Wednesday, October 8, 2014

September outing to Gatton

It was fortuitous that the topic of the September meeting was the Apex Lakes and that we were able to use our outing date to visit the Lakes and the nearby University of Queensland lakes. Eleven Field naturalists met at the bird hide opposite the island in Lake Apex which at one time was destined to be a wedding venue but permission was not granted by the colony of Australian White Ibis.

We were joined, briefly, by several members of FOLA (Friends of Lake Apex) who were there to replant trees in the Arboretum, which had been pulled up by vandals the previous night. FOLA members were able to remind us of the history of the Arboretum and talk about the Hairy Alectryon (Alectryon tomentosis) - tomentosis refers to the hairy leaves and hairy young shoots. First described by Ferdinand Van Mueller, it is now listed as ‘endangered’ in Eastern Australia. FOLA are collecting the black seeds (from inside of a bright red aril) for propagation. Within the Arboretum are many Silky Oaks (Grevillea robusta), Bunya Pines (Araucaria bidwillii) and several Brachychiton (B. rupestris, B. populneus, B. discolour).

Our group then began a stroll around Lakes Apex and Freeman. With the excellent leaflet put together by FOLA, we were able to ‘tick off’ an extensive bird list. It was noticeable that the ‘rarer’ birds were on Lake Freeman, far from the Cultural Centre and the Sunday picnics.
After lunch Tricia Allen led a small group of us to the lakes in the campus of the University of Queensland.  What a reward that was! Lakes Lenore and Galletly were populated with Avocets (eat your heart out Lesley Beaton - we saw them wading and swimming!), Pink-eared Duck in abundance, Freckled Duck, two types of dotterel, to name but a few. I was so overwhelmed that I had to be prompted to write down also the more common species. See the list below. Galletly Lake was built in 1955 to provide a hydraulic system for student teaching purposes. It is now an important stop-over for migratory birds, including the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.  The island in the middle has been revegetated to maintain a variety of protected habitats for birds, turtles and amphibians. Weather was good, lots of birds, good company: no better way to spend a Sunday in September!
Bird list for Lakes Apex and Freeman
Pelican, Darter (male and female), Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Australasian Grebe, Plumed Whistling Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Hardhead, Australian Wood Duck, Masked Lapwing, Dusky Moorhen, Purple Swamp Hen, Eurasian Coot, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Australian White Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Little Corella, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Little Lorikeet, Little Friarbird, Noisy Friarbird, Brown Honeyeater, Willie Wagtail, Magpie Lark, Welcome Swallow, Australian Reed Warbler, Crested Pigeon, Striated Pardalote, Rufus Whistler.

Bird list for Lakes Lenore and Galletly
Avocet, Black Winged Stilt, Pink-eared Duck, Masked lapwing, Black Duck, Magpie Goose, Red Kneed Dotterel, Black Fronted Dotterel, Australian Grebe, Freckled Duck, hybrid Mallard-Black Duck, Plumed Whistling Duck, Brown Honey- eater, Masked Lapwing, Purple Swamp hen, Grey Teal, Eurasian Coot

(Written by Linda Mangubhai)

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