Last Days of Summer
|Cloudy evening skies over Moreton Bay, Sandgate.|
Despite humid conditions and cloudy days, Brisbane received only 15.8mm of rainfall this month, making it the driest February since 1859.
Some species adjust to these circumstances better than others. Unlike most other
types of waterfowl, Plumed Whistling-Ducks (Dendrocygna eytoni) can make do with even the smallest drying dam. This camp - seen at the Kilcoy Showgrounds - wisely sought shade during the hottest part of a 35C day.
|Plumed Whistling-Ducks, Kilcoy.|
|Golden Orb-Weaver, Lake Somerset.|
A day out around Lake Somerset was an especially enjoyable outing for me this month, particularly the rich birdlife around the Villaneuve area. Highlights included a Cotton Pygmy-Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus), distant Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), a pair of Red-kneed Dotterels (Erythrogonus cinctus) and a White-throated Gerygone (Gerygone olivacea).
Non-bird sightings included large Golden Orb-Weavers (Nephila plumipes), Lesser Wanderers (Danaus petilia) and an enormous Lace Monitor (Varanus varius) sunning itself on a rockpile.
The lake is an extremely popular freshwater angling location, and there does seem to be an abundance of fish life visible in the shallows. I took a short video in the swimming bay at 'The Spit', where schools of Western Carp Gudgeon (Hypseleotris klunzingeri), Barred Grunter (Amniataba percoides), Fly-specked Hardyhead (Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum) and Snubnose Garfish (Arrhamphus sclerolepis) were congregating.
|Spectacled Monarch, Aspley;|
Photo by Jane Curnow
Another area where the retention of suburban creekside vegetation has made a difference for the local wildlife is out in the Redlands suburb of Ormiston. A series of reserves along Hilliards Creek allows a variety of animal species to flourish, despite their proximity to increasing urban development. In Fellmonger Park this month, I was delighted to see a beautiful male Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) unhurriedly make his way across the parkland to reach another tree. A stranger sight was this large Sawfly (Pergidae family) larva on a dead tree stump.
|Sawfly larva, Ormiston.|
I spent the last official day of summer down near the Queensland / New South Wales border, visiting my Dad. He currently lives opposite the Tweed River and always has a new wildlife story to share with me when I see him. On this particular occasion, we caught up while enjoying views of various waterbirds before us, including this Great Egret (Ardea modesta) and Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus).
|Australian Pelican and Great Egret, Tweed Heads West|
Here's hoping that March brings some much needed rain for our wildlife and our farmers. Until then, enjoy wild Brisbane!