March 9, 2011

In The Still Of The 'February' Night

Howdy Night Walkers and Nature Fans

The beautiful waters of Hervey Bay's Great Sandy Strait were the perfect place to spot some of our amazing marine life this month. Loggerhead Turtles were spotted on two different occasions from the resort jetty – which was fabulous - and on many nights Squid of varying sizes could be seen gracefully gliding through the calm clear waters.

The jetty was also the perfect place to marvel at the thousands of Soldier Crabs (pictured above) that emerge to feed at low tide. These small, spider-like crustaceans form impressive gatherings or ‘armies’ at the tide line and busily go about feeding on organic matter that has settled in the sand.

Around the window lakes this month nocturnal predators, including the Long Finned Eels, could be seen darting in and out amongst the vegetation busily hunting mosquito fish and various aquatic insects.

An unusual and, as it turned out, regular evening visitor around the resort’s lakes this month was a lone Pacific Black Duck! This cunning creature managed to avoid the eagle-eyes of our early morning bird walkers, preferring to wander the banks of the main lake in the Wallum – much to the delight of our night guests.

This month’s night walks were also characterised by a stunning array of everyone’s favourite creepy crawlies…Spiders. The infamous, but quite harmless, Huntsman Spiders were spotted and the group watched in awe, on night, as the spider subdued and devoured a Cicada. The impressive web building Garden Orb Weavers and ground dwelling Wolf Spiders were also encountered.

Our usual array of furry friends were out and about this month as well. Squirrel Gliders were regularly seen feasting on the flowering Blackbutts near the resort’s round-about. Bandicoots weren’t as active this month with only a couple of sightings made and the elusive Grassland Melomys were occasionally seen darting through the dense Wallum vegetation.

A great month was had by all… and we wait with baited breath to see what critters and creatures come out to play in autumn.

Catch you all again 'real' soon, Ranger Kat.

One Good 'Tern' Deserves Another...

G’day nature lovers, as we waved goodbye to the last weeks of summer, February produced some exhilarating bird watching, and some impressive feathered visitors made cameos in and around Kingfisher Bay Resort.

The White Bellied Sea Eagle is more commonly seen on the eastern side of Fraser Island, but the breezy weather on the western beach this month provided the perfect conditions for our largest bird of prey.

Guests on the bird walks, and eco walks for that matter, watched transfixed as these giant creatures soared majestically overhead on thermal currents. One even landed in a nearby Eucalypt making for excellent close-up viewing of its striking plumage and powerful talons – not to mention some great ‘happy snaps’ for the collection.

Crested Terns (pictured above right) were also regularly sighted on the beach this month, no doubt taking advantage of the large number of bait fish present in the calm clear waters at the moment. Several of the less common Caspian Terns were also recorded.

As the name suggests Kingfisher Bay Resirt is a pretty good place to spot a Kingfisher… and this month we’re recorded sightings of the three different species known to reside in and around the resort. The Azure Kingfisher with its vibrant orange and blue plumage was seen around the resorts lakes, while the Forest Kingfisher and Sacred Kingfisher spent their mornings scouring the beach for tasty crustaceans – and that’s where we were.

February was also a very colourful month with quite a few Rainbow Lorikeets sighted. These charismatic birds were hardly seen during the first half of summer, but joined us to feed on the Bloodwoods and Blackbutts that have been flowering throughout the month.

Mistletoebirds were also regularly spotted through the Wallum and amongst the paperbarks around the tennis courts. These gorgeous little birds, with their striking red, black and white plumage, are always a delightful addition to any morning’s sightings.

By far and away the most unusual sighting this month was of a pair of Brown Thornbills, spotted behind the resort’s Centre Complex. We’ve not seen any Thornbills so far this year, so their presence was a welcome surprise.

As we head into autumn, we look forward to the 10th anniversary of Fraser Island Bird Week… if you love nature, featured friends, good company and Fraser Island – consider coming to visit for a few days during this time. All details are on our website – www.birdwatching.kingfisherbay.com.

This is Ranger Kat saying hooroo for now.