Rocky Creek Forest (1st May, 2022)

Context: A 3.4km2 section of ForestrySA’s Kuitpo Forest consisting of pine, softwood and hardwood plantations, and a small section of native forest, camp grounds and recreation areas.

iNaturalist Projects

Rocky Creek Forest, South Australia

Birding Hot Spot – Rocky Creek Forest, Meadows South Australia

See the full list of 94 observations covering 46 species on iNaturalist

Second stop on day three of the City Nature Challenge was the Rocky Creek Forest section of Kuitpo Forest. Starting on Razorback Road, where the Heysen Trail crosses, I hiked South-West through several of the plantations, and looped back. The established hardwood plantations have a sparse understory of native shrubs, groundcovers and a few Orchids.

Plantation forests are a good place to collect a few introduced species for any BioBlitz. Many of the farmed species produce seedlings that can be recorded. In this case a Southern Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus). They also have a range of associated introduced weed species, including the Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifolia ssp. longifolia).

Along the edge of the track I spotted a small patch of Red-banded Greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea). Four in total over a few square metres with one beginning to flower. A little further along another patch of two. For both of these I took note of the number growing, the surrounds, and took pictures of the area around the Orchids, and above, and added the observations to the Wild Orchid Watch Australia iNaturalist project. Further down the track I was surprised to find a single double-headed Parson’s Band Orchid (Eriochilus collinus).

The shade in the plantations are always good for a few Moss species. I added Sparse Fern Moss (Thuidiopsis sparsa) to my CNC species list, and also spotted the common Cypress-leaved Plait-Moss (Hypnum cupressiforme), Juniper Haircap Moss (Polytrichum juniperinum), and Bronze Moss (Sematophyllum homomallum).

Other than Creeping Bossiaea (Bossiaea prostrata) and Myrmecia pyriformis, my third Bull Ant species for the weekend, this location didn’t have much to offer. Given what others have seen here, Springs probably a better time to visit.

Mount Bold Reservoir (1st May, 2022)

Context: 55km2 of natural woodland, creeks, and forestry reserves surrounding the largest reservoir in SA, on the Onkaparinga River. Walking trails open to the public from Razorback Road in 2022. Messmate Stringybark, Pink Gum, and Cup Gum mid woodland over Golden Wattle, Large-leaf Bush Pea, Beaked Hakea, Heath Tea-tree, Slaty Oak-bush, Austral Bracken, Wire Rapier-sedge and Native Cranberry. A significant section of the Northern side of the reservoir was burnt out in the 2021 Cherry Gardens bushfire. Look out for more than 30 Orchid and 9 Sundew species, Southern Brown Bandicoots and Yellow-footed Antechinus, and Peregrine Falcons.

iNaturalist Projects

Mount Bold Reservoir

See the full list of 114 observations covering 56 species on iNaturalist

First hike of the City Nature Challenge day three was the recently opened section of Mount Bold Reservoir. Having not visited before I opted for the easy Lookout Trail, but found some time to add a loop around some woodland just East of the carpark.

At the entrance was a Health Alert sign warning that encephalitis causing mosquitoes may be present in the area. Long sleeves, long pants and DEET are recommended.

This accessible Grade 2 walk runs through Eucalyptus woodland with a dense thicket of Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha). This being a pioneer species, I assume this area experienced a fire some years back. The high density of this growth is typical, eventually thinning out as the slower growing Eucalypts begin to overtake them. This process is just beginning in the burnt sections of Scott Creek I hiked through recently with a high density of two foot tall Golden Wattles. Scott Creek also had high density areas of Hop Goodenia (Goodenia ovata) and Myrtle Wattle (Acacia myrtifolia), but these were absent here.

High in one of the Eucalypts I heard, then spotted a Western Whistler (Pachycephala fuliginosa). Until recently these were known as South Australian Golden Whistlers (Pachycephala pectoralis fuligens), but a recent genetic study indicates these are morphologically and genetically much closer to birds from SW Western Australia than to Golden Whistlers from eastern Australia and are essentially indistinguishable from western birds. Following naming conventions, the WA Birds and those in SA are now Pachycephala fuliginosa, with a crossover area in South-East SA with the Eastern species Pachycephala pectoralis.

