Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Photos from Bermagui and environs

Here are the first photos from my weekend away, at Bermagui. Readers of the Aussie Nature Blogs may already have seen my smiling visage on David's Blog, "Focus on Nature". Today it is my turn to show the first of my images.

There is a very interesting pond across the road from David's house, which is well populated with Ducks, and other water birds and waders.
The first up is the ubiquitous Black Duck
Next is a pair of Chestnut Teal.
This is the only duck I know of to have popular brand of Sherry named after it.
The male is very handsome. The female looks very similar to the Grey Teal.
At one of the estuaries in the area, we stopped to watch Pelicans and Swans. While David was photographing the Pelicans and gulls fighting over a bucket of fish scraps. I happened to spot this Caspian Tern flying over. I haven't seen one of these birds in many years. In truth, I was suspicious that this tern was something other than a Crested Tern, because of its large size, and slow flapping flight. But I was not sure until I developed the image. Apart from its size, the dark red beak is diagnostic. In my limited experience with this species, whenever I have seen a Caspian Tern, it has been as a solitary bird, whereas Crested Terns tend to hang out in groups - frequently over the ocean, or on sand dunes. This bird was circling high over the river estuary.
Having left the estuarty and coast, we headed into the bush. This is a Bell Miner.
Here is the casing of the Lerp insect (Cardiaspina sp). Bell Miners love these insect casings, which are a sugary exudate, made by the tiny insect which lives underneath the shell. It chews the Eucalypt leaves, and secretes this lattice-like casing. The insect starts out small (tiny), and then grows, and as it does, so does the casing which it secretes from the sugary substances which it extracts from the Eucalyptus leaves. These hard sugary coatings were eaten as "bush tucker" by Aboriginal people. One would have needed to eat hundreds of these Lerps to get a snack. Each of these Lerps is about the size of my fingernail.

These "lerps" are the favourite food of the Bell Miners, which vigorously defend (as their "territory") the trees on which these lerps are found. David has described what happened when I made a squeaking noise, with my lips, to see if I could attract the Bell Miners from high in the trees. They appeared out of "nowhere", ready to drive away any "intruders".

Bell Miners live in colonies, and when they gather together, the Lerps are advantaged, because the Bell Miners vigorously chase away all other birds which also might like to eat the casings of the Lerps. Eventually, whole section of trees end up being defoliated by the insects, aided and abetted by the Bell Miners. That is a condition known as "die -back". Although die-back is not exclusively caused by these Lerps, they can contribute to death of mature trees, and, as such, they are of economic concern to State Forestry Departments, and Academics. Here is the tiny nymph-stage of the Lerp insect which lives under the exuded casing. It was exposed by me lifting (and eating the hard white casing). Eventually these insects turn into flying insects. But they are mostly identified only by their little "houses". This insect can be seen to have strong crawling legs, and it is developing its rudimentary wings (like little "Chicken wings"). As befits an insect living almost entirely under a shell, its eyes are very poorly developed at this stage. No doubt it will quickly create a new shell casing. Click to enlarge the image.Here is an environmental protest sign - an anti-logging protest. Apparently the State Forests wishes to permit logging of the Spotted Gum forest in this are, south from Bermagui. This sign was at Wapengo Creek. Unlike Lerps, people can apparently destroy forests, without having Academics paid to write papers about them. As such, it is left to the local environmentalists to put up old tin signs like this one, alerting people to the vandalism about to be caused by the State Forestry authorities, in the name of supposed economic development. I wish the protesters very best of luck.Here is David at work, photographing some of the creatures which live in the rock pools, near the famous Blue Pool at Bermagui.
Yesterday, David published an interesting image of Mosquito larvae living in a fresh water pool, within a few metres of the salt-water rock pools. Here is David taking that image. It was an interesting observation on his part, to even spot that these were "Wrigglers" and therefore, that the water was not a salt-water pool, but a rain-fed fresh water pool (albeit with some salt spray added, very likely). A mere 5 metres away, lower down is a true salt-water pool. The ocean is visible in the background, but in fact, this pool was only 20 metres from the crashing surges of each wave, as it ran up through the rocks. Clearly this position was above the normal high tide level, though.And here is the clearest image I managed to take all day.
There was a lot of lens changing going on, from Macro, to wide angle scenic shots, to the 300mm zoom lens. But this Great Black Cormorant was very co-operative, sitting on its lamp pole, at the harbour at Bermagui. There was another one, sound asleep, on an adjacent lamp, just a few feet away, but this fellow was very alert, and was checking me out. It shows the diagnostic yellow face markings, the white patch on the side, and also the oily sheen on the wings.
Click to enlarge the image.I shall publish more images from Bermagui, later on. It is a lovely spot for photography, and a nice spot to have friends, who are kind enough to invite you (me) to visit. Thanks David.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Feathertail Glider at Dalmeny, NSW

