Posted on 4 January, 2018 by Tanya Loos
Elevated Plains landholder, Richard Pleasance sent us some fantastic video footage of a small bat or microbat visiting his nest box. I posted the footage online to the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria Facebook page and a bat expert identified the bat as a type of long-eared bat; either a Lesser Long-eared or a Gould’s Long-eared bat, both of which are common in this area. Please click on the link below to view the bat movie – the bat arrives several seconds in…
These two bat species live on insects, and use their incredible ears and skills in echolocation help them locate crickets, moths, grasshoppers and other prey. Both species roost in a range of locations, such as peeling bark, small hollows and, in the case of Lesser Long-eared bats, disused Fairy Martin nests, old coats or under piles of bricks in sheds! Come breeding season, the females live in maternity colonies, which may be in hollow trees or sometimes in houses.
This bat was probably a single male, as they often roost alone. Richard built the box himself, using recycled materials, with the aim of attracting Brush-tailed Phascogales. Below is a photo of a phascogale inspecting the box. According to Richard ‘the box is on a stringy bark located in lovely bush close to a ridge but still a bit protected from weather’ and it faces south east.
Richard doesn’t carry out any manual inspections of his nest boxes, preferring to set up wildlife cameras to monitor usage. This is a great option as it is safer than using a ladder to inspect, and minimises disturbance to the creatures within. And there is more! This nest box was also visited by a third species: a Sugar Glider (see below).
If you would like to monitor your nest boxes this summer, you could try wildlife cameras. We have a small number at the office to lend to landholders, or you could try another non-invasive technique known as stagwatching. A stag is an old dead tree with hollows, but the stagwatching process may be used to check nest boxes too. Stagwatching involves using the natural light at dusk to check the box usage, simply by waiting quietly by the box for some time. A very meditative experience, provided you cover up adequately against mosquitoes!
Many thanks to Richard for the wonderful footage and photos.
Posted on 23 November, 2017 by Asha
Jacky lizards, geckos, pobblebonks, and ‘Tuk’ the turtle are all stars of our new reptile and frog photo gallery. CLICK HERE to go to the page, where we share photos of reptiles and frogs sent in by community members. Most of these photos are from landholders involved in Connecting Country’s reptile and frog monitoring program (CLICK HERE to read more), which uses ceramic roof tiles as artificial habitat for reptiles and frogs. Tile monitoring is fantastic, but these photos also capture species that don’t use tiles as habitat, like goannas.
Thank you to everyone who shared their photos!
If you have any interesting photos of reptiles or frogs that you would like to share in our photo gallery, please send them to email@example.com
Posted on 19 September, 2017 by Tanya Loos
The local U3A birdwatching group visited Muckleford Train Station last week, and were entranced by a large flock of Striated Pardalotes displaying and carrying on in very close proximity. Local birdo and photographer Peter Turner captured a stunning series of images, and kindly sent them in so we could share them with you all!
One of the behaviours that intrigued Peter is a display which involves the pardalote bowing slightly, opening both wings and spreading its tail. Many of the pardalotes were displaying in this way, and Peter asked what the behaviour might mean.
Here at the office, we have a copy of a large detailed book known as the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (HANZAB) The entry on Striated Pardalotes details this behaviour.
The Wing-and-tail Display is associated with nesting behaviour. As the Striated Pardalote sexes are very difficult to tell apart, it is not known whether the male or the female or both sexes are displaying. The display may involve quivering the wings, or fanning them by alternately opening and folding them.
The Wing-and-tail Display is often part of a group display, where several pairs that are nesting in close proximity display to one another.
The Muckleford Station is a Striated Pardalote breeding hotspot – with many nest burrows excavated in the clay soil near the platform.
Striated Pardalotes also take readily to nestboxes, in fact previously on this blog, we featured a pardalote nestbox design by Ric Higgins; for details, click here.
While Spotted Pardalotes are loved by many, these photographs remind us that the Striated Pardalotes are little stunners too. Thanks so much for the photos, Peter!