Scenic Rim Wildlife group

We now have our pages on the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland website:

Briefly, recent events have included wildlife displays at a Rare Plants Fair at Bromelton House at Gleneagle (near Beaudesert) and at the Rathdowney Heritage Festival, and talks to students of Woodhill Primary School.

Coming events include a wildlife display and children’s activities at the school fete at Woodhill (Saturday 22nd May), a  public get-together at Beaudesert on that evening (wildlife of Africa, discussion of daily and seasonal movement needs of Scenic Rim Wildlife, discussion on becoming a formal branch, and general socializing with free drinks and nibbles), the on-going Great Wildlife Discovery Challenge, and the Wildlife Expo in Beaudesert in July

Easter Weekend activities for kids

Being a platypus, creeping up on ‘kangaroos’ and a treasure hunt for outback bikkies were all part of the fun on Eatser Saturday this year.

Fourteen children with their  families, aged from 2 to about 10, camped in the Andrew Drynan Reserve next to the Araucaria property, and joined us for a couple of hours of activities on the Saturday.

The little ones got the first turn, with the older ones helping out, finding all colours of the rainbow –  natural objects only,  such as flowers, leaves and stones.

Darren and our intern Delphine then became ‘kangaroos’, crouching next to our wrought-iron kanga, while the children practiced their skill of quiet approach for photography or wildlife observation, going back tot the starting line near the bunya if one of the kangas heard them.

A treasure hunt took them all searching for clues hidden in many niches. This was a cooperative game rather than competitive, and led to a box of ‘outback animal’ biscuits to share.

Some of the initial energies having now been dissipated a little, Ronda showed one group (with their parents)  through the WIldlife Information Centre while Darren and Delphine took others through the butterfly walk and down to the creek. In the Centre, children could don a platypus mask to get a feeling for how the platypus searches for  electrical vibrations from its prey, as well exploring as our walk through time, Australian habitats, local wildlife and other exhibits.

That night Ronda brought her guitar to the campsite, accompanied by Darren and Delphine, for about an hour with the families going through songs old and new, from pre-school to country-western and more.  It didn’t seem to matter too much that occasionally there were two songs being sung simultaneously. After a few toasted marshmallows and a glass of red wine, we retired to bed in preparation for the early rise the next day (5.00am to set up a wildlife stall at the Rathdowney Heritage Festival)

The Scenic Rim’s Great Wildlife Discovery Challenge

The Scenic Rim group of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland is about to launch the Great Wildlife Discovery Challenge, with puzzles and quizzes to have fun with while learning about the wildlife of the species-rich Scenic Rim region of southeast Queensland.  Prizes include accommodation for 2 people for 2 nights at O’Reilly’s Guest House (Lamington National Park), a family day-pass to Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, a family day-pass to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, a meal voucher for the Bearded Dragon Hotel, day-tours with Araucaria Ecotours, nature books from Andrew Isles bookstore and more

Visit the Scenic Rim wildlife challenge page

Don’t worry if you can’t do all the challenges – it’s designed to be just a bit too difficult to easily do all of them (otherwise it would be difficult for the judges to decide on a winner), and if you don’t win the first prize there are plenty of others

Outback tour fully booked

The banks of the Paroo River in the national park provided a great place for bird-watching

Our outback tour for April is now fully booked.

We will be having another outback tour in the second week of  September, with a special deviation to Charleville to coincide with the National Bilby Day Festival

We will also be running an outback tour in October

At present our campsite in Currawinya is flooded but should re-open later this month, and there should be no problem by the time of our tour in late April  –  if not there are some nice little country pubs in the vicinity.  The waterbird life should be great this time around!

Bird-watching tourists in Australia: research report

birdwatching with Araucaria Ecotours

A new report on PRACTICES, NEEDS AND ATTITUDES OF BIRD-WATCHING TOURISTS IN AUSTRALIA has just been published by the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre.  The report is co-authored by Dr Ronda J Green (proprietor of Araucaria Ecotours) and Dr Darryl Jones of Griffith University.

