October and November Night Walkin' With Ranger Bec

As summer arrives, our winter critters were well and truly taking a back seat on our Ranger-guided night walks… and Fraser Island’s local reptiles and amphibians are enjoying being the centre of attention.

Nightly rainfall has kept the resort’s lakes clean, clear and full of fresh water, which our amphibians are certainly relishing. Striped Rocket Frogs, Wallum Rocket Frogs, several Sedge Frog species and the ever present Emerald Spotted Tree Frog has provided a ‘frog chorus’ of musical accompaniment on our nightly wanderings.

The resort is home to a large population of the declining Acid Frog groups – and it is great for us to see these species thriving in our surrounding environment.

And in keeping with our ‘eco philosophy’ on education – we are thrilled to be able to provide an opportunity to spread awareness about these beautiful animals. Unfortunately Cane Toads (an introduced species) were also spotted on a regular basis, but they seem to be in lower numbers than last summer, which is encouraging!

Both the Feathertail and Squirrel Gliders were seen on a regular basis, and when their Satinay and Wattle blossom supply dried up at the end of October, they made use of their razor sharp teeth, biting into the bark of the Wattle trees to extract the tasty sap.

Micro Bats were seen in their dozens around the resort using every opportunity they could to tackle a tasty Cicada for dinner. Often called the ‘sound of summer’, the constant drone of the Cicada makes them ‘sitting-ducks’ thanks to the finely-tuned echo-location techniques of the various Micro Bat species. It’s a pretty awesome sight to see and our international guests loved it.

The local waterways also put on a show during the past months, with many large species of fish - primarily Kingfish, large Flathead (pictured) and the impressive Mac Tuna - taking full advantage of the massive schools of baitfish (Herring and Hardiheads - pictured). The larger fish could be clearly seen darting through the schools of fish, each vying for their own ‘catch of the day’.

The highlight of the month was the sighting of a Threadfin Salmon. We presume this appearance was due to recent rains flushing the local freshwater creek systems, and the salmon certainly put on a show making several leaps out of the water. Threadfin Salmon have a set of brilliant white whiskers around the snout, which often results in them being confused with Catfish.

With all the above amazing sightings at the start of summer, we’re eagerly awaiting what the festive season will provide in regards to nocturnal wildlife sightings around the resort. All the best over the silly season and keep watching this space!

Feathered Flutterings in October and November

Howdy there Nature Lovers,
There's been a whole lot of twitchin' going on at Fraser Island and, as spring draws to a close, a flutter of new life can be seen everywhere as the offspring from successful courtships go about finding their place in the island’s ecosystem.

We eagerly watched as the
Grey Shrike Thrush chicks, born in a nest in our Centre Complex roof (just near the hotel reception), grew to fledglings and, as young birds do, fearlessly leaped from the nest, only to land on the floor below. Eeek!

Thanks to the efforts of their attentive mother continuing to bring the young ones food, and our Resort Rangers - alerting guests to the possible presence of baby birds under their feet - these chicks successfully learned to fly and eventually left the reception building to start life on Fraser.

As the
Bottlebrush Flowers finished for the season, we watched as the flower stems of the Grass Tree provided a rich nectar source for the island’s Honeyeaters throughout October.

Blue-Faced and Lewin’s Honeyeaters (pictured on our Rangers' desk in Reception) were regularly seen feasting on the wild flowers down near the beach. Dusky Honeyeaters were occasionally spotted but it was the ever present White Cheeked Honeyeaters that continued to dominate morning sightings on our Early Morning Bird Walks.

Down on the beach, the nesting pair of
Whistling Kites produced a single chick, which proved popular with guests and staff alike during our bird walks. We followed this chick's progress with baited breath as its mother taught it to fly and to catch fish prey and to produce its stunning whistle. The air was filled with the wonderful sound of the young bird practicing on many of our mornings.

With spring nearly over, the next generation of feathered friends is busy learning about life at Kingfisher Bay. A brand new season is upon us and those warmer morning temperatures should bring about some new and fantastic sightings. We look forward to sharing this with you.

