Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Tasmanian Wombat and a Dusky Woodswallow

I came across this wombat along the Bluff Hill Road near Arthur River.  The area is part of the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area. The Tasmanian wombat (Vombatus ursinus tasmaniensis) is a subspecies of the Common wombat. Wile mainland wombats can reach up to 1.2 m in length, the Tasmanian wombat averages 85cm.



This rather light coloured Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterusseen) was at Rocky Cape National Park. These are summer migrants in Tasmania. They often catch insects on the wing however, sometimes, as in this case, they will find a convenient perch and look for insects on the ground.





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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Little Grassbird, a Waterfall, and a Cactus in Bloom

 The Secretive 'Little Grassbird' Revealed

The elusive Little grassbird (Megalurus gramineus) is more often heard than seen. If you do see one, you will usually just see a small brown blur darting across the top of the reed beds. I was happy to get some shots of this one as it foraged out in the open along the edge of the reeds.  This was taken at the Tamar Wetlands near Launceston in Tasmania. I was tempted to put some music on to hide the traffic noises. However if you listen carefully you can just hear the birds repeated,  drawn out, whistling call.


( Little Grassbird - Click the play button)

St Josephs Falls
 
I also visited  St Josephs Falls recently. Here is a small video for your viewing pleasure.

( St. Joseph's Falls - Click the play button)

Cactus in Flower

This is one of the few cacti that seem to thrive outdoors in Tasmania. It takes the full brunt of our winter rains which would cause many species to rot away, We were away for a couple of days and upon returning home it was flowering away in our driveway. The sun was just going down and a I grabbed a few shots. The next day the flowers had shriveled up. There are other buds on it so we have more to look forward to.  I believe this is Echinopsis schickendantzii but feel free to correct me. 



  (Cactus: Echinopsis schickendantzii - Click the play button)

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Saturday, 10 December 2016

Koalas, Tasmanian Devils, and a Butterfly

I've posted three videos below showing a Koala, Tasmanian devils fighting and feeding , and a Pea-blue butterfly.

1. There are no wild Koalas in Tasmania. This one was filmed at the Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains, Tasmania. As they sleep for up to 22 hours a day, it's always good when you can get a fews shots of them eating. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as a Koala 'bear'. However, the Koala is actually a tree dwelling marsupial. It has a pouch just like kangaroos and other marsupials. Just to confuse us though, the scientific name, Phascolarctos, comes from the ancient Greek phaskolos, referring to a pouch or bag, and arktos, meaning "bear" - A bear with a pouch :-)

 Koala feeding - Click the play button

2. Next up is the Tasmanian devil. We have occasionally heard and seen Tasmanian devils in the backyard but as they are mostly active at night I have no photos or video. The closest encounter was just a few feet away with a devil chasing our ducks around in circles. These ones in the video were at one of the  wildlife parks mentioned above.

The latin name, Sarcophilus harrisii, is interesting. Sarcophilus literally means 'meat lover'. I'm sure you will understand why after watching the video. It's also worth mentioning that the Tasmanian Devil has the strongest bite, relative to its size, of any animal.

Tasmanian Devils feeding and fighting   - Click the play button


3. Next we have a Long-tailed Pea-blue on the annual Lupins in my backyard. These are one of the many small Lycaenid butterflies known as 'Blues'.

The Long-tailed Pea-blue  has a wide distribution. According to the encyclopedia of Life, it  ranges from Africa to southern Europe, across southern Asia to Japan, India, Ceylon, the Philippines, and Australia and Samoa. It is a resident in the main islands of Hawaii, but is not found elsewhere in North America

Long-tailed Pea-blue Butterfly  - Click the play button

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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Lowland Copperhead Snake and a Waterfall

I came across this Lowland Copperhead snake (Austrelaps superbus) the other day at the Tamar Wetlands in Tasmania.  This is not related to the American snake of similar name. It is a  venomous snake of the Elapidae family that could (and have) kill an adult human. However, they will generally remain non aggressive as long as you don't interfere with them.    They can grow up to 4 1/2 feet. This one was at least 3 1/2 feet (maybe a little longer).  They are generally found in wet areas, creeks, swamps etc,  and feed on frogs, mice, larger insects, lizards etc.  It will even cannibalise smaller copperheads. Aside from Tasmania, they can also be found in other parts of south-eastern Australia.


