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The Koala was listed as “Endangered” and “Vulnerable to Extinction” in 2022 by Federal laws due to habitat loss and pressures from development across Australia. The image above was recorded at 7.15 am September 21st. 2022 at Sportsmans Creek Conservation Area, Dilkoon. N.S.W. In conjunction with Envite eco-services, the property has recently planted two hundred Red gum trees (Euc. tereticornis) to increase the buffer zone of feed trees from the east at Sportsmans Creek towards the west and the Banyabba Nature Reserve.

A first-time confirmation sighting for the property after fifteen years.

Listed as Vulnerable a family group of seven birds is busy building a communal brooding nest in the Conservation Area.

Rotala tripartita (no common name) is a recent discovery in the billabong at Sportsmans Creek Conservation Area. Listed as a Threatened and Endangered Species in N.S.W. this short-lived perennial herb grows up to 40cm high in free-standing water with sedges. Considered Rare in N.S.W. and only recorded from Grafton to Casino.

Discovery, image and identification courtesy of John and Pat Edwards.

Rotala tripartita Beesley : Lythraceae

Found hunting in flowering Red Ironbark for lorikeets in the Conservation Area. Although a widespread bird throughout Australia a first time sighting here.

I.D. courtesy of Daryl Eggins and Tony Belton.

Small species with a horizontal pupil. The belly is cream coloured with several brown spots. It can be grey, brown or sandy gold black in colour with warty skin. Without webbed feet. Common species and new find in the Conservation Area.

Image Frogs ID. Australian Museum courtesy of Stephen Mahony.

With a shade of green or olive above, yellow belly and long narrow head these snakes are harmless feeding mainly on frogs. Grows to around 1.2 metres.

An Endoxyla species possibly either E. encalypti (Wattle Goat Moth) or E. leucomochla (Wijuti Grub Moth.) The larval species dig under ground or bore into trees and feed on the sap and roots. As adults they have no mouth parts and live on the stored fats. Adult moths have a large wingspan up to 16cm. E. encalypti species are found along the entire East Coast and considered an Endangered species. E. leucomochla feed specifically on Acacia species. A first time sighting on the Conservation Area.

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans further reference available at

“What a delightful and charming book! I sometimes have a fantasy that I am going to make a proper investigative census of what lives and visits my own garden here, but I have never got around to it, partly out of idleness and partly because I know I shall discover the shaming dimensions of my own ignorance. Of course I have precious few mammals and reptiles (what I wouldn’t give for an occasional echidna) but the invertebrates I’m sure are much more numerous than I know and would give me a horrible headache. Please congratulate the authors I hope the edition sells out within days.”

To reserve your copy email

Adults are known to be fruit piercing moths. Other species in S.E. Asia are known as Vampire moths and feed on the blood of mammals and vertebrates.

Further reference is available at courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans.

Harmless orb-weaving spider which is nocturnal weaving a cart-wheel web at night which is consumed in the morning.

A healthy population exists of these secretive carnivorous marsupials in the Conservation Area. Image from Trail Camera.

Found feeding on Spotted gum tree for wood boring grubs.

A new environmental weed has appeared on the Conservation Area after the March 2021 floods. Skyflower is a member of the Verbena family and grows as an upright shrub, originally from South America and Mexico. Leaves and unripened berries are TOXIC and can kill children, dogs and cats although songbirds eat with impunity. Listed in the Top 50 invasive weeds in Northern NSW and Qld. This species has other common names of Golden Dewdrop and Pigeon Berry.

Skyflower Duranta erecta

Toxic berry

“The adult moths have a wingspan up to 10 cm. The moth sometimes adopts an asymetrical posture, with the abdomen bent under the wings. Caterpillars are large reddish brown covered in dense bristles which may cause severe irritation if handled.”

I.D. and reference courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans  further information is available at

Curious as to how the pupa managed to colour itself with these striking markings I asked Lepidoptera expert Don Herbison-Evans for the answer.

“The Glasswing pupa is naked, devoid of any silk except for the cremaster. Its colours are an exaggeration of those of the last larval instar: yellow spiracles ringed by black joined by a lateral black line.”

A miracle of evolution.

. ”

Attractive red robin which is locally migratory. A first time sighting in the Conservation Area.

With no common name and wingspan around 4cm this moth has a dark line on the hindwings and recurved forewings. Caterpillars found feeding in Ironbark trees and tend to pupate in dry soil under suitable conditions.

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans with further reference available at

Extremely widespread across rural districts usually seen performing acrobatics hunting insects.

Breeding pair of Rufous Whistler in the Wildlife Refuge favouring the Melaleuca cover under eucalypts.

The caterpillar is found on Mistletoe and when disturbed curl their heads back. They are a large attractive day flying moth often mistaken for a butterfly. A new species for the Conservation Area.

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans follow link for further references.

Mistletoe Day Moth

Captured with our Trail camera is this female Painted Button Quail. A bird which feeds both day and night for seeds and insects and is reasonably common and widespread. A new species for the Conservation Area.

