After a period of contemplation and an upgrade of the blogging software the BCB is operational again. Like WordPress sites world wide the blog has been under a brute force attack, the security plugin has locked out 331 hacking attempts at last check. Anyway, back to business. After a quiet time in the garden over summer, native birds are starting to return, a family of wrens is constantly working through the low shrubbery, New Holland Honeyeaters and an immature Eastern Spinebill are supping nectar from the grevilleas and correas, and Yellow-rumped and Brown Thornbills move through regularly. The male wren is starting to moult into eclipse plumage and one of the females is still feeding a youngster bigger than herself.
The local wetland is drying fast, but while doing so is providing lots of food for the birds. Pelicans are finding the carp easy prey, spoonbills are growing fat with a swallow ever few bill-sweeps, and a nice number of Red-kneed Dotterels are back on the mud. All can be seen in this picture that gives a good illustration of a wetland going through the natural cycle of wet to dry.
I’ve found it to be a strange season for invertebrates. Butterflies, Odonata, native bees, various other insects and even spiders have not been in their usual numbers locally, but on the other hand sand wasps and antlions have been prolific. Moths too have been missing in action, with my last five outings, four have been very quiet, while one has been reasonably good. When driving home from outings, moths in the headlights have been few and far between. The only upside is that our tomatoes have been free from attack by moth larvae! On Saturday night the Bairnsdale Field Nats and friends joined Steve and myself at Moormurng Flora and Fauna Reserve for a mothing night. Small moths in the Gelechioidia were reasonably numerous with a few Taxeotis and Noctuids, but only one anthelid and one sizable geometrid came to the sheet. Never mind, I think the assembled found the night interesting and enjoyable, and a repeat next season may be in the offing. Steve took a group spotlighting to see a sugar glider and brushtail and ringtailed possums. One attractive small timber moth, Tymbophora peltastis, Xyloryctidae, and the tiny Noctuid, Arrade destituta turned up and posed.
I happened to be on hand when the DEPI freshwater ecology research crew turned up to launch their electro fishing craft at Bellbird Corner. I had an interesting talk with them, and a point of agreement was the need for a fish ladder at the diversion weir located on the Macalister behind the milk factory. The weir effectively stops all movement upstream by native fish such as galaxias and Tupong, movement required for their breeding cycles. Below the weir their investigations had found bass and galaxias unable to proceed further, the latter being eaten by introduced redfin. Female Tupong live upstream for four years growing to a good size, before swimming down to the estuaries to meet the males and spawn, they then don’t return. With the weir in place Tupong are virtually absent upstream now, although there may be a little movement when it is open for maintenance once a year. The species used to be abundant in earlier times before the weir was built, I caught many nice fish when a lad.
Posts may not be as frequent this year due to various factors, but hopefully things of interest will keep turning up to keep the ball rolling.
Click to enlarge.