Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Bulimba's wildlife surviving in suburbia

Small-leaved lilly pilly, INSET: Australasian figbird (male), Bulimba.

A sunny afternoon spent in Bulimba last Thursday afternoon offered up some great encounters with a variety of reptiles, birds and insects.

Parking near the main shopping and dining precinct along Oxford Street, I explored the shady edges of the adjacent Memorial Park first, finding a gravid dark bar-sided skink (Concinnia martini) outside her hideaway in a fig tree hollow.

Little friarbird (Philemon citreogularis), Bulimba.
Elsewhere in the park, a straw-necked ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis) performed free sportsfield maintenance for the community, using its long bill to reach at grubs eating the grass roots.

I then walked down Godwin Street en route to another park, noting a beautiful small-leaved lilly pilly (Syzigium luehmannii) fruiting beside the footpath.

This native species is often used as a street tree in Brisbane, and thanks to its abundant spring flowers and pink fruit, it is highly attractive to wildlife.

In this particular specimen, a pair of Australasian figbirds (Sphecotheres vieilloti) were helping themselves to as much fruit as they could swallow.

Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius), Bulimba.
Using a small thoroughfare at the end of the street, I emerged at Bulimba Riverside Park, where the foreshore and river is undergoing engineering work at the minute.

Such human activity didn’t seem to bother the birds however, with a pair of brown honeyeaters (Lichmera indistincta) even establishing a nest not far away.

Also bold in personality was an eastern striped skink (Ctenotus robustus) found living in a bark-chipped garden bed.

These speedy lizards are usually quite shy and scatter for cover at the slightest disturbance, but this one remained in the open as I stopped to take its photo, no doubt accustomed to such pedestrian traffic.

Eastern striped skink, Bulimba.

Along the riverbank, I watched a little pied cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos) forage for prey in the murky water.

Cormorants are famed as fishing birds, but I’ve always found the little pied cormorant to prefer aquatic invertebrates instead, and this particular bird was indeed feeding on shrimp living in the shallows.

I too was keen on finding some invertebrates (for photography rather than consumption), so I went and inspected some cotton trees (Hibiscus tiliaceus) in the centre of the park, as they always harbour something interesting.

I was not let down—hibiscus harlequin bugs (Tectocoris diophthalmus) abounded in the foliage, and a young Australian stick mantis (Archimantis latistyla) patrolled the bark chips below.

Returning the way I came, I arrived at my car for a ten minute journey back home—if only all my nature forays ended that way!

Next time you are down by the river or having a coffee on Oxford Street somewhere, keep an eye out for Bulimba’s wild side!

Little pied cormorant, Bulimba.


  1. What a wonderful account of suburban wildlife. We admire your approach of observing wildlife anywhere, anytime. Fantastic photos also.

    1. Thanks Sri, yes, "anywhere, anytime" is certainly my motto when it comes to watching wildlife ☺