With the temperature threatening to rise yesterday, I headed for an early start in the Bunyip State Park again, this time at the Mortimer Picnic Area. As I pulled in to park the ute, a Lyrebird scuttled across the reserve and a Wallaby looked up momentarily from its grazing – a good start to the morning. Numerous ‘brown’ butterflies jinked about and in the shady parts they were joined by pairs of Imperial Whites.
I didn’t want to spend the whole day here, so just decided to do the short nature trail and get back home for lunch and the air conditioner!
The ground cover in much of the wooded areas on the lower slopes of Bunyip SP consists of Forest Wire-grass, Tetrarrhena juncea, a straggly species capable of climbing over rocks, logs and understory trees and shrubs.
Forest Wire-grass can be very invasive but is grazed on by herbivores and is the host plant for a number of species of butterflies.
This crane fly caught my eye at one point and rested long enough on a piece of wire-grass to let me get some pictures.
I haven’t been able to identify the species yet – I thought the abdominal patterns would be a reliable enough clue. Any ideas?
The halteres – the small knobby stalks that used to be the rear wings – are clearly visible. Apparently they move rapidly in flight and function as gyroscopes, enabling the insect to balance correctly.
I shared one of the boardwalks with a Southern Water Skink, (I think it might be Eulamprus tympanum).
For quite some distance, the reptile just remained a metre or two ahead of me, making no attempt to disappear between the boards or over the side. I even got ahead and it kept coming toward me.
Is this a Fallow Deer?
Apparently the park and nearby ranges are well inhabitated with deer species. I don’t wish for this blog to become a forum on the pros and cons of hunting in parks. I think most readers would understand my stance on the matter. (Try Googling – ‘hunting’ ‘parks’ ‘Victoria’, etc – you might be surprised.)