What’s around – mid February 2013

pink-tipped white flower cluster with yellow buds beneath open flowers
Flower of Cape York Lily or Native Turmeric, Curcuma australasica

For the last few months I’ve been saying in these seasonal change updates that nothing much has happened because we’re waiting for the Wet to arrive. In spite of Oswald, that’s still basically true, because Townsville got far less rain out of the ex-cyclone than the coast from Bowen to Northern NSW, and hasn’t had much since; we had a bit under 250mm in three days, three weeks ago, and have had less than 10mm since then. Humidity has stayed high, however, and the showers are only a few days apart, so life is stirring. The lawn is growing, the mango tree has put out a new suit of leaves and the Cape York Lily has flowered.

Butterflies: Migrants and Pale Triangles seem to be the most frequent visitors, with Blue-banded Eggfly and Crows also around occasionally. Of the residents, the little Zebra Blues have been with us all along but our normally-reliable Chocolate Soldier, Junonia hedonia, has been missing for over a month and our Eurema for even longer.

Wasps and bees: Mud-daubers (Delta, Sceliphron and a small black one) and resin bees have been active.

Spiders: Quite a lot of jumping spiders (an unusual one is here) and other small prowling hunters (e.g. Lynx) and a few orb-weavers – Gasteracantha, Leucauge, a Golden Orb-weaver male, and so on. The last of these had me quite confused for a while – he was a juvenile, a teenager in human terms, and he was bigger than the adult males of his species and patterned very much differently from them.

Flies and mosquitoes: The rain brings mozzies but there hasn’t been enough of it to make them unendurable. Flies of any family haven’t been particularly numerous and hover-flies have been almost totally absent.

Others: Grasshopper nymphs, green lacewings, shield bugs, the occasional mantis, elephant beetle and cicada … not much, really.

The latest long-term weather forecast was that the monsoon trough will be here mid-February but it is obviously running a little late.

This time last month / last year.

5 thoughts on “What’s around – mid February 2013”

  1. The wet has pretty much been a no-show so far hasn’t it? I’ve seen lots of Migrants out here in the foothills, but would love to see the Blue-banded Eggfly. Grasshopper nymphs are everywhere here as well. Love the Cape York Lily.

    1. Hi, Bernie,
      The butterflies in any particular location are a result of the weather and the plants, as I’m sure you know. For instance, I went down to Cape Pallarenda and the Town Common last week and saw lots of Chequered Swallowtails, Marsh Tigers and Plain Tigers (aka Lesser Wanderers), none of which normally appear in my garden at any time of year.
      If you want to grow a Cape York Lily yourself, get in touch when this season’s growth has died back and you can come around and have some – my two clumps are getting too big.

      1. Thanks for the offer, Malcolm, I really appreciate it. I would definitely love to come and get a little clump of the Cape York Lily later on. I had a look at your Flickr photo, and it seems your Cape York is absolutely thriving in your garden.

        Yes I’m aware that the combination of weather and host plants create the perfect environment for particular butterflies, and I only wish I knew more about it all. It’s something I really need to look into.

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