An elusive subject

Michael McMaster led around 15 people at the recent Sapphire Coast Marine Society outing near Eden last Saturday. People snorkelled to look for Weedy Sea Dragons and then searched the beach for shells. A very successful trip  was enjoyed by all.

Michael was fortunate to get these two photos of the Weedy Sea Dragons, which are really difficult to find and to photograph. Congratulations Michael.

Weedy Sea DRagon Fisheries Creek. Photo Michael McMasterWeedy Seadragon  Photo Michael McMaster

Local reptile gallery

Here are a series of images of local reptiles taken recently by Harrison Warne, a great young photographer and a great Atlas of Life contributor. If you would like to see and learn more about reptiles, join Ross Bennett and Harrison at the Panboola Bioblitz Reptile surveys.

Seaweed celebration evening Saturday May 24th

Join us for another of our “Celebration of our coast” evenings, this time to consider seaweeds.

At the Wharf Restaurant and Aquarium Merimbula on Saturday May 24th 5:30 for 6pm there will be an evening of great interest, good food and good company.  This is a joint event of the Atlas of Life and the Sapphire Coast Marine Society to hear from four guest speakers with a shared passion and a range of perspectives.

Macro-algae (seaweeds) are a valuable resource with an enormous potential for our lives. This coast is blessed with a wonderful range of seaweeds providing habitats for a multitude of marine species. This is a rare opportunity to learn much more.

We are fortunate to have great guest speakers who are friends of this coast with a wealth of diverse knowledge to share with us – Professor Alan Millar (Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney) “The marine plants and their significance…..” , Dr. Nicholas Yee (Elgin Associates) “Bloom and Bust” , Professor Joseph Baker (Patron, Sapphire Coast Marine Society “What a difference a tide makes”, Mrs. Eva Horne (Passion for Seaweeds) “My seaweeds”

Tickets $35 per person (under 16 years $10) includes a light meal and entry to the aquarium at 5.30pm.  A raffle will be run during the evening. Tickets are limited, so please book early to secure your place.

info : Alan Hepburn (tel. 6495 0917)


Sensible advice on when not to swim

Some sage advice from Alan Scrymgeour:  If you like to swim, snorkel, surf or play in our beautiful oceans and rivers with the fish, dolphins and seals, be aware you are sharing the sharks’ home too and if you don’t wish for a close encounter, remember these  things:

Avoid swimming at sunrise or sunset, especially at the full moon

Juvenile Grey Nurse Shark at Maroubra  Photo Craig Greenhill

Juvenile Grey Nurse Shark at Maroubra
Photo Craig Greenhill

Swim in a group of four or five, never alone, and keep your group together

Avoid swimming in murky water after rain events

Choose brighly coloured swimming and surfing gear

Avoid swimming with open wounds – if you scrape yourself on the rocks, don’t swim

Avoid swimming in or near big shoals of fish

Avoid swimming near fish cleaning stations

Leave the water if sharks have been sighted in the area

On patrolled beaches swim between the red and yellow flags

Remember that more people die of: falling out of bed, drowning, bee stings, road accidents than are attacked by sharks so don’t let fear keep you out of the seas

The best time for Fungi forays

We hope you will all take photos of all the fungi that are growing around the area at the moment. This is the best time to increas our species records.

Teresa Van Der Heul was interviewed on ABC radio by Ian Campbell who had seen lots of fungi while camping at Bournda. Read about it and listen to the interview on the Fungi page.

Omphalotus nidiformis  photo Teresa Van Der Heul

Omphalotus nidiformis
photo Teresa Van Der Heul


SCMarine Society outing to Fisheries beach Saturday April 26th

SC Marine Society is offering an outing to Fisheries Beach on Saturday April 26th

We will have a beach ramble and snorkel at Fisheries Beach on Twofold Bay. If weather and sea conditions are clear, there will be a chance to  snorkel to search for weedy seadragons, but if snorkeling isn’t an option for you or because of sea conditions, Michael McMaster and Alan Scrymgeour will be leading beach surveys. This is a good beach for shells and we will look at the creek species too. Meet near Davidson’s Whaling Station – there will be someone to direct you at the track between 10 and 10:30am. Bring snorkeling gear if you wish to swim, hot drinks and lunch and clothing suited to the weather.

Details contact Michael McMaster 0487 118 490
If you are not sure where to go for Fisheries Beach, travelling South from Eden, drive along the Highway past Kiah to the turning for Green Cape, and Edrom. Follow this road until you come to the left turn to Davidson’s Whaling Station. Follow this road to within about 1km of Davidson’s. There is a right turn down towards the beach , but as it is indistinct and not marked, there will be someone waiting to direct you between 10:00and 10:30 am. If there is much rain before the outing, we will choose an alternative location, probably the Seahorse Inn beach. Check the website for updates.

Middens and otoliths

Although the Panboola Bioblitz has been postponed for a month, it will give us time to work on one of the surveys we are planning.

We were going to photograph some of the shell middens along the Pambula river, to identify what sorts of shells are in them. It has been suggested by Prof David Booth that we shoulalso look out for any fish bones, especially otoliths or ear bones of fish, as much can be told about the time and condition of the fish from these remains.

Smaller than a grain of sand ... close-up of a seadragon ear bone. Photo: Kerryn Parkinson from SMH

Smaller than a grain of sand … close-up of a seadragon ear bone. Photo: Kerryn Parkinson
from SMH

Here is an article from the Sydney Morning Herald on the otoliths of seadragons which you may find interesting.


Alert! – Panboola Bioblitz postponed to May 16/17th

BREAKING NEWS! Due to bad weather warnings of around 40mm rain with the possibility of thunderstorms, we have reluctantly decided to postpone the Panboola Bioblitz until May 16/17th

Some of us love the rain, but many of our surveys would not work in wet conditions, and probably neither would any of us!

Photo P.Shanahan 2012

Photo P.Shanahan 2012

The wetlands are already saturated because of recent high rainfall and the further rain predicted will make the area impossible for many of the proposed surveys.

The Atlas of Life  and Panboola Wetlands Trust team are very sorry about this and apologise to all of you who have signed up for surveys and made arrangements to join us.

Your bookings will be kept unless you tell us you are unable to come in May. Please give us a call if you would like further information. Libby 02 6495 0917