December 20, 2010

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!

December 17, 2010

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.