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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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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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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