Friday, November 25, 2022

November Outing Details - Coalbank, SEQ - 6 November 2022

Red Passion Flower 
Passiflora aurantia
Photo: T, Gardner
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.

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

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Foxbar Falls Camp Report - 14 - 17 October 2022

Philobota arabella
The Toowoomba Field Nats were so lucky with the weather for our Spring Camp at Foxbar Falls. The Falls is a private campground in a bush and lake setting on a 200-acre working farm on the Queensland Granite Belt country, 20 minutes’ drive west of Stanthorpe, or two hours’ drive south of Toowoomba.

A diverse range of native flora and fauna, including stunning wildflowers, bush birds, waterbirds, reptiles and native mammals, can be spotted from the campground and walking trails which wander along the shores of the lakes and through the surrounding heath and open woodland. As always with the Granite Belt country the scenery is magnificent.

Toowoomba Natters on Sow and Pigs

View from Sow and Pigs

The moth, Philobota arabella, pictured below and at the top of this post, is an uncommon one for Queensland.

Another view of Philobota arabella
Photos: D. Gardner
More photos follow the species lists.

Species Lists

Butterflies: Caper White, Black Jezebel
Reptiles: Lace Monitor 
Frogs: (all heard) Eastern Banjo Frog, Striped Marsh Frog, Common Eastern Toadlet.
Mammals: Feral Pig, Deer
Birds: Compiled from numerous members' sightings: thanks to all. 
Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Australian Darter, Masked Lapwing, Black-fronted Dotterel, Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Australian Pelican, White-faced Heron, Intermediate Egret, Dusky Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Spotted Crake, Brown Quail, Wedgetail Eagle with young in the nest, Barn Owl (H), Tawny Frogmouth, Bar-shouldered Dove, Galah, Corella, Eastern Rosella, Crimson Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Koel, Brush Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, Forest Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Welcome Swallow, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Speckled Warbler, White-throated Gerygone, Brown Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, Spotted Pardalote, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Scarlet Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Red Wattlebird, Grey-crowned Babbler, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Pied Butcherbird, Pied Currawong, Australian Magpie, Torresian Crow, Magpie-lark, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Leaden Flycatcher, Eastern Yellow Robin, Australian Reed Warbler, Common Myna, Mistletoe Bird, Australasian Pipit.
Flora: compiled by Deb Ford and Judy Stevens. Botanical and common names (where available) are those given in Wildflowers of the Granite Belt, 3rd Edition (2014) or Mangroves to Mountains, 2nd Edition (2021). Plants with an asterisk are rare and threatened. There were many more species, but this list includes only those that we could identify.
Acacia adunca Wallangara Wattle, Acacia fimbriata Fringed Wattle, Acacia granitica Granite Wattle, Acacia montana Mallee Wattle (not local to area), Acacia nerifolia Granite Silver Wattle, Actinotus helianthi Flannel Flower, Banksia integrifolia subsp. compar White Banksia, *Bertya recurvata*Boronia amabilis, *Boronia granitica Granite Boronia, Brachyscome stuartii Stuart's Daisy, Callitris endicheri Black Cypress, Calochilus robertsonii Purplish Beard Orchid, Calytrix tetragona Heath Myrtle, Cheilanthes distans Bristle Cloak Fern, Chloanthes parviflora Small-flowered Ice Plant, Dampiera pupurea Dampiera (both purple and white forms), Dianella caerulia Blue Flax Lily, Dillwynia phylicoides Showy Parrot Pea, Dillwynia sieberi Prickly Parrot Pea, Diuris chrysanthis Granite Donkey Orchid, Drosera spatulata Rosy Sundew, Erythrorchis cassythoides Leafless Climbing Orchid/ Bootlace Orchid, Eucalyptus scoparia Wallangara White Gum, Glossodia major Wax Lip Orchid, Hardenbergia violaceae False Sarsaparilla Vine, Hibbertia cistoideaHibbertia elata Tall Guinea Flower, Hibbertia linearis var. obtusifolia Hoary Guinea Flower, Hibbertia Mt GilliesHibbertia riparia Erect Guinea Flower, Hovea graniticolaHybanthus monopetalus Lady's Slipper, *Kunzea bracteolata White Kunzea, Kunzea obovata Pink Kunzea, Leptospermum minutifolium Small-leaved Tea-tree, Leucochrysum albicans var. albicans Hoary Sunray, Lomandra laxa Broad-leaved Matrush, Lomandra longifolia Spiny-headed Matrush, Lomandra multiflora Many-flowered Matrush, Micromyrtus sessilis Granite Heath, Ozothamnus diosmifolius Rice Flower/Sago Bush (pink and white forms), Ozothamnus obcordatus Grey Everlasting, Pimelia linifolia var. linifolia Queen of the Bush, Plectranthus suaveolens Cockspur Flower, Prostanthera nivea Snowy Mintbush, Seringia hilliiStylidium graminifolium Grass Trigger Plant, Stylidium laricifolium Tree Trigger Plant, Stypendra glauca Nodding Blue Lily, Utricularia dichotoma Fairy Aprons, Viola betonicifolia Mountain Violet, Xanthorrhoea johnsonii Forest Grass Tree, Zieria compacta var. compacta Shiny-leaved Zeria, Zieria laevigata Twiggy Midge Bush.

