Monday, 29 December 2014

Top Ten Wildlife Locations of 2014

Having a car and a Driver's license this year greatly increased my scope for potential wildlife locations around South-east Queensland. How ironic then that my number one spot ended up being a tiny reserve near the main road of a busy suburb! Nature always finds a way to surprise me, no matter how well I think I've become acquainted with it. Thank you to each and every one of you who read this blog and/or follow the 'Wild BNE' Facebook page - I've loved sharing my adventures with you this year and look forward to a 'Wild' 2015!

1. Chelsea Street Environmental Reserve, Kippa-Ring.
Resident Tawny Frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) become active in the reserve shortly after sunset.
How beautiful that among the swiftly expanding suburbs of the Redcliffe Peninsula, Chelsea Street Environmental Reserve remains to preserve so much iconic Australian wildlife. Moreton Bay shire residents would do well to ensure that the

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Top Ten Wildlife Encounters of 2014

Of the top ten wildlife encounters I had this year, seven of them were with species I had never seen before. The amazing thing is, I didn't exactly have to travel to far-flung places to see these creatures either. Some of them were even seen in places like the outskirts of Caloundra, or among the busy new housing estates of North Lakes. This is why I love Brisbane, a place where the wilderness can creep into our suburbs and enrich our lives if we take the opportunity to notice it. Here is what I noticed this year!

1. Black Falcon, Jeebropilly.
Black Falcon; Photo by David Jenkins courtesy of 'Birds as Poetry'.
At a wetland out near Amberley Air Force Base in May, I saw nature's own version of a jet-fighter plane, and it was very impressive. Swooping in low over the water and scattering flocks of wildfowl into flight, I watched a Black Falcon - my first ever!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Nature Surveys 2014

To increase my knowledge of the local area as well as my identification skills, I try and head out once a month to a new location to undertake a wildlife survey. Collected and published here are my surveys for 2014, just in case they are of interest to any researchers, surveyors or wildlife enthusiasts.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Island Birds

Bar-shouldered Dove
Yesterday morning, I caught the 6am ferry over to Karragarra Island to check out the bird life there. While many of the three-hundred-and-sixty islands in Moreton Bay are nothing more than mangrove mounds, Karragarra and its neighbouring isles are well-established landforms. During the last ice age, these islands would have been small hills behind a coastline marked out by where Stradbroke and Moreton Island lie today, but rising sea-levels have since isolated these places from each other and the mainland. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Tawny Fish-Owl

Animal of the Month

Tawny Fish-Owl; Photo by Nayan Khanolkar

What's so special about it?

Where there are ecological opportunities, nature finds a way to take advantage of them. In the forested valleys and mountain ranges of eastern Asia, the river life is particularly rich with fish, crabs, shrimp, frogs and waterbirds. As a result, various predators have evolved to exploit this bounty also, including some that wouldn't usually be considered as water-loving. You may know owls as austere, nocturnal birds of the woodlands, but along these waterways, Tawny Fish-Owls (Ketupa flavipes) fill the ecological role that is elsewhere occupied by birds like the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus). Just like the latter species, the Tawny Fish-Owl has bare, unfeathered legs and coarse grappling pads on the soles of their feet, adaptations which suit a fish-hunting aerial predator. Because they hunt submerged creatures which can't hear them flying on approach, they don't need to be as silent as other owls, so their wing-beats still make an audible noise just like a regular bird.