Fauna

Mark Carwardine’s role, essentially, was to be the one who knew what he was talking about. My role, and one for which I was entirely qualified, was to be an extremely ignorant non-zoologist to whom everything that happened would come as a complete surprise.

― Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See
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 Luckily, Pete is excellent at wildlife identification. So I (that’s Margie) can just point and go ‘ooh’! This page records some of our spottings – when we had a camera. Our Fauna Species List is at the end of the page.

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Koalas 

Margie has developed a theory on koala spotting. You can’t see them if you are looking. You have to catch a glimpse out of the corner of your eye and then pick your way through the long grass, swamp, etc to be sure it is koala! Despite a low success rate, it is worth it for the few times it works. And, how is it that any koala can manage to sit in any tree in such a way that you can’t get a photo of its face?!

SONY DSC It was very exciting to spot our first koala (see the photo to the left)!

No further koala spottings for a while, despite occasionally coming across the distinctive gummy, urine smell of one nearby.

Finally, in December 2012, we saw our second koala (see the photo on the right). Or maybe it was the same koala in a different tree?

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In May 2015, we captured a koala on a wildlife camera (on the part of Wordwood that we call The Hill). He stayed for 2 nights (see the photos below).

Koala Arriving 1

Arriving – 1 May

Koala Leaving 1

Leaving – 1 May

Koala Arriving 2

Arriving – 2 May 2

Koala Leaving 2

Leaving – 2 May

Yellow-footed Antechinus 

Major excitement on 1 December 2012! A yellow-footed antechinus had moved into the storeroom in The Nook to nest. Mistaking it for a rat, Margie removed its nest twice. Then, Pete worked out from the scat that it was an antechinus. We gave it a nest box and hoped to soon have antechinus babies. We hoped it was a girl – ’cause if it was a boy and he’d got lucky it would have been all over! She didn’t use the nest box. The tarry and fragrant scat was a bit unfortunate. We read that if you put down paper a female will use it to toilet, and we tried that with limited success. We named her ‘Squatter’. The babies arrived on 13 January 2013. We guessed as much because the amount and spread of scat had increased. We then saw two of them. Very appropriately, one was hiding in the Land for Wildlife folder. The other one was in a cardboard cylinder. They grew very fast. They had gone by August 2013. Squatter was still around and using the nest box. When we arrived late one night, we saw her coming in from outdoors through the space between the roof and wall. She was very friendly – just sat looking at us and then continued about her business. Pete’s friends say that an antechinus in their house came out to visit every evening and danced around waiting for the attention until they all went ‘Ooh! Look an antechinus!’.

In December 2013, scat and eaten rice paper lanterns indicated that the antechinus had moved out of the storeroom into the main room. Moving into the main room was a major breach of mou cohabitation agreement, whereby they were required not to poo in the house. We went looking to relocate her and found mum with 6 babies (see the photo below). She had nested in the upper bunk of the bed. It was funny catching her. Each time Pete went up one side of the bunk, we saw her little figure running under the blanket to the other side. Eventually, Margie got up on the bed and managed to pick her up and pop her in the billy. We relocated her back to the nest box in the storeroom. She was very good about it all really. I guess when you are lugging around more than you body weight in babies you are pretty passive. It turns other that there was another mum with another 6 babies nesting in a basket in the storeroom as well. When Margie opened the basket she saw them all feeding. They were even tinier.

After our experience with the antechinus, I came across a poem and it struck me. The first verses are reproduced below.

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To a Mouse

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle.

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken nature’s socal union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion
An’ fellow mortal!

– Robert Burns

Northern Brown Bandicoots (Eastern)

A couple of nights when Pete has stayed in The Nook by himself and with no dogs, he has been woken by a northern brown bandicoot (eastern) on the deck. In August 2014, we put a wildlife camera on the ground looking at the land just next to the deck. A bandicoot visited every night, often more than once a night (see the photo on the right).

Dingos 

As at March 2013, we had only seen one dingo. It was crossing the driveway. As soon as it heard us it froze, and went on tentatively, clearly smelling where Margie and the dogs had been just a short time before. It looked mostly dingo-like, with maybe a little German shepard. Seeing it inspired Margie to write the poem set out below. In September 2014, we captured another dingo on the wildlife camera at a waterhole on the place we call Little Creek (see the photo below).

