Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Plunkett Regional Park: A Photographic Collection

Encompassing a landscape quite unlike any other in South-east Queensland, Plunkett Regional Park is somewhere local nature enthusiasts should know.

The landscape of Plunkett features a variety of sandstone outcrops, boulder formations, cliffs and caves.

It’s official: I have been in love with Plunkett Regional Park for over a year now. My first visit to this reserve, located on the outskirts of Logan at Cedar Creek, took place last winter and left an indelible impression on me. (See where it placed on my ‘Best Wildlife Locations of 2016’ list.)

Earlier this month, I had planned on taking a group of blog followers on a guided walk through this wonderful place, but inclement weather forced me to cancel the event. It was a shame, as I had located some interesting animals and plants to showcase for my guests, but safety comes first. (Read about a creature I found the last time I took people here.)

Spiny yellow pea (Pultenaea spinosa).
Plunkett has the ability to make a visitor feel as though they are a million miles from anywhere, when in reality, suburban development advances further towards its borders each year at an alarming rate. Luckily, the reserve is not without its guardians, who have created the Friends of Plunkett organisation. (Visit their website.)

The reserve is particularly rewarding for birdwatchers, as a number of regionally uncommon birds call it home. Sought-after species include the spotted quail-thrush (Cinclosoma punctatum), glossy black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) and speckled warbler (Pyrrholaemus sagittatus). (View the eBird Australia bird list.)

Below is a collection of photographs taken here during the past year, which I hope inspires you to visit this place for yourself—make sure to use the #wildbne tag if you share your pictures on Instagram!

This gorgeous native wildflower has the unfortunate common name of ‘slug herb’ (Murdannia graminea), but as a famous playwright once said, “a rose by another other name would smell as sweet.”
The caterpillars of the tailed emperor (Charaxes sempronius) are as visually striking as the adult butterfly, thanks to their unusual head shape. At Plunkett, they can be found on bottle tree (Brachychiton sp) saplings.
Basket ferns (Drynaria rigidula) are a lithophytic species, meaning they are adapted to living on rock faces. The leaves at the base of the plant trap detritus and soil particles that sustains the plant on an otherwise bare surface.
Tommy roundheads (Diporiphora australis) are the smallest dragons we have in South-east Queensland. They live on the sandstone outcrops at Plunkett, in debris-strewn patches of heath and dry eucalypt forest.
This lovely little plant is named the Queen-of-the-bush (Pimelea linifolia). ‘She’ usually develops clusters of up to 60 white flowers, but occasionally—as seen here—they will be pink instead.
With such varied terrain, it’s inevitable that Plunkett would be home to many different ant species. This is a large golden spiny ant (Polyrhachis sp) seen among the sandstone boulders.
Much of the available information on pink nodding orchids (Geodorum densiflorum) describes them becoming dormant during the winter, but Plunkett’s population is visible throughout the year.
Striated pardalotes (Pardalotus striatus) are particularly common birds in the area; their three-syllable “blip di-dip” call can be heard throughout the woodland.
A very conspicuous plant when in flower, the silky purple flag (Patersonia sericea) is nevertheless quite easily overlooked at other times of the year. It grows on sandy soils, including in wallum heath.
Wasp moths (Amata trigonophora) are brightly coloured to warn would-be predators that they are best left alone due to their toxic nature. They are a day-flying species common in late summer and autumn.
This tough little plant is called the stiff cryptandra (Cryptandra rigida). It is adapted to live on rocky outcrops and is also found on the peaks of the Glass House Mountains.
The heathy parrot pea (Dillwynia retorta) brightens up the ascent to Wickham Peak with its colourful yellow and red pea flowers.
Ground assassin bugs (Peirates sp) are nocturnal predators that spend the day sheltering beneath rocks and boulders.
The square-leaved wattle (Acacia quadrilateralis) is abundant on Plunkett’s sandstone escarpments, but less common elsewhere in South-east Queensland.
Tongue orchids (Dockrillia linguiformis) grow on the sandstone at Plunkett Regional Park.