I have an aunt and uncle who own a property near Wagga Wagga, and they recently discovered a Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus) nesting near their house, and invited my parents and I out to see it.
I’ve never seen a Rainbow Bee-eater in person before, so I leapt at the chance, and was not disappointed. We saw the bee-eater flying around and snapping up insects, and it very kindly perched for a few minutes on a tree branch so I could get some photos.
This weekend my parents invited me to visit Canberra with them. After a look around the National Museum of Australia, we headed out to a night tour at Mulligans Flat.
Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary is an area of remnant Box Gum Grassy Woodland that is being managed to conserve and restore the entire ecological community at all levels. Non-native predators are actively excluded, rabbits are gradually being eradicated from within the reserve, and several locally-extinct native species have been reintroduced over the past few years, including Eastern Bettongs, Eastern Quolls, New Holland Mice, Bush Stone Curlews, and others. There are a large number of other native species living within the reserve as well.
I would also like to note that someone else has a similar Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RiverinaWildlife for sharing photos and news about wildlife on farms in the Riverina. I do not know who runs this page, but a quick look down their feed suggests that people who like my posts may be interested in theirs as well. Here’s hoping confusion between the two pages will be minimal.
I must confess to a spot of laziness this month. With plenty of time available, and much sunnier weather than we’ve had in months, I had many opportunities to head out for a field visit during October, but I left off doing so until the final weekend (I did get a lot of washing and some yard work done, though, so I’m counting it as a productive month from a non-blogging perspective).
My tardiness was then capped off by a spot of not thinking things through properly, and I decided to head to Leeton’s Fivebough Swamp for this month’s trip. I managed to forget the part where this has been a high-rainfall year, and although Fivebough is now actively managed, it has for millennia been a drainage depression below a line of hills – aka a place that catches water in high-rainfall years (I don’t know, I was distracted, the brain cells just did not connect).
I have previously blogged about visits to Fivebough in January this year and last, so you might like to compare with the photos from those visits.
Currently, the main entrance to Fivebough looks like this:
I visited Deniliquin briefly earlier this month. I didn’t have much opportunity for bird-watching or bush-walking, but I did see this male Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus), who was kind enough to stay still long enough for me to get some good photos. (Also of note: flooded Edward River, which was rising as I watched)
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:
Winter this year has been cold and wet, and I’ve gotten sick more than once, so no field trip happened this month. I have however been reading ‘Where Song Began’ by Tim Low, which has been very interesting, and has taught me a lot of things about Australian (and international) birds and biogeography that I didn’t previously know.