Heading down toward the the lookout the understory biodiversity increases with Spoon-leaf Spyridium (Spyridium spathulatum) becoming common. This is a rare local SA species with patches occurring in Mount Bold, Morialta CP and Deep Creek. (More common on KI). I didn’t expect to find it here. It’s a new species for my Life List and for my CNC observations. Also present was Leafless Bitter-pea (Daviesia brevifolia), a species that puts on an excellent flower show at the right time of year.

The lookout is ideally located with a long view across the reservoir and down to the dam. Afternoon is perhaps a better time to visit to admire the view, when the sun will be lighting up the dam wall.

Near the lookout a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) shot out from the trees and began circling around the area directly out from the lookout. Species like this are hard to specifically search for during a bioblitz, but if you spend enough time looking you’ll have many such chance encounters with uncommon species.

To highlight exactly this, walking back along the Lookout Trail I spotted a Robin amongst the Golden Wattles. I took a few photos before realising this was not the common Scarlet Robin seen in the area, but a Red-capped Robin (Petroica goodenovii). Although it’s not unheard of to spot one here, or other locations in the Adelaide Hills, this species tends to live in more arid regions. These nearest location where they are frequently sighted is around Monarto.

This walk was quicker than I’d expected so I continued with a short loop to the East of the main carpark. Along the boundary track there were quite a few introduced weed species including South African Daisy (Senecio pterophorus), Boneseed (Osteospermum moniliferum ssp. moniliferum), Olive (Olea europaea), Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare), Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides), Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata), a well established Tree Lucern (Chamaecytisus prolifer), and half a dozen Mediterranean Buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus). In this area I also pickup up a few additional species for the CNC including Australian Dusty Miller (Spyridium parvifolium), Woolly Rice-Flower (Pimelea octophylla) and an Inchman Ant (Myrmecia forficata).

Mount Billy CP (30th Apr, 2022)

Context: 200 hectares of Brown Stringybark, Cup Gum, Manna Gum, and Pink Gum woodland over Heath Tea-tree, Beaked Hakea, Silver Banksia, Flat-leaf Grass-tree, Common Flat-Pea, Austral Bracken and numerous Orchids. Keep an eye out for Wallflower, Rabbit and Hare Orchids, Purple Beard Orchids, Pygmy Sundews, and Bassian Thrush.

iNaturalist Projects

Mount Billy Conservation Park, South Australia

See the full list of 42 observations covering 29 species on iNaturalist

Fifth and final stop on the second City Nature Challenge day was Mount Billy Conservation Park. This park is only a short drive from Spring Mount CP and was worth a quick visit to pick up a few extra species. I started at the Northern most gate on Hindmarsh Tiers Road and hiked a short 600 metre loop around the fire tracks in the top corner of the park.

I wasn’t aware prior to my visit that this corner of the park had recently undergone a prescribed burn. As such I stuck to the fire track to avoid disturbing the burnt ground.

I picked up a few additional Plant species for my CNC species list including Gland Flower (Adenanthos terminalis), Desert Banksia (Banksia ornata), and Prickly Tea-Tree (Leptospermum continentale). The prescribed burn must have been recent as the Flat-leaf Grass-trees (Xanthorrhoea semiplana) hadn’t yet added regrowth or started to flower.

Along the border of the fire track some Greenhoods (Genus Pterostylis) had started putting up their leaves, possibly Maroonhoods (Pterostylis pedunculata) or Nodding Greenhoods (Pterostylis nutans) which I’ve sighted flowering here previously. Other Orchids were doing the same, include the Red Beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) which might produce a good flowering display brought on by the fire. The Hare Orchids (Leporella fimbriata) were back, right in the middle of the fire track. Even when flowering these are tough to see unless you are specifically looking for them. It’s always worth keeping an eye on where you are stepping when walking through these parks.

The Sundews are also starting to appear. Whittaker’s Sundews (Drosera whittakeri) along this section of the track. I missed out on the Pygmy Sundews (Drosera pygmaea) which have been seen here too, but I’m not surprised. At less than 15mm across, if you’re not specifically looking for them, you’ll likely walk right past them.

Given the prescribed burn there wasn’t much in the way of understory left. Near the park boundary fence was a Common Correa (Correa reflexa) in good shape with a couple of flowers, and nearby a fruiting Dwarf Micrantheum (Micrantheum demissum), a very underrated little Plant rare on mainland SA.