 ( Copperhead Snake - Click the play button)

We also visited a waterfall recently. Delaney Falls, also known as Preston falls,  are located about 25km's south of Ulverstone in Tasmania. The wide angle lens was back at the car and the GoPro battery was dead so unfortunately I did not get a shot with the entire falls top to bottom. There is always a next time  :-)

  (Preston Falls - Click the play button)

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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Butterflies and Nesting Coots

On a recent trip we stopped off at Lake Dulverton where I found this pair of Eurasian Coots ( Fulica atra ) busily building there nest among the Water Ribbons.






The  Australian Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa kershawi) have been very active lately. You may notice it is very similar to Vanessa cardui which has an almost worldwide distribution.




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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Blotched Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua nigrolutea)

Several Blotched Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua nigrolutea) have been seen in the backyard over the last few weeks. You'll notice one of the lizards has a large tick on it. This should fall off naturally soon. These are the largest lizards we have in Tasmania and can reach just over half a metre or 550mm. (21.7 inches).  The Blotched blue-tongue is found in the south-east of Australia and Tasmania. On the mainland it is usually found at higher elevations but here in Tassie it is found from sea level up to around 750m. They are omnivorous, feeding on insects, snails, flowers, and fruit. In a backyard situation they will be attracted by pet food and your strawberry patch.



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Since September I've gone from about 12 subscribers on my YouTube channel to 102. Thank you all very much for your support and encouragement. If you have not yet subscribed please consider doing so, as not all of my videos appear on this blog. If you are logged in with your google account you simply need to use the Youtube/Subscribe button below.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Tasmanian Wombat and a Dusky Woodswallow

I came across this wombat along the Bluff Hill Road near Arthur River.  The area is part of the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area. The Tasmanian wombat (Vombatus ursinus tasmaniensis) is a subspecies of the Common wombat. Wile mainland wombats can reach up to 1.2 m in length, the Tasmanian wombat averages 85cm.

Click the play button

This rather light coloured Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus) was seen in the Rocky Cape National Park at Sisters Beach. These are summer migrants in Tasmania. They often catch insects on the wing however, sometimes, as in this case, they will find a convenient perch and look for insects on the ground.

Click the play button


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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Rise of the Supermoon - 14th Nove 2016

Super moon as viewed from Table Cape, Wynyard, Tasmania.

With the closest so called "Supermoon" in 68 years I thought I should capture a bit of video. Unfortunately local conditions were not great with a lot of cloud and haze, and just enough wind to shake my tripod. Despite this, I still managed to get a couple of minutes of film, which I have sped up, as it rose above the cloudy horizon.


(Slightly sped up)



I hope you enjoy the video.


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Linked to Our World Tuesday 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Mountain Dragons ( Rankinia diemensis )

The Mountain Dragons in this video were filmed in my backyard a couple of weeks ago.  Over the years we have created lots of rocky areas in the yard which has greatly increased the lizard population.



Of Tasmania's 17 lizard species this is the only one which is not a skink. It belongs to the family Agamidae and it has the most southerly distribution of all the lizards in this family.

You can get quite close to a Mountain Dragon if you move slowly. If they run they will only go a short distance and then stop again, hoping that you can't see them. It works too as sometimes you can't see them because they blend in so well among leaves and sticks.

They are found in the north and east of Tasmania, in dry forest and heathland as these areas are more open to the sun. Their diet consists of ants and other small invertebrates. They can grow to around 20cm (about 8") including their tail.


I hope you enjoy the video.


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Saturday, 5 November 2016

Silver Gull Flight in Slow Motion

The Silver gull ( Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae )  is one of three gull species found in Tasmania. They are often taken for granted or even despised as raucous scavengers. Watching them here, flying and gliding  in slow motion, I hope you will agree they can  actually be graceful and beautiful bird.

