Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nature Notes ~ Locust Plague and Sudden Autumn Colour

Autumn has settled in, temperatures have plummeted, rose
hips are gleaming here and there on the verges of paddocks.
The birds are enjoying hawthorn berries. It all sounds
so tranquil,

the resident huntsman in the living room enjoys the warmth
of the wireless internet router,

but not all has been an unmitigated pleasure. At the end of
summer there was a major locust plague. The swarms were
aerially sprayed yet not eradicated. We did not have enough
to demolish our pastures but certainly more than I bargained
for. The first wave stripped all the leaves off our broad beans
and damaged a number of other plants. Thankfully, they left
the citrus trees intact.

Unfortunately they came again while we were away and stripped
all the leaves from all my grapevines that provide shade for the
front and back of the house and were full of ripening fruit.
With the loss of the leaves, the green fruit also fell robbing
both us and our visiting birds of a delicious food source.

Then there were the crickets in unmentionable numbers,
invading the house and taking their toll on the vegetation.
On top of that, the grasshoppers were also out in force.

On a lighter note, I found this beautiful Dragon fruit at our
farmers' market.

The first mouthful was very sweet but the flavour became rather
nondescript after a few spoonfuls. It is the fruit of a cactus and I
got a piece to strike as well. In a couple of years I may have a few
fruit to brighten up my fruit basket. Even if the taste is nothing
spectacular, it is high in vitamin C.

My pomegranates have turned colour and the fruit glows
like a ruby in it's golden setting.

The pin-oaks are providing extra colour in the park.
I will have to go out and capture the wonders of the changing
colours for you to enjoy with me as soon as we get a sunny day.

Enlarge if you wish, the pomegranate is worth it.

Thanks to Michelle at Rambling Woods we can air our observations in this meme.


  1. Hi Arija, when I see your garden, I'm reminded of mine back home in South African. There we're also entering winter and the leaves of the pomegranates and pin-oaks are also turning. I'm pleased the pests have finally left you. Have a wonderful week. Greetings from Jo

  2. Great post, Arija! Sounds like you suffered a biblical plague during your summer! Nothing close to that ever happens here in New England. We are heading into spring, you into autumn. Enjoyed your writing and photos.

  3. Sorry to hear about this devastation by insects. That is the largest cactus fruit I've ever seen.

  4. Oh, so sorry to hear of the locusts and other munching insects! Nature can be overwhelming in its hunger! The pin oaks look lovely! Looking forward to more of your fall photos since we are almost into early summer here!

  5. The wireless router could get so hot, nice place to keep that spider warm.

    We are entering summer but our weather has been crazy this spring.

    Love Autumn, its colors are fascinating!

  6. It does indeed sound like a Biblical plague!! I have to admit that is one thing I wouldn't like about living in Australia! Love your photos as always and that cactus fruit is amazing! Rest well, my friend, and have a great day tomorrow!


  7. Sorry about your plague. Hopefully the winter will take care of the little critters. It is funny that you are just starting fall and I am just ending winter.

  8. It's amazing how the locust could devour and entire crop in one fell swoop! they are so destructive. In some regions in the Philippines they eat fried grasshoppers.

    Your header is one breathtaking view. I really enjoyed the pelicans!!!

    Welcome back. I love you. I foind out I am going home today.


  9. Beautiful photos Arija and of things which are so foreign to us over here - apart from the rose hips which the fieldfares ate last Autumn.

  10. Sorry you had such a plague of insects. Hopefully your grapevine will survive. I have never seen a Dragon fruit but it looks very interesting. I do love pomegranates though and it would be a real treat to have them growing in the yard.

  11. Jo,

    Unfortunately not all the pests have left, with the onset of rain , we annually battle a plague of Portuguese millipedes that were introduced to Australia in some packing material in a parcel from Portugal. They have no natural predators here and spread half way up the East coast of Australia.

  12. Hilke,

    It is either feast or famine her. We are well endowed with natural disasters, floods and droughts are the norm rather than the exception and if we have a good year there is always the fall back of a plague of locusts with rain or mice with the dry. Never a dull moment


    It did surprise me by its brightness and size until I saw the others in a box, they were the size of small pineapples!


    that was just a medium sized one, the others were the size of Pawpaws and the amazing thing is that the plant is the size of a large Christmas cactus in a hanging basket!


    Last night he was sitting on the TV screen getting a dose of radiation.


    sometimes natural disasters can be beneficial, while fighting them, everyone rises to the same cause.

    Bill S

    nothing funny about opposite seasons since we are on opposite sides of the world.
    Unfortunately our plague insects will re-surface next season since they have left ample egg deposits behind.

    Inday Ces,

    I am so sorry to hear of your hospital stay, no wonder yu have been in my thoughts so much!


    surely you have grasshoppers and crickets and oaks??? It would be a little too cold for the pomegranates in your area.


    Thank you for your concern, I have at least eight grapevines and all on pergolas so pruning will be strenuous and a bit dangerous as well as a multi-day task. They are absolutely vital for shading the house walls from the burning sun in the summer and let in the light in the winter. They are looking rather grin and I do hope they survive and regenerate.

  13. I'm so sorry to hear about the locust plague. I enjoyed seeing where you are at seasonally through your photographs. This posts gave me a good idea of some of the challenges as well as beauty in your world.

  14. I've never heard of dragon fruit. Seems bizzare, but now I want to try it. Have a good day.

  15. sorry about the locusts!

    That's an amazing cactus fruit, I've never eaten anything like that

  16. That Cactus fruit looks delicious, even though the taste might be nondescript. Good Luck with the plant :)
    And that pomegranate, yumyum!

    Not sure about the spider,... eeekkkk,.... you can give me almost all critters, but spiders,... naeh,...

  17. Australia is certainly a land of contrast. Great pics.

  18. This is a most interesting post.
    I love all these colors too. Never heard of a Dragon fruit. Is it good?
    Too bad about the Locusts. They are really a mennace. We don't have them here, just grasshoppers.
    Looking forward to more wonderful photos.


  19. I am sorry to hear of the locusts. I've heard of that, but never seen it in person. Hopefully I won't. Hard to believe that you are into fall as it snowing lightly here...Michelle


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