Spring Mount CP (30th Apr, 2022)

Context: 2.8km2 of mature Brown and Messmate Stringybark over Beaked Hakea, Large-leaf Bush Pea, Common Heath, Common Flat-pea, Honeypots and Wire Rapier-sedge. Breeding ground for the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo and habitat for the Bassian Thrush. Look out for Hairy Correa, Dwarf Micrantheum, Scrambling Guinea-flower and Yellow-footed Antechinus.

iNaturalist Projects

Spring Mount Conservation Park, South Australia

See the full list of 82 observations covering 40 species on iNaturalist

Stop four on the second City Nature Challenge day was Spring Mount Conservation Park. The original plan was to follow the fire break along the boundary fence heading North. But upon arrival this looked to be a dense layer of medium height shrubs about 20 metres deep. I’d miss much of the bird life here as the Stringybark trees were much further back. As such I took a short hike along the main fire track through the park starting at the carpark on Mount Alma Road.

This park is often seems very quiet and still, unless the Sulphur-crested or Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos are hanging about. Their calls almost echo through the park. There’s not a lot of colour about this time of year, but the Common Heath (Epacris impressa) flowers stand out.

The old Stringybark Eucalypts drop a lot of leaves, thick bark and branches, which make great habitat for ground dwelling critters. Carefully lifting and replacing a few of the logs along the edge of the track I was able to add quite a few species to my CNC species list. A Three-toed Earless Skink (Hemiergis decresiensis) and my first record of a Wishbone Spider (Family Anamidae). Unfortunately this one wasn’t willing to sit still for a clear photo. A Heteromastix Soldier Beetle (Genus Heteromastix) that landed on me. I’ve only spotted this Genus once before in the nearby Mount Billy Conservation Park. On that occasion a dozen or so were attracted to a Millipede. Exactly why this was occurring remains a mystery.

I finally found my first Harvestmen, a Triaenonychid (Family Triaenonychidae), but photos missed diagnostic features so it may be stuck at a Family level ID. Also the Land Planarian Fletchamia mediolineata, which I’ve also found on my suburban property. A Trilobite Cockroach (Genus Laxta) that looks a little different from another species in the same Subfamily I found here in 2019. These spend the daylight hours, often in groups, under bark or in rock crevices from which they emerge at night to forage(1).

Different parks seem to have different species of Bull Ants that dominate. Aldinga Scrub, for example, has a lot of Black-scaped Bull Ants (Myrmecia nigriscapa). Look down as you walk along and you’ll spot multiple on every walk, usually after they’ve spotted you and begun backing away. In Spring Mount CP the Black Jumper Ants (Myrmecia pilosula) dominate. Their nests can easily be spotted along the edge of the fire track. These are active during the day and climb up understory shrubs looking for prey. It’s all too easy to brush past a branch and end up with one or more of these crawling on you. Unfortunately their venom is quite immunogenic and responsible for the majority of anaphylactic reactions associated with Ants in Australia. So, long sleeves and long pants recommended in this and nearby parks.

Under a few logs I found several colonies of Pale-footed Ants (Genus Technomyrmex). My first sighting of these. Also a Somethus Millipede (Genus Somethus). It’s nice to see a native Millipede as opposed to the all too common Portuguese Millipede.

No sighting of any Cockatoos. There were a few small Bird species high in the trees, but against the overcast daylight these were difficult to spot, let alone photograph. I did encounter a White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea) doing its thing up one of the Stringybarks.

(1) RENTZ, D. (2014). A Guide to the Cockroaches of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne

Lady Bay Beach (30th Apr, 2022)

Context: Rocky reef beach extending from Normanville Beach down to Wirrina Cove, HMAS Hobart wreck offshore, and a seashell filled beach south of the lookout.

iNaturalist Projects

Lady Bay to Wirrina Cove, South Australia

See the full list of 129 observations covering 82 species on iNaturalist

Location three on the second day of the City Nature Challenge was Lady Bay Beach. When the tide is out, the beach south of the HMAS Hobart lookout has quite a variety of seashells. I hiked a few kilometres down the beach along the rocks, then looped back above the high tide line, all the while keeping an eye out for birds of prey on the coastal cliffs.

The section of beach just South of the HMAS Hobart lookout is sandy and frequently covered in sea wrack. This spot seems to be a favourite for a few Bird species. This time it was the Masked Lapwings (Vanellus miles), Magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) and a Raven (Corvus sp.).

