Saturday, August 20, 2016

Winter birds of Lake Galletely Gatton

20 August 2016

Lake Galletely ~ Gatton, South-East Queensland

Lake Galletely & Lake Lenore are both located in the Environmental Park at UQ Gatton Campus and it is an amazing place to see a wide range of birds in one location.  Today I had to go to the Small Animal Hospital with a couple of wildlife critters, and after, couldn't resist going for a walk along the boardwalk to the lakes.  Previous years in August we have seen Pink-eared Ducks and Red-necked Avocets at Lake Galletely, and I had hoped they would be there again today (and hoping so, as I recently told someone that this location was a good place to go in August for a Pink-eared sighting! oops).  These two were not onsite today, but the birding didn't disappoint.  

The Magpie Geese are such an incredible sight, and their sheer size always takes me aback, especially when a Black-fronted Dotterel is standing side by side one!  As I was leaving the lake, I went to have a look at some Golden-headed Cisticolas on the edge of the lake, when a large flock of Plumed-whistling Ducks flew overhead and landed on the far bank of the lake, it was at this time that I almost stood on a massive brown snake, basking in the sun amongst the long grass - luckily he saw me before I saw him, and quickly unravelled into the thick grasses.  

We are back at the uni again later in the coming week, so will visit again in hope of getting a photo of the avocets.  


Magpie Goose - Lake Galletely, Gatton

Magpie Geese, Lake Galletely, Gatton

Tiny Black-fronted Dotterel with Magpie Goose in the background at Lake Galletely

Grey Teal, Lake Galletely, Gatton
Black-winged Stilt, Lake Galletely, Gatton  (The water really didn't look quite this yellow, but the sun has made it look quite unusual in this shot)

Domestic Duck at Lake Galletely (Mallard maybe?)

Gatton Uni - Nesting Box Project

Short-necked turtles caught kissing - Lake Galletely, Gatton

Superb Blue Fairy Wren, Lake Galletely, Gatton

Had to add this photo, although it's not the clearest - cute Daddy Superb Blue feeding his 'big' little one.

Crested Pigeons at Lake Lenore, Gatton
Purple Swamphen - Lake Lenore, Gatton

Please correct me if I am wrong on this one - Female Golden Whistler?  Lake Galletely, Gatton.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Barbed wire & wildlife don't mix

First published 12th August 2016  (Updated 18th September 2017)

The importance of Wildlife Friendly Fencing

Over the years we have documented numerous sad sightings of wildlife tangled and impailed on barbed wire fencing locally.  Often the outcome for these animals, is not good with a long painful death, suffering on the fence, and if rescued, often their injuries are too severe to survive.
Wildlife that become entangled on barbed wire, often also have injuries to their mouths, as they try to bite their way off the wire, causing dreadful damage from the barbs inside their mouths.  They also panic and try to free themselves, often wrapping their body around the wire more and causing more damage as they try to escape.

Educating property owners about wildlife friendly fencing is imperative.  Livestock and wildlife can both co- exist safely.  Please see our recommendations below. Should you find an animal stuck on barbed wire, please call your local wildlife carer or phone the RSPCA Wildlife Rescue Hotline on 1300ANIMAL to be put in touch with a local carer for assistance. Do not attempt to free flying foxes or bats - only vaccinated trained experts are permitted to do this.

All photos below have been taken within the Toowoomba region.

Wildlife Friendly Fencing, is fencing that is safe and effective for wildlife, people and livestock.

•It does not entangle or harm wildlife.

•Allows the appropriate free movement of wildlife across rural and urban landscapes.

•Plain Wire Top and bottom is recommended for agricultural fencing to ensure wildlife can pass safely

•More information at:

J & B Gray

Young female Squirrel Glider alive but suffering on a barbed wire fence after being stuck while gliding from a nearby tree.  The wire barbs had pierced the gliding membrane the tail and the pouch of the glider- she suffered extensive injuries from trying to free herself.  Unfortunately after being rescued, the glider had to be put to sleep as it's injuries were too severe to survive.  Location Kingsthorpe, Qld. 

Little Red Flying Fox trapped by it's wings on a barbed wire fence at a "Land for Wildlife Property" at Cabarlah.  The flying fox had suffered broken bones in the panic of trying to free it'self from the barbs and once removed had to be put to sleep because it's injuries were too severe.  The property owner mentioned that they had been meaning to take down the top row of barbed wire as they had no need for it on the property - I think this would have been enough motivation to do so.

We discovered this Little Red Flying Fox that was alive and tangled on a farm barbed wire fence at Headington Hill.  The flying fox was kindly taken in by Darling Downs Zoo who organized emergency assessment and treatment.

Native Brown Quail that had died after becoming tangled on a barbed wire fence at Meringandan
One of my saddest discoveries - the remains of a tiny feathertail glider on a barbed wire fence, within a kilometer of our family home.  I was gutted that I hadn't seen it sooner.  This was the closest I had been to seeing a Feathertail Glider in the wild at the time, and it was devastating.

The feathertail glider remains from the barbed wire fence - Kleinton. 
Feathertail Glider remains on barbed wire fence at Kleinton.

A poor Little Red Flying Fox, that I didn't see until around 5pm one afternoon earlier this year.  The poor thing had been stuck on this council barbed wire fence overnight and all day.  I rang a local bat rescue lady that I know and fortunately she was able to come and remove the flying fox from the wire.  Experts who are vacinated to manage bats and flying foxes are the only ones who are allowed to handle these species.

The damage to the Little Red Flying Foxes wing is shown here.  The flying fox was taken into care, but it was thought it would be unlikely that it would be viable to survive in the wild, with such a large chunk of it's membrane missing in vital locations.

Wildlife Friendly fencing for livestock.  This photo is taken of a fence on one side of our property Jarowair, that adjoins a neighbour that has cattle grazing on their land.  As you can see, the bottom and top wires are plain wire, allowing for wildlife to easy make their way under, or glide over the top without becoming entangled, but the two barbed wire centre wires serve the purpose to ensure the neighbours cattle stay within their paddock.

Sugar Glider that had perished on a barbed wire fence at Kleinton in 2013.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Masses of Plumed Whistling Ducks at Pilton

10 August 2016

On the way to a job at Pilton on the Great-Dividing Range in South-East Queensland, I noticed an enormous flock of Plumed Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna eytoni) on a rural dam that could be viewed from the road. There were thousands of birds surrounding the entire dam. We had to stop and have a look at them in their massive numbers.  An amazing sight.


Plumed Whistling Ducks at Pilton, 10 August 2016 (iphone 6 photo)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Cabarlah Railway Remnants

1 August 2016


A few photos of one of the overgrown historic railway bridges on the former Cabarlah line. 

J. Gray