Saturday, May 30, 2009

Big Bird Dogfights

The intermittent rain took a break this afternoon and a walk along a local beach to look for sponges sounded like just the thing.
On the way our exploration party took a break for some light refreshments when two Sea Eagles were spotted some distance off.

A fight for prey was going on, the mid air acrobatics a sight to see.

The victor headed to the forest with its prize.

The battle left the partially devoured prey in a bit of a state, so much so that a portion fell to earth as the Eagle flew off.
I was interested to see what had been caught, so approached to where the portion was dropped and discovered this....

...remains of what seem to be a Fairy Penguin.
I was not aware that the Sea Eagle, although a big bird, would take on such large prey.
Perhaps it was scavenged, already dead.
Either way a good meal for a large an majestic hunter.

I was glad to see that the kids were not fazed by the grizzly find, rather accepting the roles played out by hunter and hunted, fascinated by the unusual sight they had witnessed.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Soldier Crabs on the march

Recently I was able to film these Soldier Crabs (Mictyris longicarpus) working over the low tide sand flats.
Usually not so visible during the day, I was privileged to see over a thousand in three groups on the move.
They quickly buried themselves as I approached, disappearing within a minute.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Coming in from the cold

Although ocean temps have been high, with bluebottles and coconuts on our local beach, air temps have been steadily falling.
With the first frosts not far away and snow already falling on the Snowy mountains, this coming winter is shaping up to be a cold one.
The Northern Hemisphere is coming back from a particularly cold winter and it looks like our turn to rug up is not far away.
Considering the upcoming chill, I was interested to capture this Orchard Butterfly caterpillar busily munching away at my lemon tree leaves.

The last time I came across one of these guys was in Jan 2008 .
Being surrounded with vast fields we also have a minor plague of field mice at the moment.
This keeps my collection of snakes happy as their response indicates they taste better :)
Other critters have come in from the cold, such as this centipede.

Only a baby, it measured about 25cm.
The presence of a few butterflies showing that not everyone is ready to accept winter is on its way.