Bertya recurvata
The photo shows the separate male and female flowers common to this genus. Male flowers along the stem in leaf axils. The two female flowers are ovaries protected by perianth segments and topped with several styles. [Photo: D. Ford]

Following photos by D. Ball
Campsite beside Lake Edith

Sundew flower Droseri sp. 

Admiring the moss gardens
in the damp hollows below the boulders

Beautiful Boronia

Flannel Flowers Actinotus helianthi

Waxlip Orchid Glossodia major

Steep descent from Mt Ferguson

Stiff or White  Kunzea Kunzea bracteolata  

Sticky Wattle Acacia viscidula

Frosty Wattle Acacia pruinosa 

Friday, September 30, 2022

October Outing Details: Ravensbourne area, 9 October 2022

The Toowoomba Field Naturalists Club Inc. acknowledges the land of the Barunggam people who are the traditional custodians of Ravensbourne-Perseverance and pay our respects to both 
Male Regent Bowerbird at the property
the past and present first peoples, their elders, languages, customs, culture and connection to this wonderful country.

Time: Meet at the property at 9:30am. Carpooling will be available at Neil Street carpark, Toowoomba at 8:20 am.

Where: Ravensbourne/Perseverance area

Directions: If you're not a Toowoomba Field Naturalists Club member, please contact us,, for directions. Members, please  refer to the newsletter.

Activities: Tour of the extensive gardens, a home sawmill, beehives, orchard, hot house and carnivorous plants before a picnic morning tea and discussion with our hosts around 11.00 am. 

Then exploring a natural, tall eucalypt forest and returning for a late lunch and discussion. 

Botanists, birdwatchers and insect observers will all find something of interest .

What to Bring: chair, morning tea and lunch, and the usual naturalist stuff; binoculars, camera, field guides, notebook, etc.

Donkey Orchid
The property

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Outing Report - 4 September 2022, Western Escarpment Parks Toowoomba

Members met at the Cranley Escarpment Park. This is a large remnant bushland reserve on the north-west outskirts of Toowoomba with a two kilometres circuit walk along a wide path. Sadly, we could call it a weed reserve for it contains ‘good’ stands of lantana, tree pear and privet. It has been suggested that Governor Phillip was responsible for the introduction of the cactus to start a cochineal industry: red dye was needed by the British army for their uniforms and the cochineal beetle, which feeds on certain species of cacti, was the source of a vivid red dye. (A good ‘read’ is A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield).

It was good to see some flowering native groundsel Senecio species, and the Soap Tree Alphitonia excelsa was in fruit. A wattle tree had many galls with grubs chomping their way through the galls. 

Probably Trichilogaster sp.
(a small genus of Chalcid wasps that 
are gall-formers on Australian acacia.)
What the park lacked in native vegetation it made up for in bird life. Twenty-nine species were seen and most obvious were the large number of Grey Fantails moving in front of us as we walked.

