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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wildlife on the Dumaresq River, Texas

25th - 28th March 2016

CAMPING ON THE DUMARESQ RIVER, TEXAS (Platypus dreaming)

This Easter was spent at one of our favourite spots, camping on the banks of the Dumaresq River on the NSW side of Texas Qld.  This is the third time we have visited this particular patch of riverside heaven, located on a private property with restricted access.  My sister and brother-in-law were first to arrive on site around lunch time Thursday, and were greeted with the site of a platypus in the water, just near our campsite!  I received a text message about their wildlife encounter which motivated me to pack the bags and camping gear quicker to get an early start the next day.  As many of you know, I am still awaiting my own experience, viewing a platypus in the wild, and it is on the top of my "to see list".

On arrival to the site the next day, my brother-in-law informed me that he had seen two platypuses skimming the water of the river that morning.  Just hearing this alone makes my heart skip a beat, knowing that these elusive creatures are surviving and have continued to be observed over the years at this location.

Saturday morning I got out of bed just after sunrise to head off down the river with my camera in hand, scanning the water for any sign of the holy grail.  Sitting on the river rocks, it was a beautiful tranquil experience getting back to nature, watching the Welcome Swallows and White-naped Honeyeaters swoop for insects on top of the water as the sunlight flickered across the water.  It wasn't my time to see a platypus this trip, but I was a little envious to hear on return to camp, that our friends young son, got up earlier than me to head off fishing around 5.45am and noticed a platypus in the water from the campsite.
I continued to get up early and each morning and sat on the rivers edge quietly, peering out across the water, to no avail... my turn will come eventually I suppose :)

Here are some pics from our weekend and our sightings lists below from this beautiful spot on the Dumaresq River.  The Red-Winged Parrots, White-naped Honeyeaters and Plum-headed Finches were a real highlight.  We can't wait to go back again.

Judi

White-plumed Honeyeater playing tag with the local Willie Wagtails

BIRD LIST:

1 Emu - Dromaius novaehollandiae
2 Australian Wood Duck - Chenonetta jubata
3 Pied Cormorant - Phalacrocorax varius
4 Australasian Darter - Anhinga novaehollandiae
5 White-faced Heron - Egretta novaehollandiae
6 Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis
7 Nankeen Night-Heron - Nycticorax caledonicus
8 Straw-necked Ibis - Threskiornis spinicollis
9 White-bellied Sea-Eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster
10 Masked Lapwing - Vanellus miles
11 Rock Dove - Columba livia
12 Crested Pigeon - Ocyphaps lophotes
13 Peaceful Dove - Geopelia placida
14 Tawny Frogmouth - Podargus strigoides
15 Azure Kingfisher - Ceyx azureus
16 Laughing Kookaburra - Dacelo novaeguineae
17 Sacred Kingfisher - Todiramphus sanctus
18 Dollarbird - Eurystomus orientalis
19 Nankeen Kestrel - Falco cenchroides
20 Galah - Eolophus roseicapilla
21 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Cacatua galerita
22 Red-winged Parrot - Aprosmictus erythropterus
23 Pale-headed Rosella - Platycercus adscitus
24 Red-rumped Parrot - Psephotus haematonotus
25 Rainbow Lorikeet - Trichoglossus haematodus
26 Variegated Fairy-wren - Malurus lamberti
27 Superb Fairy-wren - Malurus cyaneus
28 Noisy Miner - Manorina melanocephala
29 White-plumed Honeyeater - Ptilotula penicillata
30 Striated Pardalote - Pardalotus striatus
31 Yellow-rumped Thornbill - Acanthiza chrysorrhoa
32 Grey Butcherbird - Cracticus torquatus
33 Australian Magpie - Gymnorhina tibicen
34 Black-faced Cuckooshrike - Coracina novaehollandiae
35 Spangled Drongo - Dicrurus bracteatus
36 Willie Wagtail - Rhipidura leucophrys
37 Magpie-lark - Grallina cyanoleuca
38 Restless Flycatcher - Myiagra inquieta
39 Torresian Crow - Corvus orru
40 Welcome Swallow - Hirundo neoxena
41 Golden-headed Cisticola - Cisticola exilis
42 Red-browed Finch - Neochmia temporalis
43 Plum-headed Finch - Neochmia modesta
44 Double-barred Finch - Taeniopygia bichenovii


My one and only photo taken this trip of an Azure Kingfisher (Photographed from the "Loo with a view" early morning.)
Vibrant Sacred Kingfisher in the shadows of the large gum trees on the opposite side of the Dumaresq River at Texas
Double-Barred Finch

Group of Plum-headed Finches, including immatures.

