Octopus consuming Triton

Octopus’s Garden in the making…

This Octopus [ Octopus tetricus ] dragged the Triton towards his hole until it disappeared ,no doubt that the triton will be part of the octopus’s garden now.

There were several ‘gardens’ in the area ,some were tidier than others and one octopus was sharing with a large 11 armed Seastar [ Coscinasterias muricata ]or was it not a friendly  arrangement ?

 

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an unknown Peacock spider found by Helen Ransom at the Four Winds BioBlitz 
Photo Stuart Harris

Peacock spider found at Four Winds BioBlitz

The 2016 Atlas of Life and Four Winds BioBlitz on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th November was blessed by unexpected good weather and a number of exciting finds as well as art and music. 0ver 90 bird species were spotted, Koala scat was found and a possible new species of spider was recorded by Helen Ransom from Narooma on a survey led by Stuart Harris. The spider has been sent to experts for identification and in time we will know if it is indeed a new species.

an unknown Peacock spider found by Helen Ransom at the Four Winds BioBlitz Photo Stuart Harris

an unknown Peacock spider found by Helen Ransom at the Four Winds BioBlitz
Photo Stuart Harris

90 school students from across the Shire explored with Bournda EEC and a host of families and friends attended the bioBlitz from 6 am until late after dark when the moths, possums and night creatures had come out. 65 surveys were led by expert scientists and naturalists to explore and record the Four Winds site and nearby forest and beach habitats to build the biggest species list possible over two days.

The waterbug team led by Cecil Ellis and Steve Skinner had fun observing what range of creatures are living in the dam on site and they visited a site on the Murrah river not far from Four Winds that had been a Reference site in the 1980’s. We were delighted to record that the water is still very healthy, with a few of the key target species that indicate the highest level of water quality.

Steve Williams came all the way from Bendigo to see our NSW moths and found a number of species he had never seen before. Andrew Claridge and David Jackson showed how to set small mammal traps and Andrew Morrison set camera traps and they recorded a host of creatures – goannas, echidnas, antechinus and a fox, all looking for food near the cameras.

Four Winds provided the fabulous setting for the BioBlitz, Masterclasses in botanical illustration and photography and a splendid concert by Four Play string quartet to finish the week-end off.

 

A big thanks to all Survey Leaders and Volunteers and everyone who joined us to participate and who made the event such fun. Together we are building a significant species list of what lives here now and we will return from time to time to see how the biodiversity has increased ast the Four Winds planting program adds to the mix of habitats on their site.

As yet unidentified Maratus (Peacock spider) found by Helen Ransom Photo Stuart Harris

As yet unidentified Maratus (Peacock spider)
found by Helen Ransom 12th november 2016
Photo Stuart Harris

Gloomy Octopus

Gloomy Octopus and underwater companions

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Gloomy Octopus                                                            Threadfin Butterflyfish

The water is still warm enough & clear enough to  see plenty of activity around Bar beach,Merimbula,quite a few Gloomy Octopus [Octopus tetricus ]  and many small fish including tropicals.

This dark coloured octopus had one tentacle down a crevice where another octopus was seen ….maybe mating ,the dark colour might be an indication of aggression ,was pale when first spotted ,then he changed colour & made himself look larger….and more like Ecklonia radiata [ common kelp ].Amazing creatures to watch.

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Girdled Parma & White Ear juveniles.

Bar Beach

Underwater World

Blue DamselsConvict Surgeonfish

Small tropicals & large residents

Have you been snorkelling recently  amongst the myriads of small tropicals & larger residents at Bar Beach,Merimbula ? The water is a lovely temperature,very beautiful to be surrounded by the tiny fish feeding on the Cunjevoi and the occasional much larger swimming companion gliding by …….

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Young Tiger Quoll - David Gallan

Young Tiger Quoll filmed near Bateman’s Bay

David Gallan, a fine wildlife photographer has been on the track of Quolls for some time now and his patience has just paid off with some great film. He managed to get a dozen clips of two young quolls and an adult up on the escarpment, inland from Batemans Bay. As he said, “It’s been a long time coming” – but wasn’t it worth it!

Congratulations David and thanks for sharing.Young Tiger Quoll - David Gallan

Dugong  - photo at Merimbula by Hans Cousin

Rare Dugong sighting at Merimbula!

A Dugong has been seen and filmed swimming around merimbula Lake and the Wharf over the last 3 days. Several people including Beth Richards and Hannah Cousins, new curator of the Merimbula Aquarium have been watching the Dugong and this photo is by Han Cousin. See the Merimbula News Weekly for a video.

Normally Dugongs are seen much further north in tropical waters, they feed on seagrasses, so hopefully it will be happy for a while in Merimbula Lake.

Dugong  - photo at Merimbula by Hans Cousin

Dugong – photo at Merimbula by Hans Cousin

 

Close -up of a Spotted-tail Quoll June 22nd 2015
 Photo Volka

Tiger Quoll caught in the act

Along the Upper Brogo Road there is a secluded homestead. The owners were away and Volker, a neighbour, was keeping an eye on the property. Imagine his horror when he arrived to see mayhem happening in the chicken coop.

Amazingly he had his camera with him and managed to get these images of one of our top predators – the Tiger or Spotted-tail Quoll Dasyrus maculatus .

This was a large animal – apparently the chickens were large too. They can be up to 750cm head and body length and up to 550cm tail length, which is a substantial animal. Apparently they have been heard in the locality and ducks have been taken from other homesteads although apparently the guinea fowl are too agile to be caught. There is a sound recording and other information and images on Youtube.

A great shame for the chickens, but a great chance to observe a rare animal in our region. Thanks for sharing Volker.

Spotted-tail quoll and a dead chicken

Spotted-tail quoll and a dead chicken

Close -up of a Spotted-tail Quoll June 22nd 2015  Photo Volka

Close -up of a Spotted-tail Quoll June 22nd 2015
Photo Volka

 

Osprey over Merimbula lake

Osprey …. Merimbula

Osprey1This beautiful Osprey is a regular visitor around the Merimbula Lake ,sometimes perched on a boat mast near Mitchies Jetty or on the poles of the oyster leases but most regularly on the telegraph poles near the Marina having fresh[tail still flapping ] fish[ Luderick ] for lunch.

Please keep sending your sightings in to us .She[I think ] has been around all June & July and one was also seen in January.

Diamond Python1

Diamond Python

Diamond Python2Diamond Python3Loud calls from the local,larrikin Lorikeets alerted me to another presence in the garden ,a Diamond Python was taking up a bird perch !It was poised in the same position for a couple of hours and visited for 3 evenings ,disappearing during the day.

Eventually it had a meal,possibly a Little Wattle bird judging by the feathers ,one less early morning caller and I wonder where the Python is now…?About 2 weeks earlier there was a snakeskin hanging on a tree very close by.