Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Aerial Assassins at Nangara

(Now, I reckon I might need some help with the IDs here. Happy to take any correspondence that might confirm or correct my conclusions – and I thought fungi were tough to name correctly!)

A recent early morning sortie into Nangara proved to be more worthwhile for the odonata rather than the avifauna. There are a couple of small dams within the reserve, remnants of from when the locality was a working rock quarry. Both water bodies are quite undisturbed and practically surrounded by semi mature woodland habitat, perfect for the presence of damsels and dragons.

The top dam.
Top ode habitat.
 I’m only able to photograph these beasties when they land briefly, which some do quite often, and when they do they frequently return to the same perch and it is just a matter of waiting. Early morning is a good time, as they often warm up before beginning their busy day.

Black-faced Percher warming up.
Female Black-faced Percher - possibly!
In tandem after mating. The female dips her tail below the surface and deposits her eggs in the water.
Blue Skimmer with that powdery blue colouration due to a substance exuded by the dragonfly.

Probably a Yellow-striped Hunter. Almost on its own. Kept flying in and disturbing the others.

And this rather poor image of a Common Bluetail, Wandering Ringtail, (thanks DF), Damselfly shows two of the major differences between most Damselflies and most Dragonflies …

Closed wings, eyes wide apart, fore-wings and hind-wings generally the same size and shape.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Christmas Morning Walk

(Sub-title: ‘A wren pair in a plum tree’)

The Two Towns Trail is a cycling/walking track linking the towns of Warragul and Drouin. This very inviting trail consists of a wide paved track with excellent infrastructure features like boardwalks and bridges, well lit road crossings with barriers, seats, distance posts, interpretive signs, etc, and provides some wonderful views of the two towns, and the Baw Baw Ranges.

Looking north-west: the Baw Baws, part of Drouin and a bit of the freeway.

Great trees and shrubs in places.

A well made boardwalk to help negotiate a steep bank beside the freeway.

A sculptural piece at a road crossing.

Although it runs very close to the freeway and the old Princes Highway, in places it passes through some interesting habitat zones – wetlands, woodland fringes and grasslands.
A pair of blue wrens catching some early sun.

The birds were spotted in a 'wild' cherry plum tree.

Early this morning I walked a few kilometres of the section east of Buln Buln Rd and although I didn’t see Santa, I did stop several times to drink in some of the scenes around me.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Signs of Christmas

Xmas carols in the shops? No. Endless rounds of office parties? Nah. The ‘ching-ching’ of cash registers? Nup. Coloured lights? Uh-uh.

Here are just a few of my signs of Christmas I saw today in Nangara…
Eastern Billabongfly -I think?
Prickly Currant-bush
Swordgrass Butterfly
Victorian Christmas-bush

Seasonal best wishes to all.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hoary-headed Grebe

At the McNeilly Wetlands yesterday I enjoyed a few moments watching a pair of Hoary-headed Grebes do their ‘grebey thing’ – duck diving for some tucker in the deeper water. It is nice to know these birds have found this wetland right in town. For some reason I’ve generally considered the hoary-headed to be far less ‘urbanised’ than the australasian – wrong again!

I also ticked this Painted Lady warming up on the footpath.

I enjoyed my brief time with the birds and my grand-daughter enjoyed the playground.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Freckled Ducks

While helping the Heyfield Birdwatchers with a Gippsland Lakes IBA survey a few days back, I took a few moments off to record with the camera some of the Freckled Ducks on Lake Guthridge at Sale.

The Freckled Duck is Australia’s, indeed the world’s rarest waterfowl species.

I’m always impressed to see that their numbers at Sale seem to be quite stable. This time we recorded 500 sheltering under the overhanging tree branches on the shoreline of the lake.

The bird is vulnerable to drought conditions, loss of habitat, (wetland drainage) and illegal hunting. It is good to see that at least in this little corner of their world, the Freckled Duck seems to be surviving.