I.D. courtesy of D. Eggins.

The locally nomadic Red-browed Finch found feeding on fresh grass seed in the Conservation Area.

The caterpillars feed on Hard Quandong. Wingspan around 5cm. First time sighting of this moth at Sportsmans Creek Conservation Area, with no common name.
I.D. and reference courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans.

A surprise find on Sportsman Creek Conservation Area after the January floods is the native species of Macadadami integrifolia. Listed as Vulnerable under the EPBC Act and (facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium term.)

Classification 3VC under the ROTAP system.

This moth has a wingspan up to 2.5cm. The caterpillars are green with a pale line along each side of the back. Tufts on the end of the abdomen are wiggled by the female to disperse a pheromone in order to attract a mate.

I.D. and information by Don Herbison-Evans. Further reference

Also known as the Crested Hawk, a medium sized bird which feeds amongst the treetops for stick insects, frogs and reptiles. Found amongst the Swamp Turpentine on the Conservation Area and rare in New South Wales.

“The adult moths have various shades of grey-brown with a wavy pattern of darker markings. Wingspan around 3cm.” They have the ability to dislocate their wings for camouflage effect. A new sighting for the Conservation Area.

I.D. and further reference courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans.

The Northern Ghost Moth is found in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. With brown wings each forewing have a ragged white arc from base to wingtip. Male moths have a wingspan to 11cm with females up to 16cm. A new sighting for the Conservation Area.

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans and Paul Kay.

Further reference available at

This species is found over most of Australia. Feeding mostly on various Mistletoe. A new sighting for the Conservation Area.

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans with further reference available at

“This species occurs around the world in tropical areas. Adult moths have forewings with a complex pattern of variable colours. The hindwings contain white patches. Pupation occurs in a cocoon covered in debris typically on a tree trunk.” A first time sighting on the Conservation Area. A wingspan about 5cm.

I.D. and reference is courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans.

Further reference is available at

The largest native bee in Australia. They are solitary and pollen eaters, the female lays eggs in hollow wood. Black abdomen and yellow thorax with distinctive black spot. A new sighting on the Conservation Area.

With glossy iridescent black wings and unique straw-like neck feathers. When sourcing suitable pastures they fly on thermals in a “V” formation and are an abundant and nomadic species.

Common Welcome Swallow in mud nest feeding brood of chicks.

This species can be migratory and are found across the Continent. Their are several subspecies from Indonesia and Samoa. A first time sighting on the Conservation Area.

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans further reference available

Java White Butterfly

Australia’s most widespread reptile. This lizard is non-venomous and mostly eats other small reptiles. Lizard in image around 30 cm in length.

An attractive lacewing with orange head and black eyes belonging to the Osmylid lacewings, this subfamily has only one species. They are carnivorous feeding upon caterpillars and aphids.

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans. Further reference available at

Locally nomadic, large ground foraging pigeon photographed in the Conservation Area.

Available online at

Another journey into sustainable living with the Sportsman Creek Conservation Area Education programme. Hand-whittled contemporary interior designs using found woods from our forest. To obtain your instant PDF copy follow the link above.

Sportsman Creek Press 2019.

New specialist publication by Sportsman Creek Conservation Area Environmental Education programme. A journey of creative discovery sourcing local fibre plants to create functional and beautiful objects. We are proud to offer copies of this book online and available at for a reasonable price in either soft or hardcover and instant PDF format. Just follow the link above to obtain your copy. Sportsman Creek Press 2019

Soft twig rush or Buckie rush

Sportsman Creek Conservation Area is engaged in growing and planting this native twig rush. Commonly called Buckie rush and used extensively by the Indigenous Bundjalung peoples for basket weaving and net string bag making. A compact slender native bog grass, thrives in standing water and around flooded soils, making it the ultimate landscape plant for wet areas in the garden or for landscape re-vegetation.  

Description – Hardy native grass with
slender attractive lime green foliage and reddish-brown flower spikes.

Location – Will grow in up to 25cm of
water, in full sun or part shade. Hardy tolerating frost and low nutrient

Uses – Oxygenates and removes nutrients
from pond water and provides habitat keeping ponds cleaner and healthy. THE

Care – Low maintenance, trim by half every
two to three years and water if the bog begins to dry out. For weaving harvest
by gently pulling out individual stems.

A tiny owl like bird with huge forward facing eyes used for night hunting flying insects. Found along the riparian zone on Sportsman Creek Conservation Area. Widespread across Australia.

Image courtesy of visiting wildlife photographer Rachel Hebbard.

Beautiful Sugar Glider found on Red Ironbark tree in the Wildlife Refuge.

A pair of Sacred Kingfisher are nesting in a gum tree hollow at Sportsman Creek Conservation Area.

Image of a male bird with strong buff tint breast and blue wing coverts.

