Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nioka Park Highfields

Nioka Park at Highfields, is a very small bushland area that adjoins suburban development in the Kalimna Park Estate.  This area is a small section of remnant native vegetation, predominantly eucalyptus forest that was retained in 2005 thanks to John and Elizabeth McQueen, who ensured it's preservation for the Highfields community.

This park provides vital habitat for wildlife in the Highfields area, especially for wildlife using it as a corridor between the Charles and Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve and the outskirts of Highfields.

The park does not have any walking tracks through it, and has been left in it's natural state, it can be enjoyed by viewing it from the surrounding footpaths on Polzin Road or Nioka Drive. On this occasion I took a short walk through it and was pleasantly surprised to see two Red-necked Wallabies.  The park has quite a few small tree hollows that would no doubt be home to the local Sugar-Gliders.  It was unfortunate to see that this area has been used for a "dumping ground" and there was plenty of rubbish, especially builders rubble and house-hold rubbish within the park. Council has put up signs to deter illegal dumping of rubbish in this area, so hopefully this will help.

There were many beautiful species of native flora within the reserve and I look forward to visiting again in Spring when the wildflowers will be in bloom and the bird life will be more active.


Remnant Eucalyptus Forest at Nioka Park, Highfields 21/07/14

Signage at Nioka Park, Kalimna Park, Highfields, Qld. 

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) at Nioka Park, Highfields 21/07/2014

One of the beautiful large gum trees at Nioka Park, Highfields.

Flower of the Native Devil's Needles (Solanum stelligerum) Plant at Nioka Park, Highfields, 21/07/14

Flower and Berries on the native Devil's needles (Solanum stelligerum) at Nioka Park, 21/07/14

Medium-sized nesting hollow at Nioka Park, Highfields.

Common Spotted Ladybird (Harmonia conformis) on a Native Devils Needle Plant at Nioka Park, Highfields

Native Tape vine (Stephania japonica) at Nioka Park, Highfields, 21/07/14

Fruit of the Native "Coffee Bush" (Breynia oblongifolia) at Nioka Park, Highfields 21/07/14

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Charmaine Court Dry Rainforest Reserve at Kleinton 02/07/2014

Today we visited a small patch of remnant bushland at Charmaine Court, Kleinton.  There isn't any signage or official name/title of this patch of bushland that I can see or find but it has been identified as dry rainforest. There is a rather small old broken sign at the front that shows that there had been a Bushcare program funded by the Natural Heritage Trust that was performed at the location in the past (I note that this same sign is present on the google maps street view from 2008). 

Western Side Frontage of the Charmaine Court Dry Rainforest Reserve, Kleinton, Qld 02/07/2014

The only signage evident at the Charmaine Court Dry Rainforest Reserve, Kleinton, showcasing a previous Bushcare Program through the Natural Heritage Trust some time ago.
This small bushland area was protected by the Crows Nest Shire Council when the planning for the surrounding sub-division was created some years ago, thus preserving this small patch of dry rainforest. The area is known for it's beautiful Leopard Ash Trees and an adjoining street is named after this tree species which is only found in dry rainforest and inland vine thickets in Queensland.  (More info about the Leopard Ash Trees at the Charmaine Court  Bushland Reserve here at the Toowoomba Plants blog).   The area is relatively small and can be found at Lot 31 Charmaine Court, Kleinton, off Kleinton Road, just north of Highfields.  The reserve backs onto Meringandan Road and the perimeter of the reserve is mowed so that walking it and viewing bird life, butterflies and plants from the edge is easily accessible and achievable.  There is a very short walking track through the centre of the reserve, for which the entry can be found on the western side of the reserve.

Western Side of the Charmaine Court Dry Rainforest Reserve.  The Walking Track is located left of centre of this photo.

Entrance to the short walking track at the Charmaine Court Dry Rainforest Reserve, Kleinton 02/07/14

While relatively small, this little patch of bushland was alive with the sounds of small birds and there was evidence of echidnas and bandicoots with a massive amount of upturned dirt and holes through out the area and the surrounds where these little animals have been foraging for food.  I was really pleased to see that such ground dwelling animals still exist in an area surrounded by suburban homes.  Unfortunately the tranquil feel of the area did lose some of its serenity with many large dogs barking constantly in yards of the surrounding properties during our visit.

Caper White Butterfly at the Dry Rainforest Reserve, Kleinton.

Dry Rainforest Reserve, Charmaine Court, Kleinton
During the short walk around the perimeter and through the track through the reserve at Charmaine Court we saw a variety of birds including a beautiful male Golden Whistler, Double-bared Finches, Brown Honeyeaters, Superb Blue Wrens and Striated Pardalotes to mention a few along with at least 5 types of butterflies and moths, so I presume there are plenty of host vines and plants for butterflies within this bushland area.  While I am still learning my plants, I did recognize the Red Olive Plum (australe var.australe) and a few other familiar ones which I will have to get correct ids for before mentioning.

Sun shining through the Dry Remnant Rainforest at Charmaine Court, Kleinton

Male White Cabbage Butterfly /moth at Charmaine Court Dry Rainforest Reserve, Kleinton

As a point of interest, when I was doing long-distance running a few years ago, I used to run at times past the northern side of this bushland reserve on Meringandan Road and witness Striated Pardalotes entering hollows in the dirt sides.  The road has been cut through the small hill on which the bushland sits and the sides of the road cutting are a brilliant pink/red soil that is home to many "holes or tunnels" created by the Pardalotes in which they will lay their eggs and raise their young.  Today, on checking, I was thrilled again to see these beautiful little birds darting in and out of these holes in the embankment that they call home (on a rather busy stretch of road), but alas I wasn't quick enough with the camera to capture a photo!


Northern Edge of the Charmaine Court Dry Rainforest Reserve at Kleinton, showing the road cutting and embankment in which the Striated Pardalotes make their tunnels.

Road cutting and embankment in which the Striated Pardalotes make their tunnels on the Northern side of the Charmaine Court Dry Rainforest Reserve at Kleinton. 

Google Maps Aerial View of the Charmaine Court Dry Rainforest Reserve at Kleinton.

INFORMATION SOURCES:  Toowoomba Plants Blog - Patricia Gardner, Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane - Queensland Museum Guide.

Linking with Our World Tuesday 15/07/14