Wednesday, May 28, 2014

OUTING REPORTS A Compiled Report on Field Nats Camping Trip to Imbil, 01-04 May 2014

Thirty-four Field Naturalists members were at, or around the camp site by Thursday 01 May, ready to
experience the program that had been drawn up by Ben Gundry working in conjunction with Mary Ann Law (Kenilworth). Members were spread over Island Reach Caravan Park, Cabins By The Creek, the local motel at Imbil and at the Law's house at Gheerulla.

On Friday 02 May the morning program took us via a convoy to Gympie to the Woodwork Museum and Interpretative Centre set up in 1984 to “preserve the artefacts and traditions associated with forest development and conser-vation, production and distribution of timber and timber products”. The museum building itself was of interest, it being constructed using local timbers: Tallow Wood, Spotted Gum and northern Silky Oak. As part of entry to the Museum a guide had been arranged. He talked about the various techniques used to cut down timber and to dress it, with a range of different implements for different purposes: wedge-shaped axes first developed in England about 1800, fine edged used for ring barking, thicker edges for splitting or chopping; straight and curved handles, including left handed and right-handed; wedges and mauls and crosscut saws. The guide even showed us the use of various axes, and as we watched him shave timber while standing on the timber itself, we marveled that he did not lose a toe or two.

After morning tea of scones and cakes which were provided as part of the overall entrance fee, we were able to see a blacksmith make nails of the type used over a hundred years ago. Another building contained some of the transportation system used in the early days of the timber industry: Log Trolley, Timber Wagon, and a rebuilt Republic Truck, used from the 1920s to 1940s.

This brought the guided tour to an end and members were left free to go through the rest of the Museum. Some of the highlights were: a 619 year old Kauri Pine Disc, measuring 2.59m in diameter, logged in 1939; a paneled display of the timber history of the area; a timber feature floor showing eight Queensland species of mostly hardwood: Grey Gum (Eucalyptus Propinqua), Gympie Messmate (Eucalyptus Cloeziana), Rose/Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus Grandis), Grey Iron Bark (Eucalyptus Siderophloia), Hoop Pine (Araucaria Cunninghamii), Pink Bloodwood (Corymbia Intermedia), Spotted Gum (Corymbia Citrlodoro Subsp. Variegata), Forest Red Gum/Blue Gum (Eucalyptus Tereticornis).
                                                                                      (Article and photos by Francis Mangubhai)
Mothar Mountain, Friday 02 May
From the very interesting Wood Museum, we travelled in convoy to Woondum National Park, a 20 minute drive southeast of Gympie. Here we had lunch at the Mothar Mountain Rock Pools Picnic Area, a leafy glade situated at the junction of Woondum and Boulder Creeks. Only one of us (Gary) then opted to climb the adjoining Mothar Mountain, whilst the rest enjoyed an easy short walk  through the forest, that required ‘rock hopping’ across a creek. Apparently this is an area where tropical and subtropical ecosystems meet and as a consequence there are many interesting plant
species Some of the plants seen were those typical of dry rainforest such as the Wilkieas, Glossy Laurel (Cryptocarya laevigata), Maidenhair ferns and Scentless Rosewood (Synoum glandulosum). Trees included Red Kamala (Mallotus phillipensis), Foambark (Jagera pseudorhus) and Celerywood
(Polyscias elegans).

Birds were ‘thin on the ground’ (see Lesley’s list of seven species). That evening the Club had its shared meal at the Campsite, and as usual, members were treated to a great range of culinary delights.
                             (Written by Neil McKilligan and Mike Russell)

Bird banding at Imbil – Saturday 03 May
The main activity on Saturday morning of the camp was to go to Ian Bunce’s property to watch a team of bird banders in action. Banders have been coming approximately every month for the last eight years and good data is now being obtained about the local birds. There are approximately 20 different places where mist nests are placed on the property so the volunteer effort and personal cost is significant. Papers will be published about the findings from this project.

A total of 81 birds (some were recaptures from three to four years ago) were banded over a 24 hour period from Friday to Saturday lunchtime. These were: Fan-tailed Cuckoo 1; Noisy Pitta 1, Lewin’s Honeyeater 3, Dusky Honeyeater 3, Large-billed Scrubwren 4, Rufous Shrike-thrush 4, Golden Whistler 1, Rufous Whistler 3, Rufous Fantail 1, Grey Fantail 5, White-eared Monarch 1, Eastern Yellow Robin 2, Silvereye 21, Red-browed Finch 4. For some of the Field Nats this was the first time they had seen birds captured by mist nets; while others in the group had been involved in various forms of bird capture and banding in the past.