One of the most aerial and acrobatic of small birds chasing insects in the canopy and undergrowth. 

Images of a 25 mm solitary Australian native Resin-dauber Bee. They are called resin bees because they collect resins and gums to build partitions between their brood cells. With over one hundred Australian species they are not aggressive and stingless. Solitary native bees drink nectar directly from the flower and are important pollinators.

Plain green lorikeet with yellow margins to plumage of neck and breast giving a scaly appearance. Found feeding on Red Ironbark nectar and only seen here when the eucalypts are flowering.


Found in the riparian zone on Sportsman Creek Conservation Area. Observed feeding on the fruit or (drupe) of the Jackwood trees (Cryptocarya glaucescens) which fruit around June each year. These large 45cm birds fly far and fast in search of rainforest fruits. 

Image of male moth with brown patterned forewings, each with a complex spot near the middle. The female is flightless and her bulbous brown body is covered in pale brown hair.

I.D. and further reference courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans


A small flock of locally nomadic Fuscous Honeyeaters on the Conservation Area. Widespread along the East Coast.

There are five races of pardalote which cover almost the entire continent. They build a nest in suitable ground and forage for small insects in foliage.

Image of the metallic coloured and parasitic Cuckoo Wasp which lays it’s egg inside other wasp nests to hatch and feed on the food inside. They are common and have been observed favouring Mud Dauber Wasp nests.

Macro image courtesy of local Wildlife Photographer Tony Belton.

Image of a adult Banded Lacewing or Antlion. Body length of 40mm with clear wings and black/brown venation with two clear bands on the hindwings.

The most arboreal dasyurid (small carnivorous nocturnal marsupials) listed as Vulnerable and Near Threatened on the IUCN Redlist. It is likely this species occur sparsely and discontinuously across their entire range. Their Australian native name is Tuan and have a long black-brush tipped tail. The Conservation Area is providing the necessary habitat for their continued existence. Photographed hunting in shed.


Breeding in the ponds after recent rains are the Northern Pobblebonk or Northern Banjo Frog. Limnodynastes means “Lord of the Marshes.” This species is readily distinguished from all other species in S/E Australia by its scarlet groin markings.

Reference: Robinson, Martyn. A Field Guide to Frogs of Australia. 


Large and slender pigeon-like dove which can be found in the highlands as well as lowland rain forests and margins. A reasonably common and beautiful bird.

A flock of forty Cattle Egrets in orange-buff breeding plumage, some with red iris and beak at the dam. The Cattle Egret only appeared in Australia about 1950 but have spread across Australia.

These leaf cutting or resin bees live solitary lives boring tunnels in rotting wood to make a nest. This excellent image shows pollen attached to the abdomen of the bee rather than on the legs as commonly seen. They are important pollinators for native plants.

Image courtesy of Wildlife Photographer Tony Belton.

Small and loud tree frog that has a high pitched bleating call which is almost painful to the ears. Their fingers are one-third webbed with large toe discs.

Reference courtesy Field Guide to Frogs Australia. Martyn Robinson.

Widespread and reasonably common large bird found feeding in the dam.

Image of a feeding Freshwater bivalve in the upper reaches of Sportsman Creek Conservation Area. They burrow under the sand feeding and breathing by sucking water through tubes called siphons that filter out microscopic plants and animals. Many live 20-30 years by counting the ridges or year stripes on the shell will give the age. They can tolerate extended dry periods but will not occur in polluted water.

Image of an Adult male bird with distinctive red eye ring feeding in the Conservation Area. Nomadic, locally migratory and moderately common.
Image courtesy of visiting Wildlife Photographer Tony Belton.

The Conservation Area has allowed healthy new stands of Narrow-leaved Red Gum trees to grow in the Open Eucalypt Woodlands.
This species of tree is Listed as E2 which means its distribution is restricted to a range over less than 100 km. They are Endangered and at serious risk in the short term (one or two decades.) Because they are branch droppers nesting hollows appear at an earlier stage.

Small group of locally migratory or nomadic White-cheeked Honeyeater sighted near the billabong on Sportsman Creek Conservation Area. Image of a male bird with puffed cheek. 

Image of a female Rhinoceros beetle one of the largest of beetles which is distinguishable by not having the large  horn of the males which are used for jousting other males. The giant hand sized larvae live in soil and feed on rotting logs or decaying plant matter. A new species for the Conservation Area.


Although unusual and colourful these fungi use odour to ensure spore dispersal. Note the blowfly, ants and spider on image. The slime of this species is very toxic and because the odour resembles rotting meat some dog species are at risk.


Male Orchard or Citrus Butterfly which usually feed on RUTACEAE family of plants. The caterpillars undergo four instar stages before entering pupa stage. The pupa resembles a leaf and metamorphosis can take up to six months.

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans.

Further Reference:



Visiting northern migrants to the Conservation Area found swooping from branches for flying insects.


This large Channel-billed Cuckoo sighted on the Conservation Area after being raised by crow foster parents and will be preparing to migrate north to New Guinea and Indonesia as winter approaches.

