October 24, 2020

7 months on iNat

Observing the spring in the garden has been particularly hard. So many plants have flowered so quickly, in many cases I could not recall what I had planted. However, it has been fantastic to see some positive results of some early gardening labors. Less positively I lost a lot of small cuttings to the heat of the sun, also lost some ferns I imported from Queensland, a Hawkesbury-endemic philotheca, etc. It is interesting how killing plants is sometimes very easy, sometimes very hard. I even managed to kill some trees ... I believe these may have been soil type related deaths, though cannot be certain.

A trip to the Hunter region showed me how diverse our bird life is once you step away from the coastal areas in to deeper rainforest. Apparently I made the first confirmed observation of an Australian land snail that is endemic to the area. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/62270403

Other minor wins include some audio recordings, an echidna and a swimming snake https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/62082204

Alas I must leave Australia and return to China for work now, it is unlikely I will have time to contribute in the near future. Although, should I have the chance, I would like to upload pictures of the giant snails in our area in China, and some of the mountain flora.

Posted on October 24, 2020 07:26 PM by pratyeka pratyeka | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 06, 2020

5 months on iNat

Looks like getting back to China is shelved: not only is the government not issuing visas, but we have heard rumours the consulate will be closing due to the geopolitical climate.

Upside is more time in the near future to do bushwalks!

Got a NSW NPWS membership, so cheaper access to national parks now.

Recently did another ANPS walk which was interesting, learned a bit more about Hakea identification and also Grevilleas.

Spotted a termite which came from a palm purchased during unpotting for planting in to our garden, if I'd known what it was at the time I would have squashed the blighter!

Encountered the world of commercial arborists, conclusion is they are mostly criminals. Quotes ranged from $4200-$6050 for the same work, I talked the expensive guy down to the medium price as he seemed the only one with a license and insurance and the trees in question overhang the neighbour's roof. Don't want to be paying urgent roof repair damages.

My most interesting observation recently was this bright red coral-looking fellow which experts couldn't agree on precisely but is either Petrophile pulchella or Isopogon anethifolius. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/55006845 Feels great to stump the experts in any domain!

Began to plan a bushwalk in the Hunter region, circa Barrington Tops. Bit cold yet but seems promising.

Got some decent walking shoes, finally. Most of my stuff is still in China, and half of what I brought was lost when my bag burst open at the airport on the way over at Christmas. What a year eh.

Heard about a couple of great wildflower areas, one is https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/muogamarra-nature-reserve which is closed except 6 weekends per year (and totally closed this year) and one is a secret track said to be on par with the former.

Looking forward to a local bushcare event (first post-COVID!) and an exploration of the secret track.

Managed to join the ANPS Isopogon / Petrophile and Fern study groups, a black art in either case. The former received me in to their junk mail and the latter were contemplating shutting down. It seems the market for eccentric interests is ever-reducing and the millenial expresses their not-so-disparate entertainment wonts through TikTok in lieu of associations. For shame!

Posted on August 06, 2020 03:04 AM by pratyeka pratyeka | 2 comments | Leave a comment

June 19, 2020

3.5 months on iNat

So far I've had a great time reacquainting myself with Australian and introduced flora and fauna.

Unexpected discoveries have been many and varied.

Firstly it was mushroom season, which was a frequent period of interest while living in Yunnan. It was quite fascinating to see the diversity of species in Sydney, so much so that I got so tired of squatting and standing up so many times during walks that I got lazy to photograph some of the new ones! My family have all become avid mushroom hunters (my wife was already talented) so it's great when we can get an ID, as hard as this may be sometimes.

Secondly I was very impressed to see the community of aquatic iNaturalists around Sydney. I am sure there is some serious investment involved in diving or even snorkelling some of these areas as well as the general confidence and fitness required plus situational awareness re. boats, etc. Great stuff from all those people is consistently surprising.

Had a quick dalliance in to ferns due to spotting some interesting ones bushwalking. This lead to some interesting private messages with a local iNat user, an appreciation for how difficult they can be to germinate from spores after some emails to local fern experts and nurseries and the acquisition of the local reference work.

A cockroach I have never seen was ID'd in a relatively central part of Sydney as hailing from Suriname by an entomologist with a world cockroach collection. Awesome!

There are so many amazing people with specific interests on iNat. A Crimean entomologist ID'd a lacewing for me after 6 months of no motion.

All great stuff. I am learning a lot and this has been an invaluable resource in broadening our family's gardening horizons as new gardeners.

Can't wait to get back to China in six months and ID some of the species in local forest.

Gotta love nature!

Go iNat!

Posted on June 19, 2020 12:15 AM by pratyeka pratyeka | 0 comments | Leave a comment