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.

eucalyptuschaferbeetleEucalyptus Chafer Beetle Xylonichus eucalypti

punctateflowerchaferPunctate Flower Chafer Neorrhina punctatum

scarabbeetleScarab Beetle Dynistanae

christmasbeetleChristmas 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.

rubyjewelRuby Jewel Beetle Buprestidae

castiarinaCastiarina australasiae

DiphucraniaDiphucrania duodecimmaculata

castiarinascolarisCastiarina scolaris

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.

horseheadweevilHorse Head Weevil Scotasmus parvicornis

greyrootweevilGrey Root Weevil Leptopius sp.

leafrollingweevilLeaf Rolling Weevil Euops sp.

belidBelid Weevil

Over Christmas the Nankeen Kestrel family along the cliffs at Point Roadknight had a very successful season, raising three healthy fledglings.

waitingNankeen 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.

parentParent bringing in food and flying off

chicksfeedingChicks feeding

John Lenagan

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