This Red-backed Buttton Quail is listed as Vulnerable and a Threatened Species in N.S.W. Between 1994 and 2005 only six observations were recorded in N.S.W or (0.75 records per year.) They are nocturnal and crepuscular (twilight) in their activity and forage near the ground for insects and grasses although little is known of their diet. A first time sighting on the Conservation Area. 

“This is the first record of this species in NSW since a report from Tuncurry on February 27, 2014 was accepted by NSW ORAC (Case 652). It is interesting to note that all reports of this species in NSW in the past ten years or so have been in the months from November to February and it is not clear whether this implies that it is migratory or whether it indicates heightened activity at this time of the year.”

Acceptance courtesy of NSW ORAC Secretary.
Roger McGovern

I.D. courtesy of Dr. Greg Clancy.


Found feeding early morning on Coastal Banksia 

Sighted along the riparian zone taking insects from foliage and bark the Lewin’s Honeyeater.  

Found sunning along the riparian zone of Sportsman Creek Conservation Area this three metre mainly nocturnal Carpet Python.

Carpet Python

Although widespread and common across Australia this bird is a first time sighting on the Conservation Area. It has a melodic “whoo-whoo- whoo” call.

Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes)

Image taken by visiting Wildlife Photographer Tony Belton in the riparan zone at Sportsman Creek of a perfectly camouflaged Evening Brown Butterfly.

Evening Brown Butterfly

Located inside a shallow Limestone cave in Kwiambal National Park are these Fairy Martin nests made from mud.  Although widespread across Australia an uncommon bird.

Fairy Martin nests

This Old growth nesting hollow allows Rainbow Lorikeets to raise their family. It must be at least 40mm round for these larger birds.



“This possum is the Short-eared Possum which was separated out from the Mountain Brushtail or Bobuck a few years back. The Bobuck only occurs south of Sydney while the Short-eared Possum occurs north of Sydney. The Bobucks lack the melanic (black-brown) morph.” This specimen with baby was found near the headwaters of the Clarence River.

I.D. courtesy of Dr. Greg Clancy.

Smaller than other friarbirds and without the raised knob on the beak. A new bird for the Conservation Area.

Little Friarbird


Grey Kangaroo Joey and Willy Wagtai;l

A small flock of Dusky Woodswallow visited the property today swooping down from the branches for insects in the  Dry Eucalypt woodland. A first time sighting for the Conservation Area.

This large pheasant-like member of the cuckoo is largely a ground dweller hunting along thickets and long grasses for frogs and insects. Generally a very weak flyer but has the ability to fly high and far. A common visitor to the Conservation Area.

Image courtesy of Iluka Emporium photographer Tony Belton.

Pheasant Coucal




The newly published book “Bush Companion Fauna Species of the Clarence Valley and Northern Rivers, New South Wales” is available to purchase direct from the publisher.

This book contains over 310 “full colour plate” fauna species in 250 “perfect bound” pages with both common and scientific names.

Order by email at to reserve your copy.

Price $25 a copy plus postage from Sportsman Creek Press.

Bush Companion Cover

Brown Quail chick

This attractive moth has a wingspan around 6cm with a dark subtle pattern including an eye spot on each forewing broken by a bold diagonal white line across each wing. Found over the north-east quarter of Australia and a new species for the Conservation Area with no common name. (Butler 1877.)

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans further reference:

Donuca lanipes Moth



This year we witnessed these beautiful Blue Tiger Butterfly for the first time flying fast in great numbers to the south/west. Apparently they migrate from as far away as North Queensland and we watched their progress from the coast right up into the mountains of Tenterfield so altitudes over twelve hundred metres was not a limiting factor to this migration.

Image courtesy of  Dr. Greg Clancy. 

Blue Tiger Butterlfy Hickey Island Yamba Greg Clancy

Locally nomadic and generally rare bird found foraging under bark in under canopy on the Conservation Area.  They have a strong beak which levers bark in search of insects and grubs and a first time sighting.

Crested Shrike-tit 2

Flooding rains have brought out this Giant Barred Frog in the riparian zone on Sportsman Creek. Measuring around 230mm in overall length it surely must be one of the largest Australian species of frog. There are five known species in this genus known at present, all restricted to eastern Australia. Usually found in wet sclerophyll forest and rainforest. “Classified as an Endangered species the females lay eggs onto moist creek banks or rocks above water level from where the tadpoles drop into the water where they hatch. Tadpoles grow to a length of 80mm and take up to fourteen months before changing into frogs. They feed primarily on large insects and spiders.”

Hi Jeff, enjoyed looking through your site with great wildlife photos. Will talk about your frog on Wildlife Wednesday ABC Radio @ 6.25 tomorrow 13/05/2015: It appears to be one of our very largest frogs, the Giant Barred Frog (Mixophyes iteratus) distinguished by the eye colours & body patterns, an endangered species rarely observed so well done Jeff for finding it & taking its photo. What was the location? I will send this photo on to the frog specialists because it may be an important find if my identification is correct. Only a very few communities are known. I.D. confirmed by Gary Opit.


