Friday, September 1, 2023

September Activity Details: Outing; Crows Nest - Sunday 03 September 2023


Doesn't she look sweet, but she's a killer!
CLUB MEETING: Friday 01 September 2023    

Dr Meg Edwards is a Lecturer in Wildlife Science at the University of Southern Queensland. She completed her  PhD in Queensland investigating innovative techniques to help counteract the effects of introduced predators. Her current research focuses on threatened species conservation. Meg’s talk will detail her research into native mammalian wildlife and how they react to introduced predators such as cats and foxes.

CLUB OUTING: Sunday 03 September 2023 - Crows Nest. 

Time: 8.30 am. If you're not a Toowoomba Field Naturalists Club member, please let us know you're coming,, in case there are last minute changes.
The tracks
for the first part of the day

Where: Crows Nest in the car park beside the swimming pool.

Description: Take a walk through  open woodland, on private property,  to see a variety of eucalypt trees from gums to stringybarks, bloodwoods and ironbarks, plus acacias and small shrubs, many in flower. Move on to Hartmann Park, William Street, Crows Nest for a choice of walks and wildflower displays. Lunch will be at the picnic area below William Street.

Level of Fitness: Slashed tracks will make for easy walking. 

Facilities: Toilets and picnic tables at Hartmann Park. However we may gather away from the tables so it is advised you bring your own chairs.

What to Bring: suitable clothing and footwear for walking in the bush, 
water, morning tea, lunch, a chair, a friend and an enquiring mind.

Trigger plants last month

were in flower last month

Monday, March 27, 2023

March Outing Report - Cooby Dam, 05 March 2023

 (Adapted from the newsletter)
White-bellied Sea-eagles' nest,
Cooby Dam
Photo: K. Stephensen
The area surrounding Cooby Dam, which the Field Nats visited on 05 March, is an area where there is much to observe and enjoy. Thanks go to Dougal for explaining, to the 20 or so Field Nats and visitors gathered in the shady park beside the dam wall, some fascinating aspects of the complex geology of the dam environs.
As the group climbed the stairs to the top of the dam wall, we gazed down at the shiny, black, fine-grained rock at the base of the spillway, Dougal suggested that this hard trachyte would have solidified after forcing its way to the earth’s surface through a fault zone. The dark, intrusive rock was a clear contrast to the reddish- brown mudstone and basalt layers beside it. 
 Cooby Dam spillway
 Photo: K. Stephensen

Clear water trickled over the trachyte, forming shallow pools, in which tiny fish swam and Eastern Snake-necked turtles Chelodina longicollis and Murray turtles Emydura macquarii were observed surfacing to breathe. A White-faced Heron gliding in the clear blue sky above the spillway, delighted the bird enthusiasts, while shiny Scarlet Percher and iridescent aqua Blue Skimmer dragonflies flitted about at eye level.
At the top of the dam wall, we beheld the magnificent sight of the breeze blown water of Cooby Reservoir. The brief appearance of a White-bellied Sea Eagle added to the spectacle. The call of Dusky Moorhens, alerted us to look in the water below to view several of these aquatic birds. 
In the distance, sail boats floated peacefully, as we enjoyed the cooling breeze and vibrant colours of fresh green eucalyptus leaves under an azure blue sky. Strolling across the top of the dam wall, I felt privileged to be able to appreciate this beauty, just over a half hour drive from Toowoomba. 
As shiny white cumulous clouds gathered, it was relaxing to sit in the shade marvelling at the ever-changing reflections on the wide water, before heading for lunch at a neat picnic spot on the bank of Cooby Creek, a short drive away.

Loveday Cove Birds: Compiled by N. Thompson

Black Swan (11), Maned Duck (12), Pacific Black Duck (2), Hardhead (2), Brown Quail (7), Dusky Moorhen (1), Eurasian Coot (20), Australian Grebe (2), Great Crested Grebe (4), Masked Lapwing (2), Little Pied Cormorant (3), White-faced Heron (2), Whistling Kite (1), Pale-headed Rosella (2), Superb Fairywren (6), Red-backed Fairywren (3), Brown Honeyeater (1), Noisy Miner (2), Weebill (2), White-browed Scrubwren (1), Pied Currawong (1), Willie Wagtail (2), Magpie-lark (1), Australian Reedwarbler (2), Golden-headed Cisticola (1), Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (5).

