We’re Springing Towards Summer On The World’s Largest Sand Island

Wide Bay Boronia in bloom
Well Greenies, wildflower season might be over for another year, but here on Fraser Island we have still got gorgeous colouration in the wallum scrub courtesy of our Swamp Banksia (Banksia robur), which bloom from spring through until April; our Lemon-scented Tea Trees (Leptospermum liversedgei); fuschia-petalled Wide Bay Boronias (Boronia rivularis - pictured left); and also from our Native Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus) – with their stunning yellow/orange/purple flowers – which can be spotted a stone’s throw from Kingfisher Bay’s famous Jetty Hut.

We’ve also spotted Mangrove Lillies (Crinum pedunculatum) on our guided canoe paddles to Dundonga Creek, but haven’t as yet managed to find the elusive Myrtle Mangrove (Osbornia octodonta), which has been spotted in previous years.

As the days start to lengthen and warm up, our native acid frog species will start to become more abundant and vocal in the wallum.

The spotlight is on a Wallum Rocket Frog
There are 18 different species of frog on Fraser and the island is home to several species of rare acid frogs - the Cooloola Sedge Frogs (Litoria cooloolensis), Wallum Sedge Frogs (Litoria olongburensis) and Wallum Rocket Frogs (Litoria freycineti - pictured right) - which have been spotted leaping across our boardwalks during our guided walks and Junior Eco Ranger adventures. Frogs are in decline all over the world, so it is heartening to see them thriving at the moment.

These 'acid frogs' are so named because they can tolerate the acidic waters of coastal wallum swamps and wet heathlands found on Fraser Island. Interestingly, the Cooloola Sedge Frog is a true native and is only found on the island and in the nearby Cooloola area south of us.

DID YOU KNOW:  According to the Queensland Museum’s Frog Expert, Greg Czechura, there isn’t a species of frog in the world that makes a ribbit-ribbit sound? Ribbit-ribbit, Greg says, was simply made up by Hollywood.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (pic by richard-seaman.com)
In 2009, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) announced the Fraser Coast (including Fraser Island), nearby Gympie (to the south) and the Bundaberg coastline (to the north of Hervey Bay) had been awarded Biosphere Reserve status, which put us on the same status as destinations such as The Galapagos archipelago and Uluru in the red centre of Australia.

At this time of the year, the Great Sandy Biosphere as we were called – in particular the southern islands of the Great Barrier Reef including the far north west coast of Fraser; Bundaberg and the Cape York Peninsula (in the north of the state) – becomes the major breeding site for endangered marine turtles, which use a remarkable system of navigation to make their way to our shores (using the moon and the magnetic gravitational pull of the earth).

Like clockwork, various turtle species including Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas), Flatback Sea Turtle(Natator depressus), Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta - pictured above) and the less common Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) species return to the stretch of Queensland coastline where they were born and lay their clutches of eggs from November to January.  From late January until the end of March, tiny hatchlings emerge and make the slow scramble across the sand – at the mercy of predators like dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) and raptors - to the relatively safety of the ocean.

Hatchlings on Fraser (pic by Fraser Coast Chronicle)
On Fraser, you won’t see hatchlings (see right) on the western beach near the resort or on the eastern side of the island.  Queensland Parks and Wildlife do however enforce annual vehicle restrictions in and around the Sandy Cape turtle rookery (at the northern tip of the island) from 15 November until the end of March. Vehicles are prohibited on the beach between South Ngkala Rocks and Sandy Cape Lighthouse to protect the nesting area and help turtle populations to recover.  Encouragingly, the Federal Government has also recently tripled fines for people convicted of killing, injuring or trading protected turtle species including the Green Sea Turtle and the Leatherback.

Closer to home, recent neap tides and northerly winds have made for some tough fishing in the past weeks, but Flathead (from the family Platycephalidae) and Whiting (Merlangius merlangus) are still being caught in the Great Sandy Strait and conditions are set to improve over the coming weeks.  Well that’s all from the Kingfisher Bay Resort Ranger team until the festive season. So long Tree Huggers!

Our Raptors Have Us In Raptures This Month On Fraser Island

Hi Tree Huggers, bark falling from our Scribbly Gums (Eucalyptus haemastoma) and our Smooth-barked Apple Trees (Angophora costata) in the Great Sandy National Park has heralded the arrival of October here on Fraser Island.

Short-tailed Shearwaters are washing up in Hervey Bay
Tongue Orchids (Bulbophyllum fletcherianum) are in bloom at Central Station; Red-capped Doterel’s (Charadrius ruficapillus) – looking very much like a miniature Speedy Gonzales – are running a-million-miles-an-hour on tiny legs on the eastern beach; and scientists from the University of Queensland can be seen taking sand-core samples in and around the island to assist with their climate research.

This month, we’ve had a few questions from curious guests, who have ventured over to the eastern beach and noticed a lot of exhausted and dying birds on the waterline.  Short-tailed Shearwaters or Mutton Birds (Puffinus tenuirostris - see above left) migrate annually from Siberia to rookeries as far south as Tasmania and run into trouble when they encounter strong winds and storms out to sea.  Exhausted, they drop to the water and are washed to shore by the current providing a good food source for baby Dingoes (Canis lupis dingo) who are just out of their dens and for Raptors like the White-belled Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster), and so, the cycle of life continues.

The aerial acrobatics of a White-bellied Sea Eagel
Known as ‘giants of the sky’, our White-bellied Sea Eagles (pictured right) have also been captivating audiences on our Ranger-guided walks from Kingfisher Bay Resort on the western side of the island.  A ‘Raptor’ or ‘Bird of prey’ (which loosely translates from the Latin root, rapere, to mean seize and capture) is the name given to predatory birds - Eagles, Hawks, Falcons and Owls - that have keen vision and hunt with their strong talons and sharply hooked beaks.

