Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Inlet yes, Outlet no.

I found an unusual aspect of eBird yesterday in that the waters of Mallacoota Inlet are treated as part of the sea rather than East Gippsland Shire.  As I commented to my informant the current state of the entrance to the Inlet casts some doubt on that.  I'll cover this, with some evidence, below.

However I will start with sunrise.  When I got up (as usual at 0530) there were some clouds around which seemed to offer promise of a spectacular sunrise.
 The sun still wasn't really up at 0608
 ..  but the mist further up the Inlet was looking quite interesting.
 By 0623 things were quite colourful and the sun was above the horizon so that was about as good as it gets.
 I think these were lenticular clouds not UFOs!
 I was feeling a tad knackered this morning so we cut the dog walk short and after breakfast etc went for a stroll to Bastion Point.  I had heard rumours that the very expensive breakwater built to service the abalone fishermen had silted up. Looking at the amount of extra sand on the beach by the steps - at least 1.5m higher than in the past, judging by how much of the steps had been covered - I can see there might be a problem.
Indeed moving down the beach the entrance to the Inlet was completely blocked with the dune being about 2m high.   This did have two effects.  First we could walk across the Rive Gauche of the Inlet.  Second it did mean that a very special propeller would be needed to get out to sea (or a bunch of husky lads to do a portage).
 If there is a big rain event I suspect quite a bit of Mallacoota could get damp:   Lakeside Drive will go under for sure, but I think all the houses would be safe.

There were a few things in flower in the dunes.  These buds on a pigface (Carpobrotus glaucescens) were unusual - we do of course see the flowers all over.
 As this has 6 petals/sepals it is a monocotyledon possibly a lily of some form.
 This is definitely a daisy (ie member of the Asteraceae) but I will pass on firther detail.
As Eastern Curlews are a species at risk it is always good to see one.  Here it's wading in front o a Chestnut Teal.
 There were several - at least 7 White-faced Herons around.  A couple posed on this interesting bit of drifftwood
A female White-fronted Chat ...
 ... was heading for Bird of the Day until we flushed a Ground Parrot on the Gun Club Track later in the day.

Maintaining the French influence we had a Fleur de Oystercatcher!
 A Red-capped Plover (one of 4 seen today) broke all the rules by posing nicely.
 On top of the blocking dune the Citizen artists had been at work installing a quite complicated bit of work.

As we walked along the lagoon side I noticed lots of whelk-looking shells.  Then eagle-eyed Frances noticed that they seem to all be inhabited ...
 .. Hermit Crabs!
 This lot were in clearer water so gave a clearer image.  Many thousands of them in total.
 Finally some kelp fruit washed up on the ocean side of the dune.
It was notable that other than the Ground Parrot referred to above there were hardly any birds around on the Gun Club Track: no Pipits, Jacky Winters or Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters.  But the Parrot made up for that.

We went to check the bats and they turned on another performance.  As we walked down the hill there were only a few in the air.  But within a couple of minutes the cloud had arisen.  There was a quite strong South Easterly wind so they were headed off to the North West, rather than out across the Inlet.  For about 8 minutes they poured out of their roost and then they had all emerged and the sky went clear. 

As the visit began so it ends.  After doing a few things at the house I was requested - actually a bit stronger than that - to go and remove a large frog from the window in the main bedroom.  I went to grab the camera first and was threatened with terrible things if I let the frog escape.
I didn't.  It wasn't very cooperative jumping around in the plastic jug I used as a trapping device but I think it had the crossed shaped iris diagnostic of a Peron's Tree Frog.  It was deposited outside.

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