Cooby Dam Birds: Compiled by K. O'Dea

Black Swan, Australian Wood Duck, Hardhead, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Great

Red-browed Finch nest
Photo: F. Mangubhai
Crested Grebe, Crested Pigeon, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, White-faced Heron, Little Pied Cormorant, Masked Lapwing, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Rainbow Bee-eater, Dollarbird, Azure Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Nankeen Kestrel, Galah, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Pale-headed Rosella, Superb Fairy-wren, Brown Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater,  Scarlet Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, White-browed Scrub Wren, Striated Thornbill, Olive-backed Oriole,  Golden Whistler, Eastern Whipbird,  Pied Currawong, Australian Magpie, Grey Butcherbird, Magpie-lark, Torresian Crow, Red-browed Finch, Double-barred Finch.

Reptiles: Eastern Snake-necked Turtle Chelodina longicollis, Murray Turtle Emydura macquarii

Dragonflies: Blue Skimmer Orthetrum caledonicum, Scarlet Percher Diplacodes haematodes

Friday, March 3, 2023

March Outing Details: Cooby Dam - Sunday 05 March 2023

Australian Wood Duck 
Chenonetta jubata - 
from Wikipedia 
Time: 9.00 am (If carpooling, please meet at the Neil Street Carpark, to set off at 8.30 am.) If you're not a Toowoomba Field Naturalists Club member, please let us know you're coming,, in case there are last minute changes.

Where: at the lower picnic area of the Cooby Dam

Description: Cooby Dam is a rock–fill embankment dam with an un-gated spillway across  Cooby Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River, at Groomsville in the Darling Downs region of Queensland, Australia. The main purpose of the dam is for potable water supply of the Toowoomba region. Wikipedia

Activities: Before we start our walk, there will be a brief talk about the geology of the area. 

Level of Fitness: easy on level walking tracks

Facilities: Toilets and picnic tables at the picnic area. However we may gather away from the tables so it is advised you bring your own chairs.

What to Bring: suitable clothing and footwear for walking in the bush, sunscreen, insect repellant, water, morning tea and lunch, chair, and the usual naturalist stuff of your choice; binoculars, camera, field guides, notebook, etc.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

February Outing Report - Kumbarilla State Forest, 5 February 2023

Report adapted from the Club newsletter article.

Many thanks to our leader for pre-viewing and organising the Field Nats excursion, and to Gary Hearle for guiding the group of nine vehicles through the maze of tracks in the 86,000-hectare Kumbarilla State Forest, of which we visited a relatively small area. Ongoing logging occurs in some areas of the forest, along with some cattle grazing leases, which reduce the grass fire fuel load. Extensive coal seam gas development was evident, throughout the area we visited.

After travelling through dry, sandy, open forest country, we were pleased to arrive at a shady spot beside the abundant clear water of Wilkie Creek. Aquatic vegetation flourished in the shallows of the creek.

Kurrajong leaf tier moth bag
(Photo: M. Ford)
Nearby was a group of young Kurrajong trees (probably Brachychiton populneus) which were host to many larvae of the Kurrajong Bag Moth, or leaf tier moth. The caterpillars feed in groups, and make a bag by weaving leaves together to form a shelter. The 25 mm long, pale green caterpillars do some feeding within the shelter and come out at night to feed on other leaves. They pupate within the shelter and moths emerge. 

Francis Mangubhai 
checks waxiness of rare 
Acacia lithgowiae 
(Photo D. Pagel)

A highlight was an area of endangered Acacia lithgowiae*. It was very heartening to find a considerable, healthy stand of this rare species. It may have been aided by the fact that taller trees had been destroyed by fire allowing the pioneer Acacia to colonise the area. A striking pink flowering bull-oak mistletoe was a bonus sight near the acacias.

Unable to complete the circuit drive through the forest, due to road damage caused by heavy rain, we retraced out tracks to arrive at the very full Lake Broadwater for lunch. 

Ed: *Acacia lithgowiae
The specific epithet is a Latin word meaning “modest” or. “bashful”, an allusion to the anonymity of the species. 