I hope you enjoy the video.





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Cute Baby Sun Conure being Preened by a Green-cheeked Conure ( Parrots )


Allow me to introduce Solly, the 9 week old Sun Conure, and Eccles, the Green-cheeked Conure.  After a messy feed, Eccles decided that Solly needed a good preening.

I hope you enjoy the video.








Yes I know this doesn't really fall under the topic "Nature of Tasmania" which is why I need to get around to changing the blog title to mostly nature.


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Saturday, 29 October 2016

Lizards at War - White's Skink, Territorial Behaviour

There are several colonies of White's Skink (Egernia whitii) in the backyard and at the moment they are displaying territorial behavior. An old battle scarred specimen known as Stumpy (no tail) seems to be the lizard king.  Some lizards are chased away while in other cases it seems more about establishing the pecking order.  For example the young lizard seen in the video thumbnail below only moved about a metre away and has since crossed paths with stumpy without any altercations.






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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

So Why are Tasmanian Native-hens Known as Turbo Chooks?

The flightless Tasmanian Native-hen (Gallinula mortierii) belongs to the Rallidae family (rails, coots, swamphens). Colloquially they are referred to as the Turbo Chook.

So why is it called the Turbo Chook?  Watch the video to find out.




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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Black Swans and a Wascally Wabbit

This video shoes  a female Black Swan with four advanced cygnets. These were filmed at Pitcher Pde Reserve near Launceston, Tasmania.



On Friday morning I went out to film Humpback Whales. All I came home with was  some shots of this wascally wabbit eating daisies by a disused railway line :-)



The European Rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, was introduced to Tasmania in the 1820s. The first feral populations were recorded in 1827 in south-eastern Tasmania. (Source: dpipwe)

The daisies are Capeweed, Arctotheca calendula. (Introduced from South Africa)
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Saturday, 15 October 2016

Royal spoonbill - Nest Building, Courtship, and Mating

This video shoes two Royal Spoonbills (Platalea regia) also known as the Black-billed spoonbill, engaged in nest building, courtship, and mating. The Royal spoonbill is quite uncommon in Tasmania with only a handful of birds around the state in recent years. 




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Friday, 7 October 2016

Pacific Gull - Courtship and Mating


This video shows the courtship and mating of the Pacific gull (Larus pacificus). The Pacific gull is the the largest of Tasmania's three gull species measuring 580mm - 650mm.






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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Galah on a Wet and Windy Day


This video was taken from the comfort of a warm dry car while the weather raged outside. There were three Galahs (only one in the video) struggling in the wind while foraging for roots and shoots. Shortly after, they flew further along the coats - or maybe they blew along the coast - I'm not sure :-)


The  Galah is a member of the Cockatoo family, Cacatuidae, and is sometimes known as the Rose-breasted cockatoo. The one in the video is a female.





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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Forester Kangaroos (Macropus giganteus tasmaniensis)


A small video showing a mob of Forester Kangaroos  (Macropus giganteus tasmaniensis) at Narawntapu National Park in Tasmania. I counted over 80 kangaroos in the Springlawn area on Monday.

The Forester is the Tasmanian subspecies of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. (Skippy the bush kangaroo was a female Eastern Grey) Males can weigh over 60kg and when standing upright can be 2m tall. (over 6 feet) This makes them the worlds second largest marsupial after the Red Kangaroo.





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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)


A small video of a Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) at Lake Dulverton, Tasmania



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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Canary Flatworm

... Fletchamia sugdeni
 

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While straightening some rocks around the garden pond I came across two  Land planarians or Terrestrial flatworms. They are often found in damp areas such as  under rocks or logs.

They are carnivorous and come out at night to feed on a range of small invertebrates including slugs.  There are many Flatworm species and this one seems to be  Fletchamia sugdeni , also known as  Sugden's flatworm or Canary Flatworm. These are the worms you may have heard stories about that can be cut in two and live on as two individual worms. Amazingly, they can even do this voluntarily.



