Nature's Place

Not Another Frog …

First shot available and taken, including dark ordure. Sometimes life just ain’t pretty, or easy.

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It quickly became apparent this horse fly was for posing, even positioning, gently.

Angles available without too much movement to disturb. A much settled fly.

There happened to be the red nasturtium for background. Nice contrast …

Can’t see what I’ve got til I get it back to the computer. They don’t usually stay for seconds.

In for the detail of the business end of things, what bites, draws blood.

With the warming weather comes a burgeoning of forms from the nearby woods to the long garden.

One in recent days is the horse fly. Usually too busy a fly for me to get any shots of at all.

Then, during one of my frequent visits to the garden, I saw this female at rest.

And went to work … what we do.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Frogged Again …

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Could be the Graceful Tree Frog. It’s 5 or 6 times the size of the other frogs I’ve been posting pix of, the Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog.

Have you noticed the little grey-blue on and around the frog? Springtails love living on the wet wood under the pot plants.

Click on this one and click again and you will see a small army of hitchhikers on the head. Tiny grey-blue springtails. They could be a working part of this one’s ecosystem.

She knew I was watching, and on one jump tried to hide behind a piece of wood. Not very hard though. I think she was curious too, hadn’t seen the likes of me before.

A new frog arrived at a part of my garden the other night, the pot plants around the water tank. S/he came with the rain, what else. They need the water to get around on, the wet aids their travel. Water joins everything up, for the small and large alike. Then it’s high ground and shelter that matters, even to frogs.

There was something about this one though. I saw it at the edge of the tank garden where it would have entered from the long wide lawn and it sat stock still as I watched for a moment. As soon as I looked away it jumped, and it’s jumping and landing was a pleasure to watch, though barely seen. Masterful frog.

It did this a few times while I took what shots I could get. And then, one last time, I looked away and it disappeared into the green, as if on cue.

They know when we’re watching them, and they know we’re not a threat, but they are private creatures all the same, instinctively.

Everything comes and goes in the garden. Best to take it as it comes and hold to nothing, let it go.

That way we’re ready when something else comes, and will come the sooner for it.

And let it go …

That’s life …

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.




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The thought had crossed my mind. To assume authority and arrange the tenants of the garden to suit my designs – we’re all tenants here after all. But I really don’t like to interfere, so much.

With the frogs scattering throughout the (admittedly) small but wildly welcoming garden, and the amaryllis such a short flowering plant or bulb, why not catch a frog and pose it on a big red flower before they’re (both) gone?

Why not? Well, it begs the question, where does that kind of interference stop. I don’t mind moving some back or foreground element, or even move an entire scene if possible, if it’s also possible to return it to original position.

But hunting down a frog to manhandle it into a place and position it probably wouldn’t settle in and would probably require repeated resettling, in a tight small garden it’s hard to navigate without breaking things. Too much ado all round for my liking.

Then early last night I popped out to have a look, as I often do, and there she (or he) was, a lovely green tree frog sitting on the big dark red amaryllis.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Frog Platoon

Sitting in the flowers under an open sky during the day, surrounded by trees with birds coming and going all day long. Brave frog.

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During the night, a daytime frog is a very rare thing here. They climb around the place, usually after sitting still for long periods.

Each individual a unique character, discernible in the the way s/he presents. Posture, colouring, attitude, the complete and distinctive form.

Orange crucifix orchid beetle, loves to eat enough of the flowers to get her young going. Then leaves them to finish off, as far as I can tell.

The second such encounter with mating huntsman spiders – see a recent post, in the dead of night on the crucifix orchid. Same orientation, she’s above and he’s below ready to drop out of harms way, depositing his contribution to the species.

Surrounded in orange, or yellow, and loving it. It’s common to see insects with a piece missing, in this case a clawed foot. Tough world out there.

A searching posture, ready to jump perhaps. Who knows what they see, maybe the same as you and me – food and things. Except we have different diets I’m sure.

MC for the frog’s ball. Conducting the ceremonies with a zen like ease. Maybe … Or just sitting there, being a frog. Content in the absence of mental ‘issues’. No hangups from the past, or worries about the future. This is a here and now frog.

And the singer gets her chance to shine, or is it he … Soon after my seven frogs started to sing they all but disappeared. But they’ll be back …

Frog food? Maybe. But for now, and most of the time I see them, they are thoroughly enjoying the mold and fungus on the old lemon staked in the garden to attract the tiny weevils. Life is good …

One of the recent appearances, a harmless red wasp sleeping on the broad nasturtium leaves at night. One of the first of the many characters that have begun to make up the burgeoning population of the garden.

With the recent warming of the weather the frogs have dispersed into the long garden – a recently developed habitat, kept moist and naturally full of insect life.

They can still be found but not so easily as when they were all on the crucifix orchids, which the orange beetles larva are making a meal of the orange flowers.

Well, such is life, everything has its season and the season for frogs now may just be to get out into the wider world and find a mate, or a friend – do frogs have friends?

The season for the crucifix beetle has arrived. Their favourite being the orange, but they’ll get around to the pink when they’ve finished that. At some point I’ll just let ’em rip.

Until then it’s a case of managing the garden’s resources for desirable outcomes, and everything is mutable.

Every thing is mutable.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Frog Hunter …

Doing what I can to make the frogs at home enough to stay around I have considered what food they need, but in the months I’ve observed them I haven’t seen one eat anything at all.

Since the crucifix orchid is also a favourite of snails, there are many of them at any time, I thought they might be on a frog’s menu.

But not this time … Can’t assume anything, one plus one doesn’t necessarily equal two.

© Mark BerkeryClick on the picture for a closer lookand click again.



Frogs Frogs Frogs …

What else … :-)

Red nasturtium flower for background to this zen frog. They do meditate in their way, instinctively.

