Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pilotbird



A recent day spent with the Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists on a ‘fungi foray’ in the Mt Tassie area proved very rewarding.

As usual, I could barely keep up with the knowledge that spills from these people as they identify and discuss various plants, fungi, invertebrates etc. Not wanting to be a nuisance, I stopped asking how to spell botanical names, which family, why is that different from, etc, very early in the walk. I quickly scribbled down my interpretation of what was said and hit the field guides that night. Perhaps I absorbed 10-20% of the information and here’s some of it … (click on images for a larger version).
 
Hericium coralloides

Pleurotus sp

Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Coprinellus disseminatus
The lunchtime highlight was a visit by a Crimson Rosella and a Pilotbird. The crim very readily chewed on a leftover apple core while allowing the photographers to take their pictures on macro settings.

We were about to leave and Ken interrupted our goodbyes with, “There’s a Pilot Bird under the picnic table”. Lo and behold, the bird strutted into our midst and proceeded to pick at the crumbs at our feet. We were amazed and delighted to see such a rarely sighted species so close up.
Pilotbird, yey!
The bird allowed us to get plenty of photos and despite continual flashes from the cameras, it remained preoccupied with its food gathering task for some 5 minutes or more. We were in a popular picnic ground and car park, testament to the way some individual birds will readily become accustomed to and even benefit from human presence.

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Few Recent Inverts



Herewith a few invertebrate species of late:-


Boisduvals Autumn Moth, Oenosandra boisduvallii

Found in our garden at Drouin. Prefers eucalyptus habitat seemingly and that figures considering our location.
Thanks to DF for the ID, (check out his new Gippsland Mothing blog).


Heliotrope Moth, Utetheisa pulchelloides

A widespread species that enjoys garden heliotrope plants and Patterson’s Curse.


Meadow Argus, Junonia villida

This example was seen only recently in Wuchatsch Reserve at Nyora. Very late in the season.


Tent Weaver, Cyrtophora hirta (probably?)

I found this one in Bunyip State Park back in March. Not easy to see in this image, but I watched it for some time wrapping its prey in silk.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Six New 'Drouin Birds'



I spent an interesting day yesterday with some of the LV Field Naturalists bird tragics. They visited Drouin and considering the wind strengths we managed some good sightings for the day. I managed to add six new species to my growing Drouin list – Little Pied Cormorant at Bellbird, Flame Robins and Yellow-rumped Thornbills in Settlement Rd plus Black-fronted Dotterel, Blue-billed Duck and Freckled Duck, (wow), in the sewerage ponds.
 
Getting started at Bellbird

Gippsland Water very kindly allowed the group to observe their ponds from the perimeter track. The wind continued to howl and the sky was black and grey one minute and blue and white the next. The water changed colour with the sky.




Telescopes and binoculars proved difficult to hold still until we hit on the idea of using them from our cars. The ducks unfortunately either worked the centre of the pond or rested on a distant mud flat – too far away for a decent photo.

The Flame Robins were more accommodating, chasing insects on the shoreline, with sometimes five males in close quarters.

Male flame wouldn't let me get much closer
4 or 5 males but I only saw the one female

The 3 or 4 Black-fronted Dotterels did the ‘dotterel thing’ and always retreated to just outside decent photo range.
 
Black-fronted Dotterel

A great day, wind aside, spent in great company.
Gouldiae