We thought that we would take a trip to the Boondall Wetlands just near the Brisbane Entertainment Centre this morning to check it out. We started off on our trek in good spirits and happy to be outside before the sun really started to get hot, it was a cool 26 degress that was at about 7:00am by the time we got down there. We discovered that the Wetlands opened at 6:00am and made a mental note of that for next time. We started heading along a shared bike and walk way track, and every five minutes there was a new enthusiastic cyclist to greet us with a cheery good morning along the way, obviously everyone is still merry from Christmas and optimistic about the new year, all that said it was nice to be out and about enjoying the beautiful unique Australian Bush.
After a few “good mornings”, we stopped to notice a Sacred Kingfisher high up in the branches watching us very closely, it is amazing that after all this time to be able to spot them in the wild this is very cool, we also on our way in noticed its huge nest made of mud, it always surprises me how such a small bird can build such a huge nest, so I consulted the bird book, and was astounded to find out that “the nest is drilled in an arboreal termite nest, and can be twenty-five metres high up the tree. There are usually three to six eggs that are incubated for seventeen to eighteen days and the young can leave the nest after twenty-six days.” Very fascinating!
After deciding that the birds would probably already have flow away before we had a chance to snap them scared off by the enthusiastic cyclists, we decided to head back to the main camp area, along the way we spotted a male and female Australian Wood Ducks in the tree, by how noisy they were I think that we had encroached on there nesting area. We arrived back at base camp the Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre, this was closed due to the holiday period and due to open on Monday, and so next weekend we may go back and check it out. Beside the Environment Centre is a boardwalk, so we decided to head around there after observing the no bicycles permitted sign. The full distance of the track is two kilometers, this quickly turned in to a walking track, eyes focused on the sky and ears turned to raider mode looking and listening for signs of wildlife finger ready on the trigger to capture any thing at any moment…
After about two steps into our trek, we heard a rustle beside us and looked to the path camera ready, where we noticed a Noisy Miner flapping around in circles across the path, the fact that this thing was not flying away and not making a noise had both of us immediately concerned. It stopped right in the middle of the path way and didn’t make a noise, just kept flapping its wings and moving its head around as if it was doing some kind of drunken liturgical dance. It was obviously very frightened of us and very disorientated. We stopped still about half a meter away from it and it stopped moving, we were both mesmerised and troubled by what we saw and were trying to figure out the best course of action to take, it was like watching a wildlife documentary, I don’t know how the people filming nature at its cruelest can stand by and film and not take any action. I guess that people say it’s the circle of life.
After a few minutes, we calmly approached the “Quiet Miner”, I took my hat and gently placed the hat over the bird and picked it up, I don’t know if it was shock or relief or pure exhaustion but the bird did not struggle. We slowly walked back the car, now discussing what we were to do with the bird. We decided that the best course of action was to take it to the wildlife centre, so we drove home and looked on the trusty internet to find the best place, after several phone calls to various wildlife centers it was evident that everyone was still on their Christmas / New Year break and would not be back till Monday, being cat owners this did not bode well with us to keep the bird at home, also we did not even know how to look after such a creature? Again I am sure the Internet would have helped, but best left to a professional.
At about 7:45am we arrived at the Emergency 24 hour Vet, I have to say that the staff there we very friendly welcoming, and you could tell that they genuinely have a love and a passion for animals of all types. We were handed a “Good Samaritan Form” to fill in with our details including place where the animal was found, I can see how this would come in handy as I am sure that many an animal has been brought in I guess it would make finding the owners easier. There was already a form in there for today’s date for a dog, a Rottweiler. The Miner was taken out the back of the Vets and being seen to, it was now in place where it could be helped by professional people, and we felt happy to have left it not struggling in the wild.
Back at home at the back of our complex leads to a bush parkland area with a creek, very popular for fitness enthusiast and frequent dog walkers. It must have been the day of Kingfishers as the first bird we saw was another Scared Kingfisher, still very shy though, and in a difficult place to photograph. There was a lot of backlight, with very white clouds making this Kingfisher a very contrasted bird. We also took a few shots of its nest. The vantage point to its nest is easy to get to, but at the same time easy for the Kingfisher to see us. We’ll have to come back a few times for it to get used to us to allow it to be better photographed.
Next we came across this Royal Spoonbill having a lovely time searching for moving morsels among the grass. You can tell by its shaggy hairstyle that its a breeding one. It was quick to fly off as it spotted an over enthusiastic dog and its owners approaching it.
Also far off in the distance and not a very good photo was a Pied Butcherbird, we thought that we would add him as this is the only shot that we got of its head, it’s a very elusive bird, hopefully we can get a better shot of him one day.
On our way back home was the Double-barred Finch, a very small and very quick bird, the male and female are almost identical, the only way to tell them apart basically is from behind, the male has a white feathers on its hind just at the beginning of the tail feathers and the female has black/brown colour, as you can see by this photo we will never know…
The last photo was taken at 9:40am and it was already getting too hot to be out in the sun so we have headed inside to take a break but aim to go out a bit later this afternoon to see what else we can spot.
The Boondall Wetlands will see us coming again as there is a large variety of wildlife that include flying foxes, bats, possums and squirrel gliders. Also a variety of frogs, reptiles and butterflies, and an amazing variety of birdlife including tawny frogmouths, eastern curlews, kingfishers, rainbow bee-eaters, grass owls and wrens, and a good time is to go at low tide where the shorebirds feed on the mudflats and you can see cormorants, darters, egrets, ibis and herons apparently all year round. We would really hope to spot some rainbow bee-eaters that would be fantastic! However proper attire is needed, probably some camouflage clothes, and proper walking shoes… not thongs/slops.
Also so we can’t finish the blog with out saying a big thank you to “Pet Emergency” for all there help this morning! However if you do come across an injured wild animal its best to follow these steps
What to do if you find a sick or injured animal
1. Observe the animal for signs of injury or illness and approach it carefully. The animal will be scared and will try to run away, bite and scratch you.
2. Remove the immediate threat. This might involve moving the animal off the road, out of a swimming pool or away from other animals (cats, dogs, birds).
3. Check if dead marsupials have live young in their pouch. The pouch young may survive with the proper care.
4. Make sure that any actions you take are done safely. When driving, take the time to park carefully and do not put yourself or anyone else in danger.
Contact the RSPCA, wildlife care organisation or your local vet for help. Identify or describe the animal, what has happened to it (i.e. car accident, orphaned, attacked by a dog or cat), where and when you found it and what condition it appears to be in.
Contacts for Brisbane:
Pet Emergency, 263 Appleby Road, Stafford Heights, Queensland – Ph: 3359 5333
Brisbane Bird Vet – 248 Hamilton Rd, Chermside Ph: (07) 3359 2233 – firstname.lastname@example.org – http://www.brisbanebirdvet.com.au/