Bird List for Kumbarilla/ Lake Broadwater outing (Submitted by T. Allen)
Kumbarilla State Forest: Superb Fairy Wren, Yellow Thornbill, Noisy Miner, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Cicadabird, Rufous Whistler, Grey Butcherbird, Torresian Crow, Magpie-lark, Eastern Yellow Robin, Willie Wagtail. 
Lake Broadwater: Cattle Egret, Australian White Ibis, Dusky Moorhen, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah, Corella, Superb Fairy-wren, White-throated Gerygone, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Little Friarbird, Noisy Friarbird, Currawong, Apostlebird.
Invertebrates at Kumbarilla State Forest and Lake Broadwater (Submitted by G. Walter)
Butterflies and moths: Wanderer or Monarch, Danaus plexippus; Lesser Wanderer, Danaus chrysippus; Common Crow, Euploea core; Meadow Argus, Junonia villida; Yellow Migrant, Catopsilia scylla; Orchard Swallowtail, Papilio aegus; a case moth caterpillar in the Psychidae family; Caper White, Belenois aurota; Orange ringlet, Hypocysta adiante.
Insects: A cockroach in the Blattidae family; a gall on Eucalypt, Apiomorpha species; two insect galls on Eucalyptus populneus; Midge gall, Asphondylia tonsura, on Enchylaena tomentosa; Giant slantface Grasshopper, Acrida conica; Bark-mimicking Grasshopper, Coryphistes ruricola; Froggatt’s Buzzer Grasshopper, Froggattina australis; a stick insect in the Phasmatidae family; Pollen beetle, Dicranolaius bellulus; Variegated Ladybird, Hippodamia variegata; Pittosporum Bug, Pseudapines geminata; a wasp in the Crabronidae family; the nest of a wasp, Ropalidia species.
Spiders: St Andrews Cross spider, Argiope bullocki, male, female and egg sac; Leaf curling spider, Artiphex species; Jewel spider egg sac, Austracantha minax; Two-spotted Sandalodes, Sandalodes scopifer
Snails: Camaenidae family.

Monday, January 23, 2023

February Outing Details: Kumbarilla State Forest - Sunday 05 February 2023

Map of area for outing

The Toowoomba Field Naturalist Club Inc. would like to respectfully acknowledge the Barunggam people, Traditional Custodians of the Kumbarilla area on which our outing will take place, and pay our respects to both the past and present first peoples, their elders, languages, customs, culture and connection to this wonderful country. 

Time: 9.15am in Dalby (7.45am in the Neil Street carpark if car-pooling from Toowoomba).

Where: Thomas Jack Park - entry off Pratten Street, Dalby

Description: Kumbarilla State Forest is a small park to the south of Dalby. The forest is immediately to the south of Kumbarilla township which takes its name from its original railway station which was in turn an Aboriginal word in a local dialect meaning ironbark tree/timber. ("Kumbarilla – town (entry 18594)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 15 January 2017.) 

Activities: Morning tea will be around a pretty waterhole on Wilkie Creek with good birding and many small plants and shrubs. Wilkie Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River, flows through varied and bio-diverse woodlands that are impacted by the expanding coal seam gas extraction industry in the Western Darling Downs.
Continuing on a circuit drive, a late lunch will be at Lake Broadwater before returning to Dalby. 

Level of Fitness: As this is mainly exploring stops on a circuit drive, it suits all level of fitness.

Facilities: Toilets are available in the Thomas Jack Park and at Lake Broadwater.

What to Bring: suitable clothing and footwear for walking in the bush, sunscreen, insect repellant, water, morning tea and lunch, chair, and the usual naturalist stuff of your choice; binoculars, camera, field guides, notebook, etc.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Image by brgfx on Freepik

To all our members and friends


January Social Get-together - Sunday, 22 January

Our first outing is a members and guests social. Please read your newsletter for details.

Friday, November 25, 2022

November Outing Report - Coalbank, SEQ - 6 November 2022

The Toowoomba Field Naturalists Club Inc. would like to respectfully acknowledge the Jarowair people, Traditional Custodians, of the Coalbank area on which our outing took place, and pay our respects to both the past and present first peoples, their elders, languages, customs, culture and connection to this wonderful country.  

Morning tea in fine spring weather
Photo: L. Moodie

It was a bright sunny morning when members wended their way to Coalbank,  A talk by the current owners was given during morning tea. The land (about 350 acres or 142 ha) was bought about fifteen years ago, when it was a dairy farm. The talk included an outline of some of their philosophy that underpins what they do on this property, e.g., every plant has its place, just need to find out where. One principle: anything cut, went back into the earth as mulch.

Red Passion Flower 
Passiflora aurantia
Photo: T, Gardner

Then it was time to explore an area near a scree slope. (See more information about screes at the end of this report.) An Orange Olive Plum Elaeodendron australe var. integrifolium but no fruit at the moment caught some members' attention. There was also a lot of yellow-flowering Spur Goodenia Goodenia paradoxa covering a lot of the ground. A flowering native passion vine Passiflora aurantia var. aurantia which had both its pink/reddish flowers as well as some green fruit was admired. There were also some weeds that we noted: the Spear Thistles and Lantana.

Warrigal Greens  
Tetragona tetragoinoides
Photo: T, Gardner

After lunch members explored the creek, disturbing a Lace Monitor Varanus varius, which dashed up a tree. 

All in all, an outing in which the weather made it a very pleasant, late spring excursion. 

The scree slope - From Ipswich west into the Great Artesian Basin the rock sequence contains sandstones to feldspathic sandstones and finer mudstones.

