Today was the Annual Koala Count in Narrandera. I have been every year for the last several years, except when it’s been called off because of rain or flooding, and as I did last year, I decided the Count could be April’s official field visit.
I believe I have previously mentioned that this has been an unusually wet year – well it’s gotten wetter. All the creeks across the region are over-top, as is the river in several places, and there is so much standing water in paddocks just from rainfall that it’s impossible to tell if you’re looking at flooding from a waterway or not.
I was tempted to just drive around and take photos of all the water everywhere for this month’s field trip, but in the end I decided to head to Narrandera Common, so you can compare this month’s photos with ones I’ve taken there on previous visits.
With both Bundidgerry Creek and the Murrumbidgee River to contend with, Narrandera Common currently looks like this:
Every April the Narrandera Koala Regeneration Committee and the National Parks and Wildlife Service organise Narrandera’s Annual Koala Count. I was told recently that this is one of the longest-running citizen science wildlife monitoring programs in Australia (or maybe just the longest-running koala-specific one – possibly both, I’m not sure). I don’t remember how long it’s been going, but I think somewhere around 20 or 25 years.
I spent February rushing around all over the place, meaning I visited multiple locations but none for very long, so here is a collection of photos from several of the places I visited this month.
I already posted this earlier in the month as an incidental sighting, but for anyone who missed it, here’s a Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) I found in Kindra Forest at Coolamon.
Bonus post because I attended an outdoor artistic event at Narrandera Common this weekend and was completely delighted by the amount of koala activity going on in the midst of it all. It’s currently breeding season, and while I was out there I heard at least two male koalas bellowing, and several other koalas – likely females – were spotted by myself and others.
I was very pleased to get this photo of one of the males bellowing.
If you’ve never heard a bellowing koala, it’s quite an experience, they look far too placid to make such a noise. Here’s a Youtube video I found to give you some idea.
I promised you a post about the birds I saw on my quest for wildflowers in September, and here it is!
At Mundawaddery Cemetery I saw a pair of galahs (Eolophus roseicapilla) settling in for the evening. I’m not sure if the dead tree had a nest hollow in it, or if they just liked the open roosting location.
I love September – winter is finished, summer isn’t quite here yet, and there’s wildflowers everywhere – so for September’s field trip I decided to visit several sites around the region and see what flowers I could find. A warning for people with slow connection speeds – this post is very pic-heavy.
As always, click on photos to view larger, and please excuse the variation in image quality, I used three different cameras this month, including the one on my phone, which is not the best.
I started in Ganmain because the daisies and hop-bushes (Dodonaea viscosa) beside the road caught my eye as I drove past. Strictly speaking, the lovely colourful things on the hop bushes aren’t flowers, those are their seeding bodies, but they’re much prettier and more eye-catching than the flowers.
In my first attempt to keep my promise to you and myself to try and get out more in June – and to celebrate the end of the work assignment that kept me chained to my desk every waking moment of the past two weeks – I headed back to Narrandera Common yesterday for a walk along the canal bank.
I’m not counting this as an official monthly field visit, because I did one to Narrandera Common in February, so the official June Field Visit is yet to come. Maybe count this as in lieu of April or May – especially as I had intended to visit Narrandera Common in April, for the annual koala count, which unfortunately got rained out and cancelled, and I did see some koalas yesterday (scroll down for pics).
Instead of walking through the interior of the woodland, as I did in February, I decided to walk along the canal bank this time. The Main Canal comes off of Lake Talbot at Narrandera, right next to the Common/Wildlife Reserve, and goes on to feed the Murrumbidgee and Coleambally Irrigation Areas downstream. There is a lovely broad, flat walking path along the edge of the canal for several kilometres, from the gate into the Common down to the Rocky Waterholes Footbridge. This is a very popular place for walkers as it’s a lovely easy grade and you can set your own pace, there’s no vehicular access except occasionally for maintenance (or emergency) vehicles, and you have the great experience of walking along with river red gum woodland on one side, and the canal and Lake Talbot on the other. This gives a great cross-section of bush birds and waterbirds in one place, with a high probability of seeing a koala or several, and the rather lower but not impossible chance of coming across a turtle or water-rat. Something went very loudly ‘splosh’ right behind me yesterday as I was looking at birds in the trees, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to see what it was. The bank is also raised higher than the floodplain the trees grow in, so you’re at lower-branch level for many trees, which brings a lot of the more arboreal wildlife closer and easier to see.
As always: click on the photos to enlarge them.
I seem to be developing a habit of posting each month’s field trip report on the very last day of the month. Knowing what my calendar looks like for March, I suspect next month will be the same. Here’s hoping I manage to be a bit more timely with my posts after March.
Ironically, I actually did my February field visit at the start of the month but decided not to post it so soon after January’s report, then didn’t get the chance to post about it until now.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I visited Narrandera Wetlands for World Wetlands Day. After finishing at the wetlands, I decided to spend the rest of the day exploring some of the other ecosystems Narrandera boasts. Narrandera is interesting to visit, because the town itself is situated in the middle of several very different ecosystems. Within a few minutes drive, or a fairly easy hike if you’re a keen walker, you can find an ephemeral wetland, a permanent lake, remnant Inland Grey Box and Yellow Box grassy woodland, riparian River Red Gum woodland, and hillside scrub dominated by Acacia species and Cypress Pine.
To celebrate World Wetlands Day I paid a visit to Narrandera Wetlands this morning.
Narrandera Wetlands is an ephemeral constructed wetland, which serves the dual purposes of filtering stormwater runoff from the town, before it enters the Murrumbidgee River, and providing a refuge for wetland birds and other species in a very dry landscape.
There weren’t a lot of birds about this morning, but I did have fun watching these Royal and Yellow-billed Spoonbills feeding themselves, and a handful of Australian Pelicans gliding around.