White-belled Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) have a wingspan that can measure between 1.5 and 2 metres and their wings form a shallow V in flight.  If you have the eyes of a Hawk, you may be lucky enough to spot the nest of one of these feathered giants, which can be situated up to 30 metres high in the tree line.

DID YOU KNOW True Eagles have their legs covered entirely in feathers? On Fraser, our Sea Eagles (despite their name) are in fact a large species of Kite.

A Brahminy Kite is the skies above Fraser Island
Perhaps the most frequently sighted raptor on island is the medium-sized Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus - pictured left), which is easily distinguishable by its deep chestnut brown plumage and contrasting white head and breast.

We often spot Brahminy Kites scanning the coastline and preying on small fish species such as Southern Blue Whiting (Micromesistius Australis) and Australian Herring (Arripis georgianus) as well as carrion (dead animals like the Mutton Birds we mentioned earlier) and small invertebrates such as Soldier Crabs (Mictyris Longicarpus) and insects.

Wing tips like fingers - the Whistling Kite in action
Whistling Kites (Haliastur sphenurus - pictured right) are also spotted frequently and can be fiercely territorial - guarding their nests in pairs and usually with brute force. On one of our recent guided canoe paddles in nearby Dundonga creek, we had the pleasure of witnessing an amazing aerial ‘dog fight’ between paired Whistlers and a rogue White-bellied Sea Eagle, fighting for territory, dominancy and food.

Well our non-feathered friends, it’s time for us to fly.  Stay tuned for next month’s edition of our blog, but until then, soar you later!  Ranger Luke.

We're Heading Through September With A Spring In Our Step

Spring has well and truly sprung on Fraser Island and we, and indeed the whole of Queensland, have been enjoying unseasonably warm days.  With spring comes the arrival of wildflower season on island and the resulting sweet Banksia nectar and other blossoms around Kingfisher Bay Resort have left our native stingless bees (Tetragonula and Austroplebeia) absolutely buzzing!

Creepers in bloom. Image: cairns.qld.gov.au
Earlier this month, we spotted our Fraser Island Creeper (Tecomanthe Hillii) in bloom poolside and near the resort hotel rooms in our Awinya wing.  This beautiful twining climber vine is easily identified by its long, pinkish-cream to red coloured flowers and glossy, green woody foliage and is endemic only to Fraser Island and parts of the east coast of Queensland.

From flora to fauna and Fraser Island’s natural diversity is also showcased superbly at this time of year as native creatures including snakes, lizards and turtles and come out of brumation (a state similar to hibernation, but animals 'wake up' to drink water) slumber.

This month we have seen an increase in sightings of one of Australia’s most iconic fauna species, the Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), see video below, which has been spotted along our shoreline and in the open eucalypt forest surrounding the resort, much to the delight of staff and guests alike. Thanks to Ranger Luke for capturing this fella, whom we have nicknamed Spike, on his iphone.

Spike was the most photographed Echidna on Fraser during a recent Ranger-guided eco walk on the resort's beach
Spring time is also the time of year that we see the annual return of our Asian migratory birds (like our Whimbrels and Curlews) from countries as far as Mongolia and China to our shores. Fraser Island’s isolated beaches and Ramsar-protected wetlands (wetlands of international importance) provide the ideal place to rest their weary wings and feed - particularly as they can lose up to 40% of their bodyweight during their travels.

It is only through the conservation of these habitats that the island (and Hervey Bay) can retain its rich abundance of bird life.  Already this season, we are seeing the return of species such as the Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis) to the beach front near the resort.  This bulky, dark coloured bird is the largest shore wader in the world and chases an endless summer by migrating between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
An Eastern Curlew in full flight on Fraser's western beach
Listen out for a loud, sad-sounding ‘cuuuuuu-leee’ sound that rises in pitch and if you see them, please remember to keep your distance and let them rest as they have another several thousand kilometres for their return journey.

DID YOU KNOW that Eastern Curlews have very long legs, allowing them to wade in boggy areas and moorland in their breeding region, where other shorter-legged waders are unable to go?

We are also seeing the arrival of the next generation of our purebred Fraser Island Dingoes (Canis lupis dingo) out and about on island.  Dingo dens are often hidden in areas such as a hollow log or in a hole dug under the roots of a tree in the Great Sandy National Park.  Each litter can contain 2 to 6 pups and they usually become independent around the age of 3–4 months, or if in a pack, when the next breeding season begins in April.

FUN FACT: Dingoes have unique wrists in the canine world that are capable of rotation. This enables them to use their paws like hands and they are even capable of turning door knobs… but they certainly haven’t mastered our dingo fence latches!

Inquisitive Dingo pups are out and about on Fraser Island
Younglings’ tracks have been spotted on the western beach of Fraser Island (outside the resort’s dingo fence) right alongside their mothers on our daily guided eco walks and photographs of dingo tracks are always great Fraser Island souvenirs.

It has also been a busy month in around the resort in terms of wildlife rescue and relocations.  Our cheeky Bar-shouldered Doves (Geopelia humeralis) are particularly fond of our Centre Complex and are regularly removed from inside the hotel when they get confused and can't find their way out again.

The team here also rescued an injured Australian Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) and delivered it straight to the RSPCA to be nursed back to health. These cheeky divers often steal bait from the ends of fishermen's lines off our jetty and need our assistance to get unhooked.

We’ll that’s September covered tree huggers, stay tuned to see what Fraser Island unearths next month.

Aug: Here's Cheers For One Of The Animal Kingdom's Great Comebacks

What a spectacular winter we’ve had here at Kingfisher Bay and on Fraser Island – temperatures in the high 20s and 30s; an abundance of sunshine and blue skies and stunning conditions on the Great Sandy Strait to kick off the 2013 Humpback Whale Watching season.

The dry, wind-free conditions have been perfect for Queensland Parks and Wildlife to conduct their annual controlled burns on the island (and indeed around Queensland).  These ‘burn offs’ are vital in reduce the fuel load and preventing the potential major bush fire. But they also serve a greater purpose to fertilising the ground and increasing the number and variety of young plants.

