In the Ballarat district there are several small-flowered daisy plants.
Many of them are difficult to identify, with white or pale mauve flowers smaller than the size of a five cent coin.
Today's photo shows one of these, known as the coast daisy, but photographed at Mt Doran, a long way from the coast.
While the photo was taken in October a few years ago, the flowers were unexpectedly noticed at the same spot a week ago. There were several flowers open, not merely one or two that were either late or early. Perhaps the flowering season for the coast daisy is always long, or perhaps this moister year has extended the time.
The usual flowering period statewide is given as "mostly September to April".
This daisy has a scattered distribution across much of southern Victoria, and even north of the Divide.
The name coast daisy is therefore not an appropriate one. However, with so many similar small plants in Australia, giving each one a distinctive and useful name is not easy.
The coast daisy is regarded as a "variable" species, probably indicating that features such as leaves and flowering time vary across its range.
Flowers are 10 to 15mm across, mostly white, but at some places they are pale mauve. Leaves can be linear or deeply-cut (pinnatisect), and in some places they are succulent. Its habitat is variable too, ranging from coastal cliffs and salty marshy ground near the sea, to inland native grassland, and also open forests.
The Mt Doran site is open forest or woodland, and the plant's leaves are mostly narrow and linear, sometimes with a few small teeth.
As far as the Ballarat district is concerned, the coast daisy is very localised. It seems to be known only at Mt Doran and the Lal Lal Reservoir.
A little further away, it is found in the Brisbane Ranges, where a book on Brisbane Ranges wildflowers lists it as the "small daisy", and shows a photo of it with the centre of the flower more orange than those of the Mt Doran flowers.
As far as identification is concerned, the coast daisy has petals that are noticeably wider at their tips. While not a unique feature, it is different from some of the other similar local species.
Several double-banded plovers from New Zealand have been at Lake Learmonth recently. About ten were there earlier this week, displaying their two bands across their white chests.
They will soon be returning to New Zealand to breed.
Also at Lake Learmonth are red-capped plovers and red-necked avocets and one red-necked stint.
NATURE QUERIES ANSWERED
I discovered a little bat in the folds of a coat at my back door. I believe it is there for the winter, would that be correct? We plan to leave it undisturbed, assuming that is the correct thing to do.
Your bat may not necessarily remain in the same spot all winter, especially when temperatures are milder.
It is usual for a bat to have a few different roosting spots within its territory.
The bat can be left there if it is not a nuisance.
However, if you would like to use your coat, you could disturb your bat on a milder evening, then remove the coat.
The bat will most likely have a few choices for roosting elsewhere.
Perhaps a better option would be to replace the coat with a folded old dark-coloured towel, folded hessian bag, folded dark shadecloth or something similar.
- Questions and photos are welcome. Email to email@example.com, or send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353.