Season's Greetings from our resident 'Bird Nerds' Ranger Kat and Ranger Bec.

A Word For Our Birders For September

Howdy Fellow Twitchers,
With spring well and truly here, the resort is a-flutter with nest building and courtship displays as our local feathered friends get set for another productive season.

The reception complex is filled with spring melodies as a pair of local Grey Shrike Thrushes (pictured left) have started nesting across from the main reception desk. We've watched with amazement as the adults have let themselves in and out of the building with nesting material. By identifying where the automatic door sensor is located, it only takes these cheeky locals three swift flights underneath before the doors open and welcomes them inside.

By the end of the month, we were watching a similar pattern but this time with food being brought in to feed three very hungry and quickly-growing chicks!

With the poolside Bottlebrush trees in full bloom for month, a large number of Honeyeaters were spotted on regular occasions tucking into the delicious and plentiful nectar. White-cheeked and Lewins Honeyeater certainly dominated the group with the less common Dusky Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeaters and Brown Honeyeaters also making regular appearances. In between, a pair of Blue-faced Honeyeaters could be seen swooping down from their nest in a Pandanus palm to enjoy the sweet treats.

The resort's lakes produced consistent sighting of Azure Kingfishers on most morning - darting across the surface to move from one feeding sight to the next. The Azure's close relative, the Sacred Kingfishers, were also seen regularly - particularly as we discovered their nest site along the main resort road... they don't call it Kingfisher Bay for nothing!

Whistling Kites continued to dominate the western beach front with regular sighting of a nesting pair just south of the resort jetty. Being true to their name, the skies above the resort were filled with their stunning whistle as they circled high in the air currents chasing the plentiful schooling fish available in the waters below. The occasional Osprey and Brahminy Kite also added to our tally of raptor sightings for the month.

With spring all around us at Kingfisher and our local feathered friends busy feeding, nesting and courting; October should bring some fantastic sightings of new arrivals. Stay tuned for the next generation of our fantastic feathered friends - coming soon!

This is Ranger Bec sighing off.

September Night Walkin' At Kingfisher Bay

With warmer weather and consistent light showers, the resort's nocturnal wildlife sightings have certainly shifted from our local furry winter critters to our scaly summer time friends.

The occasional Lace Monitor was spotted along hollow logs attempting to absorb the last remnants of heat to get them through the night. These beautiful reptiles truly are a great sight to see by day and even more magical in the shine of the spotlight by night - and our guests just love to take holiday snaps of them.

Even some of our local reptilian species made appearances throughout the month the Carpet Python, Children's Python, Green Tree Snakes and Small Eyed Snakes amongst the most common species - giving our night walkers the opportunity to learn about these animals from a safe distance and to gain a better understanding and appreciation of these beautiful animals for them in their own environment.

The jetty bought about many delights with regular sightings of Dingoes on the late low tides. These iconic Fraser Island locals delighted guests with their casual behaviour as they wandered along the beachfront in search of food. With plenty of Bandicoots, native Bush Rats and loads of marine animals to choose from - the Dingoes certainly had a smorgasbord at their reach.

On the western side, the marine environment didn't disappoint with several species of sting rays spotted each night. Estuary Rays, Blue Spotted Sting Rays and the occasional Shovel-nosed Rays were often spotted demonstrating their unique feeding techniques. This natural behaviour provided night walk guests with a first hand look at how the saucer-shaped depressions on the beach front are formed.

Despite their reputation, Sting Rays are one of the gentle giants of our oceans and a remarkable sight to see gliding gracefully through the shallow, clear waters of the Great Sandy Straits.

All in all, September produced fantastic sightings of some of our local nocturnal wildlife here at Kingfisher Bay Resort and we are all anticipating an exciting October to come.

Until next time, Ranger Bec.

Birders Of A Feather Flock Together On Fraser In August

Hi Twitchers and Bird Fans - Ranger Bec back again with your eagerly-anticipated August birding update.