Fabulous photo courtesy of Hervey Bay Whale Watch
Near perfect conditions on the Great Sandy Strait have resulted in nothing short of a PECtacular start to the Humpback Whale Watch season.  Recently, our gentle giants of the deep graced Australian television screens with a special story which aired on popular current affairs show, Sixty Minutes.

Encouragingly, Southern Humpback Whale (Megatera novaengliae) numbers have been steadily increasing and this year we’re expecting numbers in excess of 16,000 to grace our shores here in Hervey Bay.   As Reporter Charles Wooley so rightly said, “It’s one of the animal kingdom’s great comebacks.”

DID YOU KNOW that Humpback Whales are the most surface active of all the great whales? And in keeping with their nature, the Hervey Bay Humpbacks have been putting on a show for the flotillas of whale watching boats out in the sheltered water between the mainland and Fraser Island.  
Not drowning, waving!

Some of their most dramatic behaviour includes breaching – where the whale propels two thirds of its stocky body out of the water – then falls back with an almighty splash and Peduncle slaps – where the flukes and peduncle (area from the dorsal fin to the tail) are thrown out of the water and slapped down. Equally as exciting are the close up encounters.

And from the Ranger team, it’s been a pretty action-packed month for Luke in our resort's Jetty Hut. Whilst this talented musician is best known for serving up fishing advice, bait, tackle and sun downers in our water sport hub, his environmental skills were called in to action when one of the island’s non-venomous Carpet Pythons (Morelia spilota mcdowelli) decided to sun itself on a resort building.

Thanks to Madia Botha for sharing this with us on Facebook
Luke spent 20 minutes gently ‘wrangling’ the python before relocating it to a nearby forest. Most of this slippery specimens are olive green, with pale, dark-edged blotches, stripes or cross-bands and feed on lizards, frogs, birds and mammals here on Fraser - so the snake in question will be quite happy in its new home.  Luke’s actions were followed by resort guest, Madia Botha, who recorded the whole thing on her camera and sent us this pic.

And finally, as we move towards the September school holidays (check out our Junior Eco Ranger program) and the start of Fraser Island Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) whelping season – a time when young pups learn natural hunting and survival skills – it’s a great time to issue a timely reminder about being Dingo safe in the Great Sandy National Park.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service’s Fraser Coast area manager, Steve Price, tells us that we can expect to see dingo pups venturing out of their den and exploring their surrounds and mums will be protective.  At this time of year, females, that are feeding young, can lose condition and become naturally lean during this time.

Until next blog, enjoy your time in the outdoors Tree Huggers and happy holidays.

Jul-Oct: Hervey Bay Is Where The Wild Whales Wallow

Each year, with the onslaught of the colder months, flotillas of boats take to the open waters up and down the east coast of Australia to witness the annual Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaengliae) migration – which takes these enormous creatures north to the breeding grounds in the Whitsundays and south to Antarctica on the return.

There's plenty of action on the water at this time of year
Hervey Bay is the only place in the southern hemisphere and one of only two places in the world where these creatures of the deep take time out of their migration schedule to wallow and socialise in the calm, protected waters between Fraser Island and the Australian mainland.

The official whale watch season in our region splashes down from August 1 every year with a blessing of the fleet ceremony and a seafood festival on the mainland.

But it’s not just the Humpbacks that are on show in the calm, protected waters of the Great Sandy Strait.

This year the season started with the appearance of Migaloo the white whale and continued with a pod of stranded wild Orcas and a Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis) and calf in the Great Sandy Strait. Turtles and the always-friendly Indo Pacific Humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) also make regular cameos.
Who is watching whom? Extremely close encounters!

Unfortunately our Humpback gentle giants of the deep weren’t always revered in Australian waters.  Whale protection for certain species only started in the 1930s after the effects of whaling on whale populations became apparent - whaling stations in Australia and New Zealand killed more than 40,000 Southern Humpback Whales on their east coast migration – the very same migration that now attracts thousands of visitors.

DID YOU KNOW Humpback physiology has similarities to us? Their body stays at a constant temperature, much like humans; at some stage of their life they have some hair on their bodies; it's believed they have a similar bone structure and life span.  So too, their circulatory and respiratory systems take in oxygen and transport vital substances around the body; their digestive system is of a similar type to mine; and they give birth to live young. 

Thankfully, whaling ceased on Humpback Whales in 1963, and they were protected worldwide in 1965 after recognition of a dramatic global decline in numbers.  Commercial whaling followed suit in 1978 with the closure of Australia's last whaling station, the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company, in Western Australia. The following year Australia adopted an anti-whaling policy, putting a permanent end to whaling in Australian waters. Whilst working towards the international protection and conservation of whales.

The lee side of Fraser offers calm whale watching conditions
Since the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling came in to place in 1986, many whale populations have begun to recover. The Southern Right Whale, which was nearly extinct by the middle of the nineteenth century, is now showing signs of recovery. In recent years, growing numbers have appeared off the Australian coast, where breeding and socialising behaviour occurs before they head south to feed in the nutrient-rich Antarctic waters.

So, if you haven’t yet experienced these encounters with our 40-tonne Humpback holidaymakers - and their ensemble cast of sea creatures - we certainly encourage you to come visit, you won’t be disappointed.

You call also follow the Humpback action on Facebook and if you're on Facebook or Instagram don't forget to use #fraserisland #kingfisherbay and #HATH.

Humpbacks, Frogmouths, Melomys and more…

As we’ve steamed through May towards the winter months, some of our regular winter visitors have started to make appearances early on the calendar.  A week or so ago, the first Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaengliae) of the season were spotted heading past Stradbroke Island and, a day later, were seen from atop Indian Head – a rocky promontory on Fraser Island’s eastern beach.

