Saturday, April 30, 2016

Report on Toowoomba Field Naturalists Camp at Yarraman 15-18 April, 2016

What an enjoyable weekend we had at Yarraman catching up with old friends and being so well looked after and catered for by tireless Tricia and expert chef, Adrian – and all with the bonus of good weather!
The highlight of the weekend for us was the visit to the Friends of Yarraman Creek on Saturday morning. Scott and Susan Reilly bought a 1910 cottage on Yarraman Creek in 2005 when the district was suffering a severe drought. At that time the creek was eroded and full of weeds. Scott, being a real “fix-it” man, raised and renov-ated the house and then they set about removing weeds and revegetating the creek banks with Lomandras and a variety of native plants, many of which are host plants to attract butterflies. Some innovative procedures have been adopted such as Scott’s watering spike which allows them to inject water directly into the root zone to avoid evaporation and get the water where it’s needed.
Dedicated and knowledgeable naturalists, they formed the “Friends of Yarraman Creek” in 2010 and a group of enthusiastic volunteers now work weekly extending the vegetation down the creek as far as they are permitted.  Beyond that on Toowoomba Regional Council land is a wall of Camphor Laurel, Celtis, Lantana, Climbing Asparagus and Broad-leaved Privet.
In 2011 a flood caused massive damage in Yarraman with houses and plants swept away and 750cm of water under the Reilly’s house. It withstood the flood with no damage and many of the Lomandras survived sheltering some of the other plants and collecting silt from the flood waters. Susan and Scott returned to their revegetation work with renewed energy and determination and the garden is now thriving and a sight to behold. Some of the trees are now 10 metres high and the bird life is prolific. Nestboxes for possums and gliders have been installed.

Some interesting trees have been planted including Hernandia bivalvis, Bursaria incana, a Brachychiton hybrid and two native Hibiscus. Notable among the bird life was a Red-Winged Parrot who joined us for lunch on the banks of the creek, a Restless Flycatcher, Azure Kingfisher, Double-barred Finches, White-throated Honey-eaters and Grey-crowned Babblers.
The Reillys are to be congratulated and provide an example of what can be done for the environment on a challenging site with expertise, energy and enthusiasm.
 (Report by Elizabeth Russell)
 Further Report on the Reilly's LFW Property (Benfer)

Since I have a small LFW place I was looking forward to seeing the Benfer property. I belong to a group called Roving Restorers where we go to each other’s places to plant or weed and after morning tea we usually get a tour of part of their property. So it would be nice to just wander around without the hard work beforehand. I was really impressed by the efforts of Ray and Wendy- paths mowed, two lists of plants showing the before and after and so on. But most of all the butterfly information. I had never seen a plant list with a little butterfly symbol attached. Then there were the photos of the relevant butterfly associated with its host plant. And I adored the little "origami" butterflies which popped up here and there.
One of the first spectacular ‘butterflies’ turned out to be a moth, Joseph's Coat Moth. It was depicted beside a Cayratia species. I have one but it is a different species and tends to smother other plants and is locally called bush killer. I collected a lot of seed from it which the nursery rejected it saying no-one would want to grow it. But maybe they would if they knew it attracted such a colourful moth. I was also interested to learn that Blue Triangles which I often see have the three-veined laurel (Cryptocaria triplinervis) as their host.
It was a challenge to wander around and hopefully retain some of the vast amount of information presented for us. And at the end a quick quiz - ‘what was that plant?’ Not a local? A healthy Wollemi Pine.
Thank you Wendy and Ray for your hard work preparing for our walk and giving me the opportunity to learn more about plant/butterfly relationships.
(Report by Gretchen Evans)

Yarraman Camp Species Report 
Yarraman is a great place for birding with a wide range of habitats. Although it was obvious rain was needed there were enough sources of water to keep the birds happy. This meant we got a good list of birds and some were excellent sightings. We dipped out on the Black-breasted Button-quail, though platelets were evident in one place. By Sunday evening we had 89 species. There were enough ‘birdos’ on Monday to go out and get another few species. Then that night John woke me out of a deep sleep to say there was a Boobook calling. I surfaced long enough to hear a few calls before sinking back into oblivion; 100 species for the camp. Bird of the Camp is a difficult choice; perhaps the Crested Shrike-tit or the Azure Kingfisher patrolling Yarraman Creek, but I think for excitement it would have to be the Diamond Firetail even if it was probably an escapee from a local aviary.
Birds, Yarraman area: Australian Brush-turkey, Brown Quail, Plumed Whistling-Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Spotted Dove, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Wonga Pigeon, Little Pied Cormorant, Australian Pelican, White-necked Heron, White-faced Heron, Straw-necked Ibis, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Brown Falcon, Purple Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Masked Lapwing, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Galah, Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Australian King-Parrot, Red-winged Parrot, Pale-headed Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Pheasant Coucal, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Brush Cuckoo, Southern Boobook, Azure Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-throated Treecreeper, Satin Bowerbird, Superb Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Speckled Warbler, Weebill, White-throated Gerygone, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Brown Thornbill, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Red Wattlebird, White-throated Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Striped Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Eastern Whipbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Crested Shrike-tit, Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Dusky Woodswallow, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Spangled Drongo, Rufous Fantail, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, Leaden Flycatcher, Restless Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, Apostlebird, Jacky Winter, Rose Robin, Eastern Yellow Robin, Golden-headed Cisticola, Australian Reed-warbler, Tawny Grassbird, Silvereye, Welcome Swallow, Common Myna, Double-barred Finch, Red-browed Finch, Diamond Firetail*, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, House Sparrow. [* probable escapee]

Birds, Blackbutt area: Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Emerald Dove, Common Bronzewing, Peaceful Dove, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Australian King-Parrot, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, White-throated Treecreeper, White-browed Scrubwren, White-throated Gerygone, Eastern Spinebill, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Bell Miner, Noisy Miner, Brown Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Shrike-thrush, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Grey Fantail, Torresian Crow, Eastern Yellow Robin. 

Dragons, Ray & Wendy Benfer’s property at Blackbutt: Eastern Water Dragon Intellagama lesueurii

Frogs, Yarraman Caravan Park: Naked or Ruddy Tree Frog Litoria rubella.

Mammals, Yarraman area especially around the weir: Red-necked Wallaby Macropus rufogriseus.

Spiders, Ray & Wendy Benfer’s property at Blackbutt: Leaf Curling Araneus Araneus dimidiatus, Yellow-spotted Orb Weaver, Araneus rotundulus.
(Report by Lesley Beaton)

Brown Ringlet Butterfly (photoAl Young)

Butterfly list (collated by Jim Ball from members' sightings)

Yarraman: Orchard Swallowtail (male), Small Grass Yellow, Yellow Migrant, Black Jezebel,
Monarch, Lesser Wanderer, Tailed Emperor, White Banded Plane, Glasswing, Plumbago Blue, Saltbush Blue. 

Blackbutt: Monarch, Lesser Wanderer, Tailed Emperor, Glasswing, Evening Brown, Chequered Copper.

Silvereye feeding on purple berries of Velvet Beautyberry (Callicarpa pedunculata) (Photo. A Young)

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