Wow a lot has happened since December! Our last post on Orange-bellied parrots deserves a quick update.
For those following along on twitter, or in the news, January has been a rollercoaster of fledglings, foster kids and the devastating loss of 16 captive parrots due to a bacterial infection.
As those of the birdwatching community would understand, it’s always satisfying to get a clean sweep and sight all of the members of one bird ‘family’. And nothing could be more exotic than covering the length of Queensland to see the four Australian-based ‘Birds of Paradise’ from the family Paradisaeidae.
Having lived in Queensland’s south east for 17 years and providing snake relocation services I’ve heard more than my fair share of supposed ‘taipan’ sightings in properties throughout Brisbane’s western suburbs and Ipswich. Amongst the hundreds of suspected taipans none have ever eventuated in this highly overstated species…until now.
The arrival of spring is not the only reason to celebrate in September, it’s also national biodiversity month.
It provides a chance to celebrate Australia’s magnificent flora, fauna and landscapes; and to promote the conservation of our unique native wildlife.
To wrap up NBM 2011, I thought we’d reflect a bit on what “biodiversity” means in Australia.
After hearing a rumour of a rumour that a Noisy pitta (Pitta versicolour) had recently taken up residence at our local botanic gardens we headed off for a Sunday arvo wander.
Australia is a great country, especially if you are interested in ants. We have ants that live on tidal mud flats and have to waterproof their colony against each flooding tide and weaver ants which use their larvae as living sewing machines to stitch leaves together to form shelter.
Albert’s Lyrebirds have an incredible vocal ability and visual display to attract females as we found on a recent trip to Lamington National Park
If you are in the north or east of Australia you may have noticed ‘grey toucan-like birds’ (as described by a Sydney friend) in your suburb making ridiculous sounds at all time of the day and night. These birds are actually the migratory Channel-billed Cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae). They are commonly referred to as storm birds as they turn up in summer to breed then head back to New Guinea and Indonesia around March.
With large areas of Australia underwater it is hard to know how badly our native wildlife has been affected by this widespread flooding.
In the past few months Jase, Kate, Dan and I have made a several trips to Lamington National Park on the border of NSW and QLD. It is a magical place: World Heritage listed Sub-tropical Rainforest (think Fern Gully). Lamington is one of several ‘Gondwana Rainforests’ in Northern NSW and Southern QLD. These forests cover 0.3% of Australia but contain half of all Australian plant families and about a third of the Australia’s mammals and bird species. A biodiversity hotbed!