Sunday, 20 March 2011

An Otways fern gully

A lovely day yesterday at Sheoaks Picnic Ground near Lorne, with Field Nats friends for company.

We didn't walk very far but we saw a lot and honed our listening skills. The trees there are very tall so any birds in the canopy were  long way up and any birds in the middle story were hidden behind treefern fronds. We heard or saw Golden Whistlers, Yellow Robins, White-throated Treecreepers, Laughing Kookaburras, Olive Whistlers, White-browed Scrubwrens, White-naped Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebills, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Grey Fantails, Silvereyes - nearly thirty species in all. We dipped on King Parrot, Satin Bowerbird and Bassian Thrush.

Mosses, fungi, ferns and lichens at ground level were fascinating and we also got distracted by blue gum fruits, insects and spiders, flowers and geology. It's been such a wet summer this year the forest floor was still damp enough that you'd almost think it was winter.

Cladonia lichen

Podoscypha petalodes Rosette Fungus

Blue Gum buds on moss
Dog Lichen
Hypocrea sulphurea

The highlight of the day for me was the number of butterflies, especially at Teddys Lookout in Lorne. They were moving so fast we were having trouble identifying them but with the wonders of digital photography we were able to look at them on the computer screen. A special one, identified by Barry, was the local subspecies of the Shouldered Brown Heteronympha penelope alope.

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