February Nature Study

We did our monthly reading from Amy Mack\’s Bush Calendar

And we read about Insects, Invertebrate Animals Other Than Insects and Spiders from sections of Anna Comstock\’s Handbook of Nature Study and also from William Gillies\’ Australian Nature Study books.

An Early Morning Encounter Between a Rock Wallaby and our Cat

I think this is an \’air plant,\’ Tillandsia, also known as Spanish Moss and Old Man\’s Beard. Part of the bromeliad family, they absorb all their moisture and nutrients through their leaves, thus the idea that they live on air. This was growing in bushland near our place but it\’s originally a native of the Americas.

This tree has been in our garden for many years. I knew it was some kind of tropical native but I only just found out its name: Buckinghamia celsissima, commonly known as the ivory curl, and is part of the plant family Proteaceae. It\’s an Australian native originally from North East Queensland.

The Flowers appear in Summer and last until Autumn
The Tree

We had a garden party for our daughter\’s 21st birthday and I went out the day before and bought some petunias and pansies to brighten up parts of the garden. We spent an afternoon planting and cleaning up and the next day, the day of the party, I went outside to find all the flowers had been eaten from the pansies, except two pots at the front door. The culprit was the rock wallaby above.

In the space of about two weeks we found two funnel web spiders – outside, thankfully, but still too close for comfort. This one below was already dead when we found him but the other one was speedily dispatched with the aid of a stiff yard broom. Our local hospital accepts donations of live spiders for obtaining anti-venom but I\’m not at that stage yet – I freak out at the thought of them sitting beside me in the car as I drive them to their destination. We live in a hot spot for these spiders but since the introduction of an anti-venom in 1981 there have been no deaths recorded from their bites. We hadn\’t seen any for quite a few years and I wonder if our chooks (now deceased) kept them away.

Sydney Funnel Web Spider (Atrax robustus)
Atrax robustus
Atrax robustus
\”Nature study is learning those things in Nature that are best worth knowing, to the end of doing those things that make life most worth living.\”
(Form the Introduction to Nature Studies in Australia by William Gillies and Robert Hall)

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