Thursday, 26 May 2016

Suburb Guide: Underwood

The pastel love flower is a charming, shade-loving native plant.

The stretch of highway on the way to the Gold Coast running between Mount Gravatt and Yatala has always been a bit of a vague blur to me at the best of times, and a peak hour nuisance at worst. An endless strip of superstores, car dealerships and fast food outlets, I tend to hurry on through as quickly as the traffic will allow, chasing greener horizons further south. It turns out that the view from the M1 doesn’t really do this area justice though, as I found out recently while exploring the Logan suburb of Underwood. 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

South-east Queensland's secret frog

As a subtropical city, Brisbane has a rich and visible frog fauna, with forty-one native species (and one cursed toad) calling it home. Familiar to most people would be that friendly windowsill giant, the green treefrog (Litoria caerulea), and anyone with a garden pond would also perhaps be acquainted with the striped marsh frog (Limnodynastes peronii).

Sharing our suburbs and green spaces, however, are a whole host of other fascinating amphibians that many South-east Queensland residents may never notice or know much about. It’s a fair assumption to make, for example, that Kippa-Ring locals wouldn’t ever suspect that on balmy spring nights, patches of nearby sandy soil suddenly erupt with ornate burrowing frogs (Platyplectrum ornatum). Nor would dog-walkers along Bulimba Creek deduce that among the streambank rubble on which their puppy plays lives a little fellow called the stony-creek frog (Litoria wilcoxii), who turns a bright lemon-yellow colour when he’s ready for some lady-lovin’. 

As winter approaches and the temperature (mercifully) begins to drop, most of these little Kermit characters become hard to find. There’s one exception, however, and as the days get shorter and the nights get longer, he’s only just getting started.

Meet the great brown broodfrog.

Great brown broodfrog, Southport; Photo by Narelle Power

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A long weekend of birdwatching

It was a long weekend of unusual weather given the time of year—with temperatures reaching a high of 27C, and the humidity giving rise to brief thunderstorms on Monday evening, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was still summer—but with my schedule clear, I was champing at the bit for three days of stellar South-east Queensland birding, and I was not disappointed!

Beach stone-curlew, Wellington Point.