Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Top Ten Wildlife Locations of 2015

I spent 2015 exploring every intriguing corner of South-east Queensland, from the NSW border, right up to the Noosa hinterland and west of the coastal ranges too. So imagine my surprise and hometown pride when some of the top-ranking natural places turned out to be just a short drive away through Brisbane's suburbs! I can't wait to get to know these wildlife hotspots better in 2016—maybe you'd like to join me?

1. Tamborine National Park (MacDonald Section), Eagle Heights.
Piccabeen palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) groves are particularly
stunning to walk through at Mount Tamborine.
Tamborine Mountain has long been the getaway of choice for many South-east Queenslanders, and yet for some reason, I've always overlooked it as a wildlife destination. My mistake, because an early morning stroll along the 1.4km rainforest circuit track in the MacDonald section is like wandering through a wildlife metropolis, full of local specialties like the land mullet (Egernia major) and pale yellow robin (Tregellasia capito). Even if your animal-spotting skills aren't all that crash hot, it is impossible not to be awed by the truly magnificent strangler figs (Ficus watkinsiana) growing throughout the park, though no touching—they grow alongside equally impressive giant stinging trees (Dendrocnide excelsa)!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Top Ten Wildlife Encounters of 2015

2015 was a beautiful year to be in the bush (or the sea in some cases!), and I had many wonderful encounters with unusual, rarely seen animal species, all within a short drive of Brisbane. Here are my ten favourites!

1. Budgerigar, Haigslea.
It might seem funny to have such a seemingly common and ordinary bird in the top spot, but until you've seen a wild budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), you haven't seen the real thing! Budgerigar have only been recorded in South-east Queensland on a handful of occasions, but persistent drought and El Nino conditions led to a spate of observations this year from the Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Scenic Rim areas, beginning when I sighted the species near Raysource Road in May. Two things about the wild version of this bird surprised me: firstly, that it was such a secretive seed-eater, keeping closer to cover more so than the doves and finches around it; and secondly, that its shimmering green plumage is more beautiful than I'd ever given it credit for.

2. Great Barred Frog, Mount Cotton.
Despite their large size, great barred frogs are athletic jumpers.
Earlier this year, I lost track of time during a late afternoon walk through Venman Bushland National Park, and ended up having to complete it in the dark. To subsequently hear the forest suddenly come alive with the deep, booming barks of the great barred frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus) is an experience I will never forget! I

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Captain Bogart: Road Warrior


Wild BNE fan Jonathan Pickvance is an urban wildlife ecologist with over six years of experience working with wildlife in South-east Queensland. Here he shares one of his most memorable encounters.

"A few years ago I was working on a large-scale koala movement study which aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of retrofitted structures as a means for the safe movement of koalas across roads.  My research group tracked 61 koalas throughout South East Queensland and I was required to track each koala on a weekly basis.  From this, I witnessed first hand the hardship of South-east Queensland koalas in the suburbs dealing with cars, dogs and disease.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Suburb Guide: Edens Landing

Crested pigeons (Ocyphaps lophotes) are numerous throughout Edens Landing.

Featured areas: (1) Edens Parkland, (2) Nexus Forest Park,
(3) Suburban Edens Landing, and (4) the Water Tower hill.
Image courtesy of Google Maps.
Edens Landing, as it stands today, is a residential suburb along a ridge between Logan and Beenleigh that has existed for thirty years. For over a century prior to this however, it was a rural area used by German and English farmers to grow small crops of maize, potatoes and tobacco. One of the residents in the area during these early days of European settlement was Henry Eden, who pioneered a public ferry system at various points along the Logan River, an act of bravery given that the river was, back then, at the southern distribution limit of the estaurine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). When the area was sold to and developed by Leighton Holdings in the 1980s, it was originally called Holmview Heights, but the name changed shortly after to honour Eden and his ferry service.

Suburb Guide: Dunwich

Australian pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus) are a common sight off the coast of Dunwich.

When people head to North Stradbroke Island, they often take the ferry to Dunwich and then immediately head on over to Point Lookout, on the eastern side of the island. It's a shame, because Dunwich is an incredibly beautiful place in it's own right, and if your interest lies in wildlife and nature, a visit may very well be essential.

