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.