Watching or being involved with bird banding often raises questions like: Is this harmful to the birds? What is the point of banding, what can we learn? This would be a good topic for one or more talks at Field Nats meetings but I will give a few brief comments from the information given to us by John, the senior bander on the day and from my past experience:
  • There is a big difference in knowing that a species of a bird is in a particular site and knowing if it is aspecific individual bird. Here is one example. The only way we know how long birds live in the wild is tocapture, band and recapture. On Ian’s property near Imbil they regularly catch Silvereyes. They have beenable to determine that some are local; and others are migrating from down south – maybe from Tasmania.
  • In the local population it would be good to know whether individual birds have survived the drought of recent years. This would be determined if they recaptured the same bird this year that they had captured before the drought started. Otherwise perhaps all the local birds died out and have been replaced by new flocks? Banding can solve one puzzle but raise many others.
Around and about with Mary Ann – Sunday 04 May
Sunday dawned bright and clear with a sharp, cold wind. There were a lot fewer Nats that met for the drive to the Law’s property. Some had decided to have a bit of a lie-in or visit the Imbil markets. The sturdy few wound through the scenic area of Moy Pocket which is very bucolic and tranquil. Don   Law with Jack, the kelpie, greeted us and took us on a walk around the property. He and Mary
Ann have settled into the area very well, changing from orchardists to graziers as well as eradicating Cat’s Claw and Camphor Laurels from their section of Oakey Creek. This creek flows along their northern boundary near its confluence with the Mary River and was choked with invasive weeds. This is a link to an article about their endeavours:

Despite the wind there were plenty of birds on their dams to keep us happy. Then a smashing morning tea put on by Mary Ann to warm the cockles of the Field Nats’ hearts. From the Law’s we set off for Fig Tree Walk. Here Mary Ann gave us a little bit of the history and then guided us botanically around the short circuit. This little pocket of rainforest was saved in the 1950s and has some magnificent Moreton Bay Figs, as well as some of the tallest Silky Oaks I’ve seen. Although this patch is only small, with Little Yabba Creek on one side and the highway on the other, at least two of our members saw the Australian Logrunner. This is a quiet, ground dwelling bird of the rainforest.

Our next stop was at Booloomba Creek Day-use Area, reached after fording the creek several times. We had lunch beside the creek while female Wonder Brown butterflies flitted about, but we didn’t see a male. Seven intrepid Natters set off on the Strangler Cairn walk while the rest were entertained by beautiful Wompoo Fruit-Doves feeding in the White Cedars. Eventually we headed back to camp or the local teahouse, or the shops in Kenilworth. That evening there were still enough of us left in the caravan park to have a yarn around a bright campfire and reflect on another successful camp. It was a lovely way to end the day.

Thanks Ben, Jean, and Mary Ann for organizing a camp filled with a variety of activities and natural wonders. We all had a great time.
                                                                                                                      (Written by Lesley Beaton)

Species Report
Most people who were staying at the caravan park had arrived by Thursday afternoon to be greeted with a tranquil vista of green paddocks and still waters. The weather was threatening and some travellers had been caught in heavy downpours and/or storms on their way to camp. Friday was a wet day, but the weekend cleared to blue skies. The temperature dropped and on Sunday morning we had a very nippy, cold wind at Mary Ann and Don’s place. The occupants of the Cabins by the Creek had stunning views of a pair of Osprey that perched nearby. Diane was even lucky enough to watch one dive right under the water as it was fishing. The campers saw them as they coursed up and down Yabba Creek. The Dusky Honeyeater is a bird we don’t get to see too often so it was lovely to watch them on the Bunce’s property. Some people were lucky enough to get “up close and personal” when three were banded. However the bird of the camp for me is a tossup between the flocks of White-headed Pigeons flying over the caravan park, or the Wompoo Fruit-Doves feeding quietly in the white
Cedars in the picnic ground of Booloomba Creek.

