February 8, 2012

Fraser Island's Slipperiest Characters Steal The Show In Jan!

Those balmy mid-summer nights we’ve experienced over the last few weeks have provided us with almost perfect conditions for spotting our native nocturnal wildlife in and around Kingfisher Bay Resort.

Over the last month, our Wallum heath has teamed with amphibian and reptile life – and all the usual frog species were spotted. However, we have to say that it was our beautiful snake species that stole the show this month.

We know that they’re not everyone’s cup-of-tea, but snakes are vital in maintaining functioning ecosystems and their amazing physiology and lifestyle must surely earn them an honourable mention?

The good news is that we don’t often encounter snakes on our guided night walks (much to the disappointment of the resort’s Rangers) and the most common ones we see are our shy, docile, non-venomous Pythons.

The wonderfully graceful Carpet Python can sense temperature differences of 1/30th of a degree using sensory pits in their lower and sometimes upper lips. They also exhibit a style of parental care that is unique amongst Australian snakes - the attentive (and ever patient) female coils around her eggs to guard them until they hatch.

Some of the smaller Pythonidae counterparts that Rangers spotted this month include the pleasantly named Children’s Python (pictured above, image courtesy of tinypythons.com) - named after its discoverer rather than its affinity to children. A Bandy Bandy was also seen, despite their very reclusive nature. They are not pythons and instead burrow underground feeding exclusively on other snake species!

Our skies were filled with a familiar sound this month as our Grey-headed Flying Fox – who occasionally like to grace us with their presence – returned to Fraser Island. The arrival of these protected creatures is unmistakable as they take to the trees and bicker with each other over blossoms and fruit.

While the marine life viewing from the Jetty was amazing as always, one January night our attention was diverted from the delights of the Great Sandy Strait and we were lucky enough to see one of Fraser Island’s most well-known icons meandering down the beach. That’s right a purebred Dingo was spotted looking for food on Fraser’s western beach!

At this time of year they tend to be more active at night in an attempt to avoid the warm summer sun. Much to the delight of our night walkers, this captivating canine stayed around for a while, sniffing the air, the sand and everything in between, before continuing on his path north, disappearing into the night.

Hooroo until next time!

February 3, 2012

We're Just Wild About Our Waders...

Hot on the heels of our Quail report, comes the latest bird wrap up from the Kingfisher Bay Resort Ranger team.

With summer in full swing, the days are long and the birds are plentiful here on Fraser Island. And, with the impatient sun peaking over the horizon at around 5:30am, it is definitely the very early bird that’s been getting the worm.

January was a month for Waders, and most of the ‘exciting birding’ was happening on Kingfisher Bay’s western beach, overlooking the Great Sandy Strait.

Eastern Curlews are regular visitors to Fraser Island and easily identified by the eerie territorial calls they let out of a night time – “cuur-lee, cuur-lee!” In daylight however, these birds are not at all menacing and live an amazing migratory life - flying thousands of kilometres along the East Asian Australasian Flyway from Russia and China each year to feed on our shores.

Another impressive wader that’s been gracing our shoreline of late is the Beach Stone-Curlew – another species known for its wailing call. This large-beaked wader stands up to 65 centimetres and is a striking presence on Fraser Island’s western shore. The species is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (QLD), so we take extra care when we’re exploring the beautiful beach environment in front of the resort, on our guided walks, not to disturb their habitat.

Other waders sighted this month included the shy and petite Whimbrel, the striking White-faced Heron, slender and graceful Little Egrets and our furtive Striated Herons.

Other environments around the resort also provided some great sightings over the past month.

Red-browed Finches filled the Wallum and main road with their sweet cheeping calls as they spent their mornings foraging on the ground for seeds and insects. These diminutive birds are identified by their steely grey and olive green plumage, with splashes of fiery red on their rump and above their eyes.

The start of a new year also heralds the start of Midyim berry season. Midyim bushes are prolific around the resort and, from January to about April each year, produce an abundance of small and very tasty fruits. Mistletoebirds are big fans of these bushes and this month bird watchers were lucky enough to witness male Mistletoebirds gorging on these fruits. Our Resort Rangers also love to forage for the delicious Midyim during our guided Bush Tucker walks and new faces are most welcome!

What a great start to 2012… let’s see what February brings.
Hooroo from Ranger Kat