Snowflakes in Sandgate
It seems like I am always starting off these monthly wildlife reports by saying that it's been a warmer-than-average month, and this holds true for June 2014 also. While this has led to some beautifully sunny and mild days for nature exploration, the effects on wildlife behaviour have not gone unnoticed.
|Cedar Creek Falls, North Tamborine|
On a visit to Tamborine National Park, I was pleased to have my first sighting of a Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera), near the picnic ground at the top of Cedar Creek Falls. It was seen furtively carrying twigs into a vine-covered dead tree, nesting a whole month earlier than the breeding season listed for it in my field guide. Another seasonally anomalous sighting was of a Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii) pair by Lake Samsonvale; this species is considered to be a summer migrant to South-east Queensland.
The Kingfishers may be able to persist through these winter months because mild daily temperatures increase the availability of their insect prey. Closer to home, I have noted the continuing presence of cockroaches, moths and mosquitoes around my East Brisbane suburb. Not all the creatures that prey on these insects are as classically-beautiful as the Kingfisher however, with Cane Toads (Rhinella marina) and Wolf Spiders (Tasmanicosa species) still lurking on the lawns in the evening.
|Wolf Spider, East Brisbane|
|Glossy Ibis, Sandgate|
It's been a particularly good month for my bird-watching 'life list', as I've seen six species that are new to me. Besides the afore mentioned Bronzewing, an excursion out to the Ipswich rural area of Haigslea gifted me three new bird species, the highlight of which was Australia's smallest bird, the Weebill (Smicrornis brevirostris). The next species was to be seen on a walk along the Tweed River with my 62-year old Dad, who casually paused, pointed and inquired about a bird next to the path. It turned out to be my first White-headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela), which I would have otherwise missed had I been alone - thanks Dad! The discoveries were to continue when I hiked into Beerburrum State Forest and found a small colony of darling Dusky Woodswallows (Artamus cyanopterus) wheeling about the tree canopy. With more sunny and mild days on the way, who knows what treasures I will see on my explorations? One thing is for sure - I'll be sharing them here!
|Dusky Woodswallow, D'Aguilar|