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Love the Predators

‘You cannot love the prey and not love the predators’

If love means,
it is an aching heart.

The dingo.
Pays the predator’s price –
and becomes prey.
Hiding.
Paralysed.
Tentative.
Bolting.

My helpless, hopeless
aching heart.

– Margie

Red Deer 

Despite the fact that they are feral, the red deer that visit Wordwood are majestic as they walk by and look us in the eye. In September 2014, we captured 3 deer on the wildlife camera at a waterhole on the place we call Little Creek (see the photos below). One seemed to be an old loner and the others a younger pair.

DEER AT LITTLE CREEK WATERHOLE SEPTEMBER 2014 DEER AT LITTLE CREEK WATERHOLE SEPTEMBER 2015

Birds

Wordwood is home to lots of birds. We find the website Birds in Backyards and the phone app Michael Morcombe & David Stewart eGuide to The Birds of Australia really useful in bird identification (see the links on the right).

Glossy Black Cockatoos
The glossy black cockatoo (calyptorhynchus lathami) is one of the more threatened species of cockatoo in Australia and is legislated as vulnerable in Queensland and New South Wales. We are delighted that glossy blacks use the area of Wordwood that we call She-Oak Grove for feeding. They feed on black she-oaks (allocasuarina littoralis) (see the photo on the right). In May 2014, our identification was confirmed by expert Lisa Bailey from the Glossy Black Cockatoo Conservancy. She also educated us that they are picky eaters, will only use select feed trees and different family groups feed in different ways (see the photo below).

Evidence of Glossy Black Cockatoos feeding

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White-Headed Pigeon

In September 2014, we had a a rare visit from a white-headed pigeon (see the photos below). They are usually rainforest dwellers. It came to our feeder just a few feet away from The Nook. It stayed for most of the morning, ignoring our activities. It fed happily and then sat out a shower of rain.

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Eastern Yellow Robin
Yellow Robin Mum 1 In August 2015, we found a nest with 2 eastern yellow robin chicks on the part of Wordwood that we call The Hill (see the photos below). The nest was in a gum sapling, only about 1 metre from the ground. Doesn’t seem like a smart survival strategy to nest so close to the ground. However, Mum was standing guard (see the photos on the left and right). Yellow Robin Mum 2
Yellow Robin Babies 1 Yellow Robin Babies 2
Pied Cormorant
A pied cormorant is a regular visitor to Wordwood’s dam, often sitting on the floating island that Pete made and anchored in the dam. In September 2014, we captured the cormorant on a wildlife camera at a waterhole on the part of Wordwood that we call Little Creek (see the photo below). IMG_0175
Nests 
In the gully running down from The Nook, kooaburras use ant mounds in gum trees as nests (see the photo on the near right).

Since December 2012, noisy friarbirds have periodically nested in a gum tree with a feeder near The Nook (see the photo on the far right).

In December 2015, currawongs with at least 1 chick nested high up in a gum tree near The Nook.

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Bird Photo Gallery

Top row left to right: Forest kingfisher, white-throated treecreeper, Pete’s art photography, weebill, owlet nightjar

Bottom row left to right: Thornbill (credit: Deb Metters),  Pete’s art photography, Rose Robin (credit: Deb Metters)

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14062897589_c6242ebd30_o The Nook renovation 6 14226409666_2b36bdcba0_o

Frogs 

Wordwood has a surprising number and variety of frogs. We take this as a sign of its health. After the first of the Spring rains in November 2015, we went up to the dam one evening and the frog calls were deafening. We recorded them (listen to the recording by clicking on the red button below) and sent them to the Queensland Museum for identification. The museum staff identified at least 5 species – bleating tree frog, eastern sedge frog, emerald spotted tree frog, scarlet sided pobblebonk and broad-palmed rocket frog (see the photo below left). A Land for Wildlife SE Queensland officer also thought there was an additional species – ornate burrowing frog. The next morning, the dam was covered in frog spawn (see the photo below right).

