Monday, May 5, 2014

Autumn in the New Home Bug Garden

Striated Pardalote and blue skies
It is autumn in the Mary River Valley in SE Queensland, a time of cold nights and clear, blue days. Daytime highs are rather similar to Edmonton in the summer, 20-25 C are common, but nights chill down to the single digits. Last night it was 5 C and I wished I had packed a warm jumper. Everything is green and lush from the rains, too long delayed but copious when they began to fall, and the tanks are full to overflowing.
Don's Pond full after the summer rains
Dollar Birds, Forest Kingfishers, Channel-billed Cuckoos and a few other birds have moved away for the winter, but others have moved down from the mountains to winter in the garden. Some butterflies migrate through too. In March and April the Blue Tigers were purposely winging their ways north.
Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata (WS Macleay, 1826)
More recently an Australian Painted Lady appeared looking brand new and happy. A migrant from down south or the last of the summer's generation?
Australian Painted Lady Vanessa kershawi (McCoy, 1868)
From all the birds and the bees busily going about their business you'd hardly know that winter was coming, but winter here tends to be kind.
Native bee (Lipotriches sp.)
Winter is a good time for gardens too, but I hope not as good for the garden pests as the summer was. My fond hopes of a bumper crop of tomatillos fell afoul of the 3-lined Potato Beetle (Lema cf trivittata Say 1824), a thoroughly obnoxious pest.
A couple of 3-lined Potato Beetles plotting the destruction of the garden.