Friday, 25 September 2015

About Wild BNE

Exploring Springbrook National Park; photo by Leah Mahoney
Who is behind Wild BNE?
Wild BNE is currently a one-man operation, created and produced by myself, Christian Perrin. I am a Brisbane-born and based naturalist with an insatiable curiosity for the natural world, especially as it pertains to South-east Queensland. 

What is Wild BNE? 
Wild BNE is a wildlife blog with linked social media pages, established in 2013 after I returned to Brisbane from living overseas and

Friday, 5 June 2015

Reptiles of South-east Queensland

Elegant Snake-eyed Skink (Cryptoblepharus pulcher), Boronia Heights.
Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata), Edens Landing.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

May Wildlife Report

Warm Weekends for Wildlife-watching.



Black Wattle (Acacia concurrens), Riverhills.

For a few weeks now, we have been blessed with sunny skies and mild autumn temperatures—but that is certainly not how the month began! On May 2nd, a huge low-pressure storm system lurched in from the Pacific and dumped a record-breaking amount of rain on South-east Queensland in one scary evening.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Wild Plants of Moreton Bay

This month marks the one year anniversary of when I headed out into the bush for the first time to study not animals, but plants. It was a decision that changed my life, and I've since come to enjoy going on tree ID quests as much as I enjoy a bout of birdwatching, snorkeling or spotlighting. 

Last Saturday, I decided to celebrate this momentous occasion with a dawn stroll around King Island Conservation Park, off the coast of Wellington Point.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Suburb Guide: Upper Kedron

Pale-headed Rosella (Platycercus adscitus) in the pre-dawn light along Millwood Place.

Just a twenty minute drive out of the Brisbane city centre, Upper Kedron somehow manages to feel yet a million miles away. Nestled in the foothills of the D'Aguilar Range, the suburb is home to almost 4,000 people, most of whom reside in modern, recently-built estates. Confusingly, Upper Kedron does not lie to the north of, nor even border, the suburb of Kedron; the name refers to the fact that the upper reaches of Brisbane's much-loved Kedron Brook can be found near here, fed by Cedar Creek also.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

April Wildlife Report

Goodbye Sweltering Summer, Hello Wildlife!



Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), Bribie Island

I think April might be my favourite month for wildlife watching. It was particularly productive last year and I've met with similar success just now. I think as animals and birds come out of their spring and summer breeding seasons, their numbers are temporarily boosted and they relax and wander more, leading to increased viewing opportunities.

Monday, 27 April 2015

What Lies Beneath

A Closer Look at a Gold Coast Predator.


To live on Queensland's Gold Coast is to live in a place obsessed with fitness. On any given day of the year, at any time of day, the beaches, parks and public spaces are packed with people undertaking their chosen fitness pursuits: running, swimming, surfing, weight-lifting, kayaking, power-walking and more. At 84 years of age, even Gold Coast resident Bob Purcell made sure to live a healthy lifestyle. Previously a champion lawn-bowler in the Commonwealth Games, Bob had always led an active life and had for many years enjoyed a regular morning swim in Burleigh Lake. Connected to the sea by a network of canals, this estuarine lake is sheltered from the pounding surf of the nearby beach, and perhaps this is why it was his Bob's favoured swimming location. Or perhaps it was the convenience: the highly regarded retiree lived in one of the houses surrounding the lake, in the affluent suburb of Burleigh Waters. Regardless of the reason, when Bob entered the lake on the morning of Saturday the 8th of February in 2003 for his daily swim, it would prove to be his very last--he was never seen alive again.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Suburb Guide: Hollywell

Early morning colours on the heathland at Pine Ridge Conservation Park.

Featured areas: (1) Pine Ridge Conservation Park, (2) Runaway Bay
Marina, (3) The Broadwater foreshore, (4) Suburban Hollywell.
Image courtesy of Google Maps. 

Hollywell is not one of the premier tourist destinations on the Gold Coast, but for those interested in coastal landscapes, a visit should be essential! Inside this suburb remains the last coastal wallum heath found on the Gold Coast mainland, preserved as part of Pine Ridge Conservation Park. Before European settlement, this vegetation type would have covered the entire area, right down to the dunes bordering the Broadwater. Things changed in 1890, when

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

March Wildlife Report

Island Life, Local Birds and Eucalypt Study.


