OUT AND ABOUT: Some of the Gympie Field Naturalists Club members pause near a brush turkey nest on Ian and Sally Mackay's property on the Mary River. At that time it was too dry for the male bird to scratch up any more leaves.
OUT AND ABOUT: Some of the Gympie Field Naturalists Club members pause near a brush turkey nest on Ian and Sally Mackay's property on the Mary River. At that time it was too dry for the male bird to scratch up any more leaves.

Field naturalists enjoy a day by the river

GYMPIE and District Field Naturalists Club's next next field trip will be to the Perrett property at Mudlo outside Kilkivan on Sunday, November 20.

Their most recent outing was to Ian and Sally Mackay's property near Pickering Bridge.

The newly-purchased 23ha property was the upper limit of land resumptions for the ill-fated Traveston dam.

Most of the property is flooded during a rainfall event and also has serious cat's claw and Maderia vine infestations.

Mr Mackay said the Mary River at this point was home to populations of the Mary River cod, Mary River turtle, lung fish and fresh water mullet, all of which are regarded as endangered species.

Ian Mackay explains some of the work being done.
Ian Mackay explains some of the work being done.

The river supports areas of ribbon weed which are valuable as egg laying sites for the lung fish

He said in spite of noxious weeds there were stretches of good riparian vegetation.

The removal of grazing cattle a little over a year ago has allowed remarkable regrowth of small allocasurina, she oak, that along with African star grass will help to hold the sand in place during floods.

The Mackays have a long term plan that involves getting rid of the vine infestations, starting by cutting back to prevent flowering using small (200mm blade) sickle shaped tool that can be put under vine stems and levered out cutting the stem.

Mr Mackay said the use of various biological control methods would play a significant role.

He said it was hoped to make the property available to groups wishing to assist with weed removal work.

GREAT TIP: Sally Mackay (left) shows the special tool for cutting cat's claw to Gillian Crossley. The tip is pushed under the vine attached to the tree trunk and levered upwards cutting the vine and stopping flowering.
GREAT TIP: Sally Mackay (left) shows the special tool for cutting cat's claw to Gillian Crossley. The tip is pushed under the vine attached to the tree trunk and levered upwards cutting the vine and stopping flowering.

While there were plenty of things flora to look at, the day was a bit more directed towards avian species as the property has a number of different habitat types with a lot of flowering trees as well as the river.

An interesting species was a pacific bazza, formerly crested hawk (a much more descriptive name). This member of the raptor group has a definite crest and strong bars across the front.

The particular bird was having issues with a willy wagtail that could have had a nest nearby.

The smaller bird was probably pretty safe as the bazza mainly feeds on frogs and stick insects caught in the outer branches of trees.

A wonga pigeon was sighted walking along the forest floor. This species feeds on fruit up to about 30mm and digests the flesh and excretes the seeds, helping to spread the trees.

Flowering silky oaks and black beans provided an attraction for numerous honeyeaters that were constantly on the move going from flower to flower or tree to tree.

The next field trip is on the Sunday, November 20 to the Perrett property at Mudlo outside Kilkivan.

Further information can be obtained from Rahima Farnham 5447 9372 or Berry Doak 5488 4250.

Gympie Times


OPINION: Be careful what you wish for in Barnaby case

OPINION: Be careful what you wish for in Barnaby case

Strict rules could end up backfiring on us in the long run.

Plea to put community first

Plea to put community first

'Why doesn't the council encourage business and employment?'

Qld weather: Little reprieve as flood warnings put in place

Qld weather: Little reprieve as flood warnings put in place

Brisbane weather: Queensland storms to bring ‘month’s worth of rain

Local Partners