Here are some observations that require a bit of detective work. Can anyone help?
Minor Mystery 1: I first saw this unusual fungus in early June, fully formed; about 100 mm across. I waited for it to change, for something else to happen, but nothing did. It eventually just dried out, at which time (late July) I lifted it from the soil for closer examination. I haven’t found anything similar in the books I have and no-one has been able to shed any light as to its identity, though I can’t see how such a large fungus couldn’t be well-known.
Minor Mystery 2: No prizes for knowing what this is, but how did it get here? Just the head, undamaged, quite fresh. No carcass, blood, entrails anywhere nearby. The size of and markings on the head suggests it was a youngish Black Wallaby, or Swamp Wallaby. How did the neatly severed head come to be where it was? Was the animal killed somewhere distant and the head carried here? And what could have killed it anyway. We don’t have wild dogs here, and Foxes are no threat to a healthy wallaby. Perhaps an eagle flying overhead was mobbed by Magpies and dropped its dinner.
Minor Mystery 3: This pile of shredded bark, at the base of a young Narrow-leaf Peppermint (E. radiata), suggests activity above. Part of the trunk, 2 to 4 m above ground, has been thoroughly rubbed clean of all its loose bark. But by what and why? Bark on the trunk above and below is in tact. A partially built tree-house stands next to this and several other Peppermints, but isn’t obviously implicated and none of the other trees have been touched. Curious!
Minor Mystery 4: The rocky outcrops of the Strathbogie Ranges are home to many creatures, some very shy and only rarely seen. These are the best shots I could get of an animal that I caught scurrying out of sight, out of the corner of my eye, under a big sheet of granite. It was on a cool, though occasionally sunny day this week. Have a close look and see what you can make of it.
Minor Mystery 5: This comes from Pete, down the road. “These hoof-prints appeared overnight, a bit over a week ago, in the area just in front of the shed, up behind the house. Our steers don’t get up in that area (besides the prints are far too small and rounded for cattle), and we don’t have any other hard hoofed animals. The animal could have wandered in off the road through our open gateway and made its way 100 metres or so down our track to the house/shed area, or else it would have had to jump, or go through, standard 7-wire fences to get to this area. I could find no dung, nor did I notice any damaged shrubs.” The print looks a bit like a horseshoe, but there are no horses nearby and no dung was found. Any clues?