fungi last Friday, including a fungi I had been wishing to see for a long time – the red star shaped Aseroë rubra, a stinkhorn fungus. A picture of this species is on the back cover of A Field Guide to the Fungi of Australia by A. M. Young, which I borrowed from the university last year to help identify fungal species I has observed. I had thought, “how cool would it be if I could see a specimen of this species.” And last week, I had the opportunity to observe about four specimens in a flower bed at my work. When photographing the specimens and other fungi in the same flower bed, I noticed a strong unpleasant odour, likely to be from the fungi. I also observed flies on and around the specimen, presumably attracted by the foul smell.

Reference – Young, A. M. (2005) A Field Guide to the Fungi of Australia, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, NSW, Australia

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