An amazing wildlife experience for young and old
These whales make this annual epic journey north to the breeding grounds in the Whitsundays before heading back home – with a little holiday and socialising in the calm waters between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. These early sightings bode well not only whale spotting from the shore for tour guests on our regular Beauty Spots Tours ex Kingfisher Bay Resort, but also for a bumper Whale Watching season  when it officially gets underway in August.

Read all about Jessica Jane Sammut’s Whale Watching experience and check out the early bird special for eager whale watchers.

As we head towards winter we also start to see subtle changes in the way our resident Dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) behave on the island.  Unlike domestic dogs, Dingoes give birth once a year and as we head into the winter months, dingo mums are searching out food and protecting their young with help from the rest of the pack.  As with all new mums, Dingoes can be over protective of their young, so we’ve included some good tips on how to be Dingo Safe in the Great Sandy National Park for anyone that’s headed our way.

DID YOU KNOW Fraser Island’s dingo population is the purest strain of the dingo species on the eastern Australian seaboard and perhaps Australia-wide?

Melomy as snapped by POriginal - Deviantart.com
Closer to home, guests on our regular Ranger-guided night walks spotted one of Fraser Island’s more elusive natives when some unusual squeaking on a night walk revealed a small Grassland Melomy (Melomys burtoni) going about its business in the bushes.  Melomys are ground-dwelling mammals that look like your typical mouse with soft, reddish-brown to grey fur; a body no bigger than 10cm and a tail length that is equal to that of their body.

As with Bandicoots, Melomys are omnivorous and their diet consists of plant stems, seeds, insects and fruit and the easiest way to locate them – as we found out – is to listen for their munching or high-pitched squeaks as they scurry around in search of dinner.   Here on Fraser Island owls, goannas and Dingoes are common predators, as are snakes.

The Carpet Python (Moriala spilota), is one of Fraser Island’s non-venomous snakes and is fairly docile and generally nocturnal - we’ve been lucky enough to spot this species on our night walks of late. Carpet Pythons can vary in colour and markings, grow up to four metres long and have a superb sense of smell.

Their fork-shaped tongue enables them to smell which direction their cold-blooded or ectothermic prey is in. Additionally, they have heat sensing pits on their lower jaw, which helps them to track down warm blooded prey, such as our Melomys at night. Their marvellous muscle structure also enables them to climb trees and feed on any small birds or eggs.

A Tawny Frogmouth chick on Fraser Island
One of our most frequently sighted island tree dwellers - the Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) – is closely related to the Nightjar family, but is often mistaken for an owl; however there is a difference.

Generally, an owl has much stronger feet which it uses to catch prey and will hide away in dense vegetation during the day and feed on smaller birds at night whilst Tawny Frogmouths have weaker feet and use their beak to catch prey and are content to sleep in any tree during the day as they are camouflaged so well... in fact, our Resort Rangers have found that it takes some guests quite a long time to spot these birds in the trees on our walks.

At night, Frogmouths feed on spiders, insects, frogs, rodents and are super stealthy when they hunt. Although they are intelligent birds, they do not have the best road sense, so please do look out for birds flying across or landing on the roads at night time – not just at Kingfisher Bay Resort,  but also when you’re back on the mainland.

Well this month has been about all creatures great and small on Fraser Island and we look forward to seeing what the next month brings.

May: Songbirds Sweeten Every Fraser Visit

The bird life in and around Kingfisher Bay Resort is bustling at the moment and, as we move towards cooler seasonal weather patterns, we’ll start seeing our semi nomadic species like the White-breasted Woodswallows (Artamus leucorynchus) and autumn/winter migrants such as the Rufus Fantails (Rhipidura rufifrons) and the Cuckoo family using the pristine habitats of Fraser Island as a home base, if only for a short while.

A Blue-faced Honeyeater blending in to the Wallum
Whether you’re on a Ranger-guided tour, or just taking a relaxing stroll around the resort grounds, you can’t help but notice the sensational symphony of amazing bird calls.  In particular, while walking around our Sand Bar bistro (near the western beach) and Wallum board walks leading from our Centre Complex and hotel buildings towards the shores  of the Great Sandy Strait, one of the bird calls that is most frequently heard is a loud and repetitive ‘woik weet weet weet’.

This is the call of the Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis - pictured right) - an agile bird with olive-yellow colouration which blends very well in its chosen habit in our Wallum heath. Adult Blue-faced Honeyeaters have an identifiable light blue patch around the eye so you will be able to differentiate them easily from their juveniles, which predominately have yellow or green facial markings.

DID YOU KNOW that the Blue-faced Honeyeater is one of the first birds heard calling in the morning, often calling 30 minutes before sunrise?
Birds in Backyards' White-breasted Woodswallow
Another Fraser regular, the beautiful White-breasted Woodswallow, is a species that is often found around woodlands, wetlands and close to water and is the only one of the woodswallow species with no white colouring on its tail.

This species’ distinctive features include a white chest which contrasts strongly with their definitive black cap and navy blue beak.

White Breasted Woodswallows are quite social, and twitchers on Fraser Island have spotted these small flocks diving near the waters of the Wallum mirror lakes whilst feeding. Being an insectivorous species – that is they have diet which consists chiefly of insects and similar small creatures - they are extremely agile in flight which provides some spectacular aerial manoeuvres.  They are nomadic, moving northwards during the autumn and travelling south during the spring.

More than just  a splash of colour in the bush
This month, guests participating in our Ranger-guided Segway 'green machine' sessions along the beach have been fortunate enough to observe a gaudily coloured small bird chirping and flitting from branch to branch in the golden afternoon sunlight.

This bird is one of our favourites in this blog, the Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus - pictured right) and is identified by its lovely green back, beautiful blue rump and jet black tail.

A really interesting fact about these birds is the way they nest - the male makes a burrow in the dune cliff face by hovering over one spot and scratching the sand away with his claws. If the female doesn’t like the burrow she will reject that site, which forces the process of construction to begin again for a successful mating to occur.

