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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