Friday, 13 November 2015

Suburb Guide: Edens Landing

Crested pigeons (Ocyphaps lophotes) are numerous throughout Edens Landing.

Featured areas: (1) Edens Parkland, (2) Nexus Forest Park,
(3) Suburban Edens Landing, and (4) the Water Tower hill.
Image courtesy of Google Maps.
Edens Landing, as it stands today, is a residential suburb along a ridge between Logan and Beenleigh that has existed for thirty years. For over a century prior to this however, it was a rural area used by German and English farmers to grow small crops of maize, potatoes and tobacco. One of the residents in the area during these early days of European settlement was Henry Eden, who pioneered a public ferry system at various points along the Logan River, an act of bravery given that the river was, back then, at the southern distribution limit of the estaurine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). When the area was sold to and developed by Leighton Holdings in the 1980s, it was originally called Holmview Heights, but the name changed shortly after to honour Eden and his ferry service.

Before European settlement, the various gullies in the area would have hosted lush wet eucalypt and riparian rainforest ecosystems, with the vegetation thinning out into drier eucalypt woodland on the southern ridge. Though almost none of the original plant communities exist now, the revegetation work in many parts of the suburb are to be admired. The suburb is bordered to the north by the Logan River, though the Beenleigh train line largely prevents any public access to it here.

Rufous-headed Acacia beetles (Calomela ruficeps) on a Maiden's wattle.

1. Edens Parkland
This narrow bushland corridor runs through the northern centre of the suburb, following a small gully that leads to the Logan River. Extensive revegetation work is being undertaken, and some sections have hundreds of new seedlings lining the waterway. Infrastructure includes a concrete path, sheltered seats and exercise equipment. A small carpark can be found at the end of Borger Place, adjacent to the childcare centre.

Despite resembling fancy little cheeses, the fruit of
the cheese tree is not edible.
One of the most notable creatures throughout the parkland are eastern water dragons (Intellagama lesueurii), though all but the biggest males tend to be rather shy in quiet areas like this. Other cold-blooded residents in the area include striped marsh frogs (Limnodynastes peronii), whose popping calls can be heard day and night among the bullrushes.

On the banks of the gully, the vegetation is comprised of rainforest species like the cheese tree (Glochidion ferdinandi), cockspur thorn (Maclura cochinchinensis) and hard quandong (Elaeocarpus obovatus). This provides shy birds like the pale-headed rosella (Platycercus adscitus) and olive-backed oriole (Oriolus sagitattus) some shelter from the numerous noisy miners (Manorina melanocephala) that dominate the more open areas.

Against the chain-link fence bordering the train line at the northern end of the park grows a magnificent Maiden's wattle (Acacia maidenii) specimen; amateur entomologists will find a wealth of insects and harmless spiders living in its foliage. 

Bearded dragons are perfectly camouflaged against stony soil and dry leaf litter—and they know it!

2. Nexus Forest Park
Arboreal termite nest on an ironbark trunk.
High up on a ridge overlooking the rest of the suburb and much of the Logan River floodplain, Nexus Forest Park preserves some of the natural vegetation that would have occured on much of the surrounding hilltops pre-clearing. A well-maintained BBQ area is located at the top of the park, near the start of a short but steep concrete path that descends through the trees to the suburban streets below. 

The dry eucalypt forest is dominated by narrow-leaved ironbarks (Eucalyptus crebra), and although the birdlife isn't particularly abundant, careful observation will reveal bearded dragons (Pogona barbata) and an assortment of interesting insects such as bee flies (Villa species). Ironbarks are very popular with arboreal termites (Termitidae family), and there are quite a few of their impressive nests in this reserve. One had been substantially ripped apart, leaving me to wonder if perhaps lace monitors (Varanus varius) are also present at this location.

Australian painted ladies raise their caterpillars on native daisies and a variety of common weed species.

Duesbury Crescent, with Nexus Forest
Park in the distance.
3. Suburban Edens Landing
Being a fairly modern housing development, the residential streets of Edens Landing suffer from an over-abundance of palms where the environment is concerned. Golden cane palms (Dypsis lutescens) frequent most gardens, offering little value to native wildlife, and the Alexandra palms (Archontophoenix alexandrae) that line the streetscape of Duesbury Crescent, for example, have also infiltrated the natural bushland in nearby Edens Parkland. Nevertheless, for every multitude of wildlife losers in this scenario, there are a few winners; birds like the rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) and blue-faced honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis) enjoy these modified landscapes. Small parks and open spaces scattered throughout the suburb, even around the local shopping centre, can also play home to beautiful and interesting creatures like the Joseph's Coat moth (Agarista agricola), Australian painted lady (Vanessa kershawi) and cowboy beetle (Chondropyga dorsalis).

4. Water Tower
On the corner of Overland Drive and Hillside Crescent sits one of Edens Landing's most iconic landmarks, the water tower. This is also probably the highest point in the suburb, and like most hilltops in South-east Queensland, it can be a good place to see butterflies like the northern jezebel (Delias argenthona) gather on a breezy day. Originally, the vegetation here would have been identical to the ironbark woodland found along the same ridge at Nexus Forest Park, but now just a handful of eucalypts and some ornamental small-leaved figs (Ficus obliqua) can be found. On spring days with unsettled weather, this can also be a great location to watch the approach of huge thunderstorms that the Logan shire is well known for.

Looking north-east down Hillside Crescent, past the ubiquitous Alexandra palms.

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