Saturday, 18 February 2012

Dingo & Dragon

In the car on the way out this morning I notice a dingo hunkered down in the long grass alongside the drive and stopped further along to see if I could get a photo. However that was enough to spook it and it stood up causing a mass flight of the kangaroos that were on the other side of the drive. It then proceeded to trot up the drive and disappear over the rise. I decided to follow and see if it was staying around and as I reached the top of the rise and looked around I thought I was out of luck. Then noticed off to my left, on the edge of the treeline the dingo was moving along looking for prey. Amongst the grass and the scrub I couldn't get a clear line of sight but eventually got one photo as it disappeared into the trees.

This is the second dingo I have seen in the past 2 weeks although the other on was a  very starved looking young pup on the side of the road about 20k from here. Today's animal although a bit thin looks in reasonable condition. We have heard them howling at night so knew they were around our area. The Dingo Canis lupus dingo probably arrived in Australia some 5 to 10 thousand years ago, a  native dog, accompaning travellers from Asia. From those beginings the dingo developed distinctly different characteristics and dingos of  the present day are not found outside of Austalia.

As well as dingos we are also fortunate to have dragons, not your fire breathing variety but one of the smallest of the dragons found in Australia that belong to the family Agamidae. The Jacky Lizard or Tree Dragon Amphibolurus muricatus  are fairly common down the east coast through to SA. We often see quite a few around our garden area but last year hardly saw any, so I was pleased today to see two young ones in the vegie garden.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Not too close

Some critters you do not want to get too close to, or aggravate are our native paper wasps and in summer we have always some nests around the house or in the gardens. It is wise to find where they are so you can keep your distance, as the stings are very painful (fortunately they are not as aggressive as the European wasp which is becoming a pest in many areas).

This nest is under the guttering of our deck and not really presenting much of a problem so they can stay put. Part of the family Vespidae these are one of the Polistes sp. and tend to only have relatively small nests where as one of the other species that we see favors building their nests on the rear of our shed and has nest colonies that number in the hundreds.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Out of the dark

In a dark recess at the back of the shed I found a couple of visitors that like to spend the daylight hours hidden away. I caught one and brought it out for a photo before it headed back into the dark.

One of the Noctuidae family, this quite large moth Speiredonia spectrans, is reasonably common and found from the Torres Strait islands, throughout Queensland and as far south as Sydney. The lava feed on acacia species of which we have quite a few. You can get a bit of a start when you disturb a number of these moths and they fly out from a dark corner. The shading varies considerably, as they tend to blend with what ever they are resting upon, so the one in the photo is lighter than it was when it came out of the dark.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A sunny break

We have had 350mm of rain so far this month and everything is saturated, so it was nice to get a break today, with the sun out and a pleasant breeze to keep the humidity down. This afternoon I noticed some of our local wildlife making the most of the break from rain.

This Bullant caught my eye as it worked its way towards the nest dragging a moth that was considerably larger and a difficult shape to manoeuvre through the leaf litter but finally made it to the nest entrance.
Just nearby one of the Lace monitors was taking a break on our steps where it had the last of the afternoon sun before moving off as it disappeared.

Whilst the sun had gone behind the trees high above in the sunshine our resident Wedge-tailed eagles circled in the breeze gaining height before gliding off .

Monday, 6 February 2012

Hot and humid

After so much wet weather today we had the sun out and very high humidity so very uncomfortable unless you were at the beach and unfortunately I wasn't> As well as making it oppressive for us the birds were keeping to the shade and fluffing their feathers to release some heat. A Lewin Honeyeater sat in the banksia in front of the deck and did some preening and just taking it easy.

One bird that seems to enjoy the humid weather and the potential of a thunder storm,  is the Spine-Tailed Swift Hirundapus caudacutus, a migrant visitor that arrives around October and leaves usually by the end of march and whilst here spend their time in the air, as they are not known to land in Australia. They have been prominent on days like today, when they arrive in numbers as the afternoon clouds started to move in and the air is full of insects such as dragonflies. They are awe inspiring to watch as they glide, swoop, dive and climb at high speed and if they pass close by their wings cut the air with a sound like tearing silk. I have tried many times to get a photo but usually end with a total miss or an out of focus shot as they flash by; but I will persist and hope to fluke one. However I have added the one below from today's attempts.