Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Sunday, 20th November, 2016. Mudlo National Park & the Property of Tony Perrett, Kilkivan.

Parched country near Kilkivan

Leader: Berry Doak. 

Our outing started with a visit to Mudlo National Park for a walk and morning tea. There were thirty-six in our group, including three new members and three guests. The park and surrounding district is badly in need of some good rain. The creek is completely dry but a walk along the bush track yielded some interesting birds. There was a Rose-crowned Fruit Dove spotted sitting quietly on a branch and a White-eared Monarch calling but eluding being spotted by most of the group. A cuckoo appeared to be following us as we walked along the track. While there was discussion about which cuckoo it was, the distinctive eye ring and pale feet seemed to confirm it was a Fan-tailed Cuckoo. A flowering Giant Blood Vine spotted near the track aroused quite a deal of interest.  A Brown Falcon and a beautiful Rainbow Bee-eater were seen as we travelled to Tony’s property. 
Rose-crowned Fruit Dove. Photo by Vincent

This excursion provided an interesting contrast to the two previous excursions to properties on the upper reaches of the Mary River. The property straddles the edges of two catchments; the Mary River catchment to the east and the Burnett catchment to the north and west. Because the property is further west there is less rainfall and this is reflected in the vegetation types. The country is more open with Casuarinas lining the seasonal creeks. Tony led the way to an area where there are patches of scrub along the watercourse as it leads into the higher country. Clinging to some of the callistemon trees along the creek were Dockrillia liguiformis orchids, commonly called tongue orchids.

Gympie Nats under the giant fig on the hilltop. Photo B. Hughes
After exploring the creek, the group made its way to some large fig trees on the top of a hill where we settled down for lunch. Tony explained some of his management practices for the property and how he stocks according to the season. It is evident he has a strong focus on weed control and is proud of the fact that there is no Giant Rat’s Tail Grass or Cats Claw.  Each year Tony and his family walk the creeks on the property to control weeds that may wash down when the creeks flow.  Some flowering Batwing Coral Trees, Erythrina vespertilio, were interesting. While there are few leaves and the tree has an untidy appearance, the flowers are bright and colourful.
Batwing Coral Tree being visualised (Photo B. Hughes) and result
The outing proved to be very enjoyable for me. Apart from exploring a different type of environment, sharing the day with members who have a great knowledge of the flora and fauna enriches the experience.

A Lace Monitor treed in Mudlo National Park
Editorial addendum: As well as a reasonably good cache of bird sightings, we also had a record butterfly day with 15 species recorded, all but one  (the Evening Brown) observed on Tony’s Perret’s property, especially along the well maintained and weed-free creek:
Large Grass Yellow - its caterpillars feed on cassias, sennas, and other legumes
Swallowtails: Orchard Swallowtail, Checkered Swallowtail

Whites & Yellows: Large Grass Yellow, Caper White, Yellow Albatross, Lemon Migrant

Nymphs & Satyrs: Wanderer, Lesser Wanderer, Common Crow, Blue Tiger, Meadow Argus, Australian Painted Lady, Glasswing, Evening Brown

Blues: Small Pea Blue
Evening Brown looking like another dead leaf on the forest floor

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