Friday, 29 November 2013

November Wildlife Report

Storms Appear in BNE

Dramatic skies have been a defining feature of Brisbane this November, with the storm season commencing in a major way.

Severe thunderstorm, Fortitude Valley; Photo by Meaghan Cook

Saturday, 16 November 2013

A Hidden Gem on the Gold Coast

Reedy Creek Lagoon, Varsity Lakes

I like my coastlines wild and rugged, so the Gold Coast isn't always my first choice for a day at the beach. The stretch of shore between Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta has been extensively urbanised, with high-rise holiday units established right up to the frontal dunes. It is a fast-growing area with many new suburbs popping up each year, the most recent example being Varsity Lakes. Originally, my intention was to survey this location as a brief stop-off on the way to the beach, but I was so impressed at the quality of natural habitat that had been retained in the area that I ended up foregoing the swim.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Eastern Yellowjacket

Animal of the Month

What's so special about it?

Eastern Yellowjacket; Image belongs to Duke University
The Eastern Yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) is a common North American wasp known for its large subterranean nests. These colonies often consist of up to 5000 wasps, but amazingly, they all start with just a single Queen. Only she has the fortitude and strength to survive the harsh Northern Hemisphere winters, and when spring begins to warm things up, she gets to work on creating her empire. Starting with just a few nesting cells in an underground cavity somewhere, she gives birth to a legion of sterile worker females who take over building and baby-raising duties. Once she has this thriving army and a vast home at her command, she produces the eggs that will hatch into future Queens and short-lived reproductive males. Rome wasn't built in a day, but these wasps can manage the equivalent of it in just a few months.