Monday, 5 February 2018

Mallacoota gets crowded

This is not a reference to the Council campground overflowing (it is well used but nowhere near full) but the numbers of wildlife present in a few spots.  Details of them will emerge as the post develops.

Sunrise was very spiffy this morning.  By the time it had risen this much the fruit bats had stopped flying by on their return to the roost.

 While out snapping the sunrise I noticed a Pelican down on the Inlet so tried a photo.  Not art-house quality but not bad for handheld at about 150m range.
 This immature White-headed Pigeon  was a good bit closer, on the power lines along the road.
 A little later in the morning I noticed the moon was visible.
Our dog walk went all the way into town.  Quite a good range of birds but nothing really exciting.  Tammie met a couple of other dogs: one of these is a huge friendly Mastiff - at least 10 times her size.  It is also very young and according to its owner just wants to play (which seemed accurate).  I was amused that it cocked its head on one side to look at Tammy - obviously trying to work out the nature of something that much smaller.

Our next foray was the Heathland walk.  En route we noticed this Angophora flowering in the centre of town: these trees are the target of the bats.
The walk was not very floriferous (giving it the best of it).  I did get a few  photos.  Herewith a Brachyscome sp.
 A Scaeveola sp - probable the most apparent flowers.
 Interestingly nearly all the flowers were from the blue/purple end of the spectrum.  We also saw Thysanotus patersonii (Twining Fringe-lily) and Hybanthus, but I didn't get a photo of them.

This fungus - possibly Botellus emodensis - had some blue stain where it got bruised:
Also blue was a pair of copulating Dragonflies.  After pausing impolitely for an image they took off, still flying United.
 A bush cockroach scampered across the track.
Of course the sea was blue!
In the afternoon we went to the Recycled water plant (aka the poo pits) to check the waterbirds.  There was a reasonable level of diversity (I recorded 30 species) but huge numbers of Eusrasian Coot (300); Hoary-headed Grebe (300 big pond, 50 on another); Grey Teal (200) and Hardhead (100 - a very high count for this species).  As we were walking out a Wedgetail flew over vocalising: this was warning an immature White-bellied Sea-eagle about not invading the Wedgie's territory.

As night fell I went to check the bats.  Holy heavens: the sky was absolutely full of mammals.The next two images might give a bit of an idea  - I do not reject the estimate of 40,000 bats in the colony.

After about 20 minutes the sky was almost clear as they had all headed up the Inlet to feed.  The yellow circle is the colony; red dot the house and green arrows indicate the edges of the flight zone that I could see.  They might also be going in other directions out of my field of view.
Finally, here is the moon at 2258 hrs.

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