Thursday, 26 November 2015


The early birders arrived at Wahpunga School Park. This was the site of a state school from 1910 that closed in 1967, one of many small schools around the Kin Kin district. Many of our members may remember school arbor days and today we witnessed the happy result of many years of tree plantings.
Rose-crowned Fruit Dove enjoying Small Leaf Figs
The Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove and many other birds enjoyed the ripe fruit of the Small Leaf Fig (Ficus obliqua). This fruit dove is often heard with its slow 'woop-whoo' call becoming faster to again fade away as it calls from the high canopy of the rainforest. These birds were also working the Small Leaf Figs at Sheppersons Park not far away on Wahpunga Creek. Another fig tree bearing fruit was the Hairy Fig (Ficus hispida), with a small number of fruit on the trunk and old branches. Not to be confused with the cluster Fig (Ficus racemosa), which also bears fruit in large number on the trunk.

Kin Kin Creek flows beside the school park and also provided good birding with the most noted bird being a Rufous Fantail: always darting and low down in the canopy and very difficult to photograph. A short drive around to Sheppersons Park also provided good birding with many of our old favourites, like the Eastern Yellow Robin and the Red-browed Finch, which have been present in numbers this year.

Eastern Yellow Robin

Red-browed Finch (also Firetail)
The Millaa Millaa Vine (Elaeagus triflora) was in full fruit. This rambling climber was growing in abundance adjacent to the forest canopy in areas where light was available. It has small four-petaled perfumed flowers followed by an edible fruit as shown in the photo. A taste indicated the fruit was generally sweet but slightly astringent. No birds were seen feasting on the ripe fruit: the Small Leaf Fig appeared a better choice. The caterpillars of the Indigo Flash Butterfly (Rapala varuna) are reported to feed on the flower buds and flowers.
Millaa Millaa Vine (Elaeagus triflora) in fruit
After morning tea the group traveled to the Doggrell Tree Protection Area, Como Forestry Reserve, Kin Kin to view the old growth stand of Gympie Messmate (Eucalyptus cloeziana) at the southernmost point in its natural distribution. The original Doggrell tree was named after Reg Doggrell, a forest ranger from Gympie. He was instrumental in preserving this area. Our life members Peter and Bruce reflected on the time about 40 years when the club visited the tree. The tree had a boardwalk around the base with a protection fence. This has all long been dismantled with no identification of where the tree once stood. It was claimed it took 15 people with linked arms to reach around the base of the tree. Reportedly, the Doggrell Tree was over 60m tall and had a girth of almost 7m (Parks Australia).

Lunch was taken on the shores of Lake Cootharaba at Elanda Point. A very strong easterly wind made conditions were very pleasant. Unfortunately the weather declined, so most members headed home soon after lunch.

"Home Bug Gardner" Dave will now be administering this club blog site. "Coolnat" Lionel hopes to provide postings relating to birding with bird photos in the future and we all should give him a round of applause for his unstinting efforts to keep the blog going in the past. Thanks Lionel!