This looks like a mouse, and is about the same size, but that is where the resemblance ends. It is a tiny native marsupial, a Feathertail Glider. It is related to the much more familiar native animals, such as Brush-tailed Possums (see below) and the less-familiar large Gliders, such as the Yellow-bellied Glider (which is as long as a Cat) or the photogenic (mid-sized) Sugar Glider.This tiny creature rejoices in the name of Acrobates pygmaeus. Sort of says it all, doesn't it?

This is the report from my brother Brendan, who captured these images and sent them to me.
  • "The photos (of the Feathertail Glider) and the Daddy Long Legs are in our main room just near our bedroom door.
  • "We have had hassles with them nesting in our roof cavity. They were getting in at the end of the barrel vault and "holing up" in their beautifully insulated residence. Trouble was that occasionally they would get along the roof past the (venting) fans and then they could and did glide down and get trapped in the house. Before we moved down here there was no escape and no food or water. So four of them ended up in the CSIRO (wildlife) collection at Gungahlin (i.e., having died of natural causes, trapped in an empty house, Brendan took the "specimens" to CSIRO "Wildlife" in Canberra).
  • "There was another occasion when Beth was here on her own and one para-glided down onto the bed. I got a phone call saying "What do I do? I don't like this at all." She also said some other things too. Response was: "Open the bloody doors" . . . . . . . that worked.
  • "About two weeks ago I had the ends of the roof barrel vault closed off properly.
  • "Yesterday Beth was cleaning the gutters of leaves and then she noticed one (of these Gliders) clinging to the side of the house near the bridge. She had probably swept it out with some leaves. About 10pm I put some food out for the possums and left the door open while I was out there. Then we found this little fellow sitting on top of the blind (just above the door) from the patio. He (or she - I did not ask***) was spooked by the flash and went to the corner, where I got the Daddy Long Legs photos. It then went up the shadow-line rebate to the internal barrel vault and disappeared into the roof cavity. When it was spooked I was expecting it to glide out of trouble, and did not even consider that it could or would climb up the shadow-line where wall meets ceiling.
  • "It poked it's head out when the house went dark, but retreated again when I used a torch. So we left the front and back sliding doors open, but not enough for the Brush-tails and went to bed. I figure it got out OK."
That sounds like a happy ending to this story, to me (Denis).

Here is Brendan's Feathertail Glider running along the very top of the wall.
It did not like being "flashed" with Brendan's Camera, so it tried to hide in the corner of the room. Note the Daddy Long Legs spider as a "scale" reference point. It is a tiny little Marsupial. It is hunched up in this pose, making it appear even smaller than it is. The tip of the tail is seemingly "V-shaped". That is because of the stiff hairs on either side of the tail (from which it gets its common name). This is part of this animal's aerodynamic structure.Remember that this animal is a "glider". As it leaps from high points, it spreads the fine skin between its front and back legs, which acts much like a paraglider. (See this image of a Sugar Glider "in the air", to get the idea of how they can glide through the air, covering a considerable distance.) The fringes on the tail also helps give this tiny creature a little extra "lift" when it is in the air.
Here is the best of Brendan's images of the Feathertail Glider.
You can clearly see the white line between the back and the abdomen.
That is the edge of the flap of skin which it uses when gliding.
The bulge under the tail, behind the back leg, reveals the answer to Brendan's unasked question***. It is clearly a male.

Here is a photo of a pair of Brush-tailed Possums, on my roof gutter, for size comparison. The large male, on the left, is roughly the size of a domestic Cat.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Parsons Bands Orchids

This is a common little Orchid, which I quite like, but which I have always found hard to photograph. There is usually a depth of field problem with small flowers which have a large protruding section. Either the front is in focus and the rear of the flower is not, or vice versa.