 

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Snakes 

One of the first animals we spotted at Wordwood, in October 2011, was a red-bellied black snake. We named it Sir Bernard Black and treated it with great respect. We found further evidence of it, or another red-bellied black snake, over near the dam in January 2014 – a big snake skin, eye holes and all. We found a similar skin in March 2015 at the top of the hill above the place on Wordword that we call Platypus Junction (see the photo on the right, measured against a deck of cards). On morning after we recorded the frog spawn in November 2015 (see above), we  spotted Sir Bernard Black or another red-bellied black snake swimming in the dam. It stayed underwater for at least 20 mins.  The evening before we saw a very small black snake on the drive way. Maybe Sir Bernard is a she and has a baby? SONY DSC

Lizards 

In the first 2 years after we purchased Wordwood, we noticed just one lizard – a nobby dragon (see the photo below left). We now spot lizards more frequently.  In September 2014, we caught a water dragon on the wildlife camera at a waterhole on the place at Wordwood that we call Little Creek (see the photo blow centre). In May 2015, we caught a lace monitor (goanna) on the wildlife camera at The Nook (see the photo blow right).

 WATER DRAGON AT LITTLE CREEK WATERHOLE SEPTEMBER 2014  Goanna May 2015

Creepy Crawlies

We are not much good at identifying Wordwood’s many butterflies, moths, spiders and other creep crawlies. Some of our favourite photos are included below.

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Dragonfly

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Dragonflys

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Insect Galls

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Gum Tree Shield Bug (Nymph)

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Lady Beetle

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Butterfly

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Caterpillar

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Caterpillar

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Emerald Moth

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Glasswing Butterfly

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Meadow Argus Butterfly

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Grey Huntsman

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Trapdoor Spider Nest

Fauna Species List (Last updated August 2016)

