Over the last month one could not help but notice how the local fauna were battling with the heat and furnace-like winds, and more recently the smoke from the fires around the State.
Making sure our bird baths remained clean and had sufficient fresh water was almost a full-time job. During the heat of the day, numerous birds, and mammals such as possums visited, sometimes just to sit in the water.
While I have seen significant reductions in the number of insects that are normally around during the summer period, I thought it would be good to rejoice in a couple of those that have turned up.
These include some of our more robust beetles with which we celebrate Christmas. They come out of the ground from their larval stage with the warmer weather, although their numbers seem to be in decline compared to previous years.
Eucalyptus Chafer Beetle Xylonichus eucalypti
Punctate Flower Chafer Neorrhina punctatum
Scarab Beetle Dynistanae
Christmas Beetle Anoplognathus montanus
There have also been these lovely Jewel beetles. While quite small at about 15mm, they can be seen on various flower blossoms around December. Most of the Jewel beetles are wood borers in the larval stage. Again, these beetles start to come out with the warmer weather.
Ruby Jewel Beetle Buprestidae
We have had some very interesting beetles come into the collection sheets recently, with a great variety of weevils seen in the reserves on our surveys.
Horse Head Weevil Scotasmus parvicornis
Grey Root Weevil Leptopius sp.
Leaf Rolling Weevil Euops sp.
Over Christmas the Nankeen Kestrel family along the cliffs at Point Roadknight had a very successful season, raising three healthy fledglings.
Nankeen Kestrel chicks waiting for next feed
In the end I could only see one parent coming back to the eyrie typically every 10–15 minutes, bringing skinks and small rodents which were cleverly shared amongst the three ravenous chicks.
Parent bringing in food and flying off
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.