Saturday, August 31, 2013

Licola Road, (‘Phone Line Track’), 31st Aug 2013

The Aberfeldy bushfire started on Thursday Jan17th this year in the mountains west of Seaton/Heyfield and raced south-east through Seaton and in a direct line for Heyfield. Just as the front was a couple of kilometers from the golf course a southerly wind change arrived and swept the fire up in to the hills to the north. It took 43 days to contain the fire after it had burnt out 85 000 hectares, destroyed 22 homes, hundreds of stock, and took the life of one man.

Today I decided to have a look at one of my favourite gullies along the Licola Road. What I call Phone Line Track is an un-mapped and seldom used track that spears up a steep ridge beside the main road just north of Twenty Acre Creek. Strangely it has a buried telephone cable along the edge going I know not where for it heads into pretty remote country. Restoration is well underway.
'Phone Line Track' - hope the telecom man is carrying a chainsaw.
Greenhood Orchids
It took very little time to spot some Blunt Greenhoods and some Maroonhoods. Plenty of other wildflower leaf also.
Blunt Greenhood with the characteristic twisted labellum visible.


Obviously one of the first plant species to return is the weeds and I could see that much of the ground was covered with the beginnings of Variegated Thistle, (I think). Attractive it may be, but it will certainly choke out other species trying to come through. I guess these things are cyclical and eventually the natives will get a fair go.
Variegated Thistle.
Restless Flycatcher
While chasing the Greenhoods at ground level, I was keeping a mental record of the bird calls – White-throated Treecreeper, King Parrot, Jacky Winter, Superb Fairy Wren, Grey Fantail, etc. All the usuals you might say, and then I begun hearing that odd ‘scissor-grinding’ call of the Restless Flycatcher. I hadn’t ticked this bird for some time, so I changed the camera settings and tracked the bird(s) down and they were very obliging.
Restless 1.

Restless 2.

If you’re not familiar with this bird’s strange call, you might like to check it out here – thank you ‘Canberra Birds’.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mitchell River – Glenaladale – 28th August 2013

Don and I took advantage of one of the first spring-like days for this season and headed north-east to the Mitchell River at Glenaladale. The Mitchell emerges from the foothills at Glenaladale then meanders through the Lindenow and Bairnsdale district before emptying into Lake King at Paynesville. Don fished and I birded(?)!

Neither of us was particularly successful at our individual pursuits but the locality and the weather made up for any lack of a catch.
Mitchell River Glenaladale
I was keen to move quietly up into some of the rainforest-like gullies that feed the river at this point in an attempt to spot oh, I dunno, a Rufous Fantail, perhaps a Rose Robin? As I’ve bemoaned here in the past, there is a certain level of illogical reasoning in targeting a species before heading out to a locality where it IS CERTAIN this particular bird will reside. And of course, on the Rufous Fantail and Rose Robin front I lucked out.

I sat for some time on a moss covered rock and watched and listened for a bit – Lewin’s Honeyeaters, Brown Thornbills, Blue Wrens, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, a distant Lyrebird, several Eastern Yellow Robins and some Eastern Spinebills were the main entertainment.
Eastern Yellow Robin

Eastern Spinebill
I scrambled back out to catch up with Don and as I emerged onto the track a flash of scarlet caught my eye. A young Scarlet Honeyeater zipped up to the top of just about the tallest tree in the vicinity.
Juvenile Scarlet Honeyeater
Eventually I tracked down the tree they were feeding in but the adults wouldn’t show themselves clearly. I just got fleeting glimpses.
Bird dissuader
Tim the local landholder was having some erosion control work done nearby and as the machinery chugged by I reckoned I could say goodbye to any birds in the vicinity for a bit. I wasn’t too disappointed with this eventuality however, as Tim was kind enough to share some of his local knowledge of promising fishing and birding spots in the district. Return trip coming up I reckon.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mayhem at the Waterbowl

Both lorikeet species flew in at the same time for a drink and a splash at the garden water bowl recently. It became an opportunity to snap both species in the one shot.

The smaller Musk Lorikeet was first. They calmly drank and indulged in a polite splash after which they would preen and dry off on nearby branches.

Shortly after, the larger, more colourful and certainly more boisterous Rainbow Lorikeets arrived and took over.

Just before the rainbows got too rowdy, a couple of brave musks were happy to share the bowl with a quieter rainbow individual just long enough for me to get the shot.

Oh dear, some might say I’m too easily entertained!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spring Has Begun

G’day Nature Lovers,
It’s nice to report that spring has started at the Heyfield Golf Course! Galahs, Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets have all been seen exiting/entering tree hollows – all three species in the one large box tree near the 5th green.

The female Scarlet Robin has not appeared for her morning talk for nearly a week now. The male turns up frequently so I’m still hoping she is nesting nearby.

The Greenhood orchids are still showing and the finger orchids are now beginning. The Blue Finger Orchid is first out as usual – the pinks and whites, Waxlips, etc are a few weeks away just yet.

Nodding Blue Lilies and Happy Wanderer are in flower too. Always seems to be the blues that pop up first around here!

Nicer times are approaching.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vale Bluey!

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone in this world, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.  There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and Bluey finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress that beloved head, and you look once more into those trusting eyes of your Bluey, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...