So this Autumn, I vowed to try to overcome that problem. Click to enlarge the images.The first issue with these plants is the colour variation.
I cannot say if they change from pink to white, as the flowers mature, as I would need to go back and find a particular flower after a few days. Without a marking system, it is hard to know exactly which plant I had photographed 3 days before, or a week before. I confess I am not that organised.
So let me just say there are both pink plants and white plants (true statement). Whether flowers which start out as pink, fade to white I cannot say.

This plant flowers either without any leaf visible at flowering time, or with just a small leaf which develops more fully after the flower has finished. It is described as having a "ground hugging" leaf. This species has a green reverse side of the leaf. You can see that I am holding one leaf folded back, to show the green reverse side. In fact these plants have faint purple edge of the leaf, on both top and bottom. Click to enlarge image.This is my favourite image of this species. It is of a white form, from Tallong. It looks to me like it is holding up its little arms, saying: "Don't shoot".

You can clearly see the yellow pollen grains in the "column" just partially covered. There is an apparent "clowns mouth" (look for the "white lips") which is an opening leading to the nectar producing glands. You can clearly see the bead of moisture (nectar) in the column, in each of these 3 images.
The white lateral sepals are said to resemble the "collars" worn by once Clerics. Hence the name. This image of Charles Wesley's Clerical Collar might help people understand. Does it now look familiar? The two white protruding tabs are what prompted the name.This is Eriochilus cucullatus. There is another related species which I have not yet seen, but I hope to track them down. It is Eriochilus petricola (or E. autumnalis as it was once known). It has a leaf which is more fully developed at flowering time. That species apparently has a purple coloured reverse of the leaf.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tiny Greenhoods - two forms.

Yesterday I found some of the Tiny Greenhoods (Speculantha sp aff. parviflora). These plants are well known to me, however, it has been a dry season, and an entire patch of land where these plants normally flower has no flowers visible. They may yet come of into flower, if we get some decent rain. Perhaps. Maybe not. Time will tell.

There were two different forms of these related plants, growing close together, but I believe them to be different species. They are all known as "Tiny Greenhoods", of which there can be no doubt. The old name for these plants is Pterostylis parviflora.

This Fly arrived conveniently while I was photographing the flower.
In view of its size, relative to the flower, it is not likely to be a pollinator.
The books say these plants are pollinated by small Gnats.
This fly is a regular House Fly, or similar species,
so using that for scale, you can tell how small these flowers are.
As with many other Orchids, the taxonomy has not yet been worked out, and that is why, for the first group, (the brownish ones) I am using the "sp. aff", which is shorthand for "species close to" Speculantha parviflora. One day we hope to have good names for these different plants.

These plants open the lowest flower on the stem, first.
The lowest flower is an old flower, turning reddish.
The middle flower is fully mature, and is dark brown, nearly black on top of the Galea (hood).
The top flower is just opening, and is still pointed, not rounded in profile.
These 3 flowers are all on the one stem, coming from the same plant,
so any differences in them are differences in maturity, not genetics.
Here is another "group" shot - all on the one stem.
The youngest flower, on the right has not yet extended its stem to its full (expected) height.
The "points" on the fully matured flower (middle) are clearly visible on the side of the flower. They do not rise above the "galea".
The Labellum is not visible, as it is held low down, behind the "sinus" (the front of the flower)(click on the image, to enlarge it)
Here is a cropped image of a single flower on a triple-flowered stem.
This is another cropped image, a shot of a single flower on a multiple-flowered stem.
This is the lowest flower (therefore the oldest).
These flowers increase their redness as they mature.
Below are some specimens (two different plants) of the classic green form of Speculantha parviflora. These plants were growing less than 30 metres from the brown plants illustrated above.

There are some significant differences between the form of these green flowers, and the brown specimens illustrated above. Click on this image below to enlarge it.

  1. The "points" are longer, rising just above the hood (galea).
  2. The sinus is bulging out to form a small "platform" at the front of the flower,
  3. The tops of the galea are flat, not rounded.
  4. The bracts below the flowers are larger and more prominent.
If you wish to see Colin and Mischa's photos of these two categories of Tiny Greenhoods, visit this page of their Retired Aussies Website. For all their recent finds, in NSW go to their NSW Orchids page. They have some really interesting finds amongst the Corunastylis page.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A different Greenhood - at Long Nose Point.