The sea wrack is a mixture of species which I should put some effort into learning to differentiate. Specifically differentiating the green, red and brown algae from the vascular marine Plants, from the Kelp and the Sponges. Amongst the abundant Seagrass (Posidonia sp.) I found a some Codium species (Genus Codium), some Sea Nymph (Amphibolis antarctica) and Warty Twig Seaweed (Scaberia agardhii). All quite common along Greater Adelaide coastline.

Past the sandy section of the beach is the rocky coastline. It is here that the seashells wash up beyond the rocks and get caught behind them. One of the keys to recording a large number of species during a bioblitz is Molluscs. A good shell filled beach may have a more than 100 species. Within the Greater Adelaide area, the Lady Bay Beach is the best I’ve located so far. On this hike I managed to record 29 Mollusc species. I’m sure there are more here, if only I could differentiate them and recognise them from smaller shell fragments. Very common are the Australian Black Nerite (Nerita atramentosa) and Wavy Top (Diloma concameratum). Perhaps less common were the Striped-mouth Conniwink (Bembicium nanum) and Painted-lady Pheasant Shell (Phasianella australis). I don’t know enough about Molluscs to say which species are rarely sighted in this area, however Phasianotrochus irisodontes seems to have few records on iNat. The gallery below shows some of these and a few others recorded on the day.

As far as Molluscs go the highlight of the day was a Fimbriate Helmet Snail (Cassis fimbriata). These are reasonably common, and I found three on this day, but it’s uncommon to find an intact shell with much of its colour remaining. As you can see by my hand, these are quite a bit larger than most other shells found.

Along the beach it’s always worth lifting your head occasionally to look beyond the sand. Interesting marine Birds often fly past and if the timing is right you can get some reasonable photos. Keep an eye on the rocky shoreline as well. Today I was lucky to spot a Pacific Reef-Heron (Egretta sacra) hunting near the water. Only the second time I’ve spotted this species, the first at Hallett Cove.

Reaching a far point and heading back, a Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) flying into a strong headwind flew directly overhead. I managed to capture a few photos of it slowly making headway into the wind. With the sun behind, the different rows of feathers are highlighted.

On the walk back I tracked through the weedy dune above the hightide line. Almost every species growing here is an introduced weed. Sweet Scabious (Sixalix atropurpurea), Searockets (Genus Cakile), Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralias), Wild Cotton (Gomphocarpus cancellatus), and False Sow-Thistle (Reichardia tingitana). All of these were in flower, providing a great source of nectar for the Bees and coastal Butterflies. Meadow Argus (Junonia villida) seem to be fond of the Sweet Scabious, Cabbage Whites (Pieris rapae), a few Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) including one with a damaged wing, struggling against the strong wind that repeatedly found me to be a suitable windbreak. And the highlight of the CNC BioBlitz so far, a Small Grass-Yellow (Eurema smilax). The first time I’ve seen this species, which breeds up North with the larvae feeding on Cassia and Senna species.

One final interesting find was a species of Meshweaver Spider (Family Dictynidae). A chance encounter with one running across a rock, which I wish I’d stopped to take more detailed photos of this uncommonly sighted Family.

Aldinga CP (30th Apr, 2022)

Context: Proclaimed in 2022, combining the historic Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park comprising sand dunes, sand blows and remnant coastal vegetation, and the Aldinga Washpool, a rare ephemeral freshwater wetland.

iNaturalist Projects

Aldinga Conservation Park, South Australia

NATUREhoodz Aldinga Washpool Project

Ferals in South Australian Reserves – Aldinga CP

Birding Hot Spot – Cliff’s Waterhole, Aldinga CP

See the full list of 91 observations covering 48 species on iNaturalist

The second location visited on day two of the City Nature Challenge was just around the corner from Hart Road Wetlands. Starting at the Aldinga Conservation Park carpark on Dover Street, I hiked along the Kangaroo Track until I reached a section of the park that appeared to have had some historic clearing. I spent some time exploring this patch before heading back along the same track.

This park is excellent for Insects in the Spring, but a little quiet this time of year. Lots of Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), patches of Sea Box (Alyxia buxifolia) and Fringe Myrtle (Calytrix tetragona), easily identifiable with its long lasting sepals.

Dotted throughout this park is the Ruddy Beard-heath (Leucopogon rufus). Thanks to molecular phylogenetic studies this particular species, and a few others, have recently been moved to the Genus Styphelia, taking on the new name Styphelia rufa. (The same change has been made to Astroloma humifusum which has become Styphelia humifusa, effectively eliminating Astroloma in SA).

