Monday, May 2, 2022

Outing Report - Sunday 3 April 2022, McEwan State Forest & Irongate Conservation Park

This post is adapted from a number of reports in the Toowoomba Field Naturalists Club newsletter by different authors, as well as the blog administrator.

McEwan State Forest

Argiope bullocki (no common name)
(photo: Glenda Walter)

Glorious autumn weather and green countryside made for a very pleasant, early Sunday morning drive to Pittsworth. From there it was only a short drive to McEwan State Forest at nearby Stoneleigh. This 314-hectare property was generously bequeathed to the Queensland Government as a park/recreational facility, or State Forest with public access, after the death of its owner Jack McEwan, aged 92, in 2006. 
The area is primarily Mountain Coolibah/Narrow-leaved Ironbark ridge, with a significant area of predominantly native blue grass alluvial flats, from which regenerating trees are actively removed. Noticeable was the number and extent of weed species, including Lantana, Velvety Tree Pear, and Purple-topped Verbena.
A magnificent mackerel-belly sky facilitated pleasant walking conditions, along the cleared track. Noticeable was the number and extent of weed species, including Lantana, Velvety Tree Pear, and Purple-topped Verbena. Butterflies seen close-by included, Monarch, Lesser Wanderer, Orchard Swallowtail, and Glasswing. Colourful dragonflies, including Blue Skimmer, Australian Emperor, Scarlet Percher, and Tau Emerald flew about near the track. Numerous huge, shining yellow webs of large Golden Orb-weaver Spiders were a spectacular sight. Little Dewdrop Spiders were noticed scavenging in the webs of these Golden Orb-weavers. An uncommon Argiope bullocki orb-weaver was the spider find of the day. There are few Queensland records for this species 
Back at the park entrance, in the shade, during morning tea, animated conversations, and lists of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife were shared. Thanks to Rod for sharing his knowledge and to Glenda and Sandy for accompanying him on the reconnaissance. 
Don't forget to scroll down for the Irongate Conservation Park report.

The following lists have been compiled from field notes and photographs from Toowoomba Field Naturalist members and guests.
McEwan Fauna & Flora

introduced species =

Fauna:

Amphibians & Reptiles: Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea), Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata), South-eastern Morethia Skink (Morethia boulengeri). 

Arachnids: Broun's Marbled Orb-weaver (Backobourkia brouni), Garden Orb-weaver (Eriophora transmarina), St. Andrew’s Cross Spider (Argiope bullocki), Jewel Spider (Austracantha minax), Dewdrop Spider (Argyrodes antipodianus), Australian Golden Orb-weaver (Trichonephila edulis), Leaf-curling Spider (Phonognatha graeffei), Black House Spider (Badumna insignis). 
Birds: Brown Quail, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Whistling Kite, Brown Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Galah, Pale-headed Rosella, White-browed Scrubwren, Speckled Warbler, White-throated Gerygone, Striated Pardalote, Noisy Miner, Rufous Whistler, Pied Butcherbird, Pied Currawong, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, Silvereye, Mistletoebird, Double-barred Finch. 
Butterflies: Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus), Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus), White Migrant (Catopsilia pyranthe), Common Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe), Small Grass-yellow (Eurema smilax), Caper White (Belenois java), Narrow-winged Pearl-white (Elodina padusa), *Cabbage White (Pieris rapae), *Wanderer (Danaus plexippus), Lesser Wanderer (Danaus petilia), Common Crow (Euploea core), Yellow Admiral (Vanessa itea), Meadow Argus (Junonia villida), Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi), Glasswing (Acraea andromacha), Large Purple Line-blue (Nacaduba berenice).
Marsupials & Mammals: Red-necked Wallaby (Notamacropus rufogriseus), *Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Other Invertebrates: Beetles: a leaf beetle (Callidemum sp). Damsel/Dragonflies: Red & Blue Damsel (Xanthagrion erythroneurum), Australian Emperor (Anax papuensis), Australian Emerald (Hemicordulia australiae), Tau Emerald (Hemicordulia tau), Wandering Percher (Diplacodes bipunctata), Scarlet Percher (Diplacodes haematodes), Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum), Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), Common Glider (Tramea loewii), Flies; Yellow-headed Snail Parasitic Blowfly (Amenia imperialis). Grasshoppers & Locusts; Giant Green Slantface (Acrida conica), Bark-mimicking Grasshopper (Coryphistes ruricola),  Crested Tooth-grinder (Ecphantus quadrilobus), Froggatt’s Buzzer (Froggattina australis), Handsome Macrotona (Macrotona mjoebergi), Giant Valanga (Valanga irregularis),
 
