One thing that I always do, and I advise any overseas birders with me, is to always check where you are standing if you stop when out birding. The last time I managed to get zapped by a bull ant in the bush was near the Victorian border south of Eden in about 1977. However I did get stung through my jeans while pulling weeds in what passes for a garden at home in October this year. The nest was under a rock and I must have created enough of a disturbance for about 4 of the beasties to come charging at me (if you could call bull ants lumbering at you a charge). Unfortunately for me, and ultimately the bull ant, I didn’t see number 5 until it was too late and I was stung on the back of my thigh. The results of the sting lasted about 2 weeks and did get slightly infected from all my scratching.
Many of the walking trails in Tidbinbilla nature Reserve are regular places to find bull ants and their smaller, but just as painful cousins, the jumping ants. Any pile of small stones, especially if there is a hole or two in it, could be a potential nest so be wary. The Koala enclosure is a good spot for jumping ants.
A timely warning from Matthew.
From: Matthew Willis [m("gmail.com","matt.j.willis");">]
Sent: Saturday, 13 December 2014 1:36 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Birding/Outdoor Tip for the Day
My birding/outdoor photography tip for the day:
If you are at Campbell Park and decide to spend five minutes standing in the one place photographing cicadas - try and make sure you are not standing in the middle of a bull ant colony at the time.
The moment at which you realise 3 or 4 of them have crawled under your shirt and a similar number are on their way up your leg is not a nice one. Luckily, either the bites are not as painful as I remember from my childhood, or I was lucky (the big itchy and moderately painful lumps that remain a few hours later are not ideal, though).
Still, saw some lovely birds and it was all worth it :-)