Scientific name

Common name

Type
Indigenous    
Antechinus flavipesr Yellow-footed Antechinus Mammal
Canus lupus dingo Dingo Mammal
Hydromys chrysogaster Rakali/Water Rat Mammal
Isoodon macrourus Northern Brown Bandicoot (Eastern) Mammal
Microchiroptera Microbats Mammal
Petaurus norfolcensis Squirrel Glider Mammal
Phascolarctos cinereus Koala Mammal
Tachyglossus aculeatus Echidna Mammal
Macropus giganteus Eastern Grey Kangaroo Mammal
Macropus rufogriseus Red-necked Wallaby Mammal
Pseudocheirus peregrinus Common Ringtail Possum Mammal
Rattus tunneyi Pale Field Rat Mammal
Sminthopis murina Common Dunnart Mammal
Trichosurus vulpecula Brushtail Possum Mammal
Aegotheles cristatus Owlet Nightjar Bird
Acanthiza nana Eastern Spinebill Bird
Acanthiza pusilla Brown Thornbill Bird
Acanthiza reguloides Buff-rumped Thornbill Bird
Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris Yellow Thornbill Bird
Alectura lathami Australian Brush Turkey Bird
Alisterus scapularis King Parrot Bird
Anas superciliosa Pacific Black Duck Bird
Aquila audax Wedge-tailed Eagle Bird
Ardea pacifica Pacific or White-necked Heron Bird
Artamus cyanopterus Dusky Woodswallow Bird
Aviceda subcristata Pacific Baza Bird
Cacomantis flabelliformis Fan-tailed Cuckoo Bird
Calyptorhynchus funereus Yellow-tailed Black Cookatoo Bird
Calyptorhynchus lathami Glossy Black Cookatoo Bird
Centropus phasianinus Pheasant Coucal Bird
Chenonetta jubata Australian Wood Duck Bird
Colluricincla harmonica Grey Shrike-thrush Bird
Columba leucomela White-headed Pigeon Bird
Coracina novaehollandiae Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Bird
Cormobates leucophaea White-throated Treecreeper Bird
Corvus orru Crow Bird
Coturnix ypsilophora Brown Quail Bird
Cracticus torquatus Grey Butcherbird Bird
Cuculus pallicus Pallid Cuckoo Bird
Dacelo novaeguineae Kookaburra Bird
Daphoenositta chrysoptera Varied Sitella Bird
Dicaeum hirundinaceum Mistletoe Bird Bird
Dicrurus bracteatus Spangled Drongo Bird
Egretta novaehollandiae White-faced Heron Bird
Eolophus roseicapilla Galah Bird
Eopsaltria australis Eastern Yellow Robin Bird
Eudynamys orientalis Common or Eastern Koel Bird
Geopelia striata Peaceful Dove Bird
Glossopsitta pusilla Little Lorikeet Bird
Gymnorhina tibicen Magpie Bird
Haliastur sphenurus Whistling Kite Bird
Lichenostomus chrysops Yellow-faced Honeyeater Bird
Malurus cyaneus Superb Blue Fairy Wren Bird
Malurus lamberti Varigated Fairy Wren Bird
Malurus melanocephalus Red-backed Fairywren Bird
Manorina melanocephala Noisy Miner Bird
Meliphaga lewinii Lewin’s Honeyeater Bird
Melithreptus lunatus White-naped Honeyeater Bird
Myiagra rubecula Leaden Flycatcher Bird
Myzomela sanguinolenta Scarlet Honeyeater Bird
Neochmia temporalis Red-browed / Firetail Finch Bird
Ninox novaeseelandiae Southern Boobook Owl / Mopoke Bird
Nycticorax caledonicus Nankeen Night Heron Bird
Oriolus sagittatus Olive-backed Oriole Bird
Pachycephala pectoralis Australian Golden Whistler Bird
Pachycephala rufiventris Rufous Whistler Bird
Pardalotus punctatus Spotted Pardalote Bird
Petroica rosea Rose Robin Bird
Phalacrocorax sulcirostris Little Black Cormorant Bird
Phalacrocorax varius Pied Cormorant Bird
Platycercus adscitus Palehead Rosella Bird
Platycercus elegans Crimson Rosella Bird
Podargus strigoides Tawny Frogmouth Bird
Ptilonorhynchus violaceus Satin Bowerbird Bird
Rhipidura fuliginosa Grey Fantail Bird
Rhipidura leucophrys Willy Wagtail Bird
Sericornis frontalis White-browed Scrub Wren Bird
Scythrops novaehollandiae Channel-billed Cuckoo Bird
Smicrornis brevirostris Weebill Bird
Strepera graculina Pied Currawong Bird
Todiramphus macleayii Forest Kingfisher Bird
Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Bird
Trichoglossus haematodus Rainbow Lorikeet Bird
Zosterops lateralis Silvereye Bird
Amphibolurus nobbi Nobby Dragon Reptile
Intellagama lesueurii Water Dragon Reptile
Lampropholis delicata Garden Skink Reptile
Oedura tryoni Spotted Velvet Gecko Reptile
Pogona barbata Bearded Dragon Reptile
Pseudechis porphyriacus Red-bellied Black Snake Reptile
Saiphos equalis? Skink Reptile
Varanus varius Lace Monitor / Goanna Reptile
Limnodynastes terraereginae Scarlet-sided Pobblebonk Amphibian
Litoria caerulea Australian Green Tree Frog Amphibian
Litoria dentata Bleating Tree Frog Amphibian
Litoria fallax Eastern Sedge Frog Amphibian
Litoria latopalmata Broad Palmed Rocketfrog Amphibian
Litoria peronii Emerald-spotted Tree Frog Amphibian
Mixophyes fasciolatus Great Barred Frog (Heard only) Amphibian
Cherax depressus Orange-fingered Yabby Crustacean
Cherax dispar Slender Yabby Crustacean
Argiope keyserlingi St Andrews Cross Spider Arachnid
Argiope keyserlingi St Andrews Cross Spider Arachnid
Argiope keyserlingi St Andrews Cross Spider Arachnid
Austracantha minax Jewel Spider Arachnid
Holconia immanis Grey Huntsman Spider Arachnid
Small Mottled Scorpion Arachnid
Wolf Spider? Arachnid
Polydesmid millipede Diplopod
Acrida conica Long-headed Grasshopper or Giant Green Slantface Insect
Acripeza reticulata Mountain Kitydid Insect
Anoplognathus Christmas Beetle Insect
Archimantis latistyla Stick Mantis Insect
Cicadidae Cicadas Insect
Coccinellidae Lady Beetle Insect
Hymenoptera symphyta Sawfly Larva/Spitfire Insect
Polyrhachis Spiny Ant Insect
Theseus modestus Gum Tree Shield Bug (Nymph) Insect
Acraea andromacha Glasswing Butterfly Lepidoptera
Endoxyla cinera Giant Wood Moth Lepidoptera
Junonia villida calybe Meadow Argus Butterfly Lepidoptera
Oenochroma infantilis Emerald Moth Lepidoptera
Feral  
Cervus elaphus Red Deer Mammal
Felis catus Feral cat Mammal
Vulpes vulpes European Red Fox (scat and feeding only) Mammal
Bufo marinus Cane Toad Amphibian
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