Tuesday, November 7, 2017

OUTING REPORT – Lake Broadwater Conservation Park (October, 2017)

Lake Broadwater Conservation Park near Dalby on the Darling Downs is one of my favourite natural history venues in south-east Queensland so, when I was asked if I’d lead an outing there for the TFN some months ago, I was more than happy to accept. This all culminated on Sunday 08th October when a small but enthusiastic party of members and friends met at the main camping grounds at 9.30am for a great day in pleasant company delving into the private lives of the denizens of this wonderful ephemeral wetland; a jewel in the crown of the Southern Brigalow Belt bioregion.  
Ephemeral it might be but at present the lake is brimming full attracting the nemesis of birdwatchers particularly and the contemplative soul generally, the power boater and water skier. After we rallied at the camping site we beat a hasty retreat to the bird hide out of range of this high-octane lunacy where many of the waterfowl had preceded us and probably for much the same reason. Sitting in and wandering around the bird hide produced some great species with and without a spinal cord depending on the proclivities of the questers involved. Everything from a snowy squadron of Gull-billed Terns to a bank of flowering sundews, from pie dish beetles to an old man Forester (Eastern Grey Kangaroo), all was gist for the mill.
Here we got a very impressive bird list, as well as other interesting fauna and flora before heading to the old, now derelict, natural history museum building for smoko where we were treated to a fossil display by Troy and Skye Cox. Troy and Skye are a young and very enthusiastic couple deeply interested and knowledgeable in palaeontology especially that of the Dalby area where they are now resident. Fossil crabs, remains of extinct giant marsupials, ancient crocodilian scutes, jaw bones and teeth all gathered around Queensland provided a fascinating adjunct to smoko and we must sincerely thank them both for making time to attend the day’s outing. Also present today were Dalby residents Malcolm and Marjorie Wilson long time stalwarts of the recently disbanded Lake Broadwater Natural History Association. They are both a wealth of knowledge about the history natural and cultural of the area and it was great to have them along for the day. Malcolm, among his many areas of expertise, is also a keen fossil hunter and somewhat of a mentor to Troy so things palaeontological seem like continuing around Dalby for a good while yet.
Between smoko and a belated lunch Malcolm took us on a conducted tour of the bulloak/cypress country south of the lake but the day had turned hot and we didn’t tarry to long here before heading for the Wilga Bush Camping Area for more food! We had this entire area to ourselves and, after a leisurely lunch, we ambled off down to the lake’s edge recording all sorts of stuff en route including rosella-like plant galls, a magnificent flowering Black Orchid Cymbidium canaliculatum; two species of monitors and some very nice waterfowl.

By the time that we’d finished this walk shadows were lengthening so everyone departed to their various destinations including as far as Brisbane. I’m sure the travel was worth it though. 
Species recorded; Lake Broadwater Conservation Park; 08 October 2017
The centipede Ethmostigmus rubripes (Photo:Glenda Walter)
Birds:Black Swan, Australian Wood Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Australasian Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Australian Pelican, Eastern Great Egret, White-faced Heron, Whistling Kite, Australian Hobby, Purple Swamphen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Black-fronted Dotterel, Masked Lapwing, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Galah, Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Pale-headed Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, Superb Fairy-wren, White-throated Gerygone, Striated Pardalote, White-eared Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Little Friarbird, Striped Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, White-winged Triller, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Australasian Figbird, Olive-backed Oriole, White-breasted Woodswallow, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, Magpie-lark, White-winged Chough, Apostlebird, Australian Reed-Warbler, Welcome Swallow, Tree Martin, Mistle-toebird. Mammals: Common Brushtail Possum (skull only), Eastern Grey Kan-garoo, European Brown Hare Reptiles: Dubious Dtella Gehyra dubia, Sand (Gould’s) Monitor Varanus gouldii, Lace Monitor Varanus varius Dragonflies: Wandering Percher Diplacodes bipunctata, Tau Emerald Hemicordulia tau, Blue Skimmer Orthetrum caledonicum, Wandering Glider Pantala flavescens.

Butterflies: Caper White Belenois java, Meadow Argus Junonia villida, Common Grass Blue Zizina otis Other: Little Basket Clam Corbicula australis, a centipede Ethmostigmus rubripes, Large Brown Mantis Archimantis latistyla (egg-case only), a scale insect (gall) Cylindrococcus spiniferus, Black Orchid Cymbidium canaliculatum (flowering), a sundew Drosera serpens (flowering).

(Report by Rod Hobson)

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