Flora discussed or taken note of on the day (not a comprehensive list):
Grasses, Sedges, Rushes, etc.: Slender Bamboo Grass (Austrostipa verticillata), Lobed Bluegrass (Bothriochloa biloba),  Barbed Wire Grass (Cymbopogon refractus), a sedge (Cyperus clarus), Queensland Bluegrass (Dicanthium sericeum subsp. sericeum), Slender Rat’s-tail Grass (Sporobolus creber). 
Herbs: Yellow Burr Daisy (Calotis lappulacea), Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum), Blue Flax Lily (Dianella brevipedunculata), Kidney Weed (Dichondra repens), Native Geranium (Geranium solanderi), *Purple-topped Verbena (Verbena bonariensis). 
Succulents: *Velvety Tree Pear (Opuntia tomentosa). 
Vines, Scramblers & Climbers: Stiff Jasmine (Jasminum simplicifolium subsp. australiense), Native Pennyroyal (Mentha satureioides), Northern Silk Pod (Parsonsia lanceolate). 
Mistletoes: Northern Mistletoe (Lysiana subfalcata). 
Shrubs: Fragrant or Berry Saltbush (Chenopodium parabolicum [Syn. Rhagodia parabolica]), Sticky Hop Bush (Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustissima), Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius), Brush Wilga (Geijera salicifolia*Lantana (Lantana camara), Brigalow Senna (Senna coronilloides), Small-leaved Nightshade (Solanum parvifolium subsp. parvifolium), Square-stemmed Broom (Teucrium junceum). 
Trees: Sally Wattle (Acacia salicina), Hairy Boonaree (Acronychia pubescens), Soap Tree (Alphitonia excelsa), Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus), Red Olive Plum (Elaeodendron australe var. integrifolium), Narrow-leaved or Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra), Mountain Coolibah (Eucalyptus orgadophila), Gumby Gumby (Pittosporum angustifolium), Sweet Susis or Shiny-leaved canthium (Psydrax odorata).

Irongate Conservation Park
Chequered Swallowtail
on Mayne’s Pest (Glandularia aristigera),
(photo: Robert Ashdown)
After a leisurely lunch we headed off to nearby Irongate Conservation Park that lies about 17 kilometres north-west of the Darling Downs township of Pittsworth. 
A circular 1,200 metre walking track runs through the park so there’s not too much of a worry about distracted naturalists wondering off to lose themselves in the surrounding boonies. 
The main vegetation types are a stand of Brigalow along the roadside to the west, Mountain Coolibah in the north-east corner and Belah along the southern boundary. The balmy conditions experienced in the morning persisted into the afternoon with all parties gradually drifting back to the assembly point about mid-afternoon exhausted but enthused about the richness of this small estate.
Dragonflies were out in force especially two of the larger species, Tau Emerald and Australian Emperor. Ditto for butterflies such as the Chequered Swallowtail, White Migrant and Large Grass Yellow; however Irongate produced some rarer species including No-brand Grass-yellow, Grey Ringlet, Small Green-banded Blue and Large Purple Line-blue. It was interesting to see the Small Green-banded Blue in numbers around the AlphitoniaThe discovery of a Black Rock Scorpion raised quite a bit of interest. The plant list for this estate is somewhat scant for the day. All the botanists had departed early for Toowoomba! 
I reckon it was an enjoyable day out in two of our less-visited protected estates, and everybody seemed to agree. Before closing I should mention that several people asked me the identity of the large road-killed snake on St. Helens Road, Springside, on the way to Irongate. We stopped for a good look at it on our way home and it proved to be a massive Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) The Darling Downs is prime habitat for this dangerous but magnificent reptile. Today’s snake was huge, well over two metres long with a prodigious girth. I’ve seen numerous of these snakes in my life but can count the number of this size on one hand. The interesting thing is that today’s reptile didn’t have the orange blotching on its cream-yellow belly that is typical of the species, however this feature can fade away in old snakes according to my herpetological friend, Steve Wilson. It was sad to see this end to such an impressive reptile. 