Not many species here are flowering at this time, although the bright red flowers of the Flame Heath (Stenanthera conostephioides) do stand out, and some of the Common Correas (Correa reflexa) had a few flowers.

The patch of land that looked like it had experience some historic clearing was quite similar to other sections of the park, although the disturbed land seemed to host more introduced weed species, including Paterson’s Curse (Echium plantagineum) and Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides). It also played host to many Native Apricots (Pittosporum angustifolium).

While photographing a Paper Flower (Thomasia petalocalyx) I spotted a Fairy Moth, Nemophora topazias. Only the second Fairy Moth I’ve encountered, the other from the same Genus spotted in Goolwa is likely an undescribed species associated with Myoporum sp. In the clearing an Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi) was enjoying the warm sun, and on the Muntries (Kunzea pomifera) a Saltbush Blue (Theclinesthes serpentata) stayed put for long enough to get both, wings open and wings closed photos.

An unexpected find for the hike was a Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum). Unfortunately I only got the one identifiable photo, but it was good to add this to the CNC species list.

Hart Road Wetlands (30th Apr, 2022)

Context: An artificial wetland on the North edge of Aldinga Scrub CP, created as part of Onkaparinga Council’s Water Proofing the South project. Three main ponds connected by gravel walking paths and bridges. Historically hosting a male Musk Duck seen displaying from time to time.

iNaturalist Projects

NATUREhoodz Hart Road Wetland

Birding Hot Spot – Hart Rd Wetlands, Aldinga, South Australia

See the full list of 41 observations covering 29 species on iNaturalist

First stop on day two of the City Nature Challenge was the Hart Road Wetlands. Always a good spot to find a wide range of Bird and a couple of Frog species. There also used to be a resident Musk Duck here.

If you’re looking for a spot where you can guarantee you’ll see a Kangaroo, it’s here. In the mornings they can be found feeding on the large open area in front of the carpark. On this morning, a couple of Western Grey Kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) were feeding right at the carpark.

A small group of Wood Ducks (Chenonetta jubata) were a lucky sighting. These are not uncommon, but certainty aren’t guaranteed at this wetland. The usual Australasian Swamphens (Porphyrio melanotus) and Eurasian Coots (Fulica atra) were about.

The European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are quite common here, often resting on one of the several dead tree trunks.

On the far side of the Southern-most pond is a large Eucalypt used as a roost for quite a few species, including White-faced Herons (Egretta novaehollandiae), Little Pied Cormorants (Microcarbo melanoleucos) and Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca), although the latter were absent on this morning.

Like so many suburban wetlands across SA, this wetland has its fair share of Domestic Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos var. domesticus) and Pacific Black Duck × Mallard Hybrids (Anas superciliosa × platyrhynchos). These hybrids have become quite a problem across metropolitan SA. Today I spotted only the one Domestic Mallard and a pair of hybrids showing the orange legs trait.

I was hoping to record the resident Musk Duck, but it has been absent on my last few visits. This species doesn’t move around much, being reluctant to fly. It’s looking like it has abandoned this territory for somewhere more fruitful. Below is an older photo I took of it performing its water-flicking display.

Onkaparinga River NP (29th Apr, 2022)

Context: 15.4km2 of steep river valley, remnant Eucalyptus woodland, degraded ex-farmland infested with introduced European Olive, and revegetation sites. Numerous recreational walking tracks and lookouts over the valley and down to the river. Includes Hardy’s Scrub on the the south side of Chapel Hill Road.

iNaturalist Projects

Onkaparinga River National Park, South Australia

Ferals in South Australian Reserves – Onkaparinga River NP

See the full list of 119 observations covering 68 species on iNaturalist

Final stop on the first City Nature Challenge day was a loop through Onkaparinga River National Park, starting at Gate 11 on Piggott Range Rd, following the fire track along the ridge and back along Sundew Ridge Hike.

Finding Bird species during the CNC is very much dependent on luck. I missed out on the Black Swan at Onkaparinga River Recreation Park, but added four species within the first few minutes on this hike. A female Crescent Honeyeater (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus), which is quite common, a Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Caligavis chrysops), far less common, a Striated Thornbill (Acanthiza lineata), common but hard to get clear enough photos to ID on an overcast day, and finally an unexpected Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus).

