Dec 2021 – Bradleys Creek, Yaouk

In early December, 13 of us visited John and Janet’s property at Yaouk, just over the NSW border south of Namadgi National Park.

Our first stop was at Brawshaws Hut where we saw a Tiger moth hanging in the grass, and a Cabbage White Butterfly that had a fly on its wing, giving new meaning to the term butterfly.

Just over the border is a family of Masked Lapwings with two now half-grown chicks. When the chicks were very tiny the family a habit of sitting in the middle of the road. At the speed some of the locals drive along that road, it’s a wonder they weren’t killed.

The first time John stopped the car but rather than get off the road the female fluffed up her feathers and spread her wings preparing to take on the car.

At the property Popplebonk and Striped Marsh Frogs were occasionally calling from their watery home. Sonia spotted the resident snake down by the river but it had slithered back into the grass by the time I got there with my camera.

The river was too full to cross after all the recent rain but we were able to spend several hours exploring the long stretch between the river and the roadside, photographing and where possible, identifying the range of flowering plants. Shirley brought along her plant identification book so was able to name many of them. Meanwhile I found a myriad of micro fauna.

On the drive down John slowed down to navigate a very muddy road crossing and as we passed I spotted a number of Durius orchids. We looked for them on the way back. I remembered the wet boogy road so we stopped at the first likely spot and did indeed found an orchid by the side of the road. It wasn’t where I thought I remembered and I was surprised that I would have spotted just this one orchid.

Exploring the bush on the other side of the road we had actually stumbled upon a little treasure trove with two types of Durius orchids, dozens of Brown Caps, a single sun orchid, not in flower, and two bearded orchids, with one flower open.

Travelling on, we came to the last muddy crossing and this is where I had first seen the orchids. There were about 15 of them growing tall in the mud-splattered grass.

After putting most of the sightings up on Canberra Nature, and with some of Kevin’s sightings there were 47 confirmed sightings of different species from John and Janet’s property at Yaouk and I haven’t yet even added the plants.

Some of the more interesting species included a wonderful Mayfly and a very interesting fly, less than 5 mm in size.

Among the leaf beetles, were some larvae that I didn’t recognise.

Leaf-rolling Weevils were spread across the property.

Of the more populous species, there were hundreds of tiny grasshoppers, either green or brown, and Plague Soldier Beetles lived up to their name.

Two small Eucalypts were home to around 150 Edusella beetles. Numerous ants tended the larvae of various leafhoppers and there seemed to be hundreds of tiny orb weaving spiders found in among the leaves of almost every tree.

Numerous ants tended the larvae of various leafhoppers and there seemed to be hundreds of tiny orb weaving spiders found in among the leaves of almost every tree.

A bull ant was so aggressive that it actually climbed down out of the Eucalyptus sapling and came for me. Since it was so determined to reach me, I used that to lure it into the sun for a better photo.

Due to my bias towards insects, I’ve run out of room to include the flora (maybe next newsletter), but the sandwash Janet told us about at the Field Nats meeting has created what their grandkids now delight in calling a beach, along which the flora is beginning to flourish.

I look forward to another visit sometime.

– Alison Milton

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