As we head towards winter we look forward to gorgeous sunny days on Fraser, cooler nights and plenty of fantastic bird watching on Fraser Island. Who knows, we may just spot the 355th species of bird on the island – watch this space. And if you're interested in reading about some of our largest migrating visitors, head over to our Life on Fraser blog.  Until next time, happy twitching folks.

They Fly Through The Trees With The Greatest Of Ease

The Blue Tigers are a common sight on Fraser this month
April/May has been a mixed bag for us in terms of the weather and wildlife that we have seen out and about on Fraser Island.  At the moment, guests heading across island to 75-Mile Beach can’t help but spot our migratory ‘Blue Tiger’ butterflies (Tirumala limniace - pictured left), which seem to be everywhere and are easily identified by their brown wings with baby blue spots.

Closer to our home base at Kingfisher Bay Resort, guests on our night walks over the past few weeks have been in for a treat as some of Fraser Island’s cutest marsupials – our Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps) – have made cameo appearances in the trees in and around Kingfisher Bay and, in particular, near our treetop villas.

The Sugar Glider (pictured below left) is a very small, but amazing little animal that makes their home in the tree tops and tree hollows in wet sclerophyll forests (that is, forests with an open canopy of tall eucalypts such as Rose Gum and Turpentine). Sugar Gliders are marsupials – that is they carry their young in a pouch called a marsupium – and, as the name suggests, have an amazing ability to jump and glide up to sixty metres.  It is this gliding ability which actually distinguishes them from the rest of the possum family.

Sacred Familiar's fabulous pic of a Glider in action
When marsupials are born, they are extremely underdeveloped and they crawl, using their barely formed limbs, into the mother’s pouch. New born Sugar Gliders are about the size of a jelly bean, and spend several months attached to the teat in the marsupium.  As they grow, they develop a furry, bushy tail and a black stripe that runs from the head down to the tail. Adult Gliders measure in at around 15-20 cm long.

Spotting them in the trees feeding on the nectar can initially be difficult - because they have a white belly that blends in very well with the white flowers – so it helps to have our Ranger ‘know how’ on hand.

DID YOU KNOW Gliders have a membrane of skin called a petagium that extends from the wrists to their ankles that enables them to jump and glide through the air as if they are paragliding or base-jumping?

The gliding part of this species’ behaviour is actually quite important for a number of reasons.   It’s energy efficient for them and saves them having to climb up and down trees and scamper between them.  It also protects them from predators that they could come into contact with on the ground like dingoes and pythons

Kingfisher Bay Resort Rangers to the rescue
As many of our regular readers know, Kingfisher Bay Resort was built to sit lightly on the land and allow Fraser’s wildlife to go about their daily business uninterrupted.

From time to time we need to step in and lend a hand with our furry neighbours, as was the case recently when a guest let us know a baby Glider was making some strange noises just underneath the Centre Complex building.

We promptly contacted a Certified Wildlife Carer and, following their expert instruction, rescued the little Gilder and popped in our Wildlife Rescue Box. Gliders normally feed on nectar and insects; however this baby did not have properly developed teeth and was unable to access its mother’s milk, we kept it fed on a diet of sugar water and fruit juice until we could relocate it to a care facility on the Fraser Coast mainland (see above pic).

As you can see, this little fella won the hearts of all our team as it eagerly lapped up drops of apple juice out of the dropper. However, as we could not give it the care that it needed here at the resort, we gave it to a wildlife carer in Hervey Bay to look after… and from all accounts he is healthy and ready to head back into the wild.

Stays tuned for next month’s update tree huggers and, for all those mad keen fisherman amongst us, catch Ranger Grant’s latest fishing update on our Life on Fraser blog.

April's Been A ‘Shore’ Thing For Our Fraser Island Twitchers

On Fraser Island, February to April is our migratory bird season and, during this time, we welcome our transient bird population who, as part of their migratory pattern, fly north for the winter and then flock back in the summer and spring to feast on the island's abundant supply of crabs, worms and crustaceans.

Some 354 species of birds have been officially sighted on the island and in the resort grounds. You may not know that parts of World Heritage-listed Fraser Island (in particular a sand passage estuary that runs between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island) are listed as a Ramsar wetland site – which is essentially a site of international importance, often because of the plant species that are there, and because of the protected migratory birds that can be seen inhabiting those wetlands.

A lot of the shorebirds we see on Fraser Island are migratory and 18 of them are actually listed under international migratory bird conservation agreements. With this in mind we always encourage our resort guests and Junior Eco Rangers to take care not to disturb nests and to observe signs when walking near wetlands.

A White-faced Heron
This month we're pleased to report that we have spotted several of our shorebird species - including Herons and Egrets – when we’ve been out on our Ranger-guided beach walks.  Both species are beautiful to look at and commonly found in wetlands and intertidal mudflats, both of which we have here at the resort.

The White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollindiae - see right) or White-fronted Heron, as it is sometimes called, is easily identified by its height – these birds can grow up to 70cm – and by its pale grey-blue back feathers, long yellow legs and white cheeks.  In flight, the dark feathers of the wing contrast with the pale plumage making it easy to spot.

When we’ve been out, we’ve spotted our Herons wading along the shoreline or stooping down to dig their beak into the soft sand to pluck out some of the crabs and other tasty morsels like sea snails and exposed yabbies.

Another fabulous shorebird, the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta - pictured below), is a small, nomadic bird that has wide distribution across eastern and south-eastern Australia and, on Fraser, is commonly found hunting from a perch in a mangrove tree near Kingfisher Bay Resort.  Little Egrets are slightly smaller than the Herons and grow between 56 and 65 centimetres tall.

Did you know that The Little Egret will spread one or both of its wings to shade the water whilst stalking prey? It's fascinating to watch

The Little Egret is also know as The Lesser Egret
As you'll see from our photo, these birds are almost completely white, except for their dark grey-black legs and black bill with yellow colouring on either side of the bill.  Interestingly, in the breeding season their plumage is abundant on the back and breast and includes two ribbon-like head plumes.