The following lists have been compiled from field notes and photographs from Toowoomba Field Naturalist members and guests.

Irongate Fauna & Flora

introduced species = 

Fauna:

Arachnids: Grey Huntsman (Holconia immanis), Leaf-curling Spider (Phonognatha graeffei), Black Rock Scorpion (Urodacus manicatus), a wolf spider (Venatrix sp.)  

Birds: Brown Quail, *Spotted Dove, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, White-necked Heron, Goshawk, Galah, Pale-headed Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, Variegated Fairy-wren (Malurus lamberti sensu lato), Weebill, Striated Pardalote, Noisy Miner, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Cicadabird, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Pied Currawong, Spangled Drongo, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Leaden Flycatcher, Mistletoebird, Zebra Finch, Double-barred Finch

Butterflies: Blue Triangle (Graphium sarpedon), Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus), Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus), White Migrant (Catopsilia pyranthe), No-brand Grass-yellow (Eurema brigitta), Large Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe), Scarlet Jezebel (Delias argenthona), Caper White (Belenois java), *Wanderer (Danaus plexippus), Lesser Wanderer (Danaus petilia), Common Crow (Euploea core), Grey Ringlet (Hypocysta pseudirius), Common Brown (Heteronympha mirifica), Varied Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina), Meadow Argus (Junonia villida), Glasswing (Acraea andromacha), White-banded Plane (Phaedyma sheperdi), Small Green-banded Blue (Psychonotis caelius), Large Purple Line-blue (Nacaduba berenice), Spotted Pea-blue (Euchrysops cnejus), Common Grass Blue (Zizina labradus).  

Mammals*European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus).  

Other Invertebrates: Bees & Wasps; Chequered Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus caeruleopunctatus), Beetles; a soldier beetle (Chauliognathus sp.),  a piedish beetle (Pterohelaeus sp.), Bugs; Clown Bug (Amorbus robusta), Wattle Hopper (Dardus abbreviates), Pale Cotton Stainer (Dysdercus sidae), Damsel/Dragonflies: Red & Blue Damsel (Xanthagrion erythroneurum), Australian Emperor (Anax papuensis), Tau Emerald (Hemicordulia tau), Wandering Percher (Diplacodes bipunctata), Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum). Grasshoppers & Locusts; Giant Green Slantface (Acrida conica), Froggatt’s Buzzer (Froggattina australis), Yellow-winged Locust (Gastrimargus musicus), Handsome Macrotona (Macrotona mjoebergi), Mantids; Large Brown Mantis (Archimantis latistyla).

Reptiles: Dubious Dtella (Gehyra dubi), Tree-base Litter Skink (Lygisaurus foliorum). 

Flora discussed or taken note of on the day (not a comprehensive list):

Grasses.: Slender Rat’s-tail Grass (Sporobolus creber)

Orchids: Black Orchid (Cymbidium canaliculatum). 

Vines, Scramblers & Climbers: Stiff Jasmine (Jasminum simplicifolium subsp. australiense), Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana), Northern Silk Pod (Parsonsia lanceolate). 

Shrubs: Broom Bush (Apophyllum anomalum), Currant Bush (Carissa ovata var. ovata), Fragrant or Berry Saltbush (Chenopodium parabolicum [Syn. Rhagodia parabolica]), Ellangowan Poison Bush (Eremophila deserti), Brush Wilga (Geijera salicifolia), Square-stemmed Broom (Teucrium junceum).

Trees: Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla), Scrub Boonaree (Alectryon diversifolius), Soap Tree (Alphitonia excelsa), Red Olive Plum (Elaeodendron australe var. integrifolium), Narrow-leaved or Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra), Native Olive (Notelaea macrocarpa), Gumby Gumby (Pittosporum angustifolium), Weeping Pittosporum (Pittosporum phylliraeoides).

