Monday 15th February 2016

Arrival day on site.

Today we travelled from Hobart to North Bruny Island and settled into our base camp, located at Murrayfield Station, Bruny Island. Murrayfield Station is run by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) and is home to approximately 13 000 sheep.  The location is amazing as we have an spectacular view of the Tasman sea, located in Trumpeter Bay which is no more than 500 meters away.  

Most of our afternoon we assisted the Scientists in setting up the make shift laboratory in the Sheep sheering shed.  The laboratory will be used to identify invertebrate and vertebrate species, true bugs, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, snails, assist in storing seeds into the seed bank and for the first time in Bush Blitz history we will be investigating marine animals and plants.

One of the other teachers (Bruce from Rollingstone) and I were offered an exciting opportunity to travel to the south end of Bruny Island to set up spider traps, bug sampling equipment and a moth tent, for testing.  We left to sunny, windy conditions, but true to Tasmanian style the weather quickly changed and at the end of the 45 minute trip down the island,  near Mable bay, the temperature had dropped to 11 degrees, and rained heavily.  We hadn't packed out wet weather gear, and got completly drenched, but enjoyed the experience thoroughly.

Arachologist (Spider specialist) Robert Raven set up a number of pan and pitfall traps to help capture spiders in their natural habitat.  These traps are dug slightly into the ground, level with the natural terrain and in the environment where spiders would naturally travel (not on already laid pathways). We hope to find the peacock spider among many other species too small to identify by the naked eye.

Kirrily, Nicole and Lyn (Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery) set up traps to attract beetles and moths.  These testing sites will be looked at periodically over the next few days.

Tomorrow I am heading out with Kevin Bonham and Abbey Throssel (TMAG) to search for different species of Snails and dragonflies.  The weather tomorrow may not allow an effective search of dragonflies as the weather will continue to be unpredictive.  Did you know there are snails so small they are microscopic? Or that there are 20 or so species of snails living on Bruny Island, including one carnivorous species?

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For more information please have a look at the following websites and research a pan and pitfall trap. What do they look like?  How will they stop a spider from escaping?

See you tomorrow folks

Mrs Tinney

Murrayfield station

Dr Robert Raven

Map of Bruny Island

Peacock spider