Thursday, October 30, 2008

"1000's of waders", he said...

... "I think they're over here".

"No, down this way, quick"

"There they are, quick get a photo".

G'day All,
Look, it wasn't really like that. Got me out of watering and mowing for a bit anyway, and I did get to see the new gear in action - barbed wire and all!

Monday, October 27, 2008


G'day All,
My 'computer room' is some 20 or 30 metres from the house. (Sorry daughters I still call it a computer room, not a spare 'family bedroom').

A couple of nights ago, as I was stumbling back to the house in the dark, I could hear the soft yip yipping of a Sugar Glider nearby. I love these little guys and the way they glide from tree to tree so I grabbed the spotlight and tried to track him down.

I didn't find the glider, but right by the house was this little fellow...

... a Ringtail Possum.

The first part of their scientific name, Pseudocheiridae, means 'false hands', and refers to the human like hand structure of the front feet.

This bloke now completes the collection of marsupials I see mostly on the golf course. (See On The Course At Night for a record of a Sugar Glider and a Brushtail Possum). I've yet to see a Koala here. I have seen an odd Kangaroo or two at times and there are plenty of Wombats nearby, but not on the golf course thankfully.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Heyfield Wetlands

On the way into town to get the paper this morning, I 'ducked' in at the wetlands for a quick look.

Not a lot about. I didn’t cover a lot of ground but was still a bit disappointed not to flush some Snipe. Hopefully they were at the other end.

This little family of Black Ducks and several Australasian Grebes were paddling, dabbling and diving on one of the Azolla covered ponds.

A small group of Weebills that always seem to be there, were flitting about in the tree tops along the side of one of the walking tracks. They were way too high and mobile for a picture.

This Butterfly however cooperated 'admirably', (well, almost), by landing on a tree trunk at just the right moment.

It was a pleasant if short interlude.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Glad I Did

G'day Blogworld,
Yesterday I snuck away from watering and mowing, while the lady members were playing their weekly event. I'm glad I did.

I could only spare a couple of hours, so I drove up the Seaton road for a short look on the roadside for any interesting vegetation or birds. After dodging the descending log trucks, I pulled up in a safe spot and began to explore. It was nice to hear the birds and to see some mountain bush.

All the while, a small family of Pied Currawongs hopped from tree to tree and kept a wary eye on what I was up to.

Here's some of the plants I found. Some I've recognised and named, others are unknown to me, so any suggestions would be great...

Common Apple-berry

Blue Dampiera

Heath Milkwort - (Thanks DF)

Heath Milkwort

Hop Bitter-pea.

Hop Bitter-pea.

This is just a small selection of what was in flower.

Suddenly it's daylight, I'd better move those sprinklers and fire up the mower.


Monday, October 20, 2008

The Wellington Mint Bush & Jean Galbraith

G’day Readers,
Duncan, Peter M and I recently went a-hunting for the Wellington Mint Bush (Prostanthera galbraitheae) – here’s Duncan’s report.

The Wellington Mint Bush is classed as a vulnerable species and is endemic to this region of Gippsland. While some localised populations may have a good number of plants, there are only around 30 sites identified. Mostly they occur in Holey Plains State Park and at Dutson Downs.

Only limited knowledge of the ecology of this plant exists. In particular, more detail is needed on the germination, dispersal and the effects of disturbance. It is believed that the principal threat to the plant is browsing by wallabies, wombats, rabbits and deer, and an inappropriate fire regime.

Prostanthera galbraitheae was named after Jean Galbraith, one of the first people to recognise this species and to appreciate its vulnerability. Jean was a Gippslander all her life. She died in 1999, aged 92.

(Courtesy of LV Field Naturalists Club)

Here’s an extract from one of her obituaries…
Her involvement with the Field Naturalists’ Club of Victoria spanned more than 60 years; she received the prestigious Australian Natural History Medallion in 1970. Her concern for conservation was part of her very being; from the 1930’s onwards her submissions to Government bodies and inquiries were models of commitment and scholarship, while her letters to decision makers were reasoned and reasonable. She wrote gardening articles over 65 years – from 1926-76 in the periodical The Australian Garden Lover under the penname of Correa, and from 1985-92 in The Age. Her beloved garden, Dunedin, immortalised in Garden In A Valley, (1939), was a place of pilgrimage for many.

Dunedin Today

Jean Galbraith had limited formal education and as a child was often too ill to go to school. Her principal botanical resource was the bush around her home in Tyers, where she lived all her life. She left school at 14 and began her odyssey with nature.

At age 16 she met H.B. Williamson at a wildflower show in Melbourne. Williamson was a noted botanist and he introduced the young Jean to Von Mueller’s writings, and the German language. Their friendship and studies lasted more than ten years.

For more than 50 years, Jean contributed articles to the 'Victorian Naturalist' and 'Garden Lover'. She wrote numerous books herself, many of them still held in high esteem in botanical circles.

