Scientific name: Ornithoptera richmondia
When we think of conservation and icon species we almost always think of charismatic mammals such as koalas, blue whales and quolls. Very few invertebrates draw the same attention, except in the case of the Richmond Birdwing, a species of swallowtail butterfly.
Once a widespread species, for decades it's population and distribution has been shrinking. It feeds on nectar, like many butterflies, and has a special relationship with one species of vine Pararistolochia praevenos, which grows in lowland subtropical rainforest. The Birdwing's larvae are specialised and dependent on this vine's leaves for nutrition. Unfortunately the vine has been decimated through the destruction of lowland rainforest due to urban development, inappropriate fire regimes, weed invasion and farming. Consequently, viable Birdwing populations no longer exist in the greater Brisbane region.
Fortunately there has been significant work carried out by scientists and...
Image: Downloading the data from a satellite tag of Green Turtle T40221. (Courtesy of DES)
Although there has been a great deal of research on all the turtle species little has been known about our local Green Turtles that visit Moreton Bay. That was until researcher and turtle expert, Col Limpus provided some in-depth data around one individual Green Turtle T40221, including nesting and foraging data. Thanks to GPS tracking and monitoring efforts from Col and his volunteers we can now give you an outline of T40221’s nesting and foraging activities over a period of last 30 years.
“T40221”, a female Green Turtle, was first tagged at Mon Repos as a nesting turtle in 1989. Her carapace (shell) length was 103 cm and during that season she came ashore and laid a clutch of eggs on 6 occasions. She returned to the site on many occasions right up until this breeding season, 2020/2021. In this case T40221, demonstrated the capacity to lay many clutches over a...
When you spend some time in the rainforests of South East Queensland, especially at dawn or dusk you are likely to hear the calls of one of the endearing characters of the forest floor. In this video you can see a female logrunner (red chest) foraging and feeding on the forest floor. You can also hear her responding to her mate (who has a distinctive white chest) who continually calls in the background - just to let each other know where they are.
Generally quiet for most of the day, they can certainly fire up their vocals when required. They are territorial birds and will defend their territory from other potential interlopers with vigorous calls and displays.
They spend the majority of their life on the forest floor where they feed on invertebrates in the leaf litter. They forage by vigorously scratching from side to side with their relatively large feet, using their stiff tail as a prop and securing the small worms and invertebrates exposed in the scattered leaf litter....
At this time of the year, we like to head up to Lamington National Park and O'Reilly's to participate in their Spring Bird Week. One of the highlights of this area is the chance to see an Albert's Lyrebird.
The Albert's Lyrebird prefers gully areas in rainforest and wet sclerophyll forests
The male is well known for its courtship display usually seen and heard in the autumn and winter months. The male is a superb mimic and uses its own calls as well as copying the call of other birds. It will spend hours each day during the peak winter season.
They tend to live a solitary life and apart from the courtship display little is known about their mating system. The female looks after the young and occasionally you will see her with a juvenile. I was fortunate to come across such a pair, feeding by scratching the leaf litter and exposing insects, larvae and worms along with other invertebrates.
Since European settlement, much of their rainforest and wet sclerophyll...
A few months ago, I had the privilege of seeing one of Australia’s less common birds, the Powerful Owl. Just seeing the bird in the flesh, one can only be impressed. A big owl, it is at the top of the food chain in the forest and feeds on arboreal animals including both brushtail and ringtail possums.
The owl can be found along the East Coast of Australia where they are associated with the forests of the Great Dividing Range. They are listed as vulnerable in Victoria and New South Wales.
They usually breed in the winter months and require a large hollow (up to 2 m in depth) and in trees which have a diameter of 80 cm or more. Dr Rob Clemens from Birdlife reckons it can take 100 to 300 years for a tree to reach the appropriate size with hollows!
If you have the fortune to see or hear one you could report it to the Urban Birdlife Program - Powerful Owl Project. You can contact them via their website at Powerful Owl Project | BirdLife.
Its a sight you...