Little Desert National Park VIC Bush Blitz | Oct 2018

Last day in the field and I get to chase dragonflies and bees with Richard and Ken. Both these men are incredibly experienced and knowledgeable in their fields.

With Richard in the driver's seat Lynne (teacher) and I headed out for dragonfly excitement. Out first stop seemed promising as we could see them dancing on the water's edge. Like on the other days it can take a little while to get your eye in for what you are looking at and how to track/find them. While dragonflies can be easily seen they are really hard to track! Richard explained that they can beat each of their wings independently of each other. What does this mean? Unbelievable maneuverability in the air. Apparently their flying prowess is being studied to help develop better flying drones.

Anyway, back to the real ones. There were blue ones, red ones and yellow ones. Richard waded in to collect some larvae to see what else was living in the river. There were lots of damsel flies, hover flies and larvae of all kinds. I found it really fascinating to look at their size, shape and how they move in the water.

We moved off to our next site where Ken, Sandra (Earthwatch) and Maria (Earthwatch) joined us. I followed Ken off into the bush to see how he caught bees. He used a sweeping net to brush the tops of the flowering plants. After a bit of swishing and clever net maneuvering he put his head in with the bugs! The European honey bees flew out, the flies started walking or flying up towards the sun. The native bee just chilled an walked a little bit. I was surprised at how small it was compared to the honey bees. After a few more swishes without any luck we re-joined the others at the water's edge.

Our next challenge was to catch a dragonfly using a net. So, as I explained earlier they are the most amazing flyers on the planet. Hmm. I thought 'why not'. I watched a few unsuccessful attempts by others before grabbing the net. None came near me! I swear they knew I was no holding a net and not a camera.

I moved spots, carefully shuffling along a fallen log further across the water hoping this might help. Many more failed attempts saw me nearly giving up, but I stuck at it. My persistence was rewarded. Somehow I managed to catch TWO in one swing! Fortuitously Heath (photographer) was there to capture the moment. I proudly took the net to Richard so he could have a closer look. He opened the net and...zoom, they were gone.

We traveled around different spots trying to locate the right plants for Ken to have a swing at. Unfortunately no luck anywhere. Not one, single, bee.

I got to spend the day with more amazing scientists willingly sharing their passion and expertise. What a fitting way to end my Bush Blitz field experience.