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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Boondall Wetlands, Brisbane QLD

We often drop into Boondall Wetlands for a short rest stop when we are travelling through Brisbane. In June we stopped for a few minutes and noticed a Royal Spoonbill feeding with a group of Australian White Ibis. We decided that it had been too long since we had taken the time to walk and cycle through the wetlands tracks so we returned in July for a longer look.

Royal Spoonbill

Boondall Wetlands are managed by the Brisbane City Council. The area is part of the East-Asian Australasian Shorebird Network and large numbers of migratory shorebirds can be seen here between September and March each year. However, there are plenty of woodland birds to be seen all year round.

Olive-backed Oriole

Scarlet Honeyeater

We took our time walking the Billai Dhagun Circuit, an easy 2 km walking track. There are contemporary Aboriginal art totems placed along the track.

Art Totem at Boondall Wetlands

We were delighted to notice three Tawny Frogmouths roosting in a tree. One was quite low to the ground, one was half way up and the third one was up high.Tawny Frogmouths perch out in the open in the daytime but it is easy to walk right past them because they use a combination of their mottled plumage and a frozen posture to camouflage their presence.

Three Frogmouths are perched in this tree.

The Lowest Frogmouth

The Middle Frogmouth

The Highest Frogmouth

There is a bird hide on the track near the junction of Cabbage Tree Creek and Nundah Creek. The only bird we saw from the bird hide was a Striated Heron but as we made our way along the boardwalk we were lucky to see a Striped Honeyeater. Unfortunately, the only photo we have does not show its face but I have included it here because it was the first time we have seen one.

Striped Honeyeater

Boardwalk to the Bird Hide at Boondall Wetlands

Salt marsh comprised of pigface, samphire and marine couch can be viewed from the boardwalk.

Boondall Wetlands

We returned to the picnic area where Crested Pigeons were wandering around.

Crested Pigeon

As usual, we had taken a long time to do the walk but after a picnic lunch we took the foldable bikes out of the car and did a quick ride on the Boondall Wetlands Cycleway to the Anne Beasley Lookout and back, before going home.

Anne Beasley Lookout

White-faced Heron beside the Boondall Cycleway

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dularcha National Park

Dularcha National Park is in Landsborough, approximately 25 km from Maroochydore and about 90 km north of Brisbane. There is no camping at Dularcha but I have heard good reports for the Rocky Creek Campsite run by the scouts. Coochin Creek camping area is a National Parks QLD camp ground in nearby Beerwah State Forest.

We have previously visited Dularcha National Park by parking at the southern end, near Beech road. 
This time we walked in from the northern end. The car park can only be accessed by Dorson Drive or you can walk in from the Mooloolah railway station via Paget Street. Within the park, there are shared trails for walkers, mountain bike riders and horse riders.

As soon as we parked our car we could hear cockatoos calling out from overhead. We have seen Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos in the park on previous visits. On the walk in we saw Blue-faced Honeyeaters and a Forest Kingfisher.

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Forest Kingfisher

We started on the Tunnel Track, a 6km return, Class 2 track and made our way to the historic railway tunnel which is only 900m from the start of the walk. The tunnel was built in the 1890’s and has a curved shape.

Dularcha Tunnel

On previous visits we have seen bats roosting in small crevices in the roof of the tunnel but it appeared that the tunnel had undergone a major cleanup and we couldn't find any bats this time. While we were busy checking for any sign of the bats we noticed a pair of Striated Pardalotes flying in and out of a small hole in the wall of the tunnel. Every time they entered with a mouthful of insects their young would break out in a clamouring cacophony magnified by the tunnel acoustics.

Striated Pardelote

We walked further along the Tunnel Track and turned right into Roses Circuit then right again into the Ridge Track. These Class 4 tracks are hilly with some short steep sections. It rained several times while we were walking and we soon found that the clay soil on the ridges was very sticky.

 Both Golden Whistlers and Rufous Whistlers are common at Dularcha.

