Bordering on Koalas

Subject: Bordering on Koalas
From: Laurence and Leanne Knight <>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2000 21:52:14 +1000
On the Sherwood Arboretum front [site of various crake, bittern and hen
sightings, and moorhen tagging] one of the more interesting spots was a
lone grey-crowned babbler [not all that common in Brisbane].  I'd be
interested to know if GCBs have been regulars round Brisbane or whether
there is some sort of movement going on, as I've seen a few elsewhere
within the scenic rim this year.

Anyhow, today's borderline atlas event was in the vicinity of Levers
Plateau.  It was interesting to see which parts of the landscape were
showing severe drought symptoms - mostly schlerophyll, marginal
rainforest and the hated lantana.  It was a different story in the deep
forest - while the ground was dry you'd never know there was a drought
on judging by the vegetation.  The rainforest creeks were also flowing
well.  The hoop pine were impressive as always, and the moss and lichens
on their trunks were clearly getting enough moisture.  Virtually all of
the epiphytes [birds nests, staghorns, elkhorns, orchids] were doing
alright as well.

I finally got round to acquiring a GPS for my atlasing [interesting to
see that on checking that my map based lats and longs for Sherwood were
within a few seconds of the GPS].  For the record, I bought a Garmin
Etrex for $299.  

 Navigationally, a GPS is pretty useless in the rainforest [ie a waste
of time if you were trying to do 2 ha or 500 m atlas sheets].  I did
some experimenting to determine the critical density of canopy cover
that would prevent sufficient satellite acquisition.  The one rainforest
point I did manage to get a reading was at the top of a 40 metre
waterfall - with a significant patch of clear sky.  [somewhat ironic, as
my friend and I already knew where we were].

Anyhow, back to the atlas.  Borderline atlas sheets are fun, because you
see birds in two different states.  For example, we saw a wonga pigeon
in NSW and some catbirds in Qld.  Similarly the log runners were in NSW
and the ground thrushes in Qld.  To complicate things, the grey goshawk
flew from NSW into Qld.  I always write these surveys up as Qld surveys
- partly coz I am a banana bender rather than a mexican, but mostly
because the BA bureaucracy doesn't know how to handle surveys centred on
the borderfence.

Heh heh, we also came across  a spot where there was a carpet snake on
each side of the fence - the one on the NSW side had certainly been
experiencing lean times.

Anyhow, one of the more interesting moments came while we were near Long
Ck Falls - I happened to see a large [Queensland] Koala straddling a
small vertical branch about 20 metres up a tree.  [It's amazing how many
koalas I've seen within a stone's throw of either a beach or the
rainforest.] While we were admiring his tree climbing skills [he reached
across to a branch behind him while only hanging on with his rear feet]
we heard some parrots calling.  I expected a crimson rosella to come
coasting through, but instead we were treated to the sight of a grey
goshawk motoring through the tree tops.

Another one of the joys of a bushwalking survey.

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