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Outing Report - 25-27 March 2022, Taroom Camp

This post is adapted from a number of reports in the Toowoomba Field Naturalists Club newsletter by different authors, as well as the blog administrator.
Toowoomba Field Naturalists at Taroom
Caravan Park in the early morning light
The Taroom Campout was a great success, thanks to the excellent program put together by Melanie Simmons with help from Tricia Allen, Ann Hobson and others, combined with the interesting natural history of the region, particularly after a wet summer which filled the wetlands and favoured an abundance of plant and animal life. 
No matter where we stopped there were birds or butterflies, spiders or dragonflies. As we travelled from one site to another kangaroos, wallabies, emus and birds of prey were seen in the paddocks or by the roadside. The good season meant the wetlands were full of water and therefore birds, and the grass was almost waist high; ideal for insects.
Roadside Ooline
There was a smorgasbord of treats but one of the highlights was the Oolines (Cadellia pentastylis), listed as ‘vulnerable’. They are the only species in the genus. 
Unfortunately, their preferred environment is in relatively fertile soil, so their original, much more extensive, habitat has been largely cleared for food production.
We saw some splendid, tall examples of this beautiful tree in a healthy strip of roadside scrub, which has been preserved thanks to the efforts of local man Adam Clark and others who fought successfully to defend it from destruction by road works. Oolines are tall straight trees with pretty, bright green foliage. Clearing of adjacent scrub leaves them standing alone and seems to result inevitably in their deaths, so preservation of the whole ecosystem was important for the Oolines themselves, as well as all the other things that live there. 
Over the three days we visited a number of the shallow lakes and seasonal streams in the Palm Tree and Robinson Creek wetlands areaLake Murphy, Robinson Creek, Milky Swamp, Chain of Lagoons, as well as other unnamed ones. During good seasons these creeks and lagoons are full but they can dry out in twelve months. This makes for an abundance of flora and fauna in the good times.  
The edges of Lake Murphy were underwater, so the more adventurous amongst us tramped through the swamp for a clear view of the many waterbirds swimming or wading around the lake. 
Dawson River Fan Palm
(Livistonia nitida)
The lake-side vegetation is dominated by an overstorey of Forest Red Gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis) and Dawson Fan Palms (Livistonia nitida). 
We were lucky enough to see this latter plant in full fruit, with its beautiful clusters of large, shiny black fruits. They will be eaten by birds and fruit bats, which will help create the next generation of fan palms by spreading the seeds. The palms are predominantly found in wetlands and along creek lines. 
While visiting a property to view other magnificent trees we passed through a paddock of Common Nardoo (Marsilea drummondii).  It occurs in abundance after floods.
Walking through the nardoo.

The sporocarp of the nardoo is used for food by Australian Aborigines, who roast and grind them to powder which they mix with water to make a dough. Consumption of large amounts of, and/or incorrectly prepared nardoo can cause thiamine deficiency. It has been known to poison sheep, as well as humans, and perhaps for the deaths of Burke and Wills on their fated expedition.
Another highlight was the boggomosses. It was a surprise to some of us, to find out that there are artesian mound springs in the Taroom area. “Boggomoss” is a local word for these springs. We visited three of the mound springs, each one different to the next in its flora and insect fauna.
At the boggomosses
The first was distinguished by tall wands of Purple Loosestrife (Lythrium salicaria) projecting from a mass of ferns, surrounded by Phragmites reeds and a variety of other water loving plants. Many butterflies, including Orchard Swallowtails (Papilio aegeus), Chequered Swallowtails (Papilio demolius), Wanderers (Danaus plexippus) and Lesser Wanderers (Danaus chrysippus) were feeding on the Loosestrife and Milkweed (Asclepias sp.), on and around the mound. 
Emergent white-flowering Leptospermum shrubs (species not determined), instead of Purple Loosestrife, projected from the third boggomoss mound. A large fallen eucalypt, still alive by virtue of one root buried deep in the wet, peaty bog, projected into the center of the mound allowing us close access, with a family of Red-backed Fairy-wrens (Malurus menanocephalus), to the luxuriant central vegetation. The boggomoss mound springs represent part of the Springsure Group of the Great Artesian Basin springs. They form a chain of moist oases for plant, invertebrate and bird life in an otherwise dry woodland environment. When looked at from a distance, free water is not obvious in the boggy springs, but once a curious visitor steps inside the perimeter of the peaty mound, each footprint soon fills with water and a trickle of clear spring water could be found on the downhill side of each of the boggomosses we visited. 
Spotted Bowerbird Bower
with snail shells
On Sunday afternoon, we split into two groups; one group returned to Milky Swamp, the other visited Carraba Conservation Park, on the Taroom - Roma Road. Richard Moffatt, a local farmer and landowner, kindly showed us around the park. He pointed out that Carraba exists because the land was part of the Queensland Stock Route, so was never cleared - it is still close to virgin softwood scrub, with relatively little weed incursion. We were lucky to spot a Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) sitting very quietly in the leaf litter hoping not to be noticed, while the botanists examined and identified the very healthy-looking softwood trees and shrubs. Clearing leave them standing alone
On the way back to Taroom, Richard showed us the bower of a Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata), near Carraba. The bowerbird obviously had a predilection for carefully arranged bleached land-snail shells – there were hundreds! These land snails are probably a close relative of the Boggomoss Snail (Adclarkia dawsonensis), a critically endangered camaenid snail that prefers to live in deep damp leaf litter around the base of eucalypts and sandpaper figs in riparian Brigalow communities between Taroom and Theodore in the Dawson Valley. Members of this land-snail family feed on decaying organic matter, microalgae and fungi. The national recovery plan for the conservation of the Boggomoss Snail includes protection of vital boggomoss habitats from weeds, fires and cattle grazing. 
Krefft's River Turtle
(
Emydura macquarii krefftii)
The other group also had a wonderful afternoon. Horsfield's Bushlark and Black Falcon being birds of the day. Along one of the back roads they came across a fine specimen of a Krefft's River Turtle (Emydura macquarii krefftii).
Our wonderful weekend outing to the Taroom region concluded with a presentation after dinner by Melanie, of some of the wild and wonderful places we didn’t have time to visit in the Upper Dawson Valley, whetting the group’s appetite for a return visit. 

