Saturday, 7 August 2021

Bladensburg Birding Adventure 15 - 29 June 2021

A trip to Bladensburg National Park, near Winton, provided an opportunity to get out and photograph birds.  A Birds Queensland survey was part of this trip.  Here are some of the images captured during this expedition. 

Striated Grasswren (Rowleyi)

Rufous-Crowned Emu-Wren
Both of these special birds were found at Opalton, south of Bladensburg National Park.  This Striated Grasswren is one of three species and found in two isolated locations in western Queensland.  It is said to "hop and run", an ability it showed off to great advantage.
The Emu-wren was at the eastern limit of its distribution and only appeared momentarily- from its spinifex hiding-place or in rapid retreat through the sparse open space.
Spinifex Pigeon
This Spinifex Pigeon beat a hasty retreat- a quick run and then flight, with much whirring of wings - typical pigeon behaviour.
Varied Sittella (White-winged)

Varied Sittellas come in a species of five (or six) distinctive geographic races around mainland Australia.  Mostly seen in clans, the sittellas were constantly on the move, spiraling down the trunk in their search for food.  
Pink-eared Ducks
A visit to a waterhole near Winton, rewarded us with a sighting of 30+ Pink-eared Ducks, Hardheads, Grey Teal and the elusive Freckled Duck.
Hall's Babbler
A family group of Hall's Babblers, where one conveniently posed for a photo, allowed the wide white-brow and shorter, distinct bib to be seen.  Also constantly on the move, Babblers provide a challenge when trying to get that clear photograph.
Little Eagle (pale morph)
Described as uncommon, a sighting of a Little Eagle very was welcome.
Splendid Fairywren

Splendid Fairywren (Male Eclipse)
In breeding plumage, the male Splendid Fairywren provided a splash of colour in the landscape.  This fully coloured up male was found near Barcaldine whilst the eclipse males were in a busy family group at  Winton and had not yet coloured up.
Red-capped Robin (Female) 
A sighting of a female Red-capped Robin is so often overshadowed by the colourful male strutting his stuff.  This Robin was enjoying her moment in the spotlight.  The distinctive robin shape and behaviour, plus her rusty cap, made id easy.
Hooded Robin
The white wing bars, robin shape and black hood make the Hooded Robin a distinctive sight in the landscape.  A typical pose showed the Robin busily watching the ground for its prey.  A nearby female, less distinctively coloured, also searched for food in the late afternoon.
Hooded Robin (Female)

As it appeared from the Spinifex to spy out a human intruder, this Spinifexbird took on the pose of a trapeze artist.  Typical behaviour is to run for cover in nearby spiifex clumps.
Variegated (Purple-backed) Fairywren
Males of race assimilis, from Central and Western regions of Queensland, have a crown and back with a distinct purple tinge.  Some birders prefer the term "Purple-backed" for birds in this group.
Holding the title of the smallest Australian bird, Weebill are often difficult to locate at their favourite location, near the top of trees.  Their distinctive call makes the task a little easier.  A very small bill completes their list of unique properties.
Zebra Finches
I believe not as wide-spread as they used to be, zebra finches appeared in good numbers.
Budgerigar and juvenile in nest
The Budgerigar, in the nest, displayed the barred forehead and more muted colouring of a juvenile.  Those on a quest for large flocks of Budgies were disappointed.
Red-backed Kingfisher
Sporting a grey-green streaked crown, a pale orange-tan lower back and a bandit's mask, the Red-backed Kingfisher's habit of perching on dead trees made it relatively easy to spot.  A distinctive call also aided in locating and identifying this species.
Red-browed Pardalote
A Red-browed Pardalote appeared at the camp site early morning and late evening each day, calling continuously and just too far away.  One appeared at another site and posed gracefully.
Diamond Doves
Not one of Cameron's images but it had to be included.  A particular favourite species for many: small, timid birds with a far- carrying voice.  With their distinctive red eye-ring and fine white spots on their grey-brown wings, Diamond Doves are found in the drier parts of all mainland states.  
Living dangerously
The Australian Ringneck moved close and closer to the Brown Falcon.  We were not able to stay around to see what eventuated.  Is it a bluff, very bad eyesight or has the Falcon already eaten.

Many more species have not been included- perhaps another time.

Images:  Cameron Whiley
                with a couple of ring-ins.



Monday, 2 August 2021

Goomboorian National Park - Birds & Plants in focus

Goomboorian National Park, in two sections, was gazetted in 2008 due to the area’s high conservation values.  The national park covers an area of 1,828ha.  The park is located 15km east of Gympie.

Recently, the Field Nats, on a Thursday excursion led by Lionel and Jeanette Muir visited the Park and enjoyed some interesting discoveries.