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Living on the edge, of a leaf of the crucifix orchid. These dwarf eastern tree frogs all look alike to the (my) naked eye.

They all have similarities but they are also unique individuals when seen up close. A bit like people that way, without the unhappiness.

Because there’s no unhappiness in my little bit of nature. I work at it, keeping what doesn’t contribute to well-being out. … This mantis makes its own contribution. … And you’re right, it’s not a frog. :-)

Mmmm, what’s that down there? Something to eat perhaps? Or is it just my hand reflecting light back up that caught frogs eye. Hmmm …

Steady as she goes. Do frogs slip on shiny leaves in the rain? I don’t think so, I’ve seen them jump 9 inches or so in the wet and dark and land nicely and hold on quite easily.

Focused and intelligent creatures, naturally. This one in between the leaves, sheltered in a way. They are never cowering but do hunker down when disturbed, for better traction if it comes to jumping.

The rain keeps falling, the sun keeps shining, the frogs keep singing, and the garden’s shooting along the other side of winter to the lengthening days.

When nature, in its many facets, is acknowledged enough – and a few other things – human nature loses its bite.

So all’s good in this little bit of nature on other’s land.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Frogs and Others …

The eastern dwarf tree frog, resident in amongst the growth of the crucifix orchid. They come out most nights, unless it’s too cold – around 7C.

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It’s a job sometimes, getting a clean background with so much foliage about. But they are getting used to me manipulating their platform/s for the shot.

Plenty of snails about too, and I encourage them with plenty of rotting leaf litter kept moist. They are often seen climbing about the orchid too, where frogs wait.

They have their ways, and their character. Calm and silent, alert and reserved. Lovely gentle creatures, to me. Even entertaining, one could say. Could, do … :-)

Holding on in the rain. I’ve built a frog hotel for them now too. Will picture it another time, too late here. Don’t know yet if they are using it, but they will, or something like it.

And from another time, sighted on the plant pot under the greenery. He or she, who knows or cares, except another huntsman. Magnificent creatures either way.

Once more about the crucifix orchid. Seen often enough to suspect a huntsman spider home being made hereabouts. And unusually bold, unfazed by a near miss of the diffuser.

And then, after all the recent spider activity – see previous frog posts – we can see who is the male and female. She came along and presented herself, hanging upside down. He approached gingerly from beneath, loosely enwrapped her and gently delivered his seed to her opening with his pedipalps.

Did someone mention frogs? It’s more or less all there is right now, where I am, in the heart of Brisbane’s winter. The sun shines too.

I suspect they came in on the flood water earlier this year, from the upper fields. I’m looking to make them at home, so they stay.

As they have taken to the crucifix orchid I have given their spawn/tadpoles somewhere to swim, a pond, an upturned bin lid.

They pray simple, like a gentle light in the darkness. Sitting still, silent and solitary amongst the orchids greenery.

Silent to their neighbours near and far. Especially to a stalking huntsman, who ignores a nudge of the stick.

Bold spider she is, unafraid, who will have to sustain her own young too. Then came the male.

So tread carefully little ones, don’t want to lose you now.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Frog Hunt …

Hmmm, what’s this I see. Rather deadly to me. Better keep still a while or I might no longer be.

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A huntsman spider, probably female, hanging motionless – swaying, apparently lifeless – above something dark beneath.

Ooh, that looks dangerous. I’ll just tuck in here a while. Hope my mates have the good sense to stay out of this one’s way.

Something tethered beneath, a last breath, a final struggle against the bonds of inevitability.

I see said the frog, who could probably see very well indeed. Well enough to know not to go that way, this time.

Yes, cockroach, caught out by her need to constantly move. Which at other times would serve her well, but the huntsman hunts by that very need – of others to move, across her carefully laid trip threads. She feels them …

The frog hunts differently, by sitting still enough to see in the dark with their big eyes anything that moves. Each hunter has its ways. The frog’s way is probably less dramatic but equally poised.

The ‘coup de grace’. Until this the spider was hanging there apparently lifeless, swaying in the breeze, maybe exhausted from the cold with little to eat, gathering her energy to extract the life from her prey.

And nobody noticed this snail, going about its grazing in the dead of night. No hunter this one.

Hunter or hunted, there is more to the story unfolding on the crucifix orchid in the dead of Brisbane’s winter.

It gets too cold for the frogs to come out some nights, but I check the crucifix orchids regularly anyway – gotta do what we enjoy.

On some nights I had been seeing other creatures, snails and recently one black cockroach. And occasionally signs of Huntsman spiders, cast off skin for instance, and this night found one feeding.

Looks like a cockroach, The cockroach perhaps. Unlucky creature, or unprepared – the huntsman senses its prey by its movement, and frogs don’t move like the cockroach.

I’ll be back … said the spider to the frog.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Into Winter’s Cold

Master of all he surveys, below.

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Food foraging … As above, so …

Meetings along the byways on the orange crucifix orchid.

The observed observing … alert to sound and movement.

A place for everyone on these mighty orchids.

They do a lot of sitting and waiting, these frogs.

These beetles do a lot of eating, on the pink crucifix orchid.

At the ready, ready to jump for dinner.

Dinner … who knows. She lost a claw, and gained a headdress.

Green tree frogs are making themselves at home, amongst the crucifix orchids where beetles and their larva roam. Along with some others.

Plenty for all to eat it seems, to keep them coming back, for now. But everything’s always changing, never the same for long.

We have just passed into winter in the southern hemisphere, from humid drenching rain to cold dry windy days.

The sun seems suddenly to have fallen in the sky so not much shine for those that need it.

Everything adjusts, or dies, we do. Nature is a reflection that way, and any way really.

Except there’s no problem in nature, none.

Just changes passing, passing now.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.