Friday, 6 February 2015

Suburb Guide: Parklands

Dark Bar-sided Skink (Eulamprus martini), Ferntree Creek National Park.


Driving north on the Bruce Highway through the Sunshine Coast, I often pass extensive areas of lush, green forest that captures my imagination: what lives there?!? Earlier this week, I went to find answers to that question by checking out the suburb of Parklands, a small mixed-use area immediately to the north of Nambour.

Featured areas: (1) Jacaranda Drive gully, (2) Ferntree Creek
National Park, (3) Nambour Golf Course / Boronia Street; 

Map courtesy of Google Maps.
Parklands is a very hilly suburb, even where the Nambour Golf Course is located. It is bordered to the west by the Sunshine Coast railway line, and to the east by the Bruce Highway. The main area of environmental significance within the suburb is Ferntree Creek National Park, 71.9 hectares of wet eucalypt forest with no formal facilities. There is also a reserve on the other side of the highway named Parklands Forest Reserve. Confusingly, this actually falls within the suburb boundaries of Kulangoor and Bli Bli, so is not covered in this particular feature. Listed here are three areas where you might find interesting wildlife and plants within Parklands.

1. Jacaranda Drive
This street and the adjacent Oleander Drive are the main residential areas of Parklands, both named after exotic flora. Indeed, the gully at the bottom of Jacaranda Drive has been infested with aggressive introduced trees, particularly the Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora), Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) and African Tulip (Spathodea campanulata). Despite this, healthy specimens of native Cabbage Tree Palms (Livistona australis) and Flooded Gums (Eucalyptus grandis) still thrive in the moist soil, providing a home for Eastern Whipbirds (Psophodes olivacea) and Cicadabirds (Coracina tenuirostris).

The native vegetation growing on Jacaranda Drive indicates a high rainfall for the area.

2. Ferntree Creek National Park
This small National Park has been set aside primarily for the conservation value of its endangered vine forest ecosystem. At present, there are no recreational facilities offered here, nor are there any plans to develop them in the future. Walking along Oleander Drive however, I met a local resident who introduced himself as 'The Barefoot Bushman of Nambour'; he showed me a rudimentary park track that begins near the end of Oleander Drive, before the quarry gates. As the friendly Bushie took me down the overgrown track (barefoot of course) to show me a large Australian Brush-Turkey (Alectura lathami) nest, he filled me in on the local wildlife, including a Dingo (Canis lupis) that he frequently sees emerging from the park after sunset. 

Left to my own devices in the National Park, I was particularly impressed by the quality of the forest. The trees are an interesting mix of Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus) and Grey Gum (Eucalyptus propinqua), and it's likely they would have covered much more of the suburb before European settlement. Sweet Sarsaparilla (Smilax australis) vines grow in abundance on the forest floor, providing shelter for Lace Monitors (Varanus varius) and Northern Brown Bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus). At the bottom of the sloping hillside is a dam where Tusked Frogs (Adelotus brevis) are known to occur.

Orange Lacewing (Nymphes myrmeleonides), Ferntree Creek National Park.

3. Nambour Golf Course
Though thoughtfully edged with eucalypts and paperbarks, the Nambour Golf Course is - like all golf courses - mostly just playing turf. The break in surrounding forest cover does allow for clear views of raptors like Whistling Kites (Haliastur sphenurus) and Grey Goshawks (Accipter novaehollandiae) however, as well as passing butterflies. Along Boronia Street, the edge of both the Golf Course and National Park can be walked, though here the margins of the latter are being invaded by garden plants such as the Firespike (Odontonema tubaeforme).

Ferntree Creek National Park, as seen from Boronia Street.

14 comments:

  1. love the skink! the trees are lush. :)

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    1. Yes it's a cute little lizard! It's lucky to live in such a beautiful area, for sure.

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  2. Love the trees and plants in the forest as well as the critters.

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    1. I suppose it's quite tropical, and therefore reminded you of your time in Australia? :)

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  3. These patches are so important in urban and suburban areas - and we often overlook them on the way to 'proper' locations!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  4. Love the Skink and the Lacewing. Google doesn't like the word 'skink' and is wavy-red-lining it!

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    1. Haha! Maybe it thinks Skinks are Skunks.

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  5. What a fascinating place, rich with native tropical vegetation, and I am sure many birds and animals! I love seeing the skink and the lacewing! Enjoyed your photos and information very much.

    I am pretty far behind in commenting back about comments I have received and I apologize. I was going to tell you that lantana tends to be pretty invasive and is considered a weed also by many here in the Sonoran Desert. It comes in pink also, and also a variety that is pink and yellow flowers mixed. Some people enjoy its splash of color.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Marie!

      I think a lot of casual Aussie bushwalkers also enjoy the Lantana flowers but an increasing number of people are aware of its weed status. Would never have guessed that it would survive a desert climate - what a tough plant!

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  6. Hi Christian. You seem to be doing a tremendous lone job in cataloging the flora and fauna in places that others by-pass.Such areas can often hold surprises and the unexpected.

    Yes, you were correct about Siskins, sorry if I didn't explain it properly. Sitka Spruce grows in large quantities in the forests of mainland Europe and when the seed crop is good, coupled with mild winters, Siskins have less need to travel west and south to the UK.

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    1. Thanks Phil, I think it would be impossible to exhaust the supply of amazing things nature has to offer, that's for sure!

      Interesting how warmer seasons affect bird migration, especially in regards to long term trends.

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  7. Thanks for reminding us that the area west of the highway has been on our to do list for way too long. Hope you get the chance one day to walk or mountain bike ride Parklands Forest on the other side of the highway. We enjoyed walking all the trails there. The skink photo is outstanding.

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    1. Thanks, the skink was a co-operative little photography subject! :)

      Now you've given me something to put on my 'To Do' List as well!

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