Friday, April 16, 2010

Barren Grounds Nature Reserve

Jarrod convinced me that we needed to go to Barren Grounds Nature Reserve for a bit of bushwalking. I was easily convinced since BGNR is a great place to walk, but more importantly it sports a unique type of habitat, hanging swamp plateau, that is home to a great selection of wildlife that is otherwise very hard to find. Some celebrity inhabitants are Ground Parrot, Eastern Bristlebird and Southern Emu-wren - I needed the GP and Jarrod, who more or less has to hold a bird in the hand before he is convinced that he actually has truly seen it, have so far managed to avoid eye contact with the SEW.

Weather was not on our side - at all! Wet and windy and a annoying fog hanging low above the scrub made it nearly impossible to spot anything further away than arms reach, however, as always there is something going on when you get you lazy arse off the couch and the humid air had the advantage that it was much easier than normal to spot the various spider webs along the path, which resulted in an encounter with what might just be the prettiest spider I have ever seen: Gasteracantha minax or Jewel Spider between friends :-)

I am terribly sorry about the poor quality of the pictures, having expected a sunny day on the highland heath I had not brought the macro lens and even if I had I would probably not have been super happy changing lenses in the middle of all the wind and wetness. So you will have to do with high ISO and pseudo macro capability in combo with the spider sitting on a very bouncy branch.

Having seen next to no birds the entire day, it was quite a bit of a surprise when the Bassian Thrush in the picture above suddenly appeared on the path in front of us. Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that it was the only new bird I managed to (nearly) see down in Wilson's Promontory so quite nice getting another (less than medium good) look at it.

Walking in Australia is often limited by how much water you can carry, not having that problem this particular day, we decided to get some kilometers in the boots and managed to clock up 20km before we were back at the Magna - not bad going for a lazy Saturday :-)

All good, great walking and a beautiful drive down south. My trusted co-pilot had once again(?) managed to get us (more or less!) straight to our target location - with a little telephonic help from his better half at home :-D On our way home the only unforeseen happening was the timing of a few hundred cows deciding that the grass was greener on the other side - but I blame no one for that ;-)


Jarrod said...

Should have brought the macro, those spider photos were nearly as rough as mine.

AGL said...

Jep - they are truly terrible and using the link to the slightly higher resolution version on Picasa just makes them even worse! :( However, the spider was so pretty that I just had to get some shots in there. I also used about 30 min trying to remember/find out what the flower was called before I gave up .. and I should just have looked at your blog :-)