Insect odds and ends.

The best easterly low for many years, rain pouring down and soaking in to the subsoil, it was sorely needed, the bush and wetlands will be loving it, over ninety millimetres last night and today. Not much chance of outings for a while but good weather to get the next post ready, a few oddments will fill the bill. The warm weather before the rain saw the new season’s sand wasps busy excavating breeding burrows in the sandy soil of the garden.

sand wasp

They are interesting to watch, they dig with their front legs, then lift their abdomens and flick the spoil backwards out of the way. From time to time they also scatter the build up, possibly to disguise their operations. This burrow was close to an ants’ nest and occasionally an ant would go into the burrow to check it out. The wasp wasn’t too keen on this and hovered just above until the ant vacated the premises. In the photo the rapidly beating wings are a barely visible blur despite a very fast shutter speed, 1/2000 sec.

wasp in flight

Wasps of several types are about, this flower wasp stayed put while I went inside for the camera, then allowed me several shots before flying off.

flower wasp

The Tau Emerald, is a very common dragonfly, the Australian Emerald less so around home, but one did appear recently and settled quietly for a photograph. The Tau has bronze coloured pterostigma and leading edge wing veins, the Australian has black, seen in the image. The yellow tail tip in the Australian is also smaller than in the Tau.

australian emerald

An attractive small moth settled on a window, one that I hadn’t seen before and I thought I may have something special. Alas no, it has world wide distribution and the caterpillar is a pest in stored grain. it is a Pyralid,
Pyralis farinalis.

pyralis farinalis


pyralis farinalis

A small dark object on the brick wall caught my eye and closer inspection revealed a bagworm, larva of a moth in the Psychid family, commonly known as bagworms and case moths. Their shelters come in a multitude of shapes and textures, I hadn’t seen one quite like this before.

bagworm

Click to enlarge.

….but not the feathered variety. Into the dry bush, eyes to the ground, there’s not much flowering, the lack of rain is showing its effect. The sun orchids are finished, there’s a stalk with seed heads, the pollinators have done their work well. Peacock jumping spiders have been seen in here, keep a close eye on the leaf litter for movement, all’s quiet but hello, little ducks, a group of five. They are very small, only 100 mm tall, three are closed, touch the other two to see them snap shut. Wander on slowly, there are some flying ducks and at the base of a tree two more littles, taller and easier to photograph.

paracaleana minor

No sign yet of jumping spiders, quite a few small bee flies with striped bodies, they’re too wary for me though, I need the longer lens. There’s a bulldog ant dragging something, no trouble photographing it, it obviously prefers pre-packaged food, it’s got a case moth larva.

bulldog ant

There goes a dragonfly, stand still and hope it will settle, yes, inch closer and get a couple of shots before it flits, a teneral male Blue Skimmer that would have emerged from the lake nearby.

blue skimmer

And at last, there’s some movement, a jumper, it’s not a peacock though but one of the tiny ones with a shiny thorax. It’s not inclined to pause for long, but finally a hurried shot and it’s gone into the litter and out of sight.

jumping spider

A damselfly floats in and lands on a sedge, a Common Bluetail, it’s much more cooperative, quite happy to let me get close to take its picture.

common bluetail

The peacocks have eluded me but it’s been interesting nonetheless, any trip into the bush is worth while. Time to head for home, the lake is looking good might stop to take a few landscapes, could be candidates for the Orton treatment.

glenmaggie

Just out of the bush and approaching the channel crossing, irrigation water on its way to the dairy farms, something on the road, an echidna. Pull up quickly there’s a vehicle approaching, make sure it gets off the road, I’ve seen a couple of road kills recently. Take its picture before it climbs the bank and goes off along the channel bank, it’s safe, all’s well and I’m out of here.

echidna

Click to enlarge.

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