Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gluepot 2013 #3

‘Nobody knows who made the mallee, but the Devil is strongly suspected!’
So goes the quote from The Bulletin in 1902. Thankfully we have come to realize the true value of this wonderful country. I would suggest that the biodiversity of the mallee habitat at Gluepot far exceeds that of any Gippsland woodlands. Birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, trees and shrubs abound.

White-winged Fairy-wren
The day I arrived at Gluepot this year I found that Jim, an old birding mate, had by co-incidence set up camp at the same campsite. We exchanged greetings, etc and of course I asked what ticks he’d made so far. That day, Jim had found a nesting pair of White-winged Fairy-wrens not far from camp. Early next morning he guided me in to where he’d seen the birds.
No longer had we sat down, (‘up-sun’ and near a shrub to break our outline), and the parents began arriving with food in their beaks.

The small saltbush they were using was the one in the middle of the first picture, above.

We sat for well over an hour and watched the morning feeding session progress and they were quite unperturbed by our presence. The male in particular was a delight.

A lot of netting takes place at Gluepot to assist in monitoring the numbers and movements of birds. The male wren we were snapping had a number of leg rings on both legs.

Day one and I could already die happy!

1 comment:

  1. G'day Gouldiae, I share your love of mallee environments. I think the view that the devil made mallee probably came from the early pioneer farmers trying to make a living by clearing it and it is easy to see how they would come to this view and sympathise with it. Today many who see mallee as having a boring and monotonous sameness and don't see the detail and therefore the rich diversity probably share the Pioneer's view of how it was made. Given the superficial blandness of mallee I think to discover the unexpected very rich diversity of flora and fauna it harbors is the essence of why some of us find this habitat so attractive. In addition to the rich diversity of flora and fauna contained within mallee habitats there are many species of mallee often present also, up to 6 species in some areas. Costermans lists 20 species of mallee in SE Australia alone and there are more in SW WA where mallee are thought to have evolved, which may have been only recently in the geological time scale. I suspect mallee evolved as the continent dried out as mallee are supremely adapted for drought and fire. Your Gluepot posts are giving me the urge to plan another visit to mallee soon.

    Cheers, Avithera