Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Dam residents

One dam on the farm is just a muddy reservoir with very little in the way of vegetation. Cattle have access on every side. But there must have been enough for the dragonflies and damselfies. The first image shows a damselfly that has caught what appears to be a fly. I have limited internet access so I can't research the species but maybe it is male and female of one genus of damselfly, and one genus of dragonfly that used cow pats as resting places.

PS Our friend from Gippsland has identified them for me. The top damselfly is a Blue Ringtail Austrolestes annulosus, next is a Red and Blue Damsel Xanthagrion erythroneurom and the dragonfly is a Blue Skimmer Orthetrum caledonicum. (Thanks DF).

Saturday, 26 December 2009

A mystery to solve

What do you think is going on here? I took a photo of bees on the edge of a dam on our farm at Homerton. I thought they were drinking water, but when I put the photos on the screen there are eggs or something on sticks and I don't know what the bees are doing. There are also small black flies present. Click on photos to enlarge.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Family closeness

"Come and have a look at this" said my neighbour. A new family has moved into the neighbourhood - a family of Tawny Frogmouths sitting on a low branch of a eucalypt, directly above a footpath. Of course we generated a bit of interest by standing in the street with binoculars and cameras - we met a new neighbour, talked to the postie who stopped to see what we were looking at and showed the birds to a couple of young girls out for a scooter ride with their dad.

There aren't any trees with hollows nearby because it's a relatively new suburb so it's a mystery where this pair nested and why they decided to spend the day in this tree. It will be interesting to see if they're still there tomorrow.

Round the twist

It was a perfect day today - low twenties, no wind, sunny with beautiful cloud formations - so we went to the beach. (No, not to swim. I know it's unAustralian but I detest swimming in the sea.) We went to explore some areas we haven't been to for a while.

It's years since we've been to the lighthouse on Split Point at Aireys Inlet on the Great Ocean Road, even though we've driven past heaps of times. You may remember the lighthouse as the star of the television series 'Round the Twist'. Last time we were there we drove up to have a look but this time we had to walk because the parking has been formalised and the cliffs and clifftops protected and revegetated. 'They' (whichever authority is responsible) have done a great job with the paths, steps and fencing.

It was interesting to compare the lush vegetation with an old photo in the cafe in the old keepers cottage - it showed the lighthouse on a bare hill in 1910. One of the few plants flowering today was the Sea Box Alyxia buxifolia. It's an uncommon shrub of exposed clifftops and well worth a second look. The small white flowers are very beautiful because the petals twist in a spiral and have fluted edges. They're going 'round the twist' as well.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Counting birds, in theory

Yesterday was BOCA's Challenge Bird Count and our team covered the usual route around the Bellarine Peninsula. I don't know yet what our total number of species was but it will be down on our average of about 130 species - the bush was very quiet and the tides were high. We couldn't even find a Pacific Gull! And there were no Mistletoebirds where we always find them. We had a good day though because it's always good to get out and about with fellow birdwatchers.

But I shouldn't have gone. I should have been home nursing my cold instead of being on the move for 14 hours. My other half told me it was a silly idea (not exactly how he put it) and reminded me that I'm not 21 any more, but the 'call of the bush' is very strong so I went. But because I was feeling lousy I didn't do some of the walks in to certain areas with the team and while I waited I wandered around where the cars were parked. In theory I was looking and listening for birds but in practice I had time to give the camera a bit of a workout. Only a bit because, remember?, I wasn't feeling too good. Just for fun I chased this tiny moth that was flying around the grasstrees at Ironbark Basin. It was active and I wasn't but one or two photos turned out OK. I've no idea what it is.