Magpie Geese, Bribie Island.

I consider myself a 'summer person', but I have to say that for the first time ever, I am eagerly awaiting cooler weather. This year, we seem to be leaving summer behind only on the calendar, as the daytime temperatures this month have consistently

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A Blog on Some Frogs.

The Naked Treefrog is often a light cream colour that camouflages it against dried grass and dead wood.

With South-east Queensland enduring such a warm and wet summer this year, people have been quick to notice the inevitable insect population boom that has arisen from these conditions. It seems that every week, there are news reports and press releases on mosquito issues and butterfly swarms, and social media is buzzing with complaints about ants and cockroaches inside houses. What has gone unremarked, however, is that this surge in insect numbers and wet weather has been great for another kind of animal around Brisbane: frogs!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Suburb Guide: Mansfield

Wildlife along Bulimba Creek. Clockwise from top left: Tilapia, Eastern Water Dragon, Brown Goshawk, Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

Featured areas: (1) Yandina Picnic Ground, (2) Cresthaven Park,
(3) Sandringham Park, (4) Suburban Mansfield.
Image courtesy of Google Maps.

Located just 11 kilometres from the busy centre of Brisbane, Mansfield is a suburb that is very rich in environmental assets. Originally used for dairy cattle and sheep grazing, the district underwent a population boom in the 1960s when government-housing estates were established in the area. Thankfully, someone at the time had the foresight to keep the banks of Bulimba Creek free from development, helping to establish an excellent wildlife corridor through the suburb that has persisted to the present day.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

February Wildlife Report

Marcia!


Greetings from cyclone-ravaged Queensland! Whether you're reading this from Brisbane, interstate or overseas, you have probably heard the news of Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia bearing down on the central Queensland coast, unleashing havoc and fury as a category five storm.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Fish-watching

Juvenile Tandan, Kedron Brook.

As a naturalist, I aim to be well-rounded in my wildlife observations, but there's one group of animals I've always struggled to spend time with: fish. While I have no issue with recreational fishing if done responsibly, I personally don't wish to cause unnecessary stress to any creature I encounter, so that rules out the obvious choice of 'hook, line and sinker' for fish interaction. Yesterday morning, while sitting by the banks of the Cabbage Tree Creek in the north Brisbane suburb of McDowall, I thought about some of the other ways I have been able to observe fish.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Suburb Guide: Parklands

Dark Bar-sided Skink (Eulamprus martini), Ferntree Creek National Park.


Driving north on the Bruce Highway through the Sunshine Coast, I often pass extensive areas of lush, green forest that captures my imagination: what lives there?!? Earlier this week, I went to find answers to that question by checking out the suburb of Parklands, a small mixed-use area immediately to the north of Nambour.

Friday, 30 January 2015

January Wildlife Report

The Blue Swarms of Summer


Above: Blue Blubber swarm off Surfers Paradise. Photo by Grahame Long.
Below: Blue Tiger, Ferny Hills.

South-east Queensland has had a wet, warm and humid start to 2015, receiving twice the average amount of monthly rainfall for this time of year. A well-nourished landscape is currently allowing our wildlife to flourish; a casual walk in a National Park, suburban reserve or even your own garden will reveal huge numbers of insects, birds, reptiles and frogs.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Real Crash Bandicoot

Northern Brown Bandicoot; Photo by the Queensland Museum
Bandicoots had their fifteen minutes of worldwide fame in 1996, when Sony released a popular videogame on their Playstation platform called 'Crash Bandicoot'. To me, the protagonist looked more like a tail-less fox than our native marsupial, but I like to think it raised the profile of bandicoots to koala-like levels for a generation of youths around the world.

Last week, I caught up with the real thing when I carried out a quick mammal survey

Friday, 16 January 2015

Suburb Guide: Griffin

Sunrise from Dohles Rocks, looking east towards the Houghton Highway Bridge.


Griffin is a semi-rural suburb of the Moreton Bay Region,