I’ve been reading Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake and it inspired me to go out looking for mushrooms. It’s good timing as we’re in autumn and have recently had a lot of rain, great mushroom conditions!
During a short explore in the bush close to home I came across these large striking purple mushrooms. There were 3 of them, 2 quite large with caps approximately 10cm across, a 3rd was smaller and growing under the shelter of one of the larger ones. The caps were wet and slimy and deep purple in colour. They were growing in the ground pushing up through the covering of leaves and sheoak needles. Next to them was a small hole that looked like it had been dug by a foraging animal.
Some Google image searching pointed to it being a common Australian native, Cortinarius archeri. Cortinarius archeri has been found along the east coast from southern Queensland all the way through to southern Victoria. It’s also been found throughout Tasmania, South Australia surrounding Adelaide and in Western Australia from Perth down the south West coast to Albany. Peak season is April to July.
I sometimes upload sightings like this to the Atlas of Living Australia. I’ve not done it for a while, when I went to post there was a message saying they are transitioning to use iNaturalist to upload observations. OK. I signed up and posted, it made a suggestion that the photos were of Cortinarius archeri, quite impressive. Then within a few hours 2 community members had also suggested it was Cortinarius archeri. Nice.
Hoping to find and post some more fungi over the next few months!
[update] – I returned the next day and one of the large mushrooms had been knocked over, the day after that they were all gone! The base of the stalks were broken off at ground level. Looks like something had eaten them or taken them away
Finally spotted one! I’ve been looking for a Blue Banded Bee since learning they are the likely creature behind the numerous holes and burrows found in sandstone in the area. These photos were taken over two days, the first day there was just one bee, the 2nd day there was a pair. They don’t stay still for long, it was hard to get focus and take the shot in time. I would have liked to get some better photos but this is all I could manage. I’m extra impressed now with the bright and clear photo’s others have taken that can be found in the links.
There are a number of species of Blue Banded bee found around the world. I’m pretty sure this one is Amegilla cingulata or the Common Blue Banded Bee which is a native of Australia. It’s found all over the country except Tasmania and the Northern Territory. They are solitary bees that build their nests in mud and soft sandstone, they’re also known to burrow into the mortar of old buildings.
The Common Blue Banded Bee is 8mm – 13mm long with a furry red brown thorax and blue and black stripes on it’s abdomen. Males have 5 stripes, females 4. The have a long tongue protected by a brown sheath that looks like a spike. They use this to pierce flower petals then feed on the sweet nectar. They live around 40 days, baby bees remain in their eggs over winter but several generations can hatch over the warmer months.
A very well named plant! Kangaroo paw is actually the common name for a number of different species that are all endemic to south west south Australia. This particular one is Anigozanthos flavidus, commonly known as the tall, yellow, or evergreen, kangaroo paw.
“A small spreading tree usually 4-10m high with handsome foliage and distinctive pale bare sheeny bark”NPOS p. 371
The water gum is a common tree found on the east coat of Australia from the Brisbane River in Queensland through NSW down to Gippsland region of Victoria. It flowers in summer with groups of small yellow flowers with 5 rounded petals.
The water gum is also a common street plant in Sydney and indeed we have one growing out on our nature strip! I confirmed on old Google street view images that it was there 11 years ago when we moved in. It’s a very slow grower and today it’s not much taller than it was back then. The photos are from one of several in the front yard, I didn’t pay attention when we moved in but I think they’ve been there all along as well. The ones in the garden look like they’re self seeded along with most of our garden plants. The yellow flowers are said to have a strong distinctive smell but when I took a whiff up close there was only the slight hint of a pleasant lemony floral aroma.