Great Barred Frog

Reference: Robinson M. Field Guide to Australian Frogs of Australia.

I.D. courtesy of  Yvette Simpson Interpretive Officer Australian Museum.


The caterpillar of the Orchard or Citrus Swallowtail Butterfly. “Although this caterpillar is a pest on suburban lemon trees it is one of the most interesting caterpillars in Australia. Both its structure and its behaviour have evolved to an extraordinary degree to give it protective mechanisms against predators. It also grows into one of the largest butterflies to grace suburban gardens.”

Further reference available at

I.D. courtesy of Don Herbison Evans.

Papilio aegeus Caterpillar

An endangered Coastal Emu found feeding in coastal heath near Redcliff today. Coastal Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiiae)

“The normal resting posture has the hind wings covered. They are revealed if the moth is disturbed as it opens its wings for flight. The moths have a wingspan of up to 7cm. The body is brown and cigar shaped. The forewings are brown and the hindwings are red edged and black.” Found across the entire continent.

I.D. and reference courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans.

Further reading;

Hippotion scrofa Moth




Sportsman Creek Longicorn Beetle image used to underline the seriousness of works by Danish Ceramics artist Inge-Marie Fruelands beetle-inspired products.


Longicorn-Beetle1-300x260Longicorn Beetle-inspired Bowl by Inge Marie Fruelunds

Three hundred and fifty metres of high quality post and wire fencing has been completed in the Conservation Area along the riparian zone next to Sportsman Creek. This new fence is designed to exclude domestic stock accessing the 30 hectare regeneration area, riparian zones and billabongs. This project completes over one and a half kilometres of new fencing allowing for improved property management, continuing recreational use, research and further species study of our local flora and fauna.

New Fenceline


Whiptail Wallaby


Also called the Pretty face Wallaby. The most beautiful and boldly marked of the mid-sized kangaroos. The Whiptail gets its name from its long tail that tapers to a whip-like end. Discontinuous populations from Cooktown south to the north-eastern New South Wales border from coastal areas to the western edge of the Great Dividing Range. Image taken in the foothills under the Great Divide amongst some old growth forest. 





A tentative identification for a possible Amanita ochrophylloides fungi provided by Nigel Fechner.

 Found growing along the riparian zone at Sportsman Creek Conservation Area.

Powerful Owls are frequent visitors to the Conservation Area where they hunt along the riparian zone for Gliders, Possums and Bats. It was suggested by the photographer that the Powerful Owl may have the ability to branch hang using a bony protrusion on the wing. After sending the images to the Australian Museum this has now proved to be incorrect. 

Your great images were shown to Walter Boles, Senior Fellow in our Ornithology Section. His response was:-
” Yes, it is definitely a Powerful owl,
Ninox strenua. I have handled lots of unprepared carcasses of this beast–possibly more than anyone else in the world–and have never found anything on the wing that could be construed as a branch-hanging bony protrusion. To me, it looks like a bird that grabbed a possum and slipped, getting its wing caught in the fork. Just to check, I forwarded the pictures to two of Australia’s leading owl workers and both have the same conclusion. So, no confirmation of a bony protrusion. Just a clumsy owl.”


Melissa Murray    Interpretive Officer Australian Museum.

Images courtesy of Robert Parker. 


Powerful OwlPowerful OwlPowerful OwlPowerful Owl

Also known as the Hibiscus Harlequin Bug the image on left is of an adult male with metallic blue and red patches. The image on right is a fifth instar Nymph with bright metallic blue colour. They feed mostly on young shoots piercing and sucking the stems of Malvaceae.  Not commonly found in the Conservation Area after hitching a ride in a visiting vehicle.

Cotton Harlequin BugCOtton Harlequin Bug 5th. Instar 


With no common name this attractive fungi is common on lawns and playing fields where it sometimes forms large fairy rings. The lilac tints are rapidly lost as the fruiting bodies dries. Cap 3-8cm with a strong pleasant smell. A new species for the Conservation Area.

Reference: Young. A.M.  Field Guide to the Fungi of Australia. Lepista sublilacina

Known for the violin shaped pattern on their backs these attractive and common beetles live in heaths and woodlands. The female Fiddler Beetle lay their eggs in rotting timber or in damp soil under logs. The grubs feed on rotting timber and build cocoons of soil and debris in which they pupate. These beetles are harmless to humans. 

Fiddler BeetleFiddler Beetle

 We are pleased to have reached a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to the identification, study, research  and sharing of species information through the Sportsmans Creek Conservation Area in the Clarence Valley of Northern New South Wales. Our environmental commitment to this property began as a personal pathway but it soon became obvious that the information we were  gaining deserved to be more widely distributed. A solar powered laptop and the medium of blogging has allowed us to achieve a much wider audience for the 650 identified species of flora and fauna found to date. As of today over one hundred thousand people have visited the web page to learn and research from all around the world including the Natural History Museum of London.

