Over 20 members and their guests gathered for afternoon tea at Bullocky’s Rest in Crows Nest. In true Field Nats tradition flasks of hot drinks and tasty eats were set out and shared under an amazing gnarled old Ango-phora tree beside the lily covered water-hole. This broad-leafed Apple Gum (Angophora woodsiana – smudgy apple) is possibly the source of the name Crows Nest, as it is believed to be the tree, in which a large crow's nest was located, that the bullock teams carrying timber from Blackbutt to Toowoomba would camp under overnight.
|Elaine Greenword explaining what trees and plants they had planted|
From here we all moved over to the property of Elaine and Alan Greenwood, just on the edge of town, and our number swelled to about 25. The Greenwoods, retired teachers, bought the 4.7 acre property in 2004, when it was literally smothered in head high weeds. It was only some months later, after some heavy clearing that they realised that Bald Hills Creek ran along their bottom boundary. When they eventually unearthed some of the original historical documents from 1890, traces of several small outbuildings were identified, together with a deposit of white clay and the remnants of a brick kiln.
As true environmentalists, Elaine and Alan have raised their tree count from about 10 to nearly 300 at the present time, with the project still ongoing. The floods of the last decade caused considerable damage to the creek and the property, but thankfully not the residence, and the well planned plantings are reducing that risk. Their property encompasses the old picnic grounds and swimming hole, and they have planted masses of lomandra to stabilize the banks and protect the pardalote nesting holes.
When the group retired to The Old Crow Hotel our numbers swelled to 28, and we enjoyed a very convivial meal before moving on to a forest reserve area adjacent to Rocky Dip. A neighbour, Mark Kanuski, who keeps a watchful eye on the community dip, was obviously quite perturbed at the arrival of our long convoy of cars at dead of night but our guide for the evening, Rick Galbraith, was able to reassure him of our bona fides.
After Rick’s 'show and tell' of some Blue clawed yabbies (Cherax destructor) caught in the dam on his property, he led our group off along the wide clear track into the forest, and the highlight (literally) of the evening began. Three or four spotlights explored the whole environment around us, to catch the eye-shine of any nocturnal fauna that might be about. We had a few false alarms that turned out to be stars glimpsed through the foliage, but enjoyed several spottings of Brush tail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), and were very lucky to find a lone Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). We did not concentrate solely on the canopy, and also found lovely specimens of Blue-eyed lacewing (Nymphes myrmeleonides), Crab spider (Thomisidae), and a Striped marsh frog (Limnodynastes peronii).
When Rick proposed taking us through a patch of very thick undergrowth to find a different trail several of the party, myself included, decided discretion was the better part of valour and retired to our vehicles. But those who braved the overgrown path did see some gliders, both the sugar glider and the greater glider. And on return to the car park, the tail-enders reported seeing a water dragon.
At Bullocky’s Rest: Buff-banded Rail, Australian Wood Duck
At Alan & Elaine Greenwood’s place, 2 Showground Terrace, Crows Nest: Superb Fairy-wren, Crested Pigeon, Sacred Kingfisher, Figbird, Eastern Swamp Hen, Noisy Miner, Laughing Kookaburra, Black Suck, Masked Lapwing, Little Pied Cormorant, Rainbow Lorikeet, Galah, Little Black Cormorant, Dusky Moorhen (immature), Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Magpie Lark, Torresian Crow.
Note from the Editor of Toowoomba Field Naturalists Club Newsletter (Barbara Weller): Another explanations for the name Crows Nest is outlined below.
The plaque beneath the statue of Jimmy Crow on the Village Green explains the town's name: "In the early days when teamsters visited this area Jimmy Crow, an Aboriginal named by early settlers, used a hollow tree as his gunyah. He was relied on for information and directions. This place was used as a camping place by teamsters and travellers and became known as Jimmy Crow's Nest hence the name 'Crows Nest'."
(Source - http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/crows-nest-qld)