Monday, November 5, 2012

Lockyer Valley Lagoons

We had a lovely day yesterday. The weather was kind and the places we went to were really interesting. Thanks to Ben for organising such a great program.

Francis & Ernie at Peach's Lagoon
We started at an old favourite, Peach's Lagoon on Old Ropeley Road. It didn't let us down. We saw Red-kneed Dotterel, Jacana, Little Egret, Purple Swamphen with young amongst other birds. Enough to keep us occupied for over an hour and by this time it was morning tea. So we adjourned to the lagoon on Colquhoun's Rd where there is a very pleasant grassy stop. While munching our provisions and admiring Peter's photos from the Tenterfield camp, we were able to check out more Red-kneed Dotterel, three Australian Pelican fishing together, and a Brown Goshawk pursued aggressively by Noisy Miners. All to the serenades of Pied Butcherbirds. There were very few bush birds and only 3 butterflies. However one Lesser Wanderer decided Jim was flavour of the month much to the amusement of all.
Linda can't wait to get out of the car
at Colquhoun's Rd Lagoon.
From the Ropeley area we meandered through the southern section of the Lockyer Valley with stunning views of the valley and the Great Divide to the north and the rugged scenery of the Mistake Mountains to the south. Ben had brought us to Narda Lagoon at Laidley where we spent a couple of hours exploring the area.

Natters lunching at Narda Lagoon, Laidley
Narda Lagoon was part of the Greening Lockyer Program started in 2003. More than 8,000 local indigenous plant species were planted and watered via trickle irrigation to ensure their survival. Almost 10 years later it is a lovely place to stop for lunch. We spent time exploring the creek banks on both sides of the Laidley-Rosewood Rd. From the suspension bridge we had great views of both Darter and Little Pied Cormorant with their young. Joan took the opportunity to visit the Pioneer Village opposite and was very impressed. She recommended people visiting it at another time. Laidley Pioneer Village link.
Natters listening to Russell Zabel
A follow-up to the Zabel's Australian Stingless Bee talk in September was our afternoon occupation. Janine & Russell welcomed us warmly and told us about their little oasis at Hatton Vale. Then Russell demonstrated transferring a hive from a log to a specially designed native bee box. These nests are generally from timber getters who save them from felled trees.
Trigona Carbonaria is the most common species kept by home enthusiasts. They are found in coastal southern Queensland and NSW mainly, whereas Austroplebeia australis is usually found west of the Great Divide.

Finding the hive inside the debris
of the dead log.

The spiral structure of a Trigona Carbonaria hive

Austroplebeia australis hive
Russell then showed us his other interest, Platycerium ferns or elkhorns & staghorns.
Natters amongst the Platycerium ferns
Next we were invited into their lovely home to watch a video of Russell and the Stingless Bees. And if that wasn't enough, Janine supplied us with a lovely afternoon tea. We felt thoroughly spoilt. All that was left to do was to thank them both and show our apprecition for their time and effort on our behalf.

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