Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat

29th December 2015


The Toowoomba Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat is located in Rangeville, Toowoomba.  It is a wonderful location to see some of the more common waterbirds of our region, and sometimes a few un-commons as well.  It has been many years since I have walked through the habitat, which was once a place I visited on a weekly basis with my young son, when we lived close-by.  At the time of this visit, it was a little windy and late in the morning to see many other bird species in the trees, We did see 20 birds though and also some domestic ducks.  The short-necked turtles were beautiful to watch, and there were butterflies and dragonflies aplenty.

More to come on this story in 2016.

1Wandering Whistling-Duck - Dendrocygna arcuata
2 Australian Wood Duck - Chenonetta jubata
3 Pacific Black Duck - Anas superciliosa
4 Hardhead - Aythya australis
5 Little Pied Cormorant - Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
6 Australasian Darter - Anhinga novaehollandiae
7 Australian Pelican - Pelecanus conspicillatus
8 Australian White Ibis - Threskiornis moluccus
9 Australasian Swamphen - Porphyrio melanotus
10 Dusky Moorhen - Gallinula tenebrosa Too
11 Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
12 Masked Lapwing - Vanellus miles
13 Spotted Dove - Streptopelia chinensis
14 Crested Pigeon - Ocyphaps lophotes
15 Galah - Eolophus roseicapilla
16 Pale-headed Rosella - Platycercus adscitus T
17 Noisy Miner - Manorina melanocephala
18 Grey Butcherbird - Cracticus torquatus
19 Pied Currawong - Strepera graculina
20 Common Myna - Acridotheres tristis

Toowoomba Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat
Australian Pelican at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat, 29th Dec 2015

Pedestrian Bridge at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat, 29th Dec 3015

Pedestrian Bridge at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat, 29th Dec 3015

Hardhead at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat 29th Dec 2016

Wandering Percher Dragonfly at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat

Australian Wood Duck at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat

White Ibis, Plumed Whistling Ducks & Purple Swamphen at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat

Purple Swamphen, now known as Australasian Swamp Hen at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat

Short-necked Turtle at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat
Pacific Black Duck at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat

Masked Lapwing at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat

A newly installed nesting box that has clearly had plenty of use at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat

Showing the size of the huge gum tree the nesting box is installed on

White Ibis with fluffy baby in nest at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitrat

Signage at Toowoomba Waterbird Habitat

Friday, December 25, 2015

Asian House Gecko lays eggs in a precarious place

24th December 2015



Guest Post Photos and information by Linda Nielsen

One of the downlights in this home had not been working for some time, despite the changing of bulbs.  While an electrician was working at the home in Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast, Qld, the owners asked him to have a look at the transformer of the downlight to see what was wrong with it and if it needed replacing.  It was quite a surprise when he showed them why the downlight hadn't been working.  An Asian House Gecko had been using the transformer as a nice 'warm' place to lay it's eggs!

Asian House Geckoes (Hemidactylus frenatus) are the only invasive Gecko species in Australia. Sometimes mistaken for the native Dtella Gecko, the Asian House Gecko is easily identified by it's claws on the end of it's toes, and little spines running along it's tail and lower back.  While in Asia they were a tree living species, but now happily co-exist with humans living in their dwellings, feeding on insects attracted to the lights in Australia.  The Asian House Gecko lays up to two eggs every four to six weeks, so has obviously been using this transformer as the egg laying location for some time!

Thanks to Linda for letting us share her photo and interesting story.


Eggs of an Asian House Gecko inside a light transformer at Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast.  You can see that one of the Geckoes had hatched but didn't survive. 

Asian House Geckoes (Hemidactylus frenatus) photographed at the Upper Coomera home.

Asian House Geckoes (Hemidactylus frenatus) photographed at the Upper Coomera home.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Endangered Fleay's Barred Frog Morans Creek

20th November 2015

Fleay's Barred Frog (Mixophyes fleayi)

I cannot quite contain my excitement about getting to hear, find, observe and photograph an Endangered Fleay's Barred Frog (Mixophyes fleayi) in the wild, while out looking for frogs along the banks of Morans Creek in the Lamington National Park, South-East Queensland.