The panoramic image I showed yesterday, shows you the kind of country this plant likes to grow in. This is Diplodium reflexum (a.k.a. Pterostylis reflexa). Alan Stephenson has confirmed the identity of these plants.
Diplodium reflexum - a fresh flower - from 2008
Note the long curved "hood" and the prominent labellum poking out.
This plant has prominent stem leaves ("cauline" leaves).
The PlantNET site linked above, describes this plant as growing on "ridges and slopes". Try "steep rocky hillsides" in this case. These plants had a view of a 300 metre deep gorge (if only they had eyes to see it with). Magnificently rugged country.

This area has very complex geology, for it is close to a Limestone belt, at Bungonia Gorge, and the Shoalhaven, although famous for running through Sandstone gorges, has not yet, (at this stage) entered classic sandstone country. The image from yesterday shows steep-sided hillsides, not exposed sandstone cliffs, as happens by the time the Shoalhaven reaches the Bundanoon area (some 20 Km downstream from here). At Long Nose Point, there is some sign of sandstone, in the lower level rocks, but the ground is littered with dark fractured shale rocks, which are definitely not Sandstone. The Eucalypt forest is different from the sandstone country too, for there are Stringybarks and other less familiar (to me) types of Eucalypts. One of the prominent Gums there is possibly the Grey Gum, (Eucalyptus punctata) which sheds its bark in large plates, leaving the stem with a blotched appearance. This gum is not familiar to me from the typical Southern Highlands area, although I have seen it growing on similar rocky hillsides, on the Tugalong Road, at Canyonleigh.

Rear view of a flower which is past maturity - it is starting to shrivel.
This is a side view of another flower in the same group as the one above.
You can see the long point of its hood (galea) has collapsed over.

The plant, having flowered is now setting fresh new "rosettes"
(Click to enlarge next image)
These grow from stoloniferous roots coming away from the parent tuber.
These will grow on to flower next year.
Note that, at the base of the stem of the flower, there are no basal rosettes.
Instead the plant has developed those "cauline leaves" I mentioned.
Rosettes of new leaves of Diplodium reflexum.
So, now you know why I was at Long Nose Point, not just for the view, nor for the Spotted Quail-thrush. That was an added bonus.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spotted Quail-thrush at Shoalhaven Gorge

Yesterday, I went to Tallong, looking for Orchids, and found, instead a Spotted Quail-thrush walking around the middle of the road. This was on the road in to Long Nose Point, where there is a dramatic viewing point, overlooking the Shoalhaven Gorge, on the edge of the Morton National Park. This is close to Bungonia gorge, but that place is visible from the next viewing point, at Badgery's Lookout. Click to enlarge this panoramic view of the Shoalhaven, from Long Nose Point.This image shows the watchful nature of the Spotted Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma punctatum). The pose is typical of this species, which is neither a Quail, nor a Thrush. Typically it has a rounded back, when walking around (hence its seeming resemblance to a Quail). But it has a long tail. It is a ground-dweller, which quietly walks around the forest floor. It has a preference for semi-open ground, under dry Eucalypt forest.This shows how readily the bird walks around. I was parked in my car, which I had stopped, then slowly rolled down the hill, very gently, toward the bird. These images were taken through the windscreen.
The bird was starting to lose patience with me, and walked off into the darkness under some Casuarina trees, and then was lost to sight.I have not seen this bird for several years, and that was in dry open forest, behind Moruya, on the South Coast of NSW.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Corunastylis oligantha - yet another Midge Orchid.

Here is the second Midge Orchid which Alan Stephenson showed Mischa, Colin and myself last week. I was interested to see this one, because it is the true Corunastylis oligantha, not the plant which I had tentatively identified as that species, (last year). That plant turned out to be the closely related Corunastylis sagittifera. This plant is named correctly (here).

