The tawny frogmouth is widespread around Ballarat, but it's not often seen because of its wonderfully-camouflaged plumage and its nocturnal habits.
Most sightings are of road-killed birds, or a bird flying in the headlights at night.
Perhaps a motionless roosting bird or a pair might be discovered during the day.
Frogmouths are adaptable. They use all types of forest, as well as scattered trees on farms, and occur on the edge of the city where eucalypts remain. While rough-barked eucalypts are important requirements for frogmouths, they demonstrate their adaptability by also using trees such as pines, oaks and others.
Perching places two or three metres high are important for their feeding. From these, they watch and fly down to collect prey from the ground, as do kookaburras.
They have no special prey needs, taking mice, frogs, slugs, snails, crickets, moths, beetles and similar creatures.
Fortunately, they make their nests in forks of trees, rather than needing the much-reduced number of hollows and cavities.
Studies have concluded that the tawny frogmouth adapts well to urbanisation, and that it should survive quite well around the edges of Ballarat in the foreseeable future. Pairs mate for life, which could be 15 years or more.
The frogmouth is not often flushed from its roosting tree.
When this happens, it flies rather clumsily and noisily from its perch to a potentially safe distance, then it assesses the situation for a minute before flying off to another spot, possibly another roosting site it has used on previous days. Several roosting sites are used.
In frosty weather, the frogmouth is often smart enough to roost in a tree that receives early morning sunlight.
A sighting of a chequered swallowtail butterfly in the North Gardens Wetlands was a double surprise, first because this butterfly is uncommon and irregularly seen in Ballarat, and second because it was in the same spot a chequered swallowtail had been seen two years earlier.
On both occasions, the butterfly flew to and fro over an open gravel area of not much more than 20 square metres.
Such a restricted flying site is of particular interest.
Butterflies live only a few weeks, so a sighting of the same uncommon butterfly at the same site at which it was seen two years ago certainly does not involve the same individual.
The main food of chequered swallowtail caterpillars is native pea plants, none of which occur at this spot. The butterflies feed on nectar.