All photos taken by Toowoomba Field Naturalist Club members.

Taroom Fauna

The following lists are a compilation for the whole weekend from members observations.
Amphibians – 2 species: Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea), Cane Toad (Rhinella marina).
Birds – 104 species: Emu, Brown Quail, Plumed Whistling-Duck, Black Swan, Australian Wood Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Australasian Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Nightjar sp., Eurasian Coot, Brolga, Straw-necked Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Nankeen Night-Heron, White-necked Heron, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, White-faced Heron, Little Egret, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Pied Cormorant, Australasian Darter, Pied Stilt, Masked Lapwing, Southern Boobook, Pacific Baza, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Whistling Kite, Black Kite, Nankeen Kestrel, Australian Hobby, Black Falcon, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Cockatiel, Galah, Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-rumped Parrot, Pale-headed Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet, Musk Lorikeet, Australian King-Parrot, Red-winged Parrot, Pheasant Coucal, Sacred Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Dollarbird, Spotted Bowerbird, Variegated Fairy-wren, Superb Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, White-throated Gerygone, Speckled Warbler, Weebill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, Brown Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater, Little Friarbird, Noisy Friarbird, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Singing Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Grey-crowned Babbler, Varied Sittella, Australasian Figbird, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Australian Magpie, Pied Butcherbird, Grey Butcherbird, Black-faced Woodswallow, White-breasted Woodswallow, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Spangled Drongo, Restless Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, Torresian Crow, White-winged Chough, Apostlebird, Jacky Winter, Horsfield's Bushlark, Welcome Swallow, Common Myna, Mistletoebird, Double-barred Finch, Plum-headed Finch, House Sparrow. 
Lepidoptera: Butterflies – 15 species: Yellow Palm Dart (Cephrenes trichopepla), Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus), Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus), Clearwing Swallowtail (Cressida cressida), White Migrant (Catopsilia pyranthe), Large Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe), Small Grass Yellow (Eurema smilax), Caper White (Anaphaeis java), Wanderer (Danaus plexippus), Lesser Wanderer (Danaus chrysippus), Common Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina), Meadow Argus (Junonia villida), Blue Argus (Junonia orithya), Glasswing (Acraea andromacha), Common Grass Blue (Zizina Otis) Moths: - 1 species Scopula agnes (no common name).
Dragonflies – 4 species: Black-headed Skimmer (Crocothemis nigrifrons), Scarlet Percher (Diplacodes haematodes), Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum), Common Glider (Tramea loewii).
Mammals – 4 species: Whiptail or Pretty-faced Wallaby (Notamacropus parryi), Red-necked Wallaby (Notamacropus rufogriseus), Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus), Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor). 
Reptiles – 3 species: Bearded Dragon (Pogona sp.), Black-headed Python (Aspidites melanocephalus), Krefft's River Turtle (Emydura macquarii krefftii).
Spiders – 9 species: Australian Jewel Spider (Austracantha minax), Golden Orb-Weaver (Trichonephila edulis), Leaf-curling Spider (Phonognatha graeffei), a wolf spider (family Lycosidae), White-spotted Sandalodes or Wattle Jumping Spider (Sandalodes scopifer), Humped Silver Orb Spider (Leucauge dromedaria), Long-jawed Spider (Tetragnatha sp.), Dewdrop Spider (Argyrodes antipodianus), Crab Spider (family Thomisidae).
Wasps - 1 species: Blue Flower Wasp (Scolia verticalis).

