Monday, 26 September 2016

In flood or drought, the ferns are here to stay

Much of eastern Australia is having a fairly wet spring this year, and the plant life seems to be thriving as a result!

Last week, I drove out to a tiny bushland reserve in the Ipswich suburb of Woodend to scout out some particular plants, namely ferns.

The reserve is accessed by a pathway that begins near the corner of Macrae and Ladley Street, and appears on Google Maps as Smith Park.

It protects a small gully that feeds into the Bremer River nearby.

I found two interesting ferns here, each adapted to a specific microhabitat within the reserve.

Mulga ferns, INSET: spores on frond underside, Woodend.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Minibeasts on the prowl in Lockyer Creek

Aquatic minibeasts fascinate me, ever since a wonderful book opened my eyes to their diversity and significance.

On Wednesday, I found a couple of rather strange minibeasts in Lockyer Creek, at a little rest area next to the Warrego Highway near Helidon.

The first was a creature with predatory-looking jaws and long tail projections that made me wonder if it was a type of stonefly (Plectoptera order) larva.

Beetle larva, Helidon.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Bribie Island bursts into spring colour

Beautiful flowers are appearing in the bush once more, thanks to the increasing length of our daylight hours heading into spring.

Last weekend, I sought out blossoms at two of my favourite places from the past year, Dawn Road Reserve at Albany Creek, and Bribie Island National Park at Woorim.

Dawn Road patron Trina McLellan has written a wonderful account of what we found together at Albany Creek on Saturday, that you can read here.

Sunday's Bribie adventure was a solo occasion, however, and I spent most of the morning in the wallum heath beyond McMahon Street, protected as part of the island's National Park.

Walking a few kilometres down the gravel road, I came to a small sandy track branching off to the east that I had been wanting to explore better for quite some time.

The first flowering shrub I came across was the wallum hakea (Hakea actites).

Wallum hakea, Woorim.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Suburb Guide: Maroochy River

View of the Maroochy River from the summit of Mount Ninderry.

Connecting the forested slopes of the Blackall Ranges to the glittering coastline at Maroochydore, the Maroochy River is an important part of the Sunshine Coast’s natural heritage. Named after an Aboriginal legend, the river has also lent its name to a rural and low-density residential suburb that straddles either side of its shores in the upper estuary area. To avoid confusion for the rest of this article, the name ‘Maroochy River’ will refer to the suburb specifically.

Featured areas: (1) Suburban Maroochy River, (2) Highlands Hill Reserve,
(3) Dunethin Rock, (4) Mount Ninderry Bushland Conservation Park,
(5) River Road; Image courtesy of Google Maps.
Originally the cherished homeland of the Kabi Kabi people, the Maroochy River area was quickly recognised by European settlers as a place of great fertility, and to this day it is still used largely for farming purposes, particularly sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum). Increasing residential development is occurring on the surrounding slopes however, in estates such as ‘Ninderry Rise’, named for the mountain lying just to the north. The western suburb boundary roughly follows Caboolture Creek and the edge of Parklands Conservation Park, then borders Bli Bli and Coolum Creek to the south and east, respectively. Within the confines of the suburb are a number of places that a naturalist may find interesting, discussed in detail below.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The rain in Bris-bane falls mainly on the... escarpment.

Grey shrike-thrush, Keperra.

The rain didn’t deter me from spending last Saturday morning up on the Keperra escarpment, and if anything, it seemed to embolden the birds!