Six regional ecosystems are represented on the two parks with two listed as endangered and  two of concern.  These ecosystems contain several listed plant species, Vulnerable: Quassia (Samadera bidwillii) Mangroves to Mountains p414),  Ball Nut (Floydia praealta) M to M p344), Deep Creek Fontainea (Fontainea rostrata) M to M 305Near threatened: Rainforest Senna (Senna acclinis) M to M 415,  Hairy Hazelwood (Symplocos haroldii) M to M 346,  Symplocos stawellii var montana.  Around 50 per cent of the park is dominated by Gympie messmate, (Eucalyptus cloeziana) forest.  Gympie messmate was heavily logged in the past due to its valuable properties as a timber product.

The listed animal species are, Endangered: Giant Barred Frog

, Vulnerable: Tusked Frog


Grey Goshawk (White Morph) - Vince Lee

 Near threatened: Grey goshawk
Grey goshawk - Stephen Hey

 Black-necked Stork.
Facebook - Public

The parks are covered by a native title claim on behalf of the Kabi Kabi First Nation. 

Goomboorian National Park can be easily accessed and holds lots of interest for bird and plant enthusiasts.   Birds species to be sighted can include:

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

White-browed Scrubwren

Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Spangled Drongo

Rufous Whistler - Kevin Bowring

Wonga pigeon
The far-carrying call of the Wonga Pigeon is repeated continuously particularly during the breeding season which extends from October to January.  The white underparts of its body show a series of attractive tiny arrowhead shapes in a series of rows - all part of its camouflage.  Often seen on the ground, the Wonga seems to take to flight as a last resort.

A migratory species, the Yellow-faced Honeyeater migrates, in Autumn, in large numbers from the southern states to the north and completes a return journey in the Spring.  The broad yellow face stripe, bordered with black, enables it to be recognized.

The distinctive fish tail and red eye, identify the hyper-active Spangled Drongo when in pursuit of insects (or small birds) dashes through the bush, often in a noisy family group.

Lurking in the undergrowth, a White-browed Scrubwren cannot resist the temptation to dress down any intruder and will often make a brief appearance.  They can also be spotted on the forest floor, among the leaf litter searching for food.

Brown Cuckoo Doves often feed on the introduced Tobacco Bush (Solanum mauritianum), inkweed and lantana when native fruits and berries are scarce.  Seen in the sunlight, their brown feathers take on an iridescent sheen.

With a wide variety of songs, the Rufous Whistler is often heard before it is seen, inconspicuous in the foliage.  The male's white throat, black head and rufous breast is distinctive when the bird is spotted often high in the tree canopy.

Goomboorian NP is a repository for a wide range of interesting flora.  A recent excursion resulted in the discovery of fruiting Fontainea rostrata trees.  This phenomena has been noted as occuring in the Gympie district on different sites.

Some local nurseries have plants propagated from local stock.  Fresh, treated seed has been identified as germinating in a matter of weeks. Good news for the future of this species. 
Prickly Heath (Leucopogon juniperinus)
The 6mm tubular flowers on the Prickly Heath develop into small, sweet, creamy fruit much enjoyed by wildlife:  a good habitat shrub which grows to 1m tall and can provide shelter for small critters.
Box-leaved wattle (Acacia buxifolia)
The countryside is experiencing the joy of the Acacias flowering.
Red Ground Berry (Acrotriche aggregata)
This dense shrub to 1m produces tiny white flowers (Spring to Summer) which are followed by small red berries which are quickly eaten by wildlife.  
Currant Bush (Carissa ovata)
The black fruit produced by this prickly shrub are also relished by wildlife.  The thickets of Currant Bush are a refuge for small birds, lizards, small mammals.
 Boobialla (Myoporum acuminatum)
There is some discussion about the status of this plant - Coastal, Forest or Montane. Better informed plant oficianodos will need to decide unequivocally.
Cyclophyllum comprismoides
 Thanks Bev and Wendy for the definitive identification of this plant.
Myrsine angusta

Please comment on Facebook post re identification of plant species. 


Monday, 12 July 2021

Kilcoy Trip 14 - 18 June 2021

Our group stayed at the Lake Somerset Holiday Park at Hazeldean, which is about 10mins drive from Kilcoy. Our cabins were comfortable and had beautiful views over the Somerset Dam, which captures the water from the Stanley River.  Building Somerset Dam commenced in 1935, was suspended during WW2, and was finally completed by 1959. It was built to provide more water security for Brisbane and help to mitigate floods. 