Grey Kangaroo and Joey

“The boletes are closely related to the agarics (fungi with gills). Many boletes display colour changes when the flesh is cut, so that whitish or yellowish tissues become spectacularly greenish blue due to enzyme reactions triggered by oxygen in the air. Boletes are very important in the Australian bushland as ectomycorrhizal species, but they also provide food for the larval stages of many insects.” A first time sighting in the Conservation Area after recent rains.

Reference A.M. Young A Field Guide to the Fungi of Australia.

I.D. courtesy of Nigel Fechner.

Boletes ananas ToadstoolBoletes ananas

With over fifteen hundred recorded species across Australia and S/E Asia and twenty thousand species worldwide these common beetles are scavengers and feed on both fresh and decaying vegetation. Major predators include birds, rodents, sunspiders and lizards making them an important link within the food chain.

I.D. courtesy of Fiona Brell Interpretive Officer. Australian Museum.

Further reference –

Darkling Beetle



This young Gould’s Monitor is a first time sighting in the Conservation Area. A voracious feeder, known to devour snakes, lizards, rats, rabbits and mice. Growing to a length of 1.5 metres they can display amazing bursts of speed when alarmed.Gould's MonitorGould's Monitor

Belonging to the ground beetle family (Carabidae) with over two thousand five hundred species Australia wide these beetles are carnivorous and hunt on the ground or in trees. Their larvae feed on other insects. When threatened the Bombardier Beetle uses a special gland at its rear to mix together two chemicals, resulting in an explosion with a loud popping noise and an accompanying sizzle of spray and steam with temperatures over 100 degrees Celsius in the gland. Up to 80 explosions may be produced over a four minute period.

I.D. and reference courtesy of Martyn Robinson and Yvette Simpson. Australian Museum.

Further reading:

Bonmardier Beetle  Pheropsophus verticalis

Coastal Emu (2)




Coastal Emu



To the east of Sportsman Creek Conservation Area lies the Yuraygir National Park being the last refuge for the Coastal Emu now numbering less than 100 individuals. Once in abundance the local population has been in steady decline over the past twenty years as a result of habitat loss, fires during breeding season, predation by foxes and wild dogs and collisions with vehicles. Populations of the Coastal Emu which are isolated from their inland relatives now only exist between Evans Head and south to Red Rock. Yuraygir National Park south of the Clarence River is home to one of three distinct sub-populations in this region. The Coastal Emu has recently been listed as an Endangered Population and has disappeared from Red Rock and Iluka.

Click images to enlarge.

Perfectly camouflaged in the Red Ironbark tree is the best known Australian nocturnal bird the Tawny Frogmouth.Tawny Frogmouth

“Of five known species in this genus at present, all of them restricted to Eastern Australia. This species is usually found in wet forested situations like Antarctic Beech forest, wet sclerophyll forest and rainforest.” Recent floods have expanded the  breeding territory for this large frog and was discovered in a dam under Open Eucalypt woodland on the Conservation Area. 

M. fasciolatus has a deep, harsh “wark” call and can grow to 90 mm. The tadpole in the image measured 110 mm.

Reference and I.D. courtesy of Martyn Robinson. Naturalist. Australian Museum. 


Mixophyes fasciolatus tadpole


Common Silkpod Vine (Parsonsia straminea) climbing a Jackwood  (Cryptocarya glaucescens) next to the Flooded Gum (Euc. grandis) in the riparian zone beside Sportsman Creek. 
Riparian Zone Sportsman Creek

Also called the Parrot’s Beak Orchid. This terrestrial herb species is common in moist areas of dry sclerophyll forest, wet sclerophyll forest and coastal scrub. Flowering  June to September from a leafless stem usually 15-20cm and sometimes found in dense colonies. A new species for the Conservation Area.

I.D. and reference courtesy of Denis Wilson.

Nodding Greenhood Pterostylis nutans

The large but harmless Nectar-feeding March Fly (Scaptia aurflua) observed hovering near the ground probably looking for somewhere to lay it’s eggs. 

I.D. courtesy of Martyn Robinson  Naturalist  Australian Museum.Nectar-eating March Fly

” These frogs are a variable species and can appear as either light brown or dark brown between night and day. They can be found well away from water, ranging through all types of forest and open country. This frog reaches 40mm.”

I.D. and reference courtesy of Martyn Robinson. Naturalist- Search and Discover. 

Broad-palmed Rocket Frog

These wasps build their nests underground before dragging paralysed prey under and laying an egg. A new species for the Conservation Area.Yellow Sand Wasp

Small family groups live in the grasses and thickets and along the watercourses of the Conservation Area. Image of a male bird courtesy of visiting Wildlife photographer Rowley Willis._RKW9185 Red-backed Fairy Wren

Attractive medium-sized hunting hawk with dark bars across a white belly and flanks. Uncommon across the North and North-east of Australia and rare in New South Wales.

