Urban Wildlife – the Bush Stone-curlew

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Bush Stone-curlew, with chick just visible on the right.
The Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius) is an Australian bird which is often heard before it is seen.  Their camouflage, along with their ability to be perfectly motionless, helps them blend almost invisibly into their surroundings.  But their loud, eerie call is unmissable.    They also seem to manage well in urban environments.  This breeding pair was found in a narrow garden right beside a busy shopping centre carpark in Brisbane.
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Having claimed their site, these parents fiercely guard their chick.
Curlews are a large bird, standing 510–590 mm tall.  And when it comes to protecting their chicks, they are virtually fearless.  Camouflage and stillness are their main protection, but they will aggressively attack anything that comes beyond their comfort zone.
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I am perplexed as to why they would chose this particular location as a breeding site, given the hundreds of cars and people that would pass by, quite closely, each day.  And the fact that fairly close to this shopping centre is a bushy, creekside area where they would be undisturbed.  But whatever the reason, it seems a success.  Their chick looks healthy and well-fed.  Another example of the adaptability of native fauna to urban environments.
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Jazz in black and white

From time to time, I am lucky enough to play a gig with Brisbane vocalist Trina Lincoln and her band Held To Ransom. These pics are from a 2015 gig we did, and I’ve been meaning to share them on the blog for some time now.  I think the black and white pics capture the feel of the gig best.  I’ve left them untitled as they pretty much speak for themselves.  I hope you like them.

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Urban Wildlife, Brisbane, part two

Golden Orb Weaver Spider
Golden Orb Weaver Spider

The last post included some of the wildlife that’s found right in our backyards, or at least very close by.  Today’s pictures are from the Boondall Wetlands.  Not quite in my own backyard, but just a short bicycle ride away.  Above is the Golden Orb Weaver Spider, and her lunch.  And I say “her” deliberately because the males are tiny in comparison, only a few millimetres across.  I’m fairly sure the eight or so dots on her head are her eyes.  I’m actually quite pleased this photo wasn’t taken in my backyard.

Orange Clawed Fiddler Crab
Orange Clawed Fiddler Crab

The tide was low, and the fiddler crabs were on the move.  Without exception, they all appeared to be right-handed.  Or at least that’s the side that the over-sized claw was on.  Maybe lefties are in the minority with crabs, just like humans.

Black Winged Stilt
Black Winged Stilt
White Faced Heron
White Faced Heron

And lastly a couple of the water birds that are common around this area – a stilt and a heron.  My Slater’s Field Guide to Australian Birds tells me the white-faced heron is probably the most common heron across Australia.

There are always interesting things to see in these wetlands.  But it was disappointing to also see so much litter in the area.  Especially plastics bottles.  Take care people, and don’t ditch your rubbish carelessly.  These places deserve to be looked after.

Urban Wildlife, Brisbane

Ringtail Possum
A morning visit from a possum.

Though Brisbane is a city with a population of more than 2 million people, it’s not unusual to see many species of native fauna that adapt well to urban environments. Possums are a common sight, not only in suburban areas but even in the central business district. However they are most commonly seen at night, as they usually sleep in their nests through the day. But a few days ago we were visited at breakfast time by a ringtail possum, just outside our backdoor. He was obviously getting home late, and had caught the attention of a group of angry crows who were none too pleased to see this nocturnal visitor still in “their” trees in the morning. I managed to get a couple of photos before he scurried off into a neighbouring yard, presumably back to his nest.

Ringtail Possum

Many reptiles and birds also make their homes quite comfortably amid the houses and industry of Brisbane. The Eastern Water Dragon and Purple Swamp Hen are often seen in and around streams and ponds across the city. While they are a common sight, I still enjoy seeing these animals when I walk or cycle around home.

Eastern Water Dragon
Eastern Water Dragon

Eastern Water Dragon

Purple Swamp Hen
Purple Swamp Hen

Purple Swamp Hen

Now that I seem to have my recalcitrant DSLR under control, I hope to get some more photos of our urban, and not-so-urban, wildlife to share on this blog.

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to all.