Alarm clocks were set for the start of the first field outing for 2020, an early morning birding at Lilybrook, but the majority of the Fassifern Field Nats shut off the alarm, listened to the lovely, long awaited rain pouring down on the roof, rolled over and went back to sleep.
Not so with 10 very keen members!
They arrived at the scheduled meeting place at 6 am, smiles on faces, splashed through the puddles, and made their way to the covered recreation shed. From there they peered out through the curtain of rain and large drops of water pouring down from the un-guttered roof.
Not much to be seen except a lone magpie who had also taken cover inside the doorway of another shed nearby. He was doing the same as we were – just gazing out at the rain. Even the ducks had ‘ducked off’.
These 10 members, the diligent executive of the Club, decided to go ahead with a scheduled Management meeting, that is if one could be heard above the sound of the rain on the tin roof. After an hour or so of earnest decision making and plans to put in place future activities for the Club, the rain ceased and a refreshed world awaited us.
Another couple of members had arrived determined not to miss out on welcoming this wet, bright new world.
The bird list grew as we made our way through various habitats. Vegetation was examined for insects, caterpillars and the like. Ant colonies were very busy on the ground. Some were removing their eggs from waterlogged homes to a safe site.
Large Banded Sugar Ants were busy around their holes rebuilding their entrances after the rain. The termites were adding extensions to their large mounds in true team working style.
The sounds of the croaking frogs emanating from the large pools of water drew our attention. Closer examination showed the frogs making the most of the precious pools formed overnight as males ballooned out their throats with their mating calls while females deposited frothy little egg patches on the surface of the water amongst the vegetation.
The group finally made it back to the shelter shed for socialising, comparing notes, recording sightings and an enjoyable lunch.
A large Orange Potter Wasp gave us a lesson in mud house building as we closely observed it fly from water puddle, to wet soil, and then back to add its collected building materials to extend its mud house under the seat in the shed.
Cameras collected evidence of many nature sightings throughout the excursion. The skeleton remains of a snake were also recorded. Butterflies dried out their wings and together with the Dragonflies were soon flitting and hovering about.
It may have been a ‘birding outing’ but, in true Field Nats style, the photographs and flora and fauna lists grew. Sixty-seven birds were identified.
Of special interest for the photographers was the herbage, some native, some weeds, but all in flower after being refreshed by the rain. Plenty of work for our recorder adding all sightings to our records data base.
We will have, as our leader for our February activity, Dr Chris Burwell, Senior. Curator of Entomology Qld. Museum. Check our Club Blog for details.