The Nature Of The River.

The Macalister River has been experiencing continuing high flows until recently, and expectations weren’t high for Odonata sightings, based on experience with a stretch of the Avon, where populations take some time to recover after a flood.

Running a banker, 11/12/2021

However, a visit to Bellbird Corner Riverside Reserve a little over a month later was surprising, with seven species recorded, one in unusual numbers. Along the Newry Creek the usual suspects were present, Tau and Australian Emeralds and Blue Skimmer.

Hemicordulia australiae, Australian Emerald.

Orthetrum caledonicum, Blue Skimmer.

To the river then, now low, with areas of sand, mud,  and shingle exposed,

and the Persicaria that was flattened by the flood waters regenerating strongly, with flowers in bud  ready to open for the native bees.

A number of dragonflies were observed flying low over and settling on the shingle, and after checking on the camera monitor, the species was a surprise, Jade Hunter, Austrogomphus ochraceus. In previous years only one record of a single individual had been made, and to see so many on this occasion was a notable record. They were very relaxed, and many photos were taken, males and females.



Not to be outdone, the Yellow-striped Hunter was also present.

Austrogomphus guerini.

The damselfly that is a feature of the reserve is the Common Flatwing, Austroargiolestes icteromelas, always present each season in numbers, and easy to snap.

Also a feature, although not seen each year, the beautiful Bronze Needle, Synlestes weyersii, several, males and females were perching low by the river.


Female and male.

All round, a pleasing result, that perhaps illustrates how the difference in river beds affects Odonata populations in times of flood. The Avon location mentioned has an open bed mainly of water worn stones and sand, that is significantly disturbed by rushing flood water, while the bed of the Macalister is mainly of of silt and sand, with submerged logs and fallen trees to provide habitat and shelter from the current.

At The Bee Hotel #2.

Strangely, in a season when a lot of the usual wasps seen in the garden have been largely absent, a species not previously observed has appeared, namely a species in the genus Pison. Several are working busily, nesting in the bamboos and red gum block.

Sealing the entrance.

Job done.

Another individual at its nest hole.

Next afternoon, sealing up.

And back to the first wasp, second nest on the go beside the first.

Stocking the larder with a spider, first of two seen going in..

While the wasps and bees are mostly observed going in head first, occasionally they will reverse in, the reason probably being to lay an egg.