Another intriguing observation yesterday afternoon.
The tree pictured below is a Long-leaved Box, showing the tell-tale scars produced by Sugar Gliders feeding on sap that flows from damaged tissue under the bark. Trees with marks like this are relatively common throughout the local bush, a sign of abundant glider populations.
My attention was first drawn to the tree when a flock of Brown-headed Honeyeaters were feeding in the canopy nearby – two individuals flew to the scarred trunk to feed on the sap. After the flock departed a single White-plumed Honeyeater arrived to feed, followed not long after by a White-eared Honeyeater. I suspect this site is well-known to the residents!
I’m not aware of any research on the relationship between Sugar Gliders and honeyeaters, but clearly the nocturnal activities of the gliders have a benefit for a variety of honeyeaters and perhaps other species as well.
Sugar Glider scarring on Long-leaved Box, Bruce’s Track, 26th May 2018
Note: This post is a follow up to a similar observation last week involving Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters in the Rise and Shine. In that case the bark scars were quite different and not the obvious work of Sugar Gliders. The more you walk slowly in the bush the more magic there is to enjoy!
While outshone somewhat by a quartet of Hooded Robins these creatures were also a feature of a golden hour along South German Track on Friday evening. I was amazed also to hear the calls of a Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo to the west near Mia Mia Track. A single bird appeared briefly, heading east, but eluded the camera. I can’t recall seeing this species deep in the Muckleford bush before.
Peaceful Dove, South German Track, 20th April 2018
Male Red-rumped Parrot
Yellow-tufted and Fuscous Honeyeater
The bush dam on South German Track has provided some nice opportunities for portrait shots over the past week.
Here is a small selection.
Brown-headed Honeyeater, South German Track, 22nd March 2018
Eastern Grey Kangaroo
The bush around the Mia Mia is very quiet at present with bird numbers lower than I can recall since the Millennium drought.
Nonetheless there is plenty to see if you take your time and stay alert.
Jacky Winter, Mia Mia Road, 14th February 2018
aka Jacky Lizard
I was intrigued by this Golden Orb-Weaver, attended by two males … I hadn’t realised that this occurred until today!
The highlight was bumping into a couple of researchers from Monash University on my way home. They had just caught an already banded Eastern Yellow Robin as part of ongoing studies into the genetics and biology of this beautiful woodland bird.
Eastern Yellow Robin … a recapture about to be released
Swamp Wallabies are one of the most striking inhabitants of our local bush.
Their scientific name Wallabia bicolor is a reference to the distinct colour contrast between the coat, usually dark-brown to black and the chest which is much lighter and often rufous orange. Most individuals have a white creek stripe and a white tip to the tail. This one looks as though it has just enjoyed a dip in a bush pool prior to my arrival. I’ve seen Swamp Wallabies almost submerge themselves in water during hot weather.
Swamp Wallaby, Mia Mia Track, 10th February 2018
Bush dam in the Mia Mia
The heat at this time of year produces some amazing bushland effects, especially with the bark on our local Yellow Gums. During a run of very hot days long strips of bark, grey-blue on the outside and orange on the inside, peel away to reveal the classic ‘look’ of the Yellow Gum aka White Ironbark. The accumulation of bark on the forest floor is a key driver of the ecology of this landscape – Yellow-footed Antechinus are one of the animals to profit and not surprisingly are abundant where there is good cover of fallen bark.
Yellow Gum, Mia Mia Track, 13th January 2018
Yellow Gum bark on the forest floor, Mia Mia Track
Yellow Gums, South German Track
Red Box … not to be outdone!
Yellow-footed Antechinus on South German Track
I don’t really need any excuse for posting another story about two of my favourite subjects, the Yellow-footed Antechinus and the Rainbow Bee-eater – so here goes.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been observing a pair of Rainbow Bee-eaters nesting on the edge of the Sandon State Forest. A feature of all visits to the site has been watching Yellow-footed Antechinus hunting across the surrounding terrain. At times I’ve seen four different individuals simultaneously – with one twenty metres up, running upside down along a horizontal Grey Box branch, while another scampered over my feet as I sat quietly with the camera.
On the visit recorded below I watched the reaction of the bee-eaters as an antechinus ventured near the nesting tunnel. Both adults swooped the tiny dasyurid repeatedly until it retreated to a safer distance. I have witnessed this behaviour previously and suspect a common cause of breeding failure is predation of eggs and nestlings by antechinus.
Yellow-footed Antechinus, Sandon State Forest, 4th January 2018
Rainbow Bee-eater, Sandon State Forest, 4th January 2018