Ant larvae for afternoon tea doesn’t sound particularly appealing, well unless you have feathers or fur. ūüėé

Over the last few years I have been  cutting up an old stump to dry out and make winter tinder. I live in chilly Blackheath in the NSW Blue Mountains, where a fire is a source of great comfort.

I often find ant larvae in these old, rotten stumps.

Drying out the tinder is rather like stacking Irish peat.

Some of the damp¬† ’rounds’¬† split open to reveal huge quantities of ant larvae. I hope they are not white ants, but I suppose they could be. ūüė® Anyway, I leave them on the ground and hope little birds will come and¬† eat them.

Ant larvae on the rotted wood.

Just look at them all.

The other day I was taking a break from my splitting for a cup of tea¬† and a biscuit when I saw what I first¬† thought was a large mouse pop out of the woodheap. Except to my amazement it wasn’t a mouse, at least not a house mouse.¬† With the help of some experts within a native animal FB group I was able to establish that¬† it was a rarely seen (especially during the day) Australian¬† marsupial; a dusky¬† Antechinus.¬† They look a bit like shrews.

He dived into the larvae along with a group of little scrub wrens and the first fairy wrens I’ve spotted this year.

See his unmistakable pointy nose? That’s the easiest way of identifying Antechinus. Plus their double lobed ears and plump, pear shaped body.


Soon that nose and his entire head disappeared in search of more ant larvae.



The male fairy wren was just beginning to show some blue on his tail and around  his head.

One of Mr¬† Blue Wren’s many¬† ‘wives’ with a dainty ant morsel.

Fairy wren with ant larvae.

A protein pill. ūüėć

Brown scrub wrens are daily visitors to our garden, but it’s not every day they stumble upon such a feast.


Here is another shot of the fairy wren.¬† Sadly, these birds are disappearing from Sydney’s urban areas, but I’m pleased to sat they are still doing well here in the¬† Mountains.


There was a bit of friction between the birds and the Antechinus when they inadvertently went after the same grub, but all in all it was a friendly affair.

It was a complete delight to watch them all. This is why I so love working at the woodheap.



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