Bird survey and weed clearing

It was touch and go for the bird survey last week with strong winds and the possibility/likelihood of a drenching but we went anyway and were rewarded with a close up view of a spotted pardalote and a dusky woodswallow that was showing off. So whilst the number of birds was down we still saw 25 species which is pretty good considering the conditions. Hopefully the December survey (we’re aiming at the 17th) will be a bit less windy.

The other major task last week was tidying up behind the Senior Military Officer’s House (photo) which is looking a lot neater and the soap aloe, rose-oil geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) and the English broom (Cytisus scoparius) are all flowering and giving an impression of what was growing there (we think) in convict times. Yes, they’re all introduced species but we’re keeping them in check.

We also had a final hunt for the hairstreak butterfly in areas that had all the elements to be suitable habitat (silver wattle and white gum) but with no luck. Hopefully, with a bigger population of caterpillars this year, it will extend its range to other suitable areas.

The impressive flower in the picture below is a soap aloe (Aloe maculata) – it’s really quite impressive.

Soap Aloe at the Coal Mines

Soap Aloe at the Coal Mines