On Fraser Island we also see the large, thick-set Beach Stone Curlews (Esacus neglectus) waders from time to time and April was no exception.

This particular species is listed as vulnerable in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992) and has one of the strongest beaks out of all the shorebirds, which allows them to easily crush crab shells and prize open bivalves (i.e. oysters, mussels, scallops).

Beach Stone Curlews are usually found solitarily or in pairs and need a runway and a good run in order to take off in flight   At high tide they can be found roosting around mangroves or in the shade of trees - their habitat is marine tidal zones, which fits the western coast of Fraser Island to a tee.  We haven’t seen their chicks or nests yet, but suspect there is bound to be quite a few on the western side of Fraser - so we'll keep you posted.

Well as you've read, it’s been a great much for bird watching on Fraser – stay tuned to find out what we spot next month.  Happy twitching.

There's Plenty For Night Owls To See On Fraser Island This Autumn

As the sun dips below the horizon on another autumn Fraser day, all sorts of wonderful creatures go about their business in the bushland surrounding the resort.  The diversity of the island’s habitat supports a wide range of animals including many nocturnal species.

Nothing upsets this little Pacific Black Duck!
At the moment Black Flying Foxes (Pteropus alecto) are commuting nightly to Fraser Island from daytime roosts in Hervey Bay and at the mouth of the Mary River on the mainland; and our Villa guests are starting to see our resident marsupials – the Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps) and Squirrel Gliders (P.norfolcensis) and the smallest gliding marsupials in the world – the Feathertail Gliders (Acrobates pygmaeus) –  gliding between the branches and treetops in search of nectar and insects. We expect to see more of these little guys on our Ranger-guided autumn night walks.

This month two of our regular resort visitors – in the form of Pacific Black Ducks (Anas superciliosa) - have returned to their Wallum Wetlands (just a stone’s throw from Kingfisher Bay’s Centre Complex) after an absence of several months.  These birds have a fairly dull brown appearance with some mottling on their side and chest, but have vivid splashes of colour on a spot on the side of their wings called a speculum (see right).

Diagram credit: www.paulnoll.com
If you watch as these ducks move, the wing colours switch from a dull brown to purple to vivid green and back to brown.  This is due to the way their feathers interlock, which in turn reflects different wavelengths of light.

All birds need to preen themselves, using their beak to rearrange their feathers and keep them orderly.

DID YOU KNOW that it is essential for ducks to preen and keep their feathers not only orderly, but watertight?  If they don’t, they could drown under their own body weight! 

Whilst spiders aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, there’s no doubt that intricate spider webs glistening in the moonlight are a thing of beauty.  At night time, our harmless Net-casting spiders (Deinopis sp) spin small, pretty made of thick, bluish-white cribellate* silk in bushland nooks – which we sometimes spot on our guided night walks or with our Junior Eco Rangers.

Net-casting spiders can be found along the east coast of Australia in a wide variety of habitats and have a really interesting way of ambush hunting.   At night, these stick-like spiders build rectangular webs (about the size of a postage stamp) and deposit spots of white faeces on the surface to act as aiming spots.  The spider then hangs from a thread of silk, holding the net in its front pairs of legs and waits patiently for its dinner (see picture below).

Net-casting spiders create miniature works of art
When unsuspecting insects fly into the web, the spiders - which are super-sensitive to any movement in their web - rush over, break a strand off their web and wrap it securely around their prey.

Often, whilst eating their dinner, the spider starts building a new net for its next meal.  These spiders have extremely good night vision and can concentrate available light more efficiently than owls or domestic cats making them extremely good predators in the night-time environment.

Speaking of the environment, there are many who read our blogs who care a lot about the conservation and the effects of climate change on sea levels and global fauna and flora.  As a developed society, the amount of energy we use is of concern.  Kingfisher Bay Resort's vision since opening has been to educate staff, guests and regional district – from schools through to townsfolk – about the environment and our impact upon it... so we joined the global Earth Hour community on March 23 to show what one simple idea can achieve and one person's actions can inspire.

Catch you next time, tree huggers... and if you have any fabulous flora or fauna shots that you've snapped on Fraser Island, we'd love to see them on our Facebook or Instagram pages.  And, if you're interested to know more about island life, check out our Life on Fraser blog.

*A small sieve-like spinning organ in certain spiders that occurs between the spinnerets.

The Birds And The Bees And The Flowers And The Trees

FRASER ISLAND:  March and April is a stunning time to visit Fraser Island – the climate is temperate, autumn birds are returning to our shores and, with the change of season, the many Paperbarks and Eucalypt trees around the resort flower and fill the air with a sweet aroma.

A Slender Skimmer is skillfully snapped in the resort grounds
Most insects will be making last ditch mating attempts before the cooler weather overcomes them; Damselflies and Dragonflies are prolific and, if you look in the dead grass tree stalks in the wallum, you’ll likely find our blue Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa) busily burrowing away.

If you’re staying at Kingfisher Bay Resort at this time of the year, one of the first birds that you will hear in the morning at the moment is the Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis - pictured below).  These small to medium sized birds are inquisitive and confident with humans.  The Eastern Yellow is easily identified by its grey coloured back and beautiful yellow underparts with both sexes similar in plumage colour and pattern.  
You'll easily spot an Eastern Yellow Robin

Whilst they might be a lovely little bird to look at and photograph, they never still for long – darting from perch to perch in search of spiders, small insects and other arthropods.  This species has a good distribution across Eastern Australia, and will often make Woodland and Banksia heaths their habitat so, on Fraser Island, we see them Wallum and along the road to the resort’s jetty (where one side of the road is Wallum and the other Eucalyptus Woodland).

