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Exploring Adelaide's urban ecology

Updated: May 17, 2021

On the weekend I needed to go into town to do some things in the lab, I thought as this would not take long I would do some urban ecology for a change. This would be a variation on my occasional walks in the Adelaide hills, I knew there are some grey-headed flying foxes, and I may even see some nesting birds. I headed down to the River Torrens, which is a dammed stream just north of the city with a well-maintained garden on either side. The usual few waterbirds were present and a number of dragonflies and damselflies including Tau Emerald 'Hemicordulia tau' (below center), Red and Blue Damsel 'Xanthagrion erythroneurum' and Common Bluetail's 'Ischnura heterosticta' (below left and right)

The acrobatics were distracting for a while, but as I watched a large fly caught my eye, I had not seen this species before and unlike many flies, it was very co-operative allowing me to change to my macro lens and take some close-ups and take some lateral shots as well. the wing pattern reminded me of some bee flies that I had seen but this was clearly not a bee fly. I was to upload the image later and discovered this was the first time this species has been recorded on iNaturalist (or at least identified)! a bit of a surprise as it is quite distinctive with it' yellow face and wing patterns while allowing me to take many photos. I must thank @tony_d for help with the identification and the reference.

Euthera skusei observed on a tree adjacent to the River Torrens, a first for iNaturalist.

My walkthrough Botanic park and the botanical gardens were equally productive with my first blue skimmers for the season, usually, I see many of these delightful dragonflies but have not managed to see any this season. This species is often around wetlands and small waterways. I also managed to observe eight species of butterfly in and around the Adelaide Botanical Gardens, including a Caper White which I had to track for a while before on finally settled.

Some of the butterflies seen at the Adelaide Botanical gardens, Yellow AdmiralVanessa itea (left), Common Grass BlueZizina labradus (center) Meadow ArgusJunonia villida (right), and the Caper White (above).

On my way back to the car, I heard a lot of chatter and investigated. Of course, it a flock of Rainbow Lorikeets 'Trichoglossus moluccanus' crowding around the water feature by the western gate to the garden. Such charismatic birds, but interestingly an introduced pest in Pert, Western Australia Tasmania, and New Zealand. While there are is also observations in Europe and Puerto de la Cruz. This is a reminder that species out of range can be a problem no matter how cute they are.

Rainbow Lorikeets 'Trichoglossus moluccanus'

I was just about to reach my car I saw a small bird enter a hollow in the tree by the car. I quickly pulled out my camera and was far too late to get a photo and see what species it was, so I set up on a nearby bench and waited. Fortunately, the wait was not long before one of these wonderful birds popped back into the hollow, so I waited until the visiter poked its head out, a Striated Pardalote 'Pardalotus striatus'! I have not seen one of these birds in the city, as they usually are found high in the canopy. To see one in the city was unexpected as although they have a vast range I thought they preferred woodland. I took the opportunity to make an observation for the citizen science project Hollows as Homes consider signing up as this project works with the community and land managers to assess tree hollow availability, as hollows are an important but limited resource for wildlife in urban and agricultural areas.

Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus, using a Hollow as a home.

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