Through this section of the park there are few understory Plant species. Considering the density of vegetation higher up the river along the Echidna Hike, it seems likely this is due to historic farming usage, or an excess of Western Grey Kangaroos. Aside from the Eucalypts, the area is a repeating patchwork of Varnish Wattle (Acacia verniciflua), Sticky Hop-Bush (Dodonaea viscosa), Rock Wattle (Acacia rupicola), Kangaroo Thorn (Acacia paradoxa). A few Prickly Guinea-Flowers (Hibbertia exutiacies) are still present. The absence of understory allows large numbers of Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) to proliferate. The occasional flowering Twiggy Daisy-Bush (Olearia ramulosa) adds some colour this time of year.

Even in this section of the park the Mosses cover much of the ground this time of year giving it a yellow-green colour. Like the other Plant species, these are mostly a few common species, repeating. I found at least 8 species without much effort on this hike, including Barbula calycina, Leptodontium paradoxum, Triquetrella papillata, Polytrichum juniperinum, and a Rosulabryum sp.

Breaking from the fire track and heading back along the Sundew Ridge Hike, the track runs along the side of a denuded hillside with views directly down to the Onkaparinga River.

Further along this track the vegetation density increases. On the high side of the track I spotted a Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). These don’t seem particularly common in this park. This is only the 2nd one I’ve located over the last few years. Under the trees near the track I found a large patch of Slender Velvet-Bush (Lasiopetalum baueri). These only seem to grow in the area between this track and down to the river, always is large patches rather than individuals.

Along the track I found a great example showing the size range of two local Ant species. A relatively large Pony Ant (Genus Rhytidoponera) with a tiny Big-headed Ant (Genus Pheidole) chewing on its antenna.

Last of all, a species I was hoping to find, a small cluster of Early Sundews (Drosera praefolia). This particular carnivorous Plant puts up its flowers in April, which then senesce before its leaves emerge. It’s possible this is an adaptation that helps to prevent pollinators becoming ensnared.

Onkaparinga River RP (29th Apr, 2022)

Context: Where the Onkaparinga River reaches the plains. 2.6km2 of flood plains and wetlands, Fish breeding grounds and habitat for migratory Birds. Recreation area for walking, kayaking and fishing. Surrounded on all sides by suburbia.

iNaturalist Projects

Onkaparinga River Recreation Park, South Australia

Ferals in South Australian Reserves – Onkaparinga River RP

Birding Hot Spot – Southern Ponds, Onkaparinga River RP

NATUREhoodz Onkaparinga River (Saltfleet Street)

See the full list of 139 observations covering 76 species on iNaturalist

Second stop on the first City Nature Challenge day was Onkaparinga River Recreation Park. I took a short loop from the Commercial Road entrance, skirting a couple of wetland ponds and along the river’s edge, in the hope of spotting a few estuary birds, in particular the Black Swan.

The section of farmland South of the track was host to feeding Galahs (Eolophus roseicapilla), Long-billed Corellas (Cacatua tenuirostris), and a mob of Western Grey Kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) watching the housing development construction on the next field over.

Along so many of the tracks through this park the Southern Meat Ants (Iridomyrmex purpureus) are firmly in charge, heading out from their large distinct nests up and down the walking tracks and clearing tracks through the open grassland. I’m yet to determine if the sheer number of nests is typical of this environment, or whether it is representative of an ecosystem out of balance. Often nests of this species have signs of Echidna raids. But with no Echidna records on iNat or ALA in this park, perhaps their absence allows the Ants to become dominant.

One of the small ponds to the North of the track, with low water levels and muddy banks at this time of year, played host to a dozen or so Galahs (Eolophus roseicapilla) cautiously flying down for a drink.

So much of this section of the park consists of invasive introduced species, mostly commonly Coastal Galenia (Aizoon pubescens) which covers the ground, and Sweet Scabious (Sixalix atropurpurea), interspersed with Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), various Nightshades (Solanum sp.), Onion-Leafed Asphodel (Asphodelus fistulosus), and patches of Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare).

On a low hanging River Redgum branch I spotted a Tube Spittlebug (Family Machaerotidae) nymph tube, similar to the one from Hallett Cove CP earlier in the day. Until today I’d never seen these before, now I’ll likely see them everywhere.