DID YOU KNOW? An arthropod is a small invertebrate animal (insect, arachnid or spider) with an external skeleton, segmented body and six or more jointed appendages.  They are found on land, in trees, in fresh water, salt water and even underground and experts estimate that they account for more than 80% of all known, living animal species.

The autumn aroma of sweet smelling flowers not only attracts human visitors to our resort grounds, but also visitors of the featured variety.  The Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haemotodus) is a favourite with our international resort guests and is easily spotted with its bright red beak; colourful blue head and belly; green wings, tail and back; and yellow/orange breast. Their Latin name ‘haemotodus’ means ‘bloody’ and refers to their vibrant red colouring.  ‘Tricolgossus’ refers to their brush tipped tongue, which is most useful as they lick and scrape the nectar off Fraser Island’s flowers.

Their calls can be heard loud and clear across the island in the early morning and late afternoon, although the Lorikeets choose not to live on Fraser. Each day they fly across the Great Sandy Strait and feed on wild flowers, before descending back to the palm trees of Scarness and Pialba (in nearby Hervey Bay) to roost.

Note the wedge-shaped tail
As always, our birds of prey haven’t disappointed us.  During the month of March we’ve seen both Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus) and Whistling Kites (Haliastur sphenurus - pictured left) soaring above the western beach and dunes on our way to the Dundonga Creek Mangrove colony.

 We’ve also spotted a few juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) whose mottled colouring looks exactly the same as the Whistling Kite to an untrained eye. All three of these raptors are known to inhabit estuarine areas, though Sea Eagles and Brahminy Kites enjoy coastal areas and islands.

For those eager birders reading this blog, there is a method to distinguish these birds when they have their mottled juvenile colours or when you can’t quite make out the colouring in adults.

The first thing to do is look at their tail – the Brahminy Kite has a short tail, the Whistling Kite has a much longer and sometimes wedge-shaped tail and the White-bellied Sea Eagle has a large, fan-shaped tail.  These beautiful birds of pery can also be identified by their call - the Brahminy Kite has a high-pitched, drawn out call; the White-bellied Sea Eagle produces more of a goose-honking sound and the Whistling Kite has an unmistakeable and beautiful high pitched ascending whistle.

Well that’s certainly given us something to tweet about – until next time, happy twitching wherever you are! And if you've got any Fraser Island bird pics that you'd like to share on Instagram - just tag them #kingfisherbay and we'll happily share or post on our Facebook site.

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!

A Summery Feast For Fraser's Honey Gluttons

FRASER ISLAND: Well, the tail end of summer has brought with it some much needed rain which has, in turn, hardened the island’s tracks nicely for our four-wheel-drive visitors. We’ve also seen lots of Lemon-scented Tea Tree (Leptospermum petersonii) and Swamp Banksia (Banskia robur), which are native to the area, starting to fruit and flower.  And, for treehuggers like myself, we’ve noticed many bird species flocking back to our shores.

Glutton for food - a fledgling Lewin's Honeyeater
Out and about in the resort grounds on our Ranger-guided bird walks we’ve seen (and definitely heard) some old favourites including Lewin’s Honeyeaters (Meliphagos lewinii - pictured right) going about their business in and around the resort’s restaurants and wallum heath area.  Lewin’s Honeyeaters have a distinctive machine-gun-like call and, in addition to insects and fruit, love to feed on nectar and honey (so the Swamp Banksia in the wallum health, on Fraser Island’s western side are ideal).

DID YOU KNOW? The Lewin’s Honeyeater’s Latin name of ‘Meliphagos’ actually means ‘honey glutton’ – which suits these little birds perfectly.  

Before the Europeans came to Australia, the Aboriginal people used fire to help them manage the environment, using a practise called mosaic burning.  Mosaic burning is essentially a controlled, low intensity burn that sweeps through the under-story of the bush in designated areas and creates a patchwork of burnt and unburnt bush areas.

A burst of colour in a barren landscape
Last May the resort conducted a small, controlled mosaic burn in the wallum to reduce the fuel load near our Centre Complex and hotel wings, but this style of burn also helped enhance our ecological diversity in the wallum heath by maintaining plant, animal and habitat needs.

If you take a look at our native Banksia seed pods in Australia, you could be forgiven for wondering how the fragile seeds could possibly break through the hard outer shell.  This is a great talking point on our Ranger-guided walks as we explain that when fire sweeps through bushland naturally (or in this case through the mosaic burn), it causes the pods to open and the seed to fall out and germinate within the ash resulting in a whole new generation of plants.  This is what we’re seeing at the moment in the wallum.

In fact, Mother Nature is truly amazing and within days of the burn, we started to see gorgeous green shoots sprouting up from our Sword Grass (Ghania clarkei - pictured above), Wide Bay Boronia (Boronia rivularis) and the Foxtail Sedge (Cautis blakei) and now, some 10 months later, the heath is looking fantastic.  This mosaic effect allows animals and birdlife can still flourish in the wallum and one species – the White Cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris nigra) - which temporarily disappeared is now flocking back as their food stock is naturally replenished.

A White-bellied Sea Eagle in the skies above Fraser
On the Ranger-guided canoe paddles we have seen some majestic birds of prey, such as the White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster - pictured right) and, more frequently, the Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus) in the skies above us. The White-bellied Sea Eagle is the second largest bird of prey in Australia, and the largest bird of prey on Fraser Island. With a wingspan of almost two metres, it’s not hard to see why they attract attention.

And of course, what would the pool area be like without our Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena). These small and incredibly agile birds dart incessantly as they search for insects.  The fork-shaped tail is just one way we identify them, but with binoculars you’ll truly appreciate the beautiful navy blues and orange hues on their back and chest.

It’s been a busy few months at Kingfisher Bay Resort and as we head into autumn, we look forward to seeing what our furry, feathered and marine friends get up to.

