Thanks to all who sent in photos; we’re good for a short while, but please don’t forget the site!
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Tony Eales, who recently moved to Canberra, but he sent us a diverse batch of photos. His narrative is indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.
So, we had a long weekend for Reconciliation Day and despite it being bitterly cold, the wife and I decided to go camping. We went to the Southern Forest National Park, three hours away, because in my investigations these are the temperate rainforests closest to my new home in Canberra.
This area was also ground zero for some of the worst of the unprecedented 2019-2020 bushfire season, and the damage to giant swathes of forest was still in evidence. Where we camped was completely destroyed in those bushfires and while the rainforest plants were back along the streams, the same could not be said for the canopy, and most of the understory was a mix of packed wattle and invasive fireweed. Very different to the sparser and fern-heavy understory that would have existed before the fires.
But despite the cold and the damage there was a lot of life around to be seen and heard. I heard Superb Lyrebirds calling every day and briefly saw one dash into the understory from the side of the road as I was driving past.
Other birds were more friendly like this beautiful Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang). The Austro-Papuan Robins are not closely related to northern hemisphere robins but they come in a variety of shades of red, orange, pink, yellow and white:
In the mountains closer to Canberra, I saw Flame Robins (Petroica phoenicea), close cousins of the Scarlet Robins:
There were also flocks of the tiny Brown Thornbills (Acanthiza pusilla) foraging through the leaves for small insects:
We saw many signs of wombats but no actual wombats themselves but there were plenty of Swamp Wallabies (Wallabia bicolor) around:
At night, in among the leaves I found more than enough invertebrates to keep me photographing for a couple of hours each evening.There was the impressive Badge Huntsman (Neosparassus cf diana):
Lots of Snowy Mountain Humpbacked Slugs (Cystopelta astra):
Several large ant species out hunting including this impressive Inchman Bulldog Ant (Myrmecia forficata):
And on the way home we stopped at Black Lake and photographed a couple of duck species that are new to me because they are more common in Southern Australia. Unfortunately, I am much more set up for close up photography than distance photography.
The Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides):
and Australasian Shovelers (Spatula rhynchotis):