Our second stop was John Trousdell Park at Cotswold Hills Estate. John George Trousdell came to Australia from Ireland in 1865 and farmed in the Meringandan area. He was one of the earliest settlers in that region. Lunch is a time for eating, chatting, and looking: an arboreal termite mound took our interest as did the kookaburras; Noisy Miners were nesting in the small bunya pine. The park has a short (1.2 kilometre) loop with challenging slopes down and up. Again, interesting vegetation was in short supply, but birdlife was varied. A small muddy dam was occupied by a group of Wood Ducks and the highlight on the path was the Variegated Fairy-wrens and one Superb Fairy-wren.

Bird Lists

Cranley Escarpment Park

Crested Pigeon, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Black Kite, Galah, Rainbow Lorikeet, Pale-headed Rosella, Pheasant Coucal, Laughing Kookaburra, Speckled Warbler, White-throated Gerygone, White-browed Scrubwren, Brown Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Noisy Miner, Striated Pardalote, Australasian Figbird, Golden Whistler, Eastern Whipbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Pied Currawong, Australian Magpie, Pied Butcherbird, Grey Butcherbird, Grey Fantail, Crow (? Australian Raven/Torresian Crow), Eastern Yellow Robin, Silvereye, Red-browed Finch, Double-barred Finch.

John Trousdell Park

Australian Wood Duck, Straw-necked Ibis, Little Pied Cormorant, Masked Lapwing, Galah, Pale-headed Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Noisy Miner, Australian Magpie, Australian Magpie, Willie Wagtail, Australian Pipit.

Monday, July 25, 2022

August Outing Details - Dingo Mountain Parkland and the Police Paddock, 7 August 2022

We would like to respectfully acknowledge the Jarowair', Garumga, and Dalla people, Traditional Custodians, of the Crows Nest area on which our outing will take place, and pay our respects to Elders both past, present and future.  

Dingo Mountain Parkland
Time: 7.30 am for birders, 9.30 am at Crows Nest for others (both at the T-junction). 

Where: Crows Nest at the T-junction of Albert and Jones Streets and 3 Mile Road.  Carpooling in a small number of high clearance 4WDs is essential. Independent vehicular travel within Dingo Mountain Parkland is not possible. Other cars can be left at Jones Road.

Description: Dingo Mountain Parkland preserves a large area of a unique ecosystem type which occurs only on sandstone near Crows Nest. Click here for more information.
The Police Paddock is across Crows Nest Creek from Dingo Mountain and has interesting but different flora to that found in the Parkland.

Activities: Steve Plant will be our guide. An excellent botanist with comprehensive knowledge of local natural history. He will initially take us to the picnic area in the Parkland. Here you can stay and wander close by or join his guided tour of the special features of this area which includes a diverse array of native flora, birds and sandstone ledges and outcrops. This is where we will have morning tea.
Afterwards we will travel by car to the Police Paddock where Steve will lead another guided tour and we will have lunch.

Facilities: Toilets and shelters at the picnic area.

What to Bring: Members and visitors will need to bring a folding chair, morning tea and lunch. Hats and a warm jacket are advised. 

Photo: from the website 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Outing Report - 10 July 2022, Lockyer Wetlands

We would like to respectfully acknowledge the Yuggera Ugarapul people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which our outing took place, and pay our respects to Elders both past, present and future.  
Being swamped by the dairy herd
at Pagel's Rd, Lockrose.
 This outing was a drive through the Lockyer wetlands. Our first stop was at Pagels Road, Lockrose; a farm dam seen from the Brightview Road which normally would be bypassed. At the moment it is alive with birds. Though we also found dairy cows.
The dairy herd from the dead tree in above pic.
The Natters cars are under the trees in the distance.

Then it was only a short drive to our morning tea stop at Jensens Swamp Environmental Reserve where we were greeted by calls of the Rainbow Bee-eaters. There were so many bush birds taking advantage of the good conditions. We wandered around the tracks and over forty bird species were recorded plus two Koalas and an Emerald-spotted Tree Frog. 

Galahs at Pagels Rd
The next stop was Atkinson Dam. There wasn't much wildlife about but the Natters had a lovely,  uninterrupted  view of the dam from the lunch spot. Later, some of us had a good sighting of a high flying White-bellied Sea Eagle while others just lazed in the sunshine. 
The birdos in the group were looking forward to Seven Mile Lagoon as some good birds had turned up here recently. We weren't disappointed as we saw a Hoary-headed Grebe which is not a common bird for this area. 
Most of the group went onto Lake Clarendon, another attractive spot. But then it was time to call it a day. Everyone agreed it had been a very memorable outing. 

