Dangers of birdwatching, Jagun, Valla Beach Feb 8

Dangers of birdwatching, Jagun, Valla Beach Feb 8

Dawn 8Feb_w
Valla dawn, Feb 8

We strolled out early watching treecreepers, Long-billed Scrubwrens, Eastern Rozellas, Eastern Robins, Lewins Honeyeaters, Rainbow Lorikeets and the Kookaburras of course . . .

Blackbutt, Jagun
Blackbutt, Jagun

There are 90 species of bull ants in Australia, all with different adaptations, behaviours, nests and life cycles. They range in size from 4 cm to 1cm. Some of the smaller species are known as jumping or jumper ants after their pattern of aggression. I was watching a parent Grey Shrike-thrush feed a youngster who kept quiet but shivered its wings on the track. I forgot to look where I was standing. An ant about 2cm long leapt onto my ankle and bit the pain was as severe as our paper wasp and lasted similarly about 20 seconds.

Jumping ant nest

I was also batting away a lovely large B&W March or Horse fly (there are many species). Only the female bites,using needle-like mouthparts to suck mammalian blood. You often see poor roos whipping their tails around as a fly attacks. She need blood to reproduce, the males feed on nectar.

Leaf spider home, 2cm long
Small leaf spider home, 2cm long

And a minute earlier a sole mosquito had just begun sucking my blood before I could kill it.

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