The Circle Of Life On Fraser Island

What a start to the summer we’ve had on Fraser Island with absolutely stunning weather all through Christmas and well into the New Year.  Australia Day saw the weather turn briefly as Ex-Cyclone Oswald moved down the Australian coastline… but since then it’s been business as usual for us - aside from some large puddles, downed tree branches and left litter, which the resort gardeners promptly gathered up to use for mulch in our onsite nursery.

We’ve also had a good variety of bush fruits in season around Kingfisher Bay this summer. The aptly-named Blue Tongues have finished fruiting - they were both delicious and amusing for our smaller guests as they tended to stain tongues blue for a few minutes. However, we still have Blue Quandongs, Blueberry Ash, and some sweet and lovely Lillypilly fruit waiting to be discovered during our guided day walks.

The life cycle of a Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The balmy conditions have also been perfect for our Ranger-guided night walks and we’ve seen all manner of creatures great and small.  Regular readers may know there are three species of freshwater turtle commonly found on Fraser Island including the Fraser Island short-necked turtle along with the Eastern snake-necked turtle and the Broad-shelled river turtle.

This month we’ve also seen one of our Sea Turtle species – the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) - feeding on the oyster shells down near Kingfisher Bay’s jetty on the western side of Fraser.

These animals lay their eggs on the far north-west coast of the island from October with baby Loggerheads starting to hatch around mid-January (see picture below).

What you may not know is that a special group of volunteers – including our own Ranger Guide/Resident photographer Peter Meyer (who has helped in the past) - work tirelessly with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Rangers to assist the turtles during nesting season on Fraser Island.  As the local Fraser Coast Chronicle reported the volunteers spend weeks in isolation at Sandy Cape (on the northern tip of the island) and each day at around 3.30am they go in search of nests.

Loggerhead hatchlings - The Fraser Coast Chronicle
Typically there are about 80 to 100 eggs in every clutch and the volunteers carefully relocate them to a rookery behind the dunes to finish gestating. Once eggs start hatching, volunteers make sure the hatchlings aren’t distracted by bright lights or eaten by predators such as dingoes as they instinctively make their way to the ocean.

DID YOU KNOW? Turtles are one of the oldest reptile groups dating back 200 million years.

A little closer to the resort, we’ve seen plenty of beautiful Bluespotted Stingrays (Neotrygon kuhlii - see picture below) off the jetty.  These animals have their eyes on the top of their head and the mouth and nostrils on their underside and, over time, have had to adapt to feed.  In order to get at the food under the sand, these animals hover over the spot where they sense food is and pulse their sides up and down until the sand fans out beneath and behind them.  It’s then a simple matter to scoop food - mainly crabs - into their waiting mouths.

The Bluespotted Stingray is simply striking
Our amphibian mates have also relished the recent rainfall in the wallum and have made regular appearances during our night walks – with some Rocket frogs (Litoria nasuta) leaping over two metres in a single bound - keeping our guests amused.

As we move further into February, we’ll be turning our attention to the skies above Fraser Island and Hervey Bay with a report on our feathered friends.   Stay tuned tree huggers!

There Are Plenty Of Cute Chicks On Fraser This January

December and January is a super busy time on Fraser Island – not only do we have Christmas and New Year’s celebrations to get through, but we also have an influx of guests to the island and to the resorts.  This increased human activity sometimes makes the wildlife a little hard to spot but, what can we say, we thrive on a challenge.
The Male Mistletoe Bird is identified by its vibrant red throat
Our visitors of the feathered variety certainly haven’t disappointed either this month and whilst we haven’t seen huge numbers of adult birds on our daily walks, there’s been many cute baby fledglings taking to the skies above Fraser.  (A fledge is best described as a stage in a young chick’s life where the feathers and wing muscles are sufficiently developed for flight – a young bird that has recently fledged, but is still dependent on its parents is called a fledgling).

Our chicks certainly aren’t shy and we’ve had many flap their way into the resort’s Centre Complex for a look around.  One such unexpected feathered visitor was an adorable baby male Red-backed Fairy Wren (Malurus melanocephalus), that was found sitting on the floor near our pool area outside, looking very cute with the bright red patch on its back. The bright patch on its upper back clearly identified it was male. These birds use their bright plumage to attract a mate - the brighter the colour, the more attractive they are.

The nest of a Mistletoe Bird 
One of our eagle-eyed young guests also found a baby Mistletoe Bird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum - pictured) in its own little nest and brought it to Ranger Kelly for some TLC.  As we don’t interfere with the Fraser wildlife, Ranger Kelly took it outside and gently placed the baby bird and its nest in a tree. When we went by the next day, the nest was there, but our fledgling was off exploring Fraser’s gorgeous western side.

The small Mistletoe Bird is also known as the Australian Flowerpecker and is easily identified in the underbrush by its vibrant red throat set against a white belly and glossy blue-black head, wings and upper body.

DID YOU KNOW? Female Mistletoe Birds build pear-shaped nests with a thin slit entranced which allows the female entrance to incubate the young. –Mistletoe Bird’s nests are found on the outer foliage of trees and because they use materials like spider web to build, this gives the web a silky texture

A Mangrove Honeyeater in full glory!
We’ve also spotted plenty of Honeyeaters (this name refers to a diverse range of Australian birds that belong to the family Meliphagidae and are characterised by their brush-lipped tongue which allows them to take nectar from flowers) and Grey Shrike Thrushes (Colluricincla harmonica) in and around the Wallum.    The Grey Shrike-Thrush is one of the best loved and most distinctive songbirds of Australasia.

And for our keen birders, we were lucky enough to spot one of our fabulous songbirds, the Mangrove Honeyeater (Lichenostomu fasciopgularis - pictured above), on our guided canoe paddle to Dundonga Creek, about a kilometre north of Kingfisher Bay Resort.  Mangrove Honeyeaters are also called Varied Honeyeaters and are common around the bay area although we don’t often see them on Fraser Island.

Look forward to blogging next month and here’s cheers to a Happy New Year from our entire Ranger team!