Golden Whistler, male.

Another common bird here is White-throated Treecreeper.

White-throated Treecreeper.

There is a variety of flora in Dularcha National Park. The tracks traverse eucalypt forests and riparian areas with flooded gums, cabbage tree palms and rainforest plants.The pea bushes were blooming.

Hairy Bush Pea.

Purple Pea Bush

We turned right into Roses Circuit and walked over the top of the tunnel and returned to the tunnel on the Tunnel Bypass Track. The pardalotes were still busy feeding their young and seemed completely oblivious to our presence so we were able to video their laborious task. Unfortunately, I haven't been successful in uploading the video here. I've still got a few things to learn about blogging.

We had to keep putting our cameras away due to the rain showers so we missed some photo opportunities. It has been very dry lately and the birds seemed to be out enjoying the rain. Usually, when it is warm and sunny, the Ridge Track is a good place to see goannas.

The Ridge Track

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Foote Sanctuary, Buderim, QLD

Foote Sanctuary is a public park that was donated to the community by the Foote family in 1948, in memory of their son Eric who was killed at the Somme in the First World War.The land is now run by the Buderim War Memorial Community Association. The main entrance and car park is at Foote Avenue. Entry is free but dogs are not permitted. There are walking tracks, barbecues, a picnic shelter and toilets.

Walking Tracks in Foote Sanctuary

Picnic Shelter at Foote Sanctuary

We can’t always get to a National Park but there are many excellent parks and reserves that we like to visit. The first time we went to Foote Sanctuary we saw a male King-Parrot; that was enough to convince us that it was worth returning. This photo was taken in September 2009 and it’s interesting, for us at least, to look back and see the progression in the capabilities of our cameras.

Australian King-Parrot, male

On subsequent visits we regularly saw a Noisy Pitta. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen one there since the area it frequented underwent regeneration work. Hopefully, it will return one day.

Noisy Pitta

Once, when I had a broken leg, I made my way down to the picnic area and sat quietly enjoying the outdoors. Suddenly, the soothing sound of the bush was disturbed by crashing in the undergrowth and an enormously loud bang about 40 meters away from where I was sitting. This was my first encounter with a Bunya cone falling from a Bunya tree Araucaria bidwillii. Bunya cones weigh from 5 to 10 kilograms, and it is definitely not advisable to be underneath one when it falls. It was frightening enough to be nearby. Sensibly, the park volunteers had erected a barrier around the tree to prevent people being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn't take a photo at the time, however, I will cover Bunya  pines in more detail when I post the Bunya National Park blog.

There is fresh water flowing in small creeks and cascades throughout the sanctuary. This water and the variety of flowering and fruiting plants support a large number of birds.

It is common to hear the distinctive "crying baby" call of Green Catbirds when walking around the trails. However, as Catbirds like the tree canopy and are green they can be hard to see and photograph.

Green Catbird

Other common birds at Foote Sanctuary are Eastern Yellow Robins and Rufous Fantails.

Rufous Fantail

There is always something interesting to see when out walking. Although the camouflage of this Evening Brown butterfly, in the center of the photo, certainly makes it hard to see.

Evening Brown

We have also walked in Foote Sanctuary at night and it is quite disturbing to see that there are seemingly thousands of cane toads jumping around. When you walk in the daytime you have no idea of their large numbers.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Main Range National Park QLD: Goomburra Section.

The Goomburra section of Main Range National Park is about 175 km south-west of Brisbane. On the way there, we stopped for morning tea at Fassifern Reserve on the Cunningham Highway. This is a free overnight camping area with toilets and tank water. A Yellow-rumped Thornbill was fossicking on the gravel driveway. With their bright yellow rump it is easy to see why they are commonly referred to as Butter Bums.

Yellow-rumped Thornbill at Fassifern

From the Cunningham Highway we turned off at Gladfield and drove to Goomburra.