Imbil Camp: includes the Island Reach Caravan Park and across Yabba Creek to the ‘Cabins By The Creek’. Birds: Australian Brush-turkey, Pacific Black Duck, White-headed Pigeon, Spotted Dove (Spotted Turtle-dove), Australasian Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Australian Pelican, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Eastern Osprey, Whistling Kite, Dusky Moorhen, Masked Lapwing, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (H), Yellowtailed Black-Cockatoo, Galah, Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Little Lorikeet, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Southern Boobook, Azure Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Striated Pardalote, Lewin's Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Brown Honeyeater, Little Friarbird, Rufous Whistler, Australasian Figbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Grey Fantail, Torresian Crow, Restless Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, Welcome Swallow, Double-barred Finch.

Butterflies: Lesser Wanderer Danaus chrysippus. Reptiles: Asian House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus

Rocky Pools, Mothar Mountain: Birds: White-browed Scrubwren, Brown Thornbill, Lewin's Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush, Grey Fantail, Torresian Crow, Eastern Yellow Robin.

Butterflies: Orchard Swallowtail Papilio aegeus, Small Grass-yellow Eurema smilax.

Bunce’s Property, Brooloo: Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Peaceful Dove, Little Black Cormorant, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-throated Treecreeper, White-throated Gerygone, Striated Pardalote, Eastern Spinebill, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Dusky Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird,
Eastern Whipbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Varied Triller, Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Australasian Figbird, Spangled Drongo, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, Magpie-lark, Eastern Yellow Robin, Silvereye, Mistletoebird, Red-browed Finch.

Mist netted on Bunce’s Property: (List from Gary Harch) Fan-tailed Cuckoo 1; Noisy Pitta 1, Lewin’s Honeyeater 3, Dusky Honeyeater 3, Large-billed Scrubwren 4, Rufous Shrike-thrush 4, Golden Whistler 1, Rufous Whistler 3, Rufous Fantail 1, Grey Fantail 5, White-eared Monarch 1, Eastern Yellow Robin 2, Silvereye 21, Red-browed Finch 4.

Amama Day-use Area, Amamoor State Forest: Emerald Dove, Crested Pigeon, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Azure Kingfisher, Lewin's Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Eastern Yellow Robin, Welcome Swallow.

Cedar Grove, Amamoor State Forest:
Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Little Pied Cormorant, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Lewin's Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, Golden Whistler, Australasian Figbird, Australian Magpie, Eastern Yellow Robin.

Law’s Property, Gheerulla: Plumed Whistling-Duck, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Crested Pigeon, Little Pied Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Pied Cormorant, Australian Pelican, Eastern Great Egret (Great Egret), Intermediate Egret, Cattle Egret, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Whistling Kite, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Eurasian Coot, Masked Lapwing, Comb-crested Jacana, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Brown Honeyeater, Pied Butcherbird, Torresian Crow, Magpie-lark, Welcome Swallow, Tree Martin.

Fig Tree Walk, Conondale National Park:
Australian Brush-turkey, Laughing Kookaburra, Brown Gerygone, Lewin's Honeyeater, Australian Logrunner, Eastern Whipbird, Grey Shrike-thrush, Australasian Figbird.

Booloomba Creek, Conondale National Park: Birds: Wonga Pigeon, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, White-faced Heron, Pacific Baza, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Azure Kingfisher, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, White-browed Scrubwren, Lewin's Honeyeater, Bell Miner, Australian Logrunner, Australasian Figbird, Grey Fantail, Red-browed Finch.

Butterflies: Wonder Brown Heteronympha minifica .

Miscellaneous: any other species seen during the camp on our travels between the specified sites.
Birds: Black Swan, Australian Wood Duck, White-necked Heron, Black-shouldered Kite, Swamp Harrier, Australian King-Parrot, Pale-headed Rosella, Pheasant Coucal.

Butterflies: Dainty Swallowtail Papilio anactus, Caper Gull Cepora perimale, Caper White Belonois java,Varied Eggfly Hypolimnas bolina, Meadow Argus Junonia villida, Common Crow Euploea core, Wanderer Danaus plexippus, Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata, Cycad Blue Theclinesthes onycha.

Monotremes: Echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus. Marsupials: Red-necked Wallaby Macropus rufogriseus, Eastern Grey Kangaroo Macropus giganteus.
                                                                                                                 (Compiled by Lesley Beaton)

Sunday adventures - Imbil Camp
The Field Nats travelled to Gheerulla near Kenilworth to visit Don and Mary Ann Law at their property 'Warrington' with its extensive waterholes and dams, open pastures and riverine vegetation. The property is in transition from citrus production to cattle grazing. A Land for Wildlife Project to remove major weeds such as Camphor Laurel and Cat's Claw from along the 1.8 kilometre frontage to Oakey Creek and revegetate the banks with endemic plant species has been progressing for the past couple of years. Most vegetation was removed for dairying in the early 20th century.

