Sunday, 15 February 2015

Both ends and the middle of Natural demography

That should be a warning that this post includes some dead things.

However let us start at the other end of a cycle with a nest.  I was recently doing something - of a bloke nature, possibly fitting a new tyre to my wheelbarrow - under our carport when I became aware of a piping bird call coming from somewhere nearby.  After a bit of searching I found the nest of a Yellow-faced Honeyeater complete with begging chick.  I didn't want to disturb things unduly so didn't intrude with my camera at the time.

However the chick(s) have fedged so here is a look into the empty nest.
I hope you see the many strands of vegetable material woven to make up this domicile.

It was probably not too important to avoid disturbing the birds, since they built the nest in a rose bush next to our deck.  Not only do we walk past it several times a day but Frances waters pot plants within a metre of the nest and we hang our washing there when rain is imminent.
'b' is the nest and 'a' is my PJs hanging out to dry!

After starting this post I got an image of a specimen in the middle of its life.
I have offered many images of Gippsland Water Dragons but this one is particularly colourful!  It is a lot bigger than those seen in the Creek earlier this season so has either grown a lot or migrated.  Both good demographic processes!

The first item in the dead pool was found on our drive early one morning.
This is a Spotted Grass Frog, Limnodynastes tasmaniensis.  Obviously a rather young one from its size (the ants provide a relative size indicator).  A much larger, and more ant enhanced, example was further up the drive.  At least they were getting recycled.

This morning I was doing more bloke stuff in the vegie garden when a small bunny bolted into my compost area.  Obviously a job for SuperTerrier!  She was inserted into the area and after about 25 seconds searching the head lunged, at a speed which would make a cobra jealous, and a grip, similar to that which a lion applies to a loser in the gnu-lottery, applied.  After a suitable pause the garden was then patrolled with bunny in mouth to find a suitable digging site.
By the (short) time Frances arrived with the camera - I couldn't leave the area as I was on tracking duty - a suitable hole had been dug; prey inserted; and muzzle utilised in grader fashion to cover up the evidence.  This is post interment inspection.

There could be trouble in a few days time when the site is re-inspected by the digger to assess edibility.  That will be because Frances didn't wish to disinter the corpse when weeding so I had to shift the body elsewhere.  An alert fox will have a good time near our dam as I also disposed of another rabbit there yesterday, courtesy of Messrs Remington.  (Shot rabbits are down to a cost of about $80 a head now after all the Government charges are included.)

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