The following list is restricted to birds actually seen by us on our farm:
Authority: Storr, G.M. and Johnstone, R.E. (1985) A Field Guide to the Birds of Western Australia. Second Edition. Published by the Western Australian Museum.
Experience has taught us that some of the colour rendition in some of the photos in this book are far from realistic (maybe preserved specimens were used, or just poor printing?) so we have learnt to check sightings in "A Field Guide to Australian Birds" by Peter Slater, which seems to have much more accurate colours.
The following list is restricted to frogs actually found by us on our farm:
Authority: Tyler, M.J. et.al. (2000) Frogs of Western Australia . Third Edition. Published by the Western Australian Museum.
We have the newly-revised edition of this book which was first published in 1984. Some West Australian frogs can be more difficult to identify than you might think. In particular members of the Crinea genus of small frogs can be very variable, but members of different species can look very similar. In fact Tyler, et. al. suggest that C. insignifera and C. pseudinsignifera are indistiguishable in external morphology, only being told apart in the field by their calls, and that a hybrid zone exists where their ranges overlap on the lower west coast. Our identification relies on the farm being outside the range of one of the species. And yes - it is noisy here, with all that quacking, bleating, motorbike gear changing and moaning going on!
The dams and the pond attract quite a number of dragonflies and damselflies. The little handbook which we have to identify them is quite old now, but still may be the definitive reference. Our list is limited because without a microscope it is very difficult to see some of the features required to identify dragonflies. There do not appear to be any common names for these insects.
This list only includes native plants growing on our farm, and represents just a small fraction of its complete flora. Our 17 hectares (43 acres) has a very limited selection of the plants of the surrounding region, since sheep have had free access to the uncleared areas for many years, and the farm represents a small and rather uniform sample of the surrounding countryside. We have compiled a small collection of pictures of plants around the farm just to give some idea of the floral diversity in the area.
There are lots of introduced species, including pasture plants, garden plants and weeds. We have attacked the thistles and blackberry nightshade with some success, and are now working on the watsonia, a bulb which puts up flowering stems which develop bulblets below the flowers. Ironically, we are told that Watsonia is a prized garden plant in Europe and some species are endangered in their native South Africa! Furthermore, we grow cultivated gladioli in our garden! The other major weed is a species of gladiolus which propagates by numerous small bulbs which tend to break off and stay in the soil when the plants are pulled up. This is a difficult one, and at the moment it is winning. We also have small amounts of bridal creeper (invading from next door, where there is extensive growth). We are working on it (both sides of the fence).
We have difficulty accurately identifying all but the most common and well-known of our plants. We only have volumes one and four of the authoritative reference (Blackall, W.E. and Grieve, B.J. (1988) How to know Western Australian Wildflowers 2nd Edition, published by University of Western Australia Press) which covers only the southern half of the state but still needs four volumes just for the Dicotyledons, with another for the Monocotyledons and ferns. On a world scale the southwest of Western Australia has an extremely high floral diversity (around 10 000 species of flowering plants), with many bizzare specimens including an orchid which grows and flowers entirely underground (very few specimens have ever been found!).
We have more recently become interested in the local fungi. This seems to be a good area for them, and the farm has many different mushrooms, wood fungi, toadstools, puffballs and other examples of these plants.
Fungi are notoriously difficult to identify, and currently we are referring to Neale L. Bougher and Katrina Syme Fungi of Southern Australia, as well as Neale L. Bougher Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Field Book and the associated web site: www.fungiperth.org.au/. We also refer to Patricia Negus The Magical World of Fungi to aid with initial visual identification, and Fungi Down Under, the Fungimap guide. We are collecting pictures of the fungi on our farm and hope to identify more of them. Remember that any idenfication made on our web site is our best guess!
While photographing fungi I noticed a wonderful selection of lichens, and mats of mosses.
This collection of pictures of moss and lichen on our farm is just to celebrate their existence. A number of the photographs are of the same species, showing more or different detail.