With spring just around the corner, our local feathered friends have lost no time at all practicing calls, making nests and grooming plummage in the hope of another successful relationship - now that's what I call love, birds!

The smaller birds around the resort put on the biggest show for the month with the Red-backed Fairy Wrens, Red-browed Finches and Welcome Swallows (see pic) taking the limelight on several occasions much to the delight of our early morning twitchers.

The local Leaden and Restless Flycatchers added to the competition when it came to morning calls - often heard as a far pitch about the rest. Even Willy Wagtails joined in the excitement, swishing their tails in a flurry of feathered dancing.

With the local Eucalypts coming into a second flowering state for the season, Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and the occasional Pale-headed Rosella were spotted throughout the canopies tucking into the fresh nectar on offer.

Honeyeaters of every shape, size and colour made full use of the fresh wildflowers starting to appear through the Wallum and, when none were available, made short work of the insects in the vicinity.

By far the highlight of the month was another sighting of the elusive Black Breasted Button Quails (BBBQ) - much to the delight of our Resort GM and birding fanatic, Ivor Davies - who snapped busily away with his camera.

A male and female BBBQ were spotted busily foraging in the undergrowth and perfecting their platelet technique in time for the springtime. Fingers crossed for another successful breeding season for them.

With a flurry of feathers and the cooler conditions well and truly gone - we head into the most exciting time of the year for us twitchers. Spring is well and truly on the way and by the looks of it - a touch of love is already in the air for our local feathered friends.

Until next month - Hooroo from the Bird Guru and keep on twitchin'.

August Night Walks at Kingfisher Bay

Howdy Tree huggers - Ranger Bec here with your night walk wrap up for August. Those cooler August nights started to disappear mid-month as we moved closer to spring... and those warmer nights certainly didn't curb the behaviour of our local nocturnal wildlife.

With the warmer nights and the occasional damp weather pattern, spider spotting became the trick of the day. The local Golden Trapdoor spiders (these spiders are often mistaken for Funnelwebs - but their bites are not dangerous) kept groups entertained throughout the month, with females often seen sitting patiently on their funnel-shaped webs waiting for an unsuspecting insect to walk by. Their speed and accuracy in attaining their prey was a true spectacle to witness.

Also vying for our attention on the ground were the ever present local Bandicoots. These delightful creatures have the ability to hear their insect prey under the ground without having to see them - this usually makes it difficult for us to get a clear viewing. However the Bandicoots spotted of late seem to be more preoccupied with hunting their prey and not with the dozens of prying eyes from our fascinated guests.

Our resident Micro Bats once again took control of the sky show with several spotted on a nightly basis showing off their flight skills in amazing displays of agility and tenacity whilst chasing moths. The Squirrel Gliders and Feathertail Gliders tried hard to compete for the spotlight after a few tremendous glides from tree to tree in full view of our night walk guests - they certainly stole the limelight on several occasions.

All in all, the night walks seem to be getting better and better. With warmer weather on the way, we are starting to spot more of the local frog, reptile and spider species at the resort. Not to be outdone, the local gliders are not ready to give up the limelight just yet.

And in other news - out on Fraser Island dingo whelping season has begun and will run through until November. During this time it is important for dingoes to learn natural hunting and survival skills and to avoid habituation with humans - so stay dingo safe on Fraser!

Stay tuned and hope to see you on a night walk at Kingfisher Bay soon.
Ranger Bec

A Word For All Our July Twitchers With Ranger Bec

We're full of tales about all the creatures great and small today as we turn our attention to Fraser's Feathered Friends for the July round-up...

Early starts on these Queensland winter mornings have certainly separated interested bird watchers from avid twitchers and for those that have braved the early starts, we've certainly spotted some great specimens in and around the wallum scrub and resort grounds.

With the sun slow to rise over the grounds at the moment, the first call of the day has become a contest between the Eastern Yellow Robin and the Laughing Kookaburra. In the end, the Kookaburra certainly played true to its nickname as the 'Dawn Breaker' and was often heard above all others. The Honeyeaters - White-cheeked Honeyeaters, Lewins Honeyeaters and Scarlet Honeyeaters were quick to add to the morning chorus once they warmed up.

