Our November outing was conducted on the property “Highwoods” about ten minutes’ drive from the small Darling Downs settlement of Jimbour. The outing, which included a night’s camp out was held over the week-end of the 07th and 08th November with most attendees opting for a day visit only on the Sunday.
“Highwoods” is owned by Martin and Karen Ambrose of Dalby and Martin was on site for the weekend to show people around the property and share with us his knowledge of its fauna and flora over our stay. “High-woods” was purchased by the Ambroses in November 2012 and is named after Karen’s ancestral home in East Sussex in England; an area of extensive intact oak forest says Martin. The Antipodean “Highwoods” covers 188 acres and comprises elements of Regional Ecosystems R.E.11.8.5 and 11.8.3 that, in turn form part of the Brigalow Belt Bioregion (South) of Queensland. Although R.E.11.8.5 is stated to consist primarily of Eucalyptus orgadophila open woodland this eucalypt is not present on “Highwoods”, however a discontinuous canopy of other dominant species such as Corymbia erythrophila, E. melanophloia and E. crebra are present. A well-developed shrub layer is present under these trees including softwood scrub species forming both tall and low shrub layers. These include elements of R.E.11.8.5a such as Geijera parviflora, Callitris glaucophylla, Pittosporum angustifolium, Alectryon oleifolius and Notelaea macrocarpa. The ground layer is quite dense and dominated by species such as the grasses Aristida lazaridis, A. ramosa, Borthriochloa ewartiana, Dicanthium sericium, Chrysopogon fallax, Heteropogon contortus and Themeda triandra. Herbs present include Brunon-iella australis, Evolvulus alsinoides, Galactica tenuiflora and Indigofera linnaei.
Regional Ecosystem 11.8.3 consists of semi-evergreen vine thicket that usually has emergent Acacia harpo-phylla present. However this species is absent from “Highwoods”. Dominant species in this R.E. include Eucalyptus spp. and Casuarina cristata. A feature of “Highwoods” and one of the deciding factors in Martin and Karen’s purchasing of the property is the many and magnificent Bottle Trees Brachychiton rupestris that have been retained including one individual known appropriately and affectionately as Fattso.
|Little short-nosed bat (insectivorous) (photo by Jean Gundry)|
The other two harp traps proved fruitless. Other species recorded during Martin’s and my rambles about “Highwoods” on the Saturday included Red-necked Wallaby, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, European Brown Hare, Brown Quail, Rock Dove, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Straw-necked Ibis, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cockatiel, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Little Lorikeet, Red-winged Parrot, Pale-headed Rosella, Blue Bonnet, Red-rumped Parrot, Tawny Frogmouth, Southern Boobook, Pheasant Coucal, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo, Superb Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Weebill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill (nesting), White-throated Gerygone, Noisy Miner, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, White-winged Triller, Australasian Figbird, Olive-backed Oriole, Pied Butcherbird (with nestlings), Australian Magpie, Torresian Crow, Common Myna, Silvereye, Zebra Finch and Plum-headed Finch. Most members who came for the weekend opted for the nocturnal comforts of the Bell Caravan Park whilst Martin and I spent the night under the star-spangled canopy of “Highwoods” around the campfire and in our swags. Not a mosquito to be heard/felt; a beautiful night with a Southern Boobook lullaby.
|Caper white ovipositing (Photo: Jean Gundry)|
|Nobbi dragon (male) (Photo: Mike Ford)|
Report by Rod Hobson