Friday, 27 December 2013

Happy Christmas one and all.

We awoke to a very strange sky, with the rising sun illuminating a bunch of clouds.
That soon cleared off so we went for a walk towards the town .  Very pleasant and added some 10 species to the trip bird list.  One of these was an Eastern Koel, which might start vying with Wonga Pigeon for Annoying Bird Call.

We noticed some attractive eucalypts beside the road, but as we didn't come across anything like them elsewhere I suspect they are exotics.



On returning home we had breakfast and opened our presents.  Tammy didn't have to open hers, just munch on a nice meaty bone.  She enjoyed it, as we did ours.

Then off to Bastion Point for some birding and politics.  The birding was not great, with 1 Eastern Curlew, 2 Red-capped Dotterels, 2 Pied Oystercatchers and 1 Sooty O/c all the waders that were around.   A White-fronted Chat was posed nicely.
Some Chestnut Teal did likewise.
I am intrigued that at the Coast this species is the common Teal and Grey Teal are relatively unusual.  Around home the opposite is the case.

I suspect this was due to the number of folk walking around on the spit.  Many came from the the direction of a caravan park and waded a narrow stretch of water.  The weirdest set were a bunch wearing hijabs and jeans while splashing around in an old inner tube.

The political bit was seeing what was going on with the disgusting breakwall project.  They seem to have started by bulldozing an acre or so of Melaleuca, presumably to accommodate the hordes who are going to use the facility (not).
There are still a lot of protest signs around the town, perhaps a few less than before, but it seems like the money of the abalone divers has got to the Local and State Governments.  I had a conversation about the situation with a guy wearing  A Sea Shepherd t-shirt who clearly was not in favour of the project.  He had heard lots of theories about the “benefits” including attracting away from Eden the game fishermen  who go up the coast.   We agreed that a close look at some personal finances and beneficial interests could be illuminating.

After a break for lunch we headed off to the Heathland walk which starts just out of town on the airport road.  After the mild disappointments of the previous two expeditions this was a bottler, and East Gippsland Shire deserve much praise for the walk.  In particular dogs were allowed on leads: please note, Parks Victoria.

Habitats covered included Allocasuarina nana heath,

beach ...

and Melaleuca forest.
There were many good flowers along the way but I must start with the two orchids, both spotted by Frances.  The first is Cryptostylis subulata, the Cow Orchid.
 (a shot from underneath the labellum)
Then I think we have a Prasophyllum australe  aka Southern Leek Orchid.

Back to the other stuff: they appear in a rather random order as I had difficulty with photo insertion.  However I don't think i matters greatly.

Unknown white umbel.
 Following advice from Ian Fraser I recognised this as a monocotyledon (3 or 6 petals) but had some difficulty getting closer than that until I realised, on seeing more of them the next day, that the leaves were alternate rather than opposite.  Then it became Schelhammera undulata.
This Banksia serrata is included to show the direction of the florets.  Although the 'cone is aligned horizontally the styles have remained true to negative geotropism and headed up!
 No idea!
 An attractive grass seed head.
 A widespread tall, yellow daisy.
 Pelargonium australe.
 Billardiera scandens
Thysanotus tuberosus
 Hypoxis hygrometrica
 Viola hederaceae
 Comespermum ericinum
Melaleuca sp.  A close up ...
.. followed by a 'whole of bush' shot.
Goodenia ? heterophylla
 Dampiera stricta
 Epacris impressa
 Leptospermum sp.
 Persoonia levis
A few interesting insects were also seen.

Darth Arachnid (thank you George Lucas - send all royalty checks for using this personality in the next Star Wars epic in Australian dollars).
A weebill weevill in a pelargonium.  I suspect it is the family Curculionidae and excuse further efforts by noting that there are apparently 6500 described species in Australia alone!
I can't get the identity of this cockroach further than the family Blattidae.  However from images I have looked at notably on the Esperance blog it is clearly a female extruding an ootheca (eggcase).  Presumably the reason it was digging a hole was to bury it.
On taking Tammie out for her final comfort stop of the evening there was much growling emerging from the eucalypts beside the house.  This was the closest I have come to a Koala on this visit although Frances did spot, from the deck, a furry tushie disappearing in a mid-range eucalypt.

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