                                               Goomburra Hall                                         

From there, we took Inverramsay Road and drove past the popular private campgrounds of Gordon Country and Goomburra Valley. We continued on to Forestry Reserve Road, past the first national park camp ground, Poplar Flat, and arrived at Manna Gum camp ground at the end of the road.The last 6 km could get very sticky in wet weather.

Poplar Flat Camping Area
Manna Gum Camping Area

The Manna Gum camping area is fairly large with many fire rings (BYO wood) and several taps with clean non potable water. There are well maintained pit toilets and no showers. There is no phone reception. We were there in the Easter holidays and there was plenty of space available. Every day some horned cattle made their way through the campground and around the amenities block.

Cattle in front of the amenities block.

Bell Miners (Bell Birds) and Satin Bowerbirds are common in the campground.

Bell Miner

Female Satin Bowerbird
Young Bowerbirds look, for all intents and purposes, just like female Bowerbirds. However, from their fourth year males start to develop black feathers. Sitting at the campsite one afternoon, we were thrilled to see a shy young male appear.

Immature Male Satin Bowerbird
By their seventh year adult males attain full glossy black plumage.

Adult male Satin Bowerbird

Walking Tracks
Three walking tracks start from Manna Gum campground.

Dalrymple Circuit, 1.2 km. A pleasant Class 3 loop walk.


Wildlife encountered on the Dalrymple Circuit

Dalrymple Creek
Cascades Circuit, 6.5 km. 
We hadn’t realised that this Class 4 walk involved crossing Dalrymple Creek several times. I didn’t count them at the time but I estimate that there were at least 15 crossings. As we walked the track anti-clockwise we ended up doing the crossings at the end of the walk. Next time we would do the walk clockwise so as to enjoy the crossings more. 

Cascade Falls

The walk started well with sightings of a pair of Glossy Black-Cockatoos feeding on sheoak nuts.

Glossy Black-Cockatoo

It took a little extra time to negotiate a large tree that had fallen over the track.

Fallen tree on the Cascades Circuit

There was a loud whirring noise in the tree canopy as a huge flock of Topknot Pigeons moved from tree to tree to feed.

Topknot Pigeon

A small black snake was spotted sunning itself on a river rock as we negotiated the many crossings of Dalrymple Creek before returning to our campsite.

Ridge Track, 5 km. 
It is best to tackle this Class 4 walk anti-clockwise and climb up the ridge first. The initial climb is very steep with slippery shale underfoot. I would not like to try coming down on such a slippery surface. One of the main reasons for climbing up here is to see the great views from above, however, the higher we climbed the mistier it got as we ascended into the clouds.

Misty morning on the Ridge Track

We found this early morning walk quite magical and as we had hoped it was the perfect stage to encounter Albert’s Lyrebirds. We saw three Albert’s Lyrebirds and heard another one nearby. As it was quite dark in the forest our camera struggled a bit with the light.

Albert's Lyrebird

As a Grey Fantail posed for a photo a beautiful male Mistletoebird briefly landed in a bush next to it but I missed the shot.

Grey Fantail

The Start of the Ridge Track is challenging but seeing the lyrebirds made us feel like intrepid explorers and we came back to camp elated.


An interesting couple from Alaska were the only other people out walking on the trails. They vacation in Australia every Alaskan winter. They were very well informed about Australian birds and wildlife and we had an informative chat.

We didn’t see much on our night walks and were particularly disappointed not to see any frogs as Goomburra is a special area for Fleay’s barred frog.

We found it interesting that the family next to us were on a guided camping trip. The guide showed them how to erect a tent, did all the cooking and took them out during the day.

We would like to come back to Goomburra and walk the North Branch track which starts near Poplar Flat camp ground. There is also a 4X4 road to the Araucarta Falls track, Sylvesters lookout and Mount Castle lookout to explore.

On the way home, we had a quick stop for lunch at Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha.

Brisbane Botanic Garden, Mount Coot-tha