Above the high tide line were both the Short-leaf Bluebush (Maireana brevifolia) and Maireana oppositifolia, with their differing leaf shapes, and an abundance of Nitre Bush (Nitraria billardierei) and Seaberry Saltbush (Rhagodia candolleana).

Taking some time to look a little closer, I spotted a Green-head Ant (Rhytidoponera metallica) amongst a Berry Saltbush, a new Land Snail species for my Life List that unfortunately was the introduced Pointed Snail (Cochlicella acuta), and a Horehound Bug (Agonoscelis rutila), also a new species for my list.

A total of 23 Bird species were recorded, including a few I less frequently sight. A couple of Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis) feeding in the shallow water, and a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta). Unfortunately, no Black Swans.

CNC2022 – UV Light (3 Nights)

During the City Nature Challenge 2022 I ran the UV light and moth sheet over 3 full nights taking a total of 208 observations covering 71 species.

Light: 50W UV CFL 71460

Direction: Sheet facing South-East

Runtime: 3 full nights (29th/30th April & 1st May).

Observations: 208

Species: 71

Many observations are yet to receive IDs as identifiers are busy during and after the City Nature Challenge. A few interesting records so far:

A reasonably clear shot of a Gall/Forest Midge (Family Cecidomyiidae). Most records of these on iNaturalist are records of their effect on Plants, rather than the adults themselves. In part because they are easier to ID, but also the adults are only a couple of millimetres long. I’ve not found any evidence of galls on the property. This is my 2nd record of this Family.

Stenophyella macreta, a Seed Bug in the Family Pachygronthidae. My first record from this Family. Nymphs and adults of the Subfamily Pachygronthinae typically resemble the the shape and colour of the seeds they feed on.(1) This may be true of the Subfamily Teracriinae, which includes Stenophyella macreta. These feed on the seeds of a range of Grasses (Poaceae).(2) The property currently has Themeda triandra, Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides & Poa labillardieri. It could do with a few more patches of local Grass species.

A Typical Longhorn Beetle (Subfamily Cerambycinae) whose elytra pattern doesn’t match any I’ve seen on the property before. Closest match from the Australian Cerambycidae website is perhaps Atesta dorsalis. This would be the 3rd Atesta sp. on the property. I currently have 12 Cerambycinae species recorded on the property. This is yet another species that’s not currently counting toward the total for the property, at least until it receives a refined ID.

The first record of a Palpita Moth (Genus Palpita) on the property.

My first record of a Padded Diving Beetle (Eretes australis), and only my second from the Predaceous Diving Beetles Family (Dytiscidae). These are strong fliers and attracted to lights. I should have collected it and dropped it in the pond.

A well fed Striped Mosquito (Aedes notoscriptus). Given it was on the sheet I’d been standing at for 30min, odds are the blood was mine.

The first iNat record in SA of the Genus Hyperxena.

A Macadamia Flower Caterpillar (Homoeosoma vagella), the larva of which feed specifically on the flowers of Macadamia ternifolia, a tree native to Queensland. I couldn’t find any info to indicate the larva feed on any other species, so it suggests someone in the local area has planted a Macadamia ternifolia.

The 2nd record on iNaturalist in SA of a Redlegged Ham Beetle (Necrobia rufipes). Given this species is a well known pest of meat products, it’s not surprising there is ample information about this species online.

A Plant Bug (Family Miridae), potentially Coridromius chenopoderis. This is a good example the effect of planting particular species on the property. The host Plants of this species are Chenopods (Family Chenopodiaceae). There happens to be a well established Seaberry Saltbush (Rhagodia candolleana) less than 10 metres from where the UV light is set up. Coridromius chenopoderis have been collected from this Plant several times. I’ve no doubt this species wouldn’t have a home on the property if this cultivated Plant wasn’t present.

Potentially the first record on iNaturalist of the Ground Beetle Sarothrocrepis nitens. This is definitely one I’ll be looking to collect for closer inspection if I spot it again. The Subfamily Lebiinae has some species with quite interesting patterns. I’ve recorded at least 4 of these on the property.

(1) SCHUH, R. T., & SLATER, J. A. (1995). True bugs of the world (Hemiptera: Heteroptera): classification and natural history. Ithaca, Comstock Pub. Associates.

(2) MALIPATIL, M. B., GAO, C. Q., & EOW, L. X. (2020). Australian Lygaeoidea (Heteroptera) of Economic Importance: Identification of Families, Tribes and Representative Genera. The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, The State of Victoria.