Irediparra gallinacea

This morning, Cass took me to one of her favourite nearby birding spots, where I was delighted by the Comb-crested Jacanas, Irediparra gallinacea. Look at those feet, evolved for walking on water plants!

By late morning I was at Samford Conservation Park, meeting up with artist and environmental educator Bethan Burton. She’s a treasure! Our few hours together weren’t nearly enough. We observed an interesting butterfly whose forewings seemed to be transparent; she later texted me an ID: Cressida cressida, the Clearwing Swallowtail or Big Greasy — funny name! Gorgeous butterfly! Lovely woman!

Bruguiera gymnorhiza

Another day, another wetland, this time in the company of my rad SIL, Cass. The Maroochydore Wetlands Sanctuary at Bli Bli is, according to one of their interpretive signs, “home to 180 species of birds, 30 species of crabs, five species of mangroves, and untold species of reptiles, amphibians, insects, crustaceans, molluscs, plants and fungi.” And millions of mosquitoes. I even wore Aerogard, an exercise in futility.

I was particularly taken with the Orange Mangrove, Bruguiera gymnorhiza. It has the largest leaves of all the mangroves in the Sanctuary, bright red-orange flowers, and an interesting method of reproduction. We found a propagule that had dropped onto the boardwalk, and helpfully shot it into the mud below. According to Wikipedia, the propagules are eaten by many indigenous groups in northern Australia and southeastern Papua New Guinea, and there is also evidence of them being eaten in India, Bangladesh, and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Eustrephus latifolius

I’ve been wanting to stop at Boondall Wetlands for the longest time, and today I finally did. The reserve supports various plant communities including eucalyptus and melaleuca woodlands, remnant rainforests, ironbark forests, casuarina forests, grasslands, tidal mudflats, mangroves, swamplands, hypersaline flats and salt marshes.

It’s a great birdwatching site—apparently over 190 species of birds use the various habitats throughout the year—but I visited in the middle of a hot day so didn’t see much bird action. Definitely worth a return visit at other times and seasons.

mystery ducks

I saw these ducks down by the lake today, and I’m not sure what they are. Yellow beak, black head, no white neck ring. Perhaps a hybrid of a mallard and something else? Or are they mallards in ‘eclipse plumage’?

green and pink

Around here, you can’t swing a quoll (not that you would) without hitting a park or green space. Mature trees, creeks, and playgrounds abound, which provide huge quality-of-life enhancements to residents, whether they realise it or not.

Brisbane has, on average, 54 per cent green cover, though, as in most cities, affluent areas have more mature trees than poorer suburbs. (In comparison, Melbourne had just 23 per cent total tree cover in 2020, and Sydney had 34 per cent. All three cities lost green cover between 2013 and 2020.)

Needless to say, I’ve been spending time every day in the nearby green spaces, mostly just sitting and breathing it all in. Today, there was also a little sketching in a pink cafe with a fancy chandelier. It’s good to mix it up.

Trichonephila edulis

There are sooooo many golden orb weavers (Trichonephila edulis) here in the Australian sub-tropics at this time of year; every garden sports half a dozen or more, it seems. Their tangled webs are large, strong and sticky, so one needs to be careful when walking outside in the dark. The spider’s bite is not venomous, though it can cause pain and swelling. Perhaps you’d like to try biting back: edulis means edible. The spider has apparently been considered a delicacy in Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia, plucked by the legs from its web and lightly roasted over an open fire.

The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) on the other hand, is much harder to spot. So I was pretty happy when all my neck-craning paid off this afternoon, down by the creek.