Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Late last week, a 50cm long Copperhead, very attractive in its grey, bronze and pale yellow, turned up in my front yard. I guess it was a young specimen. I retrieved my spade and scooped it up. The snake was docile, not attempting to strike at the spade or anything else. I took it across the road and gently lowered it into dense vegetation at the edge of paddocks. It hasn't returned. LJ, 21 January 2014.
Monday, January 13, 2014
At last, another living snake in Bundanoon! I was beginning to think they'd all packed up and left town for good. A very healthy Red-bellied Black Snake, over four foot long I reckon, was at my platypus site mid-morning. I can't believe Bundy's snakes are so damn shy and elusive. Maybe, I'm just not stealthy enough. LJ, January 13 2014.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
I meant to post this earlier... A couple of weeks ago, when amongst Old Argyle Road's closed banksia forest (where termite mounds meet wombat holes) hoping to flush a Spotted Quail-thrush or Common Bronzewing, I lifted up a piece of fallen timber and discovered a Bibron's Toadlet, an amphibian I've never seen before. It reminded me of the Red-crowned Toadlet, which, in the late 90s, I used to find from time to time, after dark, near The Sphinx in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, northern Sydney. LJ, January 5 2014.
It was July 4, 2012 when I last spied a Platypus in Bundanoon. This morning, I was fortunate to see one again, at the same spot; probably the same animal. A ring of bubbles breaking on the creek's smooth surface alerted me to its presence. The monotreme floated for five seconds, then vanished. Still, I had a great view of it through my binoculars. I waited for twenty minutes for the critter to resurface, but alas, nothing but more water bubbles. I'd love to know where the Platypus' burrow is. While waiting for another glimpse of the Platypus, I saw two Dusky Antechinuses, nervously scampering about among rock slabs by the edge of the creek. This surprised me somewhat. LJ, 5 January 2014.
A quick scan of ducks drifting on the sewage works this morning produced two female Freckled Ducks (bird no. 162)! Their scaled plumage, distinctly-shaped heads and unique bills make FDs easy to identify. In Pizzey and Knight's latest field guide Freckled Ducks are described as nomadic, irruptive and rare. I've only seen Freckled Ducks on two or three occasions and never before in the Southern Highlands. I had a few out at the Lake Cargelligo Sewage Works when on the Twitchathon late last October. LJ, 5 January 2014.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Yet again, Shangri la Rd comes up with the goods! This time, a pair of hunting Spotted Harriers, bringing my Bundanoon bird list to 162 species. The male was spectacular, particularly when it plunged into long grass in pursuit of something. Its presence had Common Starlings, Welcome Swallows and Tree Martins scattering. The female was circling low over closed forest canopy to the west, which is a little unusual for this species, as Spotted Harriers prefer to cruise low over more open country. I've only seen a Spotted Harrier once before in the Southern Highlands - late last October, between Penrose and Tallong, where rural land surrounds a massive dam. LJ, January 4 2014.