Lake Somerset: Berry
Cabins: Kerrie

Yabba Rd, Jimna: Kerrie
On a very foggy Tuesday morning we set out for the Jimna area, which is about 40kms north of Kilcoy.  We first drove to Yabba Road which is a few kilometres north of the Peach Trees camping ground. This short roads leads through open bushland to a paddock where animals have grazed. A small cluster of the delightful shrub, Choretrum candollei, a hemi-parasitic plant was growing among the trees. Although not in flower, the foliage is quite attractive. 
White sour bush (Choretrum candollei)

The group enjoyed watching a pair of busy Jacky Winters, darting down to the ground for insects and then returning to the fencepost. There were several Brown Treecreepers foraging in among the tufts of grass for food. These birds commonly search on the ground, unlike the White-throated Treecreepers (seen by Vince on a previous trip), who search up the trunks of trees. We spotted a Fuscous Honeyeater and noticed how ‘yellow’ the Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters are in this locality. 
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater:Vince

Brown Treecreeper: Vince

White-throated Treecreeper:

Jacky Winter: Vince

We then travelled to Peach Trees Camping area which is situated on Yabba Creek in the Jimna State Forest. This is a delightful camping area, well grassed and with relatively new toilet facilities. There are several walks of varying lengths to enjoy, including one over a suspension bridge.  
Blue-faced Honeyeaters: Berry

Morning tea at Peach Trees: Berry

Walks in the nearby Dry Vine Scrub/ Rainforest, resulted in sightings of a female Catbird, male Rifle Bird and various plants.
Double-fringed Emerald Moth: Kerrie

Coral Fungi: Kerrie

Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum atroviride)

Xerochrysum bracteatum: Kerrie
Tetramolopium vagans: Kerrie

Mosquito orchid: Kerrie

Hardenbergia violaces: Kerrie

Small-leaved Geranium: Kerrie

Woolly Pomanderris: Kerrie

Female Green Catbird: Kerrie

 In particular, on the Aracauria on a site some 10 metres from the ground in a dead tree where branches twined to construct a flattened platform, the male Rifle-bird was observed filling in the gaps between the twigs with vegetation he was transporting in his beak.  Perhaps he was preparing for the mating season, the display platform for his wondrous dance.

Male Paradise Rifle-bird
A female grey kangaroo with her joey and female regent Bower-birds provided a distraction.

Grey kangaroo and joey: Berry
Female Regent Bower-bird: Berry

Nearby is the small town of Jimna, which was established in 1922 as a forestry town.  The Jimna Fire tower is 47 metres tall and was built in 1977. This heritage listed tower, which is in the process of being restored, was used by foresters to spot fires. 

Jimna Fire Tower: Berry
On Wednesday, we enjoyed a visit to “Bellthorpe Stays Nature Retreat," run by David and Wendy with holiday cabins and revegetation projects.  This old dairy farm is being returned to rainforest. 
Morning tea at Bellthorpe: Kerrie

Waterlilies on the dam: Kerrie

Waterfall at Bellthorpe: Berry

David was excited to point out some rare trapdoor spiders homes in the damp banks near the walking track.    Green moss forms a handy camouflage.  A Red Triangle Slug was found on the foliage and a Damselfly landed on a human's arm. 
Trapdoor spider home:Kerrie
Lid covered with moss: Kerrie

View of the mountains from lookout: Kerrie

Red triangle slug: Kerrie

Female Southern Whitetip Damselfly: Rob

At the old Brandon Sawmill, an historical site just a few remnant machines remain. Travelling to the sawmill site we passed through impressive stands of tall eucalypt forests.  After travelling along Brandon’s Creek Road to Stoney Creek Road we stopped off at the Stony Creek Day use area where there is an impressive swimming hole in the creek.  Two tawny frogmouths trying hard to be inconspicuous were spied. 
Sawmill Conservation Park: Berry
Old sawmill: Berry
Two inconspicuous tawnies: Berry

Yowie Country: Berry

Yowie is one of several names for a mythological ape-like bush creature, reputed to be around the Kilcoy district since the 1800s.  In 1979, two Brisbane students are said to have had an encounter with a "two to three metre brown haired creature".  Now the local Rugby team is called "The Yowies."

Thursday was spent exploring around Kilcoy.  A member of the Kilcoy District Historical Society, presented a talk on the first settlers of the district. There was time then to explore the history centre and the nearby Art Gallery. Behind the gallery there is a lovely park, called Yowie Park, which winds along the Kilcoy Creek. Plants in a revegetation  project included Jointed twig rush (Baumea articulata) and Grey sedge (Lepironia articulate),  Midyim berry (Astromyrtus dulcis),  Lomandra hystrix and Thyme honey myrtle as understory plants us while the taller plants included River Oak, Swamp Mahogany, Melaleuca viminalis  and Banksia integrifolia.
On Thursday afternoon we travelled to a nearby winery where the group all enjoyed a cuppa and scones and jam. 
On an earlier visit to the Jimna area, Vince recorded these birds.  
Red-browed Finch: Vince
Wedge-tailed Eagle: Vince

Weebill: Vince
White-throated Gerygone: Vince

Dusky Woodswallow: Vince
Speckled Warbler: Vince

These birds were recorded in areas of Yabba and Galeger Roads, Jimna.

Text: Berry, Kerrie, Lionel
Photographs: As acknowledged