The first thing I noticed about these plants was their dark green lateral sepals. You can also see clearly the prominent hairs on the sides of the up-turned labellum of the flower on the lower right of the image. (Click to enlarge).
This is a fairly dark image, but it accurately shows the colours of these flowers.This is a brighter image, to help you see the details of the flowers.
This image shows how flexible these plants are (contrasted to the "Brittle Midge Orchid" I showed you yesterday). This flower stem had been bent over by a person or an animal disturbing it some time back. The stem stayed alive, and then the flowers emerged through the centre of the leaf (as they do), and then just the last part of the flower stem straightened up to hold the flowers vertically. The fleshy stemmed plant from yesterday was inclined to break off, if treated as this plant has been treated (naturally) - probably about 2 weeks before.
The black material in the background is a shallow moss bed growing over a sandstone rock shelf. The weather in February was very harsh, with several very hot, dry, windy days. The moss beds in much of the sandstone rock shelves in the Southern Highlands and down in the Shoalhaven area suffered like this. the moss has gone black, but I am sure it will recover. But surprisingly, these small and seemingly delicate Orchids have survived, to flower successfully. Obviously they are tougher than they look. Also, of course, they are adapted to the climate, and their delicate tissues are underground during the worst of the summer, and then the flowers pop up in early autumn, after the worst of the heat has passed. A good survival strategy.
Click to enlarge the next image.
There are some 15 plants of Corunastylis oligantha
growing in this small area of a moss bed.
This gives you an idea of how hard it is to spot these plants, even when they are in flower. When they are not in flower, it is almost impossible to find them. Incidentally, I do not know what the bright yellow plant in the centre left of the image is, but it is not an Orchid. Look for tiny little straight stems, with tiny flower heads on top of them, growing right at the front edge of the moss bed. Those are the Midge Orchids. Once you spot them, look for others further back.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another rare Orchid - Genoplesium baueri

These plants were shown to me (and Colin and Mischa) by Alan Stephenson, the National Conservation Officer with the Australasian Native Orchid Society. They are the Brittle Midge Orchid, (Genoplesium baueri). It is listed on the NSW Threatened Species list.
Two spikes side by side - one mature, one at bud stage.

These plants are very fortunate, as, thanks to Alan's research, lobbying, and dare I say it, persistence - these plants are in an area which Peter Garrett has deemed to be protected under the Federal EPBC Act. The Minister's intervention was as a result of the Shoalhaven Council's original intention to re-zone this patch of land for residential development. It is that action which Minister Garrett has refused to allow, because of the threat it posed to "Matters of National Environmental Significance" (i.e., threatened species listed under the EPBC Act.) In this case, it is an incidental protection, as this species is not listed there, but these plants have chosen their neighbours well, for the Leafless Tongue Orchid also lives in this same area.
This is a mature flower spike.
Note the yellowish-brown stem,
and the yellowish-green tones of the lateral sepals
This images shows the tip of the leaf,
through which the flower scape protrudes.
This is a small stem, with just 3 flowers.
The stem is distinctly brown and soft and fleshy.
You can see the constriction where the leaf ends -
the point at which the flower stem rises beyond the leaf.
This was the first plant I found at the site which Alan took us to. It was very tall (relative to the others). At first, I thought that the flowers were just opening. But on close examination of this image, it is apparent that the Ovaries are swelling. So I conclude that the flowers have been pollinated, and then the lateral sepals are closing together over the flowers.

This next image shows the flower, close-up from the side. The labellum (the red bit) is shown nicely, semi-reflexed over the dorsal sepal. In these plants, the dorsal sepal is held below the flower. That arrangement, in Orchids, is called "non-resupinate", or "upside-down" (compared to many of the better known Orchids, such as the large-flowered Florist Orchids, such as Slipper Orchids and Cymbidiums). In fact there is a school of thought that says these flowers are the "right way round" as the other Orchids twist their flowers as they open. These non-resupinate flowers do not go through that twisting process, as the buds develop.

This is my favourite image (just).
It shows the Labellum is restricted at its mid-point,
and has intact margins (not hairy or fringed).
Here is the matching image of the same flower - front on.
You can see right into the flower, where the sexual organs (column) are located. The dorsal sepal (the V-shaped lower part) is clearly not hairy, nor fringed, (as many of the related Corunastylis plants are). The two yellow pollinia are still in place in this case. This plant has not given its pollen to an insect pollinator.