Restless Flycatcher

Juvenile Male Superb Blue Fairy Wren

Dark coloured Tawny Frogmouth at Texas
Red-Winged Parrot, we only saw a few and this is the best photo I managed before they took off again.
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Gold-fronted River Damsel
I was delighted to see these male Gold-fronted River Damsel's hovering and occasionally stopping on leaves floating on the Dumaresq.  I hadn't seen these in person before, but recognized them instantly from seeing spectacular images photographed in the wild, on Robert Ashdowns blog over the years. Unfortuantely my photos didn't turn out as good as I'd hoped... more practice with the steady hand and longer times observing them required.  

I love Dragonflies and Damselflies and find them quite mesmerising, so I have been trying to learn their names over the last couple of years and I am finding this quite difficult.  I am not interested in catching them and chilling them to take photos as I have heard some enthusiasts do, so will persevere with observing and trying to photograph and identify them in their natural habitat, calling on advice from the experts Rob Ashdown and Rod Hobson when I can't work out the i.d's.

DRAGONFLIES/DAMSELFLIES:
  • Wandering Percher (Diplacodes bipunctata)
  • Scarlet Percher (Diplacodes haematodes)
  • Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum)
  • Golden-fronted River Damsel (Pseudagrion aureofrons)
  • Plus plenty more that I couldn't photograph to identify correctly :(

Scarlet Percher Dragonfly at Texas

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Easter Saturday Storms were very dramatic looking and so I set off across the fields to try and capture some of the dark skies before our campsite was soaked.

Easter Saturday Storms, Texas NSW 2016

Easter Saturday Storms, Texas Nsw, 2016
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Eastern Water Skink, on a log on the edge of the Dumaresq River, Texas
REPTILES:
  • Eastern Water Skink (Eulamprus quoyii)
  • Wall Skink (Cryptoblepharus virgatus)
  • Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii)

Eastern Water Skink, Texas
Wall Skink

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Varied Eggfly Butterfly at Texas
BUTTERFLIES:
  • Large Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe)
  • Wanderer (Danaus plexippus)
  • Lesser Wanderer (Danaus chyrsippus)
  • Varied Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina)
  • Meadow Argus (Junonia villida)
  • Four Spotted Cup Moth Caterpillar (Doratifera quadriguttata)
Our four year old nephew has a real love of insects and notices them everywhere.  He alerted us to this Four Spotted Cup Moth Caterpillar he found and was very intrigued by it and it's "angry" looking face, so he told me. He was really good and didn't touch it, just picked it up on a leaf as I explained to him about it's "stinging hairs".  All weekend he pointed out to me beautiful dragonflies, tiny beetles that I had never seen before and much more... a boy after my own heart. 

Four Spotted Cup Moth Caterpillar

Master H with his Four Spotted Cup Moth Caterpillar
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Vibrant yellow Male Stony Creek Frog at Texas

FROGS:
  • Stony Creek Frog (Male & Female)
  • Ornate Burrowing Frog
  • Broad Palmed Rocket Frog
  • Bleating Tree Frog

OTHER:
  • Platypus x 2 (Witnessed on three occasions by 5 people in our camping group... sadly not me)
  • Eastern Grey Kangaroo's

FISH CAUGHT:
  • European Carp (All disposed of)
  • Yellowbelly
  • Small Cod (returned to river)
The keen fishermen
Wild Watermelons growing in the nearby grass fields at Texas

Good Morning Sunshine... there is even beauty in weeds.
INFO SOURCES:
  • Robert Ashdown Blog
  • A COMPLETE GUIDE TO REPTILES OF AUSTRALIA (Second Edition) by Steve Wilson & Gerry Swan