Thursday, March 31, 2022

April Outing Details - McEwan State Forest Stoneleigh, 3 April 2022

Naturalizing in McEwan State Forest
This outing is still going ahead. The road in was checked on Friday and is OK. After McEwan State Forest, your leader will continue to Irongate Conservation Park.
Time: 7.30 am leaving Neil Street after car-pooling. 8.30 am - 8.45 am outside the Pittsworth Post Office.

Where: McEwan State Forest at Stoneleigh.

Directions: The state forest can be accessed via Young Road off Stoneleigh Road, Stoneleigh. There is an unlocked gate at the top of Young Road then the track leads down to a locked gate near the picnic table within the state forest.

Activities: Walking within the property. McEwan should be a treat after all the recent rain but don’t forget the insect repellent. There are good walking tracks transecting the park and the area around the entrance is flat for easy walking.

The estate has an interesting history. It was gifted to the State by its owner Jack McEwan on his death at 92 years in 2006. The landform is mostly moderate to steep hills interspersed with black soil flats. Some interesting plant species found there are the rare and threatened Hawkweed (Picris evae), and Austral Cornflower (Rhaponticum australe). Fauna that also has been recorded includes Koala, Common Wallaroo, Common Dunnart (Sminthopsis murina), Australian Coral Snake (Brachyurophis australis), Spotted Black Snake (Pseudechis guttatus), Painted Honeyeater, Black Falcon, Turquoise Parrot and the locally rare dragonfly Royal Tigertail (Parasynthemis regina).

Facilities: There are no facilities. There is no water and only one picnic bench. The nearest toilets are in Pittsworth. 

What to Bring: You should be fully self-catering and outfitted for this outing; food, water, chair and table. Also advisable are sturdy shoes, a hat and insect repellent. Cameras, binoculars, field guides are optional.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

April Meeting Details - Guest Speakers: 3 of our members, 1 April 2022

Time and Place:
 7.00pm. St. Anthony’s Community Centre, Memory Street, Toowoomba

Guest Speakers:

Francis Mangubhai will talk briefly about platypus, focusing on some of its characteristics. He will end by showing some photos of platypus of Broken River in Eungella National Park, which he and Linda have visited.

Mike Ford will talk about the Serengeti in Tanzania, and his experience building a new hotel there before the Serengeti became a real tourist destination. He will speak of the realities that he faced, as well as the magnificence of the Serengeti, and of the project as a whole.

Mary Petr will talk about Arkaroola, in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia, focusing on the flora, geology and general scenery. Arkaroola presents an ancient landscape with iconic views that many of us will be familiar with from calendars and other publications. Mary will get us up close to the landscape with a personal view of it.

Followed by supper

Current COVID Rules for Attending Meetings at St Anthony’s:
1. Until further notice, only double vaccinated members will be allowed to attend our Friday meetings.
2. Because we have supper at our Meetings, members will have to log in to the Queensland Covid App. If you have attached your vaccination certificate to this App, your name will show with a green tick, signifying that you are double vaccinated. If your vaccination certificate is not on your phone, please bring along a paper copy.
3. People with a medical exemption for COVID vaccination can attend but should wear a mask.
4. It is strongly recommended that you wear a mask during the meeting.

We are sorry to any unvaccinated members but we, the Committee, are asking you not to attend meetings until the State Government changes the rules.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

March Meeting Details - Glenda Walter "Backyard Beasties", 4 March 2022


Austral Ellipsidion
(Ellipsidion australe)
Time and Place:
7.00pm. St. Anthony’s Community Centre, Memory Street, Toowoomba


Club member, Glenda Walter, will give a talk on the little scuttling things in your garden.
Not having had an opportunity to study biology at school, Glenda's interest firstly in fungi, and then when drought intervened in insects and spiders, meant a steep learning curve. This meant, sometimes making embarrassing mistakes, but also that there are creatures out there which she'd never encountered before – finding something new and observing its behaviour was and still is very exciting. When living in Toowoomba she spent a lot of time in local parks with her camera, but since moving to Crows Nest in June 2020 she's photographed and attempted to identify the creatures she's seen in her backyard. She looks forward to sharing some of them with you.