Image courtesy of visiting Wildlife photographer Rowley Willis.

Pacific Baza . Rowley Willis

Water Scorpion grow to over 50mm long they can extend the tube on their backs out of  the water to breathe air like a snorkel while swimming. They can ambush fast swimming prey such as small fish catching them between their front legs and stabbing them with their pointed probiscus.  Known as Toe-biters able to inflict a nasty nip although this specimen played dead when disturbed. Water Scorpions are also capable fliers and inhabit waterholes over much of Australia.

” A beetle not a bug. It is certainly one of the diving beetles in the family Dytigcidae, but there are a few black and yellow genera and species. This beetle could be in the genera Megaporus or Sternopriscus.”  Found in the dam feeding on small aquatic organisms.

It is Sandracottus bakewellii (Clark, 1864), an endemic Dytiscidae of Australia, distributed in tropical northern Australia and along the east coast south to Brisbane.

Lars Hendrich, entomologist, Zoologische Staatssammlung, Munich, Germany

I.D courtesy of  Martyn Robinson. Naturalist Australian Museum. 


“Also known as Verreaux’s Burrowing Skink or the Three Clawed Worm Skink. The best diagnostic feature for this lizard is the pale collar, clearly visible on this specimen, which helps distinguish it from (Coeranoscincus reticulatus) the Three-toed Snake-tooth  Skink.”  These lizards live in loose soil, leaf litter and rotting logs feeding on earthworms and beetles. Because of its burrowing habits it is seldom seen and a new species for the Conservation Area.

I.D. courtesy of Martyn Robinson. Naturalist  Australian Museum. 

Flushed from dense foliage at the dam by Brianna May Whiteman  is the nocturnal and first time sighting here of a Nankeen Night Heron. They inhabit swamps, lakes, billabongs and tidal channels over much of Australia.

I.D. courtesy of Dr. Greg Clancy.

 Rufous (Nankeen) Night Heron

Seen foraging on the forest floor for insects and snails in the Conservation Area.  These colourful birds extend along the Eastern Seaboard in the mountain forests and moving into coastal lowlands in winter. Image taken by visiting wildlife photographer  Rowland Willis.

“Many of the Pseudophryne toadlets are disappearing over much of their range although this species is not listed as threatened or endangered.” With a length between 30mm -60mm, no webbing and striking marbled belly. This toadlet is alive and pretending to be dead.

I.D courtesy of  Martyn Robinson  Naturalist. Australian Museum.

“Although widespread and found in a variety of habitats, particularly around temporary swamps this frog is not common. Also known as the Freycinet Frog they reach 45mm and are similar to Litoria nasuta, from which it can be distinguished by the thigh pattern of brown and cream spots.” A new species for the Conservation Area and named after L. Freycinet, the French Navigator. They are capable of very long leaps.


I.D. and Reference courtesy of Martyn Robinson. Naturalist. Australian Museum.

A common species but locally rare, the nomadic New Holland Honeyeater which occasionally visits the Conservation Area in search of nectar and insects.

“Adult moth has brown forewings with a dark green sheen, and with a sharply defined broad white border along the edges of the wings. The hindwings are orange, with a black border and black comma in the middle. The moth has a wingspan of about 8cm.” A new sighting for the Conservation Area with the common name Green Fruit-piercing Moth.

I.D. and text reference courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans and Stella Crossley.

“The adults have a wingspan around 7cm. It is famous for its shiny metallic pupa and beautiful caterpillar with eight long black tentacles. It seems to be a species that prefers a tropical climate, but does breed in N.S.W. It has a lifespan of eleven to thirteen weeks.” A new species for the Conservation Area. This butterfly is famous for its striking pupa, click reference below for more images.

I.D. and text reference courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans and Stella Crossley.

Further reference –


A new educational resource providing details of over 300 significant species that can be found growing in the Clarence Valley is now available at the Clarence Environment Centre (CEC) for $7. each. The DVD provides a PDF fact sheet for each species with a photograph or image and provides scientific and common names, family name, protected status, a brief description, localities and range of occurence and threats faced.

Contact – Clarence Environment Centre. 31 Skinner St. South Grafton. N.S.W. 2460.

email –



The peer-reviewed  quarterly journal Systematics and Biodiversity recently published the report – Perspectives. Colour and size variation in Junonia villida ( Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae ) : subspecies or phenotypic plasticity ? by R.I. Vane-Wright and W. John Tennant.

The review was based on” examination of c.1500 museum specimens from its entire geographical range from the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean to the Gambiers in mid-Pacific, spanning over 154 degrees of longitude, or 43% of the circumference of the Earth. Mostly found in open grasslands or disturbed areas, including woodlands and disturbed forests from sea-level up to 1500m or more in elevation, it is variable in wing colour pattern on both upper and lower surfaces. The causes of this variability are uncertain, but temperature, photoperiod, rainfall, migration and perhaps underlying geographical differentiation may all play a role.”

