May 21, 2012

The Flockstars Of Fraser Return In April...


April saw our Melaleuca blossom in and around Kingfisher Bay Resort and bought with it a change in the birdlife we spotted on Fraser.

With such a bounty of food available in and around the Wallum – an area that’s just a stone’s throw from the resort’s centre complex that is characterised by floristically-rich shrubland and heathland on deep, nutrient-poor acidic sandy soils - there was certainly no shortage of nectar feeders in our midst.

As the month progressed, flocks of Rainbow Lorikeets started arriving  from the mainland and congregating on the western side of Fraser Island.  This literal ‘tide’ of colour peppered the greenery surrounding the resort.

The more elusive upper canopy nectar feeders such as Dusky Honeyeaters and Scarlet Honeyeaters were also easily spotted feeding in the Wallum.  And in other Honeyeater news, our resident White-cheeked Honeyeaters started their second nesting cycle. With the freshly fledged ‘teenagers’ adding their boisterous behaviour to the mix, taking a wander through the Wallum has certainly been filled with excitement and colour.

A rare up close cameo of one of our Buff-banded Rails provided an early morning treat for our eagle-eyed bird watchers. Whilst sharp-eyed beach walkers have been fortunate to catch the splash of aquamarine as our resplendent Sacred Kingfishers surveyed the dunes.

Closer to home, our resident Kookaburra family (see above - pic by the very talented Lachie in the Jetty Hut) kept our guests amused down at the Sand Bar bistro and The Jetty Hut.  These cheeky, and very social, Kookaburras are best known for their unmistakable call, which sounds uncannily like loud, echoing human laughter – good-natured, but rather hysterical, cackling.  

Kookaburras are carnivorous and eat lizards, snakes, insects, mice, other small birds – they’ll also try to snatch tidbits from the plates of unwary diners – though we definitely try to discourage that.

For the fisherfolk amongst us, the past month saw an astounding start to the annual Mullet run. Locals will always know best and our resident Whistling Kites have been up early to beat the fisherman.  Closer to shore another regular, our White-faced Heron, was spotted busy patrolling the shallows; standing near motionless for extended periods before deploying a swift and effective strike.    

With the blossoming bounty expected to continue, we’re expecting plenty more avian antics to amuse over the coming weeks and into May, so stay tuned. 

May 10, 2012

Our Nectar Loving Nightlife…


Hi there welcome to our April wrap up from gorgeous Fraser Island.  With the weather cooling in the sub-tropics (but most definitely not on the same scale as our friends in the southern states), many of the Eucalyptus and Paperbark trees in and around Kingfisher Bay Resort’s grounds have started flowering.

The nectar from these flowers fills the night air with a deliciously sweet aroma - attracting an array of nocturnal feeders to a flowery feast. One such species is the Grey-headed Flying Fox, which has been known to travel up to 70 kilometres of an evening in search of food plants.

As well as feeding on nectar, this species also eats fruit and pollen - making them an important means of seed dispersal and pollination for many indigenous tree species.  It's fair to say that guests on our night walks have been enthralled by their antics.

Another nectar loving nocturnal is the Sugar Glider. These cute and furry marsupials are particularly active during the autumn months, again due to the abundance of flowers on which they feed. They are also actively seeking out as much food as possible as they need to increase their body mass before winter. Due to their dainty size it can be quite difficult keeping warm in cooler weather but gliders combat this by living in colonies with up to 15 individuals living together in one tree hollow!

Recently, the Ranger team at Kingfisher Bay came across a baby Sugar Glider, which was found lying under a tree on Fraser after a stormy night (see above pic of Ranger Kelly and our little mate taken by our very own canoe-guide guru, Lachie from the Jetty Hut).  Ranger Kat, and her partner Nikko, nursed it for a day and then handed it over to some carers to supervise its re-release.  Because gliders are colony nesters, they must be released in groups with other gliders, otherwise they won’t survive.  The hard-working and dedicated team of wildlife carers, that the resort collaborates with, hold on to Sugar Gliders until they have at least six to release together – so we’re confident our furry friend is happy and healthy with his new family.

The Eucalypt woodland that fringes the resort is also home to many small nocturnal animals – and we often spot them on our guided night walks. Grassland Melomys and Bandicoots, both sighted on numerous occasions during our night walks, make their homes amongst the understorey vegetation including one of the island’s most ‘eye catching’ plants - the Fox Tail Sedge – so named because its bushy foliage that looks like a fox’s tail – albeit a green on. These vibrant green plants and their fluffy ‘tail-like’ foliage provide our furry friends with cover and protection from their predators during the day.

If you’re headed our way, we’d love to see you on one of our fantastic guided walks – they’re all jam packed with information on Fraser Island’s fabulous flora and the animals that rely on them.

Until next time, hooroo tree huggers!