Friday, February 24, 2017

Outing Report - February 2017

On a warm evening in February a group of Field Nats gathered at Judi and Brendon Gray’s property in anticip-ation for the light to fade and what creatures this may unveil. The Grays are true environmentalists, they live and breathe being custodians of the land. They also have shown great respect to the local traditional custodians through naming their property after them, Jarowair. (For more information check out the Gray’s blog
As the sun was setting and we waited for everyone to arrive we got our torches ready (thanks to Trish bringing red cellophane) so we didn’t hurt any eyes. Then off we headed into the dark. The first encounter was a beauty-ful Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) that the Grays had cared for in the past, now often returning for a snack and visit. As we wandered further into the property we discovered a number of Geckos, including the Robust Velvet Gecko (Oedura robusta), Bynoe’s Gecko (Heteronotia binoei), Stone Gecko (Diplodactylus vittatus) and a very cute Barking Gecko (Underwoodisaurus milii) which fell in love with Trish G’s pants. Judi pointed out that due to the tail being darker we could confirm that this Gecko still had its original tail.
As we wandered around we meet various Orb spiders, came across a Rocket Frog (Litoria nasuta) in the dry creek bed, saw an Ornate Burrowing Frog (Opisthodon ornatus) and Bleating Tree Frog (Litoria dentata). To the delight of many we also saw two Koalas in the neighbouring property, one small one was sitting in an Iron bark, not a Koala food plant but a favourite for resting. The occasional Brush tail possum was seen and we were impressed at the number of nesting boxes the Grays had put up around the property. As we finished the circuit walk and after a drink of lovely cool water, we were drawn like moths to Helen Schwencke’s insect light trap.
What an amazing array of invertebrates were found on the lit-up sheet! The king of them all was a beautiful large eucalyptus moth. Others included a robber fly, variety of leaf beetles, lacewings, katydids, horse headed katydid, emerald moths, and many other. Glenda made friends with a quite large click beetle that later in the night showed us his beautiful antennae. Helen is an amazing source of information and shared an insight, “If you want to plant for wildlife then the best place to start (and the most essential) is to plant for the invertebrate”. This is something I will be taking into my gardening!
What a fantastic night! Thanks to the Grays, Helen and everyone who came.

(Report by Jane Orme. Photographs below by Jim Ball)

Thick-tailed Gecko - Nephrurus milii

Broad-palmed Rocket Frog - Litoria latopalmata
Ornate Burrowing Frog - Platyplectrum ornatum

Northern Emerald Moth - Prasinocyma rhodocosma (identified by Don Gardner)

Rhinoceros Beetle - Xylotrupes gideon

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