After morning tea the next stop was the Fig Tree walk in the Imbil State Forest. The area surrounding the walk (1.2 kilometres) is only 50 hectares. It is classified as a lowland subtropical rainforest with very large emergent Moreton Bay Fig Trees (Ficus macrophylla) and Flooded Gums (Eucalyptus grandis). The uneven tall canopy of Giant Stinging Trees (Dendrocnide excelsa), White Booyong (Argyrodendron trifoliolatum), Black Bean Trees (Castanospermum australe), and other tree species dominate the main canopy. The lower tree strata comprises a large number of different species of trees and shrubs. One of the more notable ones is the Python Tree (Gossia bidwillii) with its beautiful smooth bark of orange and green blotches. Macadamia Nut Trees (Macadamia integrifolia) are found here, but are now rare and endangered in their original location. Other characteristic features of subtropical rainforests are large woody vines, some of which are the Common Silkpod (Parsonsia straminea) and Water Vine (Cissus antartica). (A plant species list for the Fig Tree Walk based on a
compilation of information from different botanists is available. It is useful as a guide only.)

The next destination was the entrance to the Conondale Great Walk for lunch on the banks of Booloumba Creek. The Conondale Range Great Walk was established several years ago for bushwalkers to experience the natural beauty of the Conondale Range over a 56 kilometre circuit taking four days to complete with three walkers camps along the way.

After lunch some of the party ventured on to walk to the Strangler Cairn. To commemorate the opening of the Great Walk, the Queensland Government commissioned internationally renowned Scottish sculptor, Andy Goldsworthy to create an art work linked to the natural environment. Andy chose a clearing in the rainforest where a large Strangler Fig Tree (Ficus watkinsiana) had fallen and left a clear patch suitable for his sculpture to be constructed. At the top of the cairn a Strangler Fig seedling has been planted. In time the roots will grow and consume or strangle the cairn. This was quite a controversial project due to the cost estimated to be over $600,000. Hope the Field Nats return soon. There is so much to see around this area.
                                                                                                                       (Report by Mary Ann Law)

Andy Goldsworthy
On the Sunday of the post-Easter camp at Imbil, a group of us walked along part of the Conondales’ Great Walk to see the “Strachan Cairn”, a stone sculpture designed by Scottish sculptor, Andy Goldsworthy and commissioned by the State Government at great cost. Andy Goldsworthy is a
world-renowned sculptor who lives near Dumfries in south west Scotland. His creations can be seen in various countries round the world.

By coincidence, we spent a week in July of last year in a cottage in the small village of Moniaive which is north west of Dumfries. A major tourist attraction there is a series of sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy in the valley of Dalwhat Glen called the “Striding Arches”. There are four arches, three on prominent points in the valley and one (which we inspected) is part of a “bothy” on the edge of a pine forest.

If you are interested, I suggest you Google ‘Striding Arches + Andy Goldsworthy’ for more information about the sculptor and his work.
                                                                                                               (Report by Elizabeth Russell)

Fungi list
I have identified these from our recent trip to Imbil. There were a lot of others! Gilled fungi: Macrolepiota sp, Panaeolus sp, Hygrocybe sp, Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, Coprinus sp, Crepidotus
sp, Tapinella sp; Fungi with pores: Boletus sp, Fistulinella sp, Microporus sp, Postia sp, Ganoderma sp, Trametes versicolor, Polyporus sp; Jelly fungi: Auricularia cornea, Auricularia delicata, Auricularia auriculajudae, Tremella foliana; Puffball: Scleroderma cepa Coral type: Ramaria sp; birds nest type: Cyathus sp.

The last one, the birds nest fungus, was growing on a cow pat together with Panaeolus (probably sphinctrinus) down near the river where we were staying at the cabins. Both are found on herbivore dung and the Panaeolus was quite prolific but there only seemed to be one pat with the Cyathus (probably stercoreus). I went seeking this particular cow pat three days in a row in the hopes that the fruit bodies would open to reveal the lenticular peridioles but that did not happen before we left.
                                                                                                                (List and report by Diane Ball)

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