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Saturday, 24 September 2016

White's Skink (Liopholis whitii) Catches Slater

With spring warming up, the reptiles in the backyard are becoming more active.   I've recorded 8 species in the backyard over the last 10 years; 6 lizards and 2 snakes. The lizard below is known as  White's Skink (Liopholis whitii)

White's Skink lives in a network of  burrows between rocks or fallen timber. It grows to around 90mm head to vent so at least double that if you include the tail. They live in family groups. They are said to be an ambush predator although I have seen them stalk their prey over short distances.

White's Skink lurking among the rocks.

In the video below, I was fortunate in capturing the moment this lizard caught and ate a slater (also known as a woodlouse, pill bug, roly-poly and many other names). You will notice that after killing the slater it drops it and then after a little while proceeds to eat it. I thought the lizard had accidentally  dropped the slater. However, the next day I filmed another White's skink and it did exactly the same thing, kill, drop, wait, and then eat. Now I'm wondering if they are actually making sure it is dead before eating it. Any thoughts?






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Linked with Saturdays Critters

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Plovers, Black Swans, and an Old Windmill


On a recent, though brief, stopover in St. Helens we popped in at the bird observation point at Colchis Creek. There is no hide there or anything; just a wooden bench. We were immediately welcomed by two Red-capped Plovers. Well it wasn't really a welcome. More like they were trying to chase us off. I think they may have been nesting nearby. In any case, I managed a couple of photos before we moved on.



Red-capped Plover - Charadrius ruficapillus (Male)

Red-capped Plover - Charadrius ruficapillus (Male)

The short video below shows some Black Swans. The footage was taken at various places around the state including:
  • Lake Dulverton in Oatlands, Tasmania
  • Gould's Lagoon in Hobart Tasmania
  • Tasmanian Arboretum at Eugenana, Tasmania


Next is a bit of a look around Lake Dulverton. This is an ephemeral lake located by the historic town of Oatlands in the Tasmanian Midlands. After above average winter rains the lake is currently full. E-Bird shows that 84 bird species have been recorded there including some rare and uncommon birds (for Tasmania) such as Wandering Whistling Duck, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt and Latham's Snipe.

Callington Mill is a working, Georgian era windmill, built in 1837. Interestingly, the original sails were blown off in a storm back in 1912 and landed in the lake.



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Linked with Wild Bird Wednesday
Linked with Saturdays Critters
Linked with I'd Rather B Birdin'

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Wildlife Watching at Narawntapu National Park



On Monday we enjoyed a day  out at Narawntapu National Park. The highlight of the day for me came just as we were leaving. There is a small ephemeral body of water that comes quite close to the road. We stopped to make a final scan, with binoculars, across the water and surrounding field.  Sure enough there were several species I had not already seen that day. Great egret, Australasian pipit, Flame robin, White-fronted chat, and two Black-fronted dotterels. The dotterels were foraging along the edge of the water and gradually making there way around to where we were parked. I've been trying to get a reasonable photo of these birds for a long time so this was my big chance. I was quite happy with the results:



 

Black-fronted dotterels

Other highlights included seeing 74 Forester Kangaroos; the most I have ever seen there. There were the usual Bennett's wallabies, and Tasmanian pademelons. We only spotted one Wombat. Some years ago I remember counting over 80 wombats within just a couple of kilometres but, sadly, the population has been decimated by mange. Five mammal species in all if I include the European rabbit.  All but the rabbit can be seen in the following video.






There were not a lot of birds present at the hide apart from four rather entertaining Musk ducks. One just wanted to spin around in circles on the water while trying to doze.




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Linked with Wild Bird Wednesday

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Nature of Tasmania - Videos

Hi folks! Remember me?  Oh...  I didn't think so :-) Unfortunately, I rarely have the time to post here these days however I do occasionally post a few short videos on YouTube.  Below are a few examples.  If you are interested, follow the link for more:





Guide Falls, Ridgley, Tasmania


Musk Ducks at Narawntapu National Park


A little snow at Lake Kara

Awesome View of a Platypus

Mini Lop Eared Rabbit Having Kittens

The Moon - Shot with a Canon 7D and a 10 inch Sky-watcher Telescope