We have finally had some rain and with just that little bit of moisture in the soil the magnificent Ghost and Rain Moths from the Hepialidae oxycanus family (5 different species) came through in large numbers.
This is much to the joy of the Sugar Gliders who love them as do bats, ringtail possums, many birds and numerous other insectivores. The Rain Moths emerge from under the ground where they have been feeding on eucalypt roots for up to six years to mate and disperse, scattering their 30,000 eggs across the ground before dying after about two days.
The image below, taken by Zak Atkins, shows a Sugar Glider eating a large female Rain Moth. I had the good fortune to witness the possums chasing the moths in the Messmate trees after the rains out the back of Niblick St on May 8—there were hundreds of moths on the sheet that night.
Sugar Glider eating Rain Moth
Just before the heavier rains arrived, we were visited by the very large and magnificent Batwing Moths or White Stemmed Gum Moths, Chelepteryx collesi. They are our second biggest moths of the district, coming out after the first wet in autumn. Like the Rain Moths, they also breed and die and have no mouth parts to feed.
Batwing Moth (male, 110 mm wingspan)
Their cousin, the smaller White Stemmed Wattle Moth, Chelepteryx chelepteryx, also visited in the first week of May before the batwings.
White Stemmed Wattle Moth (female, 85 mm wingspan)
One night in early May, Mandy Mitchell-Taverner heard loud cries as if someone was being murdered outside her house. She bravely ventured out only to find what she thinks was an Eastern Barn Owl. They are smaller and generally lighter in colour than Masked Owls, although they still have the oval face which assists them to listen for their prey.
Eastern Barn Owl
When walking past the teatree marshlands off Denham track, which have partially refilled, Patrick Flanagan and Janet Stephens heard a fabulous chorus of frogs which they digitally recorded. On listening to these calls, we identified at least three species.
Spotted Marsh Frog
Common Eastern Toadlet
Brown Tree Frog
Recently, out along the rock platforms at low tide on Point Roadknight, I noticed many thousands of tiny limpets which on closer observation resembled the four or five different species that can be found on the point. As far as could be ascertained, these were the second or third stage of the juvenile limpets coming back to re-colonise the rock platform—an event that we had not noticed before.
Adult Limpet (4 cm) with sub adults (1 cm)
Mon 9:30am - 11:00am
Sat 9:30am - 2:30pm
Get to Know our Tracks
Sun 10:00am - 12:00pm
Friends of Aireys Inlet–rehabilitation working bee - Painkalac Valley
Mon 9:30am - 11:00am
Sun 9:30am - 11:00am
Friends of Allen Noble Sanctuary
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.