By clicking on the link above you can download a summary sheet or the entire document (warning: its rather large) for free or order a hard copy through STCRC.

From the STCRC:  “The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre has just released research exploring bird-watching tourism in Australia. The research – Practices, needs and attitudes of bird-watching tourists in Australia included an extensive survey of national and international bird-watchers. Tour operators and accommodation providers who support this niche tourism sector also contributed to the research.

The report has delivered a more comprehensive overview of bird-watching tourism in Australia by:

Investigating the diversity and common features amongst bird-watching tourists
Determining what bird-watchers most want to see and do in Australia
Investigating the role of the tourism industry in bird-watching
Investigating bird-watchers’ opinions and practices in relation to conservation

Researchers have presented 18 key findings which will be of interest to bird-watching tourism destinations, tourism operators and niche tourism government departments.”

Our next Australian Outback wildlife tour

The banks of the Paroo River in the national park provided a great place for bird-watching
The banks of the Paroo River in the national park provided a great place for bird-watching

The next tour to the outback with Araucaria Ecotours will run from 2lst to 26th April 2010

Both the vast lakes – one saltwater and one freshwater, and important breeding grounds for waterbirds – are now full, and the Paroo River (where we wll camp one night) should be flowing well.

On this trip, for the first time, we will also be spending a night at Bowra Station, a species-rich outback station now owned by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

There are a very few spaces left on this tour – let us know if you’d like to join in

We are also running a special version of the tour in September to coincide with Ntaional Bilby Day celebrations, making a detour to Charleville for this purpose.

Topknot pigeons visit the Araucaria property

I was excited enough the first time I saw topknot pigeons at home a few years ago visiting the native iolvive trees  that grow in our rainforest.

topknot pigeons in flight
topknot pigeons in flight

This year a sudden whooshing of wings alerted us to a flock of abut 50 landing for a rest in a large eucalyptus tree. A few days later there were about a hundred of them, feeding on native olives and figs and possibly other trees I couldn’t see clearly on the steep inaccessible slopes across the creek.

They are important seed dispersers, not only because they can swallow large seeds but because they are string fliers and readily travel over cleared paddocks between forest fragments.

ropknot_pigeonThey are quite unmistakeable, a lare grey pigeon with a crazy hairdo. and usually in or near rainforests (or flying between them).  They shouldn’t be confused with the smaller, crested pigeon, which is sometimes called topknot, and is a bird of open habitats, including suburbs and dry woodlands.

Now, in mid-September, after about a month of daily visits,  they seem to have had their fill, eaten everything readily available, or found something to their liking elsewhere, as we haven’t seen them in the past few days. We’ll look forward to their next visit.

Wildlife Queensland branch to be started in Scenic Rim

Ronda and Darren from Araucaria Ecotours have been active in starting a new group in the Scenic Rim with the hope of forming a Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (often abbreviated to Wildlife Queensland).

The Scenic Rim, southeast Queensland, is a very diverse area with a rich variety of fauna and flora species. We will be holding talks, discussions and outings over the next few months (and hopefyully years)

Our major theme over the coming months will be that animals have to move – whether daily, seasonally or as the need arises. Some find this easy, others have many problems, such as lack of approriate corridors, disappearing habitats, new roads, feral predators and other barriers to safe movement.

Anyone interested in joining this group should contact Ronda

Outback tour October 2009

Our next Australian outback tour will run from 13-18th October this year. This will be the last outback tour until March or April next year, as the weather out west gets a bit hot for comfort during the summer motnhs.

kangaroos near Currawinya National Park
kangaroos near Currawinya National Park

So if you’d like to experience the genuine Aussie outback this year – red kangaroos, plenty of emus, ranglelands and wilderness rather than farmland, red soils, semi-arid shrublands, lots of parrots and lizards … email us soon (only 4 places remaining on this tour)