Emerald-spotted Tree Frog
at Jensens Swamp
Yellow colouration on
Emerald-spotted Tree Frog at Jensens Swamp

Little Egret at Jensens Swamp
Red Tiger Assassin Bug Havinthus rufovarius
Natters enjoying their lunch at Atkinson Dam
Seven Mile Lagoon
with Mt Tarampa in the background.
       The route; starting on the right at Pagels Road 
and going anti-clockwise to Lake Clarendon
Photos: T. Allen, L. Beaton, J. Gundry, G. Walter

Species Lists for Lockyer Wetlands – 10 July 2022

* = introduced species

Amphibians & Reptiles (3 species): Emerald-spotted Tree Frog Litoria peroni, Cane Toad Rhinella marina (roadkill), Elegant Snake-eyed Skink Cryptoblepharus pulcher pulcher.

Birds (77 species): Plumed Whistling Duck, Black Swan, Australian Wood Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Hoary-headed Grebe, *Rock Dove, Crested Pigeon, Australian Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Australian Pelican, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, *Cattle Egret, White-faced Heron, Little Egret, Straw-necked Ibis, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling Kite, Black Kite, Brown Goshawk, Laughing Kookaburra, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon, Purple Swamphen, Eurasian Coot, Pied Stilt, Masked Lapwing, Cockatiel, Galah, Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-rumped Parrot, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Pale-headed Rosella, Rainbow Bee-eater, Superb Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Weebill, White-throated Gerygone, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Brown Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater, Little Friarbird, Grey-crowned Babbler, Varied Sittella, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, White-winged Chough, Magpie-lark, Silvereye, Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin, *Common Starling, *Common Myna, Mistletoebird, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin. 

Mammals (4 species): Short-beaked Echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus (road kill), Koala Phascolarctos cinereus, Northern Brown Bandicoot Isoodon macrourus (road kill), European Hare Lepus europaeus (road kill).

Download separate species lists.


Monday, June 27, 2022

July Outing Details - Lockyer Wetlands, 3 July 2022

Atkinson Dam area, June 2022
After the extraordinary rain of the last few months, the dams and wetlands are brim full, making them a great spot for a visit, this time going to places we haven’t visited for years. These four spots are quite different in nature.
Time: Meet at Helidon Rest Area at 9.00 am (or Neil Street car park in Toowoomba at 8.30am for car-pooling). If you would just like to join us for lunch, we plan on being at Atkinson Dam around 12.15pm.
Where: Lockyer Wetlands - Jensen’s Swamp, Atkinson Dam, Seven Mile Lagoon and Lake Clarendon.

Directions: All the distances below are from the Helidon Rest Area on the Toowoomba side of the bridge. We will start at Jensen’s Swamp Environmental area as it is the furthest away, then make our way home via the other locations. There are numerous ways to Jensen’s Swamp, but the following is the one members are least likely to get lost using.
• Take the Gatton bypass, then the Warrego Highway until the Laidley exit at Plainlands (approximately 34 kilometres).
• Head north past Woolworths on Gehrke Road which eventually becomes Brightview Road, towards Lowood. Approximately 20 kilometres along, turn right into Jensen’s Swamp Road (signposted) and the park is on the right.
The round trip from Helidon is around 130 kilometres.
Activities: An ephemeral swamp at the intersection with Pagel Road was alive with waterbirds at the time of the reccy. So it is worth a look. Morning tea is at Jensen's Swamp where there is a short walk with several small lagoons. From there we will head back to Atkinson's Dam for lunch. Travel past the caravan park and shop entrance for about 300 metres and turn left into the spacious and attractive Day Use area.  After lunch we'll stop at Seven Mile Lagoon before finishing at Lake Clarendon.
Facilities: There are toilets at Helidon Rest Area. Toilets and a picnic table at Jensen's Swamp, Atkinson Dam and Lake Clarendon.
What to Bring: Telescopes would be great as well as the usual, including chair, food, camera, notebook and pen for observations. 

Please contact us, toowoombafieldnaturalists@gmail.comif there has been heavy rain during the week before the outing in case we have to cancel.