Above average rainfall on Fraser Island over the past month has seen an increase in new grass shoots around the resort and a welcome return to our smaller feathered locals - the Red-browed Finches and Red-backed Fairy Wren - with both species delighting in the warm winter sun and abundance of food.

The beach truly came to life in July and early August with several bird walks occurring in the typical westerly weather - perfect for local birds of prey. Whistling Kites, Brahminy Kites, Osprey and the occasional White-bellied Sea Eagle (see pic) made appearances showing their prowess in the skies over the Great Sandy Strait. A few morning we watched a Brahminy and a Whistling Kite jostle for prime nesting locations - the Whistling Kite winning out more times than not.

Am sure our twitchers, early morning risers and folks just new to birding will agree it's been a great time to photograph, view and chat about feathered friends on beautiful Fraser. Until next time, Ranger Bec.

July Night Walk Round Up With Ranger Bec

Ranger Bec here, just touching base after a small break from blogging to say g'day to all you tree-huggers out there.

Despite some chilly nights throughout the last month or so, our friendly locals have been making some regular appearances around the resort grounds during our nightly spotlighting walks.

The local Sugar and Squirrel Gliders have been seen performing consistently throughout the treetops - making full use of their gliding ability much to the delight of resort guests. By gliding between the canopies of surrounding forests, these cute critters ensure they keep away from the predators below. It's also a much more efficient use of their energy. Even their smaller relative the Feathertail Glider has made the odd cameo appearance since we last blogged - showing that, despite their small size, they can still be extremely acrobatic when moving about the canopy in search of food.

The main road to the resort came to life throughout July when members of our resident Microbat colony ducked and weaved in the night sky chasing insects. Not only do Microbats have the ability to detect their prey through the use of sonar, they also detect the size of their prey, the direction they are flying in and how fast they're flying - valuable information to ensure they never miss a meal!

The marine environment has also served up a treat for onlookers with several winter Whiting, Flathead, Garfish, Hardiheads and Herring spotted in the waters below our famous jetty. Regular sightings of a Green Sea Turtle around the ferry ramp also kept guests entertained in the evenings.

Fraser Island's clear winter skies have provided some great viewing for budding astrologers and astronomers - we've seen everything from the Southern Cross to the entire Milky Way. We were even lucky enough to spot Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury all on a single night.

July and early August bought about many fantastic sightings of the local wildlife here at Kingfisher Bay... and we eagerly await what's in store over the next month. Until next time, Ranger Bec.

Ranger Bec And The Bird Week Flockstars!

And so the sand has settled on another successful Fraser Island Bird Week. The Twitchers have gone and our feathered friends are again ruling the roost, without prying eyes checking out their 'crowns', 'napes' and 'lores'. It was another incredible week filled with laughter, stories and a celebration of the one thing that brought us all together - the birds of Fraser Island.

Despite the wet start to the week, sightings started flooding in from the get-go and our avid twitchers refused to let the weather dampen their spirits. All the usual suspects were spotted in and around the resort including Honey-eaters, Welcome Swallows, Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Eastern Yellow Robins and Eastern Whipbirds. In the skies above, local Whistling Kites and Osprey (see above pic) were enjoying the fresh conditions and making use of the thermal pockets.

The Hervey Bay Sites tour, conducted with the help of our friends from the Hervey Bay Bird Watchers Club, proved popular giving our guests an opportunity to cross some species that aren't found on the island off their personal sightings lists. We saw nesting Jabirus complete with their chick as well as the local Brolgas at Garnet Lagoon.

The highlight for the week in and around the resort was the presence of a lone Little Lorikeet who unsuccessfully tried to hide with a flock of Scaly-breasted and Rainbow Lorikeets. This was a fantastic spot by our eagle-eyed twitchers, as we haven't seen one of these since Bird Week 2007.

In total some 133 different species were spotted during the festivities. Numbers were down slightly on last year due, in part, to irregular weather patterns.