On the Range from Toowoomba to the Bunya Mountains there are remnants of the many basalt flows mostly as hill caps. The basalts, some coarse and blocky some flowbanded and more finely layered, are mostly harder than the underlying sediments.

During weathering, the softer underlying rocks erode more easily leaving the basalt with steep, cliff like outcrops near the hilltops. As the basalt breaks and collapses down the slope a cover of basaltic fragments. sometimes as scree, forms over the eroding sediments.

scree (skrē) n. 1. Loose rock debris covering a slope.

The term scree is applied both to an unstable steep mountain slope composed of rock fragments and other debris, and to the mixture of rock fragments and debris itself.  The term scree is sometimes used more broadly for any sheet of loose rock fragments mantling a slope.  

The scree slope
Photo: D. Johnstone
Lace Monitor 
Varanus varius
Photo: D. Johnstone 

Species Lists

Reptiles: Elegant Snake-eyed Skink Cryptoblepharus p. pulcher, Lace Monitor Varanus varius 
Frogs: Beeping Froglet Crinia parinsignifera, Spotted Grass Frog Limnodynastes amanuenses, Slender Bleating Treefrog Litoria balatus, Emerald Spotted Treefrog Litoria peronii 
Birds: Plumed Whistling-Duck, Crested Pigeon, Bar-shouldered Dove, White-faced Heron, Black-shouldered Kite, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Australian King Parrot, Pale-headed Rosella (southern form), Pheasant Coucal, Eastern Koel, Laughing Kookaburra, Superb Fairy-wren, Striated Pardalote, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Striped Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler (eastern), Eastern Whipbird, Australasian Figbird, Olive-backed Oriole, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong (eastern Australia), Willie Wagtail (southern), Torresian Crow, Apostlebird, Welcome Swallow 
Land Snails: Nomadic Velvet Snail Neveritis aridorum 
Spiders: Speckled Orbweaver Araneus circulissparsus, a flower spider Boomerangia dimidiata, wrap-around spiders Dolophones conifera and Dolophones turrigera, Garden Orb-weaver Hortophora transmarina, Dotty Lynx Spider Oxyopes punctatus, Variable Lynx Spider Oxyopes variabilis, Octopus Crab Spider Tmarus marmoreus 
Boomerangiana dimidiata
Photo: G. Walter
Butterflies: Glasswing Acraea a. andromacha, Caper White Belenois java teutonia, Common Crow Euploea corinna, Lesser Wanderer Danaus petilia, Monarch Danaus plexippus (including caterpillar), Scarlet Jezebel Delias a. argenthona, Black Jezebel Delias nigrina, Large Grass Yellow Eurema hecabe, Meadow Argus Junonia villida, Orchard Swallowtail (Australian subspecies) Papilio a. aegeus, Chequered Swallowtail Papilio demoleus sthenelus, White-banded Plane (southern subspecies) Phaedyma s. shepherdi, Cabbage White
Cattle Poison Sawfly
Lophyrotoma interrupta
Photo: G. Walter
Pieris rapae
, Wattle Blue Theclinesthes miskini, Common Grass Blue Zizina otis labradus 
Dragonflies and Damselflies: Wandering Ringtail Austrolestes leda, Wandering Percher Diplacodes bipunctata, Scarlet Percher Diplacodes haematodes, Tau Emerald Hemicordulia tau 
Other Invertebrates: Beetles; Yellow Soldier Beetle Chauliognathus flavipennis, a longicorn beetle Corrhenes paulla, a weevil 
Rhinotia sp. (possibly a Long-nosed Weevil Rhinotia hemisticta), Bugs; Ricespotting Bug Eysarcoris distinctus, Cicadas; Bark Squeaker Atrapsalta corticinaFlies & Mosquitoes; Scotch Grey Mosquito Aedes alternans, Ants & Sawflies; Cattle Poison Sawfly Lophyrotoma interrupta, Giant Bull Ant Myrmecia brevinoda
Bark Squeaker Atrapsalta corticina
Photo: G. Walter

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

Herbs: Spur Goodenia or Branching Goodenia Goodenia paradoxa, Queensland Darling Pea Swainsona queenslandica, Warrigal Greens Tetragonia tetragonoides.
Vines, Scramblers & Climbers: Red-flowering Passionfruit Passiflora aurantia,
Trees: Narrow-leaved Red Olive Plum or Orange Olive Plum Elaeodendron australe var. integrifolium, Forest Red Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis, Native
Cherry or Cherry Ballart  Exocarpos cupressiformis.
A Weevil - Rhinotia species
Photo: G. Walter