Endangered Fleay's Barred Frog (Mixophyes fleayi)
This beautiful large frog was calling from rocks on the sides of the creek.  The noises were loud but intermittent, and at first I thought whatever large frog was making the sounds, was hiding under the large overhanging rocks.  While I was looking at a large number of metamorphosing tadpoles in a shallow rock pool, I again heard the frog call, and looked up with the torch to come eye to eye with this beautiful creature.  On first look, "I thought to myself that it looked like a Fleay's, but I wasn't getting too excited until I could confirm with the books and online.

Endangered Fleay's Barred Frog (Mixophyes fleayi)
The Fleay's Barred Frog (Mixophyes fleayi) was named after my Grandfather's first Cousin, the famous Australian Naturalist, David Fleay, in recognition of his immense contribution to the knowledge of the breeding biology of Australian animals.  This species is currently listed as Endangered in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992) and nationally (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999).  More about Fleay's Barred Frog Here

Not the best photo, but it shows how large the Fleay's Barred Frog is, compared to my hand. 

The photo below, shows the tadpoles that I was viewing, prior to spotting the Fleay's Barred Frog, less than a metre away on a rock above the tadpole rock pool. Some of these tadpoles have started to metamorph and have the back legs.  You can see that they already have "barred" markings on their back legs.  I wonder if these are possibly tadpoles of the Fleay's Barred Frog?  I am no expert at tadpole identification, so would appreciate any feedback on those who know more. The description of where the frogs are laid etc, is indicative of what i observed, located in a fast-flowing stream.

Tadpoles in rockpool in Moran's Creek - Could they be Fleays Barred Frogs?

This sighting was extremely amazing - I hope the tadpoles survive, whatever they turn out to be, and that this beautiful frog species can be around for a long time to come.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Elusive Major Skink (Egernia frerei)

13th November 2015

Major Skink (Egernia frerei) at Ravensbourne

Until today, this Major Skink (Erernia frerei) has remained elusive.  Each day at work when I walk past a particular part of the garden of banana trees, I hear a rustling in the leaves and get a quick glance at a reptile ducking under the tree roots and dry leaf litter.  Today, I was lucky enough to finally get a good sighting of my little friend and luckily had taken the camera so managed a couple of photos to help with an i.d.  This "Major Skink" is around 180mm in length, fairly large, but not as big as the local Blue-tongued lizards.  

They are known to shelter in hollow logs, rock crevices and burrow under thickets and tree roots. They are shy lizards that are active during the day and can be found from rainforest edges to dry forests and woodlands.


Major Skink (Erernia frerei) at Ravensbourne, South-East Qld.

Major Skink (Erernia frerei) at Ravensbourne, South-East Qld.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lorikeet in spectacular Orange Mistletoe

28th October 2015

Rainbow Lorikeet in Apostle Mistletoe (Dendrophthoe vitellina) 

I spotted this stunning Mistletoe heavy with orange flowers near Cooby Dam, North of Toowoomba during the week. When I stopped to take some photos, Scaley-breasted Lorikeets & Rainbow Lorikeets were amongst the plant having a feeding frenzy.

I believe that the Mistletoe is Apple Mistletoe ((Dendrophthoe vitellina) based on my reading in my Mangroves to Mountains plant guide... however I am a newbie at learning plants so please advise me if I have it wrong!  More photos of full plant taken on my phone to come.


Rainbow Lorikeet in Apostle Mistletoe (Dendrophthoe vitellina) 

Rainbow Lorikeet in Apostle Mistletoe (Dendrophthoe vitellina) 


Monday, October 26, 2015

Aussie Backyard Bird Count Charmaine Crt Highfields

26th October 2015

Aussie Backyard Bird Count 2015 - Charmaine Court Reserve, Highfields

Male Australian King Parrot at Charmaine Crt Dry Rainforest Reserve, Highfields, Aussie Backyard Bird Count 26/10/15

The Aussie backyard Bird Count, run by Birdlife Austraila, gives you 20 minutes to record the number of bird species that you see in one location or a "backyard".  This event runs for a week and is now in it's second year.  I had a look at the local sightings map and was a bit dismayed at the lack of lists submitted in our local area, so I went this morning to record sightings at a few important birding hot spots in the area.