Next year's Bird Week will be held from 14-21 May 2011. Check it out or better yet come help us celebrate 10 years of twitching -

Happy Twitchin', Ranger Bec.

Night Walk Round Up For April With Resort Ranger Ash

April saw many wet nights on Fraser, which seemed to reduce the number of mammals spotted around Kingfisher. Most noticeable were the low numbers of Sugar and Squirrel Gliders and an absence of rodents and Bandicoots. We didn't see any particular species more than usual, but a few less common creatures made some cameo appearances on Fraser's western side.

High in the gum trees surrounding the resort, Grey-headed Flying Foxes could be seen and heard just about every night - cackling and bickering amongst themselves. Large numbers of Little Red Flying Foxes and Micro Bats were spotted on several nights - flying at high-speeds and hunting insects.

A Carpet Python made its home next to the Resort's pool shed - well out of the way of resort guests and traffic - for a few days. It could be seen curled up right out on the open ground, attempting to digest a fairly large creature - perhaps a bat or a Bandicoot.

In the Wallum area - frogs and even Cane Toads were not as prominent as they have been in other months - although Striped Rocket Frogs were glimpsed occasionally. A smaller Long-finned Eel was also seen a few times on the resort's regular night walk. The highlight for the Wallum area for the Rangers and greenies was a Barn Owl, which was spotted on just one occasion in a tree above the Dingo Den. It sat staring at the light for some time, before flying off toward the hotel rooms. A great start to bird watching for Bird Week!

From the jetty, the usual Common Estuarine Stingrays (see pic) were spotted digging for crabs and eating bait fish. Eagle Rays were seen occasionally swimming much closer to the surface than their relatives. Some nights there were swarms of Garfish and there was no shortage of Arrow Squid in the calm waters of the Great Sandy Straits. A very large Mud Crab was seen walking along the sandy bottom and little Paddler Crabs made a few appearances swimming by at the end of the jetty - easily spotted as their back legs are modified as paddles and beat vigorously to keep the animal moving in the water.

Another wet month seems to have dissuaded some of the wildlife from being too active, but again a few of our interesting and less common friends did pop up and say hello - must to the delight of guests and staff alike.

Now into May.. we turn our attention to our feathered friends and the start of Bird Week for 2010. We'll keep you posted with the action as it comes to hand.

Until next time, Ranger Ash.

Bluedog Spots A Mistletoe Bird at Kingfisher Bay Resort - Fraser Island, Australia

Fraser Island Bird Week - May 8-15
Blog excerpt taken from Blue-dogphotography.blogspot.com - Images and words by Danielle Lancaster, Blue Dog Photography.

This morning I finally photographed a male Mistletoe Bird, Dicaeum Hirundinaceum. Now while not uncommon in certain areas, such as within the grounds of Fraser Island's Kingfisher Bay Resort, what makes them a difficult subject is that they are so busy.

These tiny birds, only 10-11cm, have a brilliant scarlet throat and under-tail that catches, not only the sun but also the eye of any avid bird watcher. Well, the boys do. Mistletoe Birds are known to show marked "sexual dimorphism". What this means is that the males get to be flamboyant in their colourings while the females are far less glam.

Early morning insects have them snapping their beaks as they dart swallow-like in flight, fluttering and calling to their mmates in the bush surrounding the resort. They have sharp little voices but a choice of calls including a high double note and a warble.

We had joined Ivor Davies, Group General Manager of Kingfisher Bay Resort (see above) for a bit of bird spotting. Ivor is a keen twitcher and knows his 'bird stuff'. Indeed, he's just returned from a trip to the Red Centre where he added a futher 10 birds to his personal spotters' list.

He not only tells, but also acts out the performance of the Mistletoe Bird, a canopy bird, passing the digested mistletoe and how it ever so gently wipes itself along the branch three times - only three -bobbing between each wipe. It's a rather elegant performance from a six foot three man. The wealth of information on birds acquired not only on Fraser Island but across the world over years, flows eagerly.

www.kingfisherbay.com.au/fraser-island-birdweek.html for the full wrap up.