We’ve had something of an autumn break, the paddocks are green again and home to many hundreds of Straw-necked Ibis probing the ground with their long curved bills in search of beetle and moth larvae. What a wonderful biological control these birds are; it’s many years now since we had an infestation of christmas beetles decimating the eucalypt foliage, I give ibis the credit for that and you know, they’re a handsome bird with their iridescent plumage. The farmer’s friend.
At Bellbird Corner reserve we planted a tray of river bottlebrush tube stock last spring. We gave them a good watering in and a second watering when the dry was really biting, we lost a few but the rain has come in good time to keep them going. That was good, but the rain softened the ground and we lost one of our big red gums. It was bound to happen some time as it didn’t appear to have an extensive root system, and the huge weight of the multi trunks and upper foliage brought it down. Quite a job to clear it, still some work to do.
Bird life in the reserve has increased with good numbers of Silvereyes, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, and Grey Shrike-thrushes joining the usual residents. The tree violet shrubs are heavy in fruit, a food source for the first two. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes are feeding on caterpillars. The flying-foxes are still in residence in their camp by the river, there is another count on this week to try and check their numbers. There was a large influx to the Bairnsdale camp and it could be possible that some of the Maffra camp moved further east. To get some flight shots I went to the camp in the morning while they were still settling down after their night’s food search.
The camp has created a lot of interest, and opinions have been mixed, on local radio I heard of one person describing them as disgusting. Nothing could be further from the truth, these fantastic winged mammals are very clean, can fly up to fifty kilometres in a night to feed, and as I mentioned in an earlier post are important pollinators and seed dispersers. Love ‘em.
Click to enlarge.