The list below is from Charmaine Court Bushland Reserve, Highfields.

  1. Galah
  2. Spotted Dove
  3. Striated Pardalote
  4. Australian Magpie
  5. Noisy Friarbird
  6. Crested Pigeon
  7. Australian King-Parrot
  8. Weebill
  9. Rainbow Lorikeet
  10. Brown Honeyeater
  11. White-browed Scrubwren
  12. Silvereye
  13. Noisy Miner
  14. House Sparrow (on edge of reserve)
  15. Common Myna
  16. Magpie Lark (seen just after the 20 minutes was completed)
I have to mention as well as birds, the enormous number of butterflies that I saw in this little patch of remnant dry rainforest.  I wasn't quick enough to photograph any of them but the few that I could identify are as follows:
  1. Lesser Wander
  2. Orchard Swallowtail
  3. Blue Triangle
  4. Caper White
  5. Glasswing
  6. and plenty of others that I didn't know the names of unfortunately.  
I haven't visited this little patch of dry rainforest for a while, and it was evident how busy the Friends of the Escarpment Parks have been, working at removing the overwhelming amount of asparagus vine from the reserve, it is looking a lot better.

If you plan on visiting this little patch of bushland, I advise parking on the eastern side of the park and entering from that side, as otherwise your visit will be ruined by the large dog that barks continuously in the yard of the yellow house on the western side that joins the western boundary.


Brown Honeyater, Charmaine Crt Dry Rainforest Reserve, Highfields 26/10/15

Male King Parrot feeding juvenile at Charmaine Crt Dry Rainforest Bushland, Highfields 26/10/15

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Aussie Backyard Bird Count 2015 Ravensbourne

21st October 2015

Aussie Backyard Bird Count 2015 - Ravensbourne

I arrived at work half an hour early to do a bird count to submit a list for the second annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count.  In the 20 minutes I spotted 10 species which I was fairly happy with. Someday's at work I would see far more than this, and I had hoped the Eastern Spinebill or the Glossy Black Cockatoo's would have shown themselves that morning, but not on this occasion.  J.G.  

  1. Superb Fairy Wren
  2. White-browed Scrub Wren
  3. Noisy Friarbird
  4. Noisy Miner
  5. Red-browed Finch
  6. Australian King Parrot
  7. Eastern Whipbird
  8. Brown Cuckoo Dove
  9. Lewin's Honeyeater
  10. Grey Fantail

Australian King Parrot 21/10/15 Ravensbourne

Brown Cuckoo Dove, Ravensbourne 21/10/15
Lewin's Honeyeater 21/10/15 Ravensbourne
Red-browed Finch, 21/10/15, Ravensbourne

Female Superb Blue Fairy Wren, 21/10/15, Ravensbourne

Superb Blue Fairy Wren, 21/10/15, Ravensbourne

Noisy Friarbird, 21/10/15, Ravensbourne

White-browed Scrubwren, 21/10/15, Ravensbourne

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Birding on the Alice River, Cape York Cont...

09th September - 21st September 2015

Birding on the Alice River, Cape York, North Qld

Continued from post 1


Forest Kingfisher, Alice River, Cape York

White-bellied Sea Eagle, Alice River, Cape York

Great Bowerbird, Alice River, Cape York, 

Alice River from the Air, 2015

Alice River from the Air, 2015

Alice River, Cape York, 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ravensbourne National Park

05th October 2015

Ravensbourne National Park, Ravensbourne, South-East Queensland

Midday walk through Ravensbourne National Park, wasn't the best time to see birds, but there were plenty of Lace Monitors, venturing out of hibernation to view, along with beautiful flora.

B & J

Piccabeen Palms in Ravensbourne National Park

Rufous Fantail, showing how he got his name
Bar-sided Skink – (Concinnia tenuis)

Some of the beautiful fungi at Ravensbourne National Park

Brown Cuckoo Dove Pair - Ravensbourne National Park

Bar-sided Skink – (Concinnia tenuis)