The Clarence Valley Meadow Argus butterfly is represented by the image on lower right side taken on the Conservation Area for the cover illustration showing six Australian butterfly with various differences in colour pattern.

Further reference available;  

Authorization and Publisher: Taylor & Francis U.K.

With iridescent green and violet sheen wings these beautiful nomadic birds are commonly found on the Conservation Area in small flocks feeding in pasture grasses for invertebrates

Image courtesy of  Rowland Willis. Wildlife Photographer.

“Adult moths have fawn forewings with a dark brown line across each one and  have a dark brown dot near the base of the inner margin. The hindwings are orange with a submarginal arc of dark brown dots, a dark brown patch at the base and a dark brown line across each wing. Underneath each forewing has a purple blotch.”  The caterpillars are looper type and are known to feed on Gum trees. A new find on the Conservation Area. Found in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.       

I.D. and reference courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans and Stella Crossley.

Further reference;  Beautiful Leaf Moth

Known as the Rakali this secretive and rarely seen large rodent is found in riparian zone along Sportsman Creek. They hunt invertebrates, molluscs and frogs at night using partially webbed-hind feet and water proof fur. Once commercially hunted for their fur, Water Rat are widely dispersed through Australia and are usually a good indicator for water quality and invertebrate numbers. Water Rat should not be confused with Bush or Black Rat and live completely different lives.
















                                The boletes are closely related to the agarics (fungi with gills). Many boletes display colour changes when the flesh is cut, so that whitish or yellowish tissue becomes spectacularly greenish blue due to enzyme reactions triggered by oxygen in the air. Boletes are very important in the Australian bushland as mycorrhizal partners, but they also provide food for the larval stages of many insects.” Image taken in riparian zone at Sportsman Creek wildlife refuge.

Reference;  Young, A.M.  Field Guide to the Fungi of  Australia.

I.D. courtesy of Don Gover.

Further reference;

Commonly found across Sportsman Creek wildlife refuge in Dry schlerophyl forest, but also sighted along the riparian zone on the creek. These birds are conspicuous perched on high limbs, before swooping to the ground to take insects and other prey.


Dark brown with two parallel stripes across forewings and hindwings. Photographed in the Conservation Area.

A small population of these fantastic little marsupials reside in the Dry schlerophyll forest ( Spotted Gum, Ironbarks and Bloodwood) on Sportsman Creek wildlife refuge. They are classified as Vulnerable and are patchily distributed from Cooktown to the Northern rivers area. They have largely vanished from inland areas. When alarmed they stamp their hindfeet on the ground and are known to use their tails to carry nesting materials. Image taken today in the Conservation Area of this secretive marsupial.

Reference; DECC. Threatened Species of the Upper North Coast.


Olongburra Frogs are listed as Vulnerable and range from coastal areas near Fraser Island to Yuraygir National Park south-east of Grafton. Also called Wallum Sedge Frogs. Wallum is a banksia -dominated lowland heath ecosystem characterised by acidic waterbodies. An unexpected find at Sportsman Creek wildlife refuge.  These frogs are usually found in rushes and sedges. “If you look at the colour in the groin or back of the thigh it is relatively easy as Litoria olongburensis has a bluish colour there while it is orange in both Litoria fallax and Litoria bicolour. The overhanging pointed snout in Litoria olongburensis is usually more pronounced – but then the broad white stripe down the side of the body is NOT a feature of  Litoria fallax as this tends to end around the shoulder in that species.”

Reference;  N.P.W.S. Threatened Species of the Upper North Coast of N.S.W.

Identification and text –  Courtesy of Martyn Robinson.  Naturalist, Australian Museum.

Gardern Orb weaver Spider“The Garden Orb-weaver is one of the largest and most common spiders in eastern Australia. Adults spin web at dusk , feeding on a wide range of flying insects. The web is often eaten by the spider at dawn and a new web constructed  the following night. Bites are rare, causing only local symptoms such as mild pain and swelling”. During the day they take shelter in bark and leaves.

Reference;  Honan, P.  A Wild Australia Guide – Spiders.

“A large, plump grey and white pigeon with distinctive markings. Forages on ground, not often seen in flight unless flushed. Sedentary; uncommon, although can be locally abundant in areas of favourable habitat. Lives around the riverine vegetation on Sportsman Creek wildlife refuge.

Reference;  Morcombe, M.  Field Guide to Australian Birds.

According to Australian Museum Entomologist, Dr. Britton this species occurs as far south as central New South Wales and is also found in S.E. Asia, Indonesia and P.N.G. Adults are known to be fruit-piercing moths. Other species in S.E. Asia are known as “Vampire Moths” as some are known to feed on vertebrates and suck the blood of mammals.

Further reading available- 

courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans 

The caterpillar of the Orchard or Citrus Swallowtail Butterfly which grows into one of the largest butterflies found in suburban gardens.