This is an opportunistic photo of the tuber-like root of this plant. It happened to be growing near an ant nest, and the ants tunnelling activity had revealed the base of this plant (the plant on the left). It so happens that this species has a single tuber, not paired tubers, as is usual amongst terrestrial Orchids. The name Orchid is derived from Latin, from the Greek word for testacle - because of the paired tubers on most Ground Orchids. This species' single tuber is not replaced annually.
And now for an unusual image - of an "alba" form of this species. There were at least two "alba" specimens of this species growing in this loose colony of normally-coloured specimens of Genoplesium baueri. You can see that the stem and leaf are also lacking in the normal reddish pigments, which normally result in the brownish tinged stems and the red labellum in the regular flowers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More marine images from Narooma (NSW)

Today I have spent a bit of time adjusting the contrast on some photos I took in late afternoon light, from a Boardwalk, about one metre above the Wagonga Inlet, at Narooma, last weekend. Once again, I apologise for the quality of the images, as my camera battery was dying, and I could not review the images, or change the settings. With low light, and a smooth reflective surface of the water, all these images came out cloudy. But in view of the fact that I seldom get to take photos of fish and a cephalopod, I thought it was worthwhile inflicting my poor photos on you, dear, long-suffering readers.

And there is a bird shot, just for old-times sake. A very patient Welcome Swallow.

The first is the largest fish I am ever likely to see from this boardwalk. A Black Stingray (I believe) (Dasyatis thetidis). These amazing creatures have such a large surface with which to flap their way through the water, that their progress appears effortless. And yet, with the tide running out fast, from the Inlet, they can easily swim along much faster than I can walk on the boardwalk. Every now and then, one would turn back into a quiet eddy, and hunt for food on the bottom. One of them swam up close to me, circled and left - leaving behind a thick oily scum on the surface of the water. I can only assume that it had excreted right there in front of me. Clearly it was not impressed with me. As old Thespians say when working with animals: "No manners, but what a critic!"This is a pair of images, which you can click on, to enlarge them slightly. The images will still be blurry, but clear enough for illustrative purposes. The creature here is a Green Moray - an Eel. (Gymnothorax prasinus). It was searching very thoroughly amongst holes in rocks in just a few inches of water, as the tide went rushing out. It is remarkable for its agility. Its head was a bronze colour, but its long vertical fins were a definite green colour. This colouration is normal for this species, as is evident from the linked Website from the Museum of Australia (above).Here is a Fan-bellied Leatherjacket (Monacanthus chinensis). This fish apparently change its colour depending upon its surroundings, which is a useful camouflage strategy. The name refers to the very long fins on its belly, which are closed in this image. It has very prominent "bug eyes" and its mouth is small, with yellow lips. Its downward facing angle, when feeding seemed to be normal for this fish.And now for the Cephalopod I promised you. This is a double image, showing (not very clearly) an Octopus working its way across some rocks, presumably looking for crabs, which are, I understand, its favorite food. Click to enlarge the double image. You will easily see that the Occy has moved to the right, between the images being taken, in a matter of just a few moments. In the left image, its tentacles are wide spread. I do not know what species it is, but I do know that it is NOT the famous little "Blue-ringed Octopus", for that is a tiny creature. This one was larger than my hand. I could hardly see it at first, until it conveniently moved into the open for me."Cephalopod literally means 'head foot' and members of this group, including octopuses, cuttlefishes, squids and nautiluses, have their foot or tentacles connected to their head, not their body.
"Cephalopods have the most advanced nervous system of all invertebrate animals and are active hunters. They are carnivorous and use their strong beak to bite into their prey of fishes, crabs and other molluscs, occasionally injecting venom. They have excellent eyesight and can register shapes, textures and colour. To escape from predators such as seals, dolphins and sharks, cephalopods may release an inky screen.
"The immediate and most obvious difference between cephalopods and other molluscs is cephalopods' apparent lack of a shell. Octopuses have no shell at all, while cuttlefishes have an internal shell and squids have the horny remains of a shell."
Source: Australian Museum website: "Wildlife of Sydney" - page on "Octopus, Squid and Cuttlefish" I still find it hard to get my head around these things being related to garden snails, but they are both classed by the experts as "molluscs".

Now, coming back to more familiar territory, for me - birds. This Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) was very co-operative, sitting on a sign along the barrier of the boardwalk. From the drabness of this bird's underneath colouring (not white) I suspect it is a juvenile.
This Swallow (there were several of them about) was facing away from me, but it does at least show its glossy navy blue colouring on its wings and tail. The long line of the main wing feathers (the "primaries") shows how beautifully streamlined Swallows are, as befits such excellent fliers.For the record, I thoroughly recommend taking a late afternoon walk along the boardwalk at Narooma, beside the channel leading from the estuary to the rock wall which confines the flow of the water in and out of Wagonga Inlet.

As with my usual comment on bushwalks - the slower you walk, the more you see.