21 February 2021
The first KRMB outing for the year was to Point Peron, Rockingham. A small group of nine attendees gathered at the car park on a beautiful morning. We commenced our walk along the track on the northern side of the reserve with views out to Garden Island. This portion of the track still shows signs of the bad erosion caused by the super storm event in May 2020. Almost immediately, we spotted an Osprey gliding towards us. For a moment, it appeared as if it was starting to dive on a fish, but it pulled out, possibly spooked by three jet skis that were doing laps in a zone accredited for use by a Jet Ski hire business.
Along the track we saw Melaleuca lanceolata plus Olearia axillaris in flower. At the base of one of the shrubs a small, Western Bearded Dragon (Pogona minor), much darker in color than those usually seen in this area, was seen catching some sunshine. As usual Daniel was busy looking for insects and other invertebrates. He spotted a very small Praying Mantis that he was unable to identify.
Nearby we found a fallen leaf with a Tartessinae cicadellidae Leafhopper that had just transformed from its larval stage (its exuvia was nearby and it had not developed its full adult color). On the same leaf was the tube of a Tube Spittlebug (Clastopteridae).
Tube Spittlebug nymphs build, and live-in calcareous tubes attached to stems of food plants (usually eucalypts), with the nymphs immersed in their liquid excretions. Adults are usually greenish yellow or black in colors. We checked the beaches for signs of shorebirds, but none were seen despite the banks of seaweed that had been washed ashore. We constantly came across Willie Wagtails and Singing Honeyeaters, but few other birds.
Out near John Point, we found Weeping Pittosporum (Pittosporum ligustrifolium) with plenty of oval orange fruits. These fruits are reported to be edible and were used to make flour by some Noongar groups (refer to “Noongar Bush Tucker” by Vivienne Hanson and John Horsfall). The book states that the fruits are ‘a bit bitter’, a fact confirmed by Sophie Xiang who tried one! This area also had Dysentery Bush (Alyxia buxifolia) with small red berries. From the lookout at John Point, we watched as a group of kayakers, enjoying the perfect conditions, made their way out past the point. A Grey-tailed Tattler (one of the migratory waders) was spotted on the limestone cliffs and nearby we also saw two Ruddy Turnstones (also migratory waders) resting on the rocks.
A third flew past us to land on the rocks between the lookout and the beach. The Turnstones are often seen on beds of seaweed or seagrass wrack foraging for food. As we progressed around the tip of Point Peron, we spotted Pied Cormorants, an Australasian Darter and a single Crested Tern. On the rocks below we spotted a Sacred Kingfisher, the first time any of us had seen one in this location.
It took our list of birds to a total of 15 species, quite low for this location. The data was entered into the Birdata App. Daniel Heald would add another reptile sighting later. While heading back to the car park early, he almost stepped on a large Dugite! He also reported that he found a rarely seen Mole Crab on a beach. It was dead, having possibly been stepped on by a diver.