Echidnas, "Super Moons" and the World's Most Colourful Bug
The weather has been hit-and-miss this month, and the winter chill has certainly set in. I managed to make my maiden voyage to Oxley Creek Common on a nice sunny day however, and was impressed with its well-maintained tracks and revegetation areas.
|Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys), Rocklea|
A male Red-capped Robin (Petroica goodenovii) has been sighted there recently according to Eremaea Birds, but I was unable to spot him on my visit. It is usually a resident of the drier woodlands west of the Great Dividing Range and is a beautiful bird worth seeing!
|Tortoise Beetles (Trachymela species), Rocklea|
A mid-week stroll along the Sandgate and Shorncliffe foreshore revealed lots of interesting marine life, including this Broad-fronted Mangrove Crab (Metopograpsus frontalis), that decided my shoe was the best place to seek shelter beneath after being exposed under a rock.
|Broad-fronted Mangrove Crab, Shorncliffe|
Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs (Tectocoris diophthalmus) were clustered in bedazzling colonies on the Beach Hibiscus trees beside the pathway. This one is a male - the females are bright orange with small metallic dots.
|Harlequin Hibiscus Bug, Sandgate|
In my search to find wildlife locations unknown to me, I took a chance and headed out past Ipswich to Purga Nature Reserve. I was immediately fascinated by the Swamp Tea-Tree woodland there, and with good reason too. It turns out that this is the only protected woodland in the world that is made up of this type of tree, known to science as Melaleuca tamarscina irbyana. It is a gnarled, greyish paperbark tree that grows only on a few floodplains in South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
|Swamp Tea-Tree forest, Purga|
Also inside the Reserve was this excellent frog pond, from which Beeping Froglets (Crinia parinsignifera) called the entire time.
|Frog Pond, Purga|
Eastern Dwarf Tree Frogs (Litoria fallax) were also present at the pond edges, sunning themselves quietly on the Mat-rush leaves.
|Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog, Purga|
Ipswich locals I spoke to have never heard of this Reserve, and apart from one family on bicycles, I had the place completely to myself on a sunny Sunday afternoon. While I like to enjoy my wildlife pursuits in peace and quiet, it's a shame that such a beautiful place goes ignored.
|Wolf Spider (Tasmanicosa species), Purga|
Sometimes you don't even have to leave your house to spot wildlife. My East Brisbane home was visited by this Pale Brown Hawk Moth (Theretra latreillii) for two nights in a row, probably seeking shelter from the single-digit night temperatures outside. Unfortunately, I live in an un-insulated wooden house that gets very cold in the winter, and this moth (which we named 'Tony Hawk') did not survive the second night.
|Pale Brown Hawk Moth, East Brisbane|
The moth first appeared on the same night that the much-hyped "Super Moon" came on display.
|"Super Moon", East Brisbane|
As nice as that Moon was, nothing beats a glorious sunset. This one, seen from the Hornibrook Highway Bridge near Brighton, was a stunner.
|Sunset at the Pine River mouth, Brighton|
Overcast and rainy weather has settled in as June draws to a close, with creeks out in the Redlands area full to the very edge. This Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis) wasn't deterred however, and continued to call throughout my visit to the swamp it lives in. Its mournful, descending trill is one of the most familiar sounds of the Australian bush, and you can here it here.
|Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Wellington Point|
Lastly, the Queensland Naturalists Club reported seeing an Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) this month in Toohey Forest Park. Such a slow-moving, vulnerable animal surviving so close to a big city is remarkable, and goes to show the importance of urban reserves. It's also a reminder that you don't have to travel far from your home to connect with nature and you may be surprised at what you can see!