Jean Galbraith has left a rich heritage. One small part of that heritage, the Wellington Mint Bush, will constantly remind me of this wonderful lady.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Summer In October

G'day Everyone,
No, I'm not dead, just dead tired. I've been doing heaps of this...

The foreground and the property in the background shows the condition of the country around here at present. (Some wag called out to me today as I was shifting hoses etc, "Never mind Peter, It'll be Easter soon - the weather changes then!")

While this was going on, a motor on one reel of the greens mower decided to give up and spew hot hydraulic oil over the greens. Lots of scurrying about, ordering of parts, trips to the local hydraulic engineers, changing motors, fittings, etc ensued. Many hundreds of dollars later and we're cutting again.

Anyway, the birds are enjoying the sprinklers...

Noisy Miner

Bronze-winged Pigeon

Even the resident Snake-neck Turtles in our garden dam decided today was a nice enough day for a sun bake on top of the weed encrusted foot valve float...

Ah, summer in October, nothing like it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

All Wrapped Up

G'day All,
Another spider story. I spotted this Daddy Long Legs in the corner of the ceiling earlier today. There was a fly caught in his web nearby, but at first he didn't seem too interested and I left him alone. When I checked a little later he'd wrapped the fly in web and was either delivering the fatal bite or was commencing to devour his prey...

Here's a close up...

I wonder why they don't get those long legs tangled?

Red Back

Part of the watering process on the golf course requires the lifting of a cover to get to the relevant valve.
When I turned this valve cover over this morning, I disturbed a Red Back Spider.

The Red Back makes an untidy web in dark places. It’s a trellis or scaffolding structure between two parallel surfaces that are a short distance apart. Many of the vertical strands are sticky and they trap any insects that may wander too close.

Red Back Spider toxin is particularly strong. A bite can seriously harm a human and can cause death in some cases if the antitoxin is not quickly administered.

This female has just one egg sac, but they can have 4 or 5 sacs that might produce several hundred spiderlings, usually at the onset of rain – now that’d be good, (the rain I mean)!

PS: Here's a link to a great post on Red Backs by Gaye from the Hunter.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Yesterday, I joined some of the Heyfield Birdwatchers for another very enjoyable stroll around Peach Flat. By lunchtime we’d tallied 30+ species and were pretty pleased with ourselves. Michelle and Rod gave us a pleasing report on their progress for the development of the project, and then we tucked into our lunches.

By the end of lunch, the day was warming up and a northerly was getting steady, so the majority decided to head home. Duncan and I remained – Duncan was keen to wander the edges of the wetland for Odonata and Reed Warblers, and over lunch I’d heard two persistent Cuckoo calls nearby, the Pallid and the Fantail.

Eventually I managed to track down the nearby Fantailed Cuckoo. As is often the case, the call was coming from further away than I suspected. Anyway, once I located it, the bird allowed me to get near enough for some acceptable pictures.

Oh and by the way Rod and Michelle, I managed to catch up with ‘Kevin’ in the process.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Take A 'Butchers' At This

Yesterday, Duncan and I participated in a special day involving some local schools at the morass near Sale. Our role was to support some others in educating the children in regard to the wetland bird species present. Duncan has blogged the day here.

Don Ripper from Central Gippsland Bird Studies was present, and gave the children an outline of how netting, banding and recording birds helped to give a picture of the movement of particular species in the district.

Don managed to net 4 birds for the day, and on two occasions was able to demonstrate the banding and recording procedures to the children. I was impressed with Don's equanimity whilst under fire - a Crimson Rosella took considerable liking to his finger at one stage. Both Don and the bird survived.

The capture of a juvenile Grey Butcherbird was an excellent opportunity to show the children a close up of one of our favourite bush birds. They were impressed with the beak!

Duncan's right, it was a bit of a tiring day in a way, but oh so rewarding.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

They've Moved In!

Busy, busy , busy here at present. Watering and mowing flat out - special event on this weekend. I had some time yesterday though, to do a quick monitor of the nest boxes. Five out of six had occupants. I'm pretty happy with that ratio. I'll keep an eye on box 6 too, as I did see a pair taking a lot of interest earlier in the season.

Also enjoyed showing our 2 year old grandson one of the boxes just as one of the females ducked out. Much giggling, gabbling and hand clapping - just like his grandad some would say.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Another Rant

G'day All,
Time for another rant.

Between showers, yes SHOWERS, yesterday, I ducked out to a bit of bush just near home.

It's not a particularly inspiring piece of habitat but it's worth an occasional check. Yesterday for example there was some of this Grevillea sp in flower on one side of the track.

However, on the other side was some of this....

As I loaded the rubbish into the back of the ute, I carefully checked for anything that might ID the culprit, but no luck. On the way home, the tip was closed for the day, so I took it to the golf course and lit one of our rubbish fires and tossed it on.

Mutter, mumble, mumble...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Now Listen Up....

.....and pay attention. There will be a test at the end.

What's going on? Read about it here.