Current Covid Rules for Attending Meetings at St Anthony’s:
1. Until further notice, only double vaccinated members will be allowed to attend our Friday meetings.
2. Because we have supper at our Meetings, members will have to log in to the Queensland Covid App. If you have attached your vaccination certificate to this App, your name will show with a green tick, signifying that you are double vaccinated. If your vaccination certificate is not on your phone, please bring along a paper copy.
3. People with a medical exemption for Covid vaccination can attend but should wear a mask.
4. It is strongly recommended that you wear a mask during the meeting.

We are sorry to any unvaccinated members but we, the Committee, are asking you not to attend meetings until the State Government changes the rules.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Outing Report - Sunday, 6 February 2022, Ravensbourne N.P.

Pointy Orbweaver
(Araneus acuminatus) female
Plants, birds, spiders, insects and more. A delightful time was had at Ravensbourne National Park by our members on our February outing. Quite a number of invertebrates were recorded. The first two images here are of a female and male Pointy Orbweaver (Araneus acuminatus). You can gauge by the size of the leaves in the second pic that they are very small and easily overlooked. Like many orbweavers the female will build her web at night and pack it up in the morning, then find a retreat in which to shelter during the day. Sometimes they can be found in daylight head down on their web. The male is almost half the size of his mate. Their abdominal patterns vary.  

Pointy Orbweaver
(Araneus acuminatus) male

Dotty Lynx Spider
(Oxyopes punctatus)

Another tiny spider (approx. 7 mm) is this Dotty Lynx Spider (Oxyopes punctatus). Like its name, Lynx, suggests it is an ambush spider rather than a web-builder. Again colouring and patterns can be variable. They have been found from Cape York to Brisbane.
Leaf Beetle sp. (Chrysomelidae sp.)











Tricolor Soldier Beetle
(Chauliognathus tricolor)















Red and Blue Pollen Beetle
(Dicranolaius bellulus)

All photos by G. Walter.

Combined Species List for Cedar Block Circuit and on tracks from Blackbean Picnic Area

introduced species = *

Fauna (not a comprehensive list):

Birds: Australian Brush Turkey, White-headed Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Superb Fruit-Dove, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Topknot Pigeon, Rainbow Lorikeet, Australian King-Parrot, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Green Catbird, Variegated Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Large-billed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Lewin's Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird, Cicadabird, Golden Whistler, White-breasted Woodswallow, Pied Currawong, Rufous Fantail, Grey Fantail, Black-faced Monarch, Spectacled Monarch, Eastern Yellow Robin, Silvereye, Red-browed Finch.

Butterflies: Yellow Admiral (Vanessa itea), Small Green-banded Blue (Psychonotis caelius).

Other Invertebrates: Beetles; Fungus Weevil (Ancylotropis waterhousei), a beetle (Cardiothorax sp.), Tricolor Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus tricolor), Leaf Beetle sp. (Chrysomelidae sp.), Red and Blue Pollen Beetle (Dicranolaius bellulus), a beetle (Dynastine sp.), Passalid Beetle (Pharochilus dilatatus), Darkling Beetle (Ecnolagria sp.), Bugs; Zebra Shield Bug (Bathrus variegatus), Colourful Broad-headed Bug (Noliphus erythrocephalus).

Spiders: Pointy Orbweaver (Araneus acuminatus), Dotty Lynx Spider (Oxyopes punctatus).

 

Flora discussed or taken note of on the day (not a comprehensive list):

Herbs: Native Wandering Jew (Aneilema acuminatum), *Cobblers Pegs (Bidens pilosa).

Vines, Scramblers & Climbers: Native Yam (Dioscorea transversa), Passiflora sp.

Shrubs: *Lantana (Lantana camara).

Palms: Piccabeen or Bangalow Palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana).

Trees: Plum Ebony or Black Plum (Diospyros australis), Tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys),), Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna), Rock Fig (Ficus rubiginosa), Strangler Fig (Ficus watkinsiana), Gee-o-ah or Wild Quince (Guioa semiglauca), *Tobacco Bush (Solanum mauritianum).