Bush Check #2.

A calm day saw the camera back in the box/ironbark bush beside Lake Glenmaggie, to continue monitoring flora and fauna as the new season progresses. The first sign of movement saw a small darkling beetle fly in to land on a twig in the forest floor litter.

Up on to the higher ground in search of orchids, and despite the dry conditions Caladenia fuscata was reasonably numerous although small in size.

An early Caladenia catenata, also small in stature, showed up.

Small moths were put to flight around the Lomandras but were too elusive to photograph, so the emphasis changed to a search for jumping spiders. A peacock jumper, Maratus plumosus frequents the edges of a track, but the search was unsuccessful, however another species that had caught a meal was a consolation prize.

On then to the Heyfield Flora Reserve to check on the Fairy Wax, Philotheca verrucosa. Once again the effects of the on-going dry conditions were very evident in the reserve, with few plants flowering and a general lack of other ground flora. In common with the previous location, birds were conspicuous by their absence, none were noticed and the only call heard was a Little Raven. It seems likely that the scarcity of invertebrate life at both sites has forced birds to shift camp in search of food at more fruitful sites.

Two of the previously mentioned small beetle were feeding on pollen on one plant.

While checking the last plant along the track before calling it a day, a buzzing heralded a rather magnificent and hitherto unrecorded bee fly zooming in to feed. With wings constantly flickering it stopped only briefly at each flower it sampled for nectar. There is always something new to see in the study of invertebrate life.

Click to enlarge.

Spring.

Well, spring is here, and it’s time to start and see what the story is with invertebrate life, after a sparse and concerning previous season. The weather is still cool however, but a warmer day was worth a look at two local sites, the local cemetery where a small area of remnant grassy plains woodland has been preserved, and the rail trail. At the cemetery, Riceflower, Clustered Everlasting, Early Nancy, and Billy-buttons were starting to show up, the latter popular with hoverflies.

Out on the rail trail Hardenbergia was flowering nicely, in contrast to many areas in the bush where wallabies looking for food in the dry conditions have browsed it right down to ground level. Several native bees, Lasioglossum (Chilalictus) callophylae were busy collecting the whitish pollen and happy to allow a close camera approach.

Little was seen in the way of Lepidoptera, just the odd Common Grass Blue butterfly, and Reddish Wave moth, Scopula rubraria. Both were too flighty to allow snaps. A bank of planted hakeas beside the trail is usually a good place to look for spiders, and two very small orb weavers were found.

This wary individual saw the camera coming, and moved quickly from its web to its retreat in a notch on the stem, where it was very well camouflaged.

Little is showing up in the native garden yet, a wander around with the camera yielded just two subjects, a tiny case moth clothed with scraps of bark, and a Trichiocercus sparshalli larva. Click the latter for a larger view.