Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Top Ten Wildlife Locations of 2015

I spent 2015 exploring every intriguing corner of South-east Queensland, from the NSW border, right up to the Noosa hinterland and west of the coastal ranges too. So imagine my surprise and hometown pride when some of the top-ranking natural places turned out to be just a short drive away through Brisbane's suburbs! I can't wait to get to know these wildlife hotspots better in 2016—maybe you'd like to join me?

1. Tamborine National Park (MacDonald Section), Eagle Heights.
Piccabeen palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) groves are particularly
stunning to walk through at Mount Tamborine.
Tamborine Mountain has long been the getaway of choice for many South-east Queenslanders, and yet for some reason, I've always overlooked it as a wildlife destination. My mistake, because an early morning stroll along the 1.4km rainforest circuit track in the MacDonald section is like wandering through a wildlife metropolis, full of local specialties like the land mullet (Egernia major) and pale yellow robin (Tregellasia capito). Even if your animal-spotting skills aren't all that crash hot, it is impossible not to be awed by the truly magnificent strangler figs (Ficus watkinsiana) growing throughout the park, though no touching—they grow alongside equally impressive giant stinging trees (Dendrocnide excelsa)!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Top Ten Wildlife Encounters of 2015

2015 was a beautiful year to be in the bush (or the sea in some cases!), and I had many wonderful encounters with unusual, rarely seen animal species, all within a short drive of Brisbane. Here are my ten favourites!

1. Budgerigar, Haigslea.
It might seem funny to have such a seemingly common and ordinary bird in the top spot, but until you've seen a wild budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), you haven't seen the real thing! Budgerigar have only been recorded in South-east Queensland on a handful of occasions, but persistent drought and El Nino conditions led to a spate of observations this year from the Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Scenic Rim areas, beginning when I sighted the species near Raysource Road in May. Two things about the wild version of this bird surprised me: firstly, that it was such a secretive seed-eater, keeping closer to cover more so than the doves and finches around it; and secondly, that its shimmering green plumage is more beautiful than I'd ever given it credit for.

2. Great Barred Frog, Mount Cotton.
Despite their large size, great barred frogs are athletic jumpers.
Earlier this year, I lost track of time during a late afternoon walk through Venman Bushland National Park, and ended up having to complete it in the dark. To subsequently hear the forest suddenly come alive with the deep, booming barks of the great barred frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus) is an experience I will never forget! I

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Captain Bogart: Road Warrior

Wild BNE fan Jonathan Pickvance is an urban wildlife ecologist with over six years of experience working with wildlife in South-east Queensland. Here he shares one of his most memorable encounters.

"A few years ago I was working on a large-scale koala movement study which aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of retrofitted structures as a means for the safe movement of koalas across roads.  My research group tracked 61 koalas throughout South East Queensland and I was required to track each koala on a weekly basis.  From this, I witnessed first hand the hardship of South-east Queensland koalas in the suburbs dealing with cars, dogs and disease.