A Change Of Season Is As Good As A Holiday On Fraser

FRASER ISLAND: As summer slowly starts to slip away most of our colourful summer bush foods, like the Blue Quandong (Elaeocarpus angustifolius) and Native Blue Tongue (Melastoma affine), have started to disappear and we've started to notice subtle differences in the island's flora and fauna - with the return of visiting Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) and new flowering plants like the beautiful Snake Vine (Hibbertia scandens) - which is also a handy bush remedy for headaches.

One of our favourite summer fruits, the Midyim Berry (Austromytrus dulcis) can still be found in bloom as we head into Autumn. Midyims are delicious white, speckled berries with hints of blueberry, cinnamon and spice to the taste and the plants around the pool area have finally started to fruit - which is later than other areas of the resort mainly due to their sunlight availability, water and the sand quality - so we’ve been visiting regularly on our guided Bush Tucker walks.

Autumn begins with the Autumnal equinox and as the earth tilts closer to the sun, days become shorter and nights grow longer.  With this change of season, comes a change in the night skies as a new cycle of stars becomes visible above Fraser Island.

After a break of about five months, the Southern Cross has risen again and the Milky Way is clearly visible in a band that runs from south-east to the west.

Whilst we can still see the stars in our summer sky such as Sirius and the Pleiades, the winter constellations of Orion, Canis Major and Gemini are setting in the western sky.  Check out our blog from August last year to find out what happens in the skies during winter.  

This little Echidna was a show stopper on Fraser Island
But not all of the action has been taking place skyward and a group of passengers and Ranger Nick were lucky enough to spot one of Fraser Island’s more elusive critters in the sands around the resort – the Short-Beaked Echidna (Tachyglosgus aculeatus).  These little Australian natives are easily identified by the long spines covering their back; short legs; shovel-like claws; and long snout, though are rarely seen on the island.

This little fella (pictured right) actually stopped traffic when he crossed one of the asphalted roads around the resort enroute to his burrow. 

Echidnas are fascinating creatures.  They are one of only two mammals to lay eggs, but whilst the females have pouches, they are not considered marsupials because of this - .they're called monotremes.

DID YOU KNOW?  Baby Echidnas are called Puggles or Joeys.  But unlike their Kangaroo counterparts, Echidnas can’t keep their young in the pouch for too long.  Understandably; as the spines start to develop (at around two to three months), the mothers move them into burrows, where the Puggles continue to suckle for another six months or so.

In and around the resort, we can expect our Short-Beaked Echidnas to feed on grubs, earthworms, beetles, moth larvae, termites and ant nests. Echidnas have no teeth and catch their pray by flicking their long sticky tongue in and out – which is appropriate given their Latin name, Tachyglossus, means ‘quick tongue’.

Mother Nature puts on quite a show on Fraser's western side
As far as marine life is concerned, there’s been plenty of big craters and depressions left in the sand which tells us our Stingray population has been feeding – this makes for interesting viewing and great pictures when combined with one of our famous Fraser Island sunsets.  (If you want to learn more, check out our February blog for info on how these fascinating animals feed).

From all the team at Kingfisher Bay Resort, we look forward to sharing more wild and wonderful island facts with you next time, tree huggers!