Friday, 15 November 2013

A couple more - and better - expeditions

The first expedition today was our regular dog walk.  We hadn't got far into it when I noticed a bunch of ants tending to some scale insects.
Note:
  • the leg of a third ant just poking over the side of the leaf;
  • the circle of eggs of the scale insects in the middle of the leave and 
  • the mites - little orange orange dots on some of the leaves.
A little further on in the walk I noticed a track worn in the grass.  Looking to the source of the track and it was evident that this is the path a bunch of meat eating ants have been using to get from their nest - in the bottom of this image and some fallen wood off a Yellow Box (top of the image).
I shall return later to attempt to get an image of the ants using the path.  The return has happened and heer are the images.  In the first one I have added red dots to show the position of this bunch of ants.
To my surprise they weren't feeding on dead wood at the base of the tree but, after trekking the 22m from the nest to the tree were slowly ascending it.  The ants pictured  below were about 4m above the ground.
Next stop was for this colourful insect feeding - or perhaps just walking - on a Wahlenbergia petal.  I'd like to think it is a flower beetle but thus far I have failed to com up with a match.  Harlequin bug is a possibility.

The second expedition started with a voyage to Weston to go for a run with my friend Rob and his dog Boson (named after the Higgs particle.  Being somewhat of the whippet persuasion I suspect Tachyon would also have been an appropriate name, but the Higgs Boson was fashionable, as its existence had been proven just before the woofer was acquired.

Having done that enjoyable run I headed out to Stoney Creek NR (being better than halfway there) to try again for the Painted Honeyeaters.  Before getting to the locale of the Honeyeaters there were a heap of Woodswallows around.  These two are White-browed Woodswallows.
In case you had any doubts about the derivation of the name!
There were also a few Masked Woodswallows but I didn't get a snap of them.  Dusky Woodswallows were present in large numbers mainly hanging out near the many hollows and spouts in the trees burnt in the 2003 bushfires.  My suspicion is the two lh birds with the streaks are fairly fresh from the nest.
Although these Woodswallows weren't obviously feeding in the weeds  did look at some of the SJW to see if there were any leaf beetles present, following a most interesting post about this interaction is a blog referred to me by my friend Denis.  Unfortunately I couldn't locate any beetles today.  I must also confess in the wuss department that the number of bush flies around today did not encourage me to muck about for too long.

While looking at the burnt Eucalypts I noticed a Painted Honeyeater chasing off a Dusky Woodswallow.  YOWZA!  Mission accomplished!  However I carried on for the extra 50m and spotted a Honeyeater fly in to the nest.  The birds head is the black item in the centre of the image.
That makes three species I have added to my ACT list in the past month!

I went back to the area on 26 November to show a visiting English friend the Honeyeaters and managed to get a couple of reasonable images of a bird on the ground.

6 comments:

Harvey Perkins said...

Martin - your "flower beetle" does indeed look like a flower beetle - family Melyridae, but I can't go down to species.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Harvey. It looks pretty much like the Red and Blue Beetle, but the pattern isn't quite right.

Martin

Harvey Perkins said...

Exactly - it's not the common melyriid we see.

Judith Gray said...

It always amazes me the track that meat ants can make through the bush considering their size! The tracks always resemble the tracks that cattle make through a paddock on their way to either food or water! The bug is brilliant! I haven't seen one of these - but it certainly looks different to the Harlequin Hibiscus beetles we have seen. If you come across a good beetle id site let me know - I have many photos taken here on the downs that I am yet to find an id on!

Flabmeister said...

Judith

The best beetle (or indeed insect ID) site I know of is href="http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/pchew_brisbane/index.html">Brisbane insects. That being said I have been unable to find this beast in there. Although the Melyridae have 317 species only about 4 of them seem to get much coverage!

Martin

Flabmeister said...

Judith

The best beetle (or indeed insect ID) site I know of is href="http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/pchew_brisbane/index.html">Brisbane insects. That being said I have been unable to find this beast in there. Although the Melyridae have 317 species only about 4 of them seem to get much coverage!

Martin