With the foothills and much of the lower country under a dense pall of smoke thanks to the arsonical activities of the Department of Sparks and Embers, I drove south for three quarters of an hour to some bush where the moths might have a chance of seeing the light through the murk. With the light shining it wasn’t long before the reconnaissance scout flew in and then I soon came under attack from a squadron of Batwing Moths, Chelepteryx collesi. They say you can have too much of a good thing, and it turned out a bit that way with fifteen of them fluttering around, I had to be very careful where I put my feet in case I stood on them. When they quietened down somewhat after about three hours I started to pick them up and park them out of harm’s way on bracken fronds.
The bush is mainly peppermint forest with some Banksia serrata and bracken to nearly two metres high, yes, it does grow that tall in a favourable location. One of the most beautiful moths in that country, logically enough is the Banksia Moth, Psalidostetha banksiae.
An autumn flying moth that was new to me is Smyriodes trigramma, I’ve photographed it on my last two outings. several variations came in on this night, this was a nice one. Its resemblance to a Stibaroma as it was once named is plain to see.
I’ve often featured other creatures that come to the light, but a scorpion was a first, quite a good sized one too.
There are lots more photos from the session here.
Click to enlarge
A casual glance through the window yesterday revealed a beautiful but totally unexpected Crescent Honeyeater sharing the birdbath with three Eastern Spinebills, all cleaning their plumage after working through the callistemon flowers. This prompted a look at the home birdlist to see if we had recorded one before, and yes, there was an entry. The list is now in its thirty seventh year, started when there was just a house in a bare paddock, and continued as trees and shrubs were established. It has been interesting to look back over the list to note some of the more unusual birds that visited briefly and have never been seen again, for example Tawny-crowned and Fuscous Honeyeater.
There have been significant changes in the listed birds we see, the White-fronted Chats that used to frequent the north-western corner are long gone, Banded Lapwings no longer visit, and it’s been years since we last saw a White-winged Triller or Restless Flycatcher. On the other hand new birds have become established, Little Corellas and Galahs have become common, and Crested Pigeons are gradually increasing in numbers and local distribution. Two Song Thrushes recently made the list, and the latest and most exciting addition is Spotted Harrier, formerly a bird typical of more northern climes but now being seen in various locations in Gippsland.
Along the way there have been highlights, bush birds like the Bassian Thrush that came into the garden in the midst of the prolonged drought, the recent White-throated Treecreeper that co-operated with the photographer, and the occasional visit of a Scarlet Honeyeater, like the Crescent often chance sightings through a window into the garden.
Returning to the Spotted Harrier, although I’ve seen it on several occasions, once hunting low over our paddock, I’ve not had the occasion to take a measured photograph. The only chance I’ve had was when I chanced on it being pursued by magpies, I pulled the car to a halt and just had time to grab the camera off the seat, point it hurriedly out of the window and pull the trigger hoping for the best.
And in the same area while talking to friends, a raptor was soaring at a great height, a Little Eagle, another bird that has become more common over recent years.
And, the Crescent… I just enjoyed watching that beautiful bird bath and preen, so no picture.