Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 End of Year Overview from Jarowair

31st December 2015


As another New Year approaches, I like to take the time to reflect on our journey over the last 12 months at Jarowair Our Patch. This year seems to have flown by, just like many others, and 
I am grateful that I have taken the time to upload posts on this blog throughout the past year. We are currently approaching the 10 year anniversary of the purchase of our little patch of bushland!  This will be a cause of great celebration - and anyone who knows me well, will realise what a feat it has been for me to continue blogging for 10 years consistently to create this chronological journal of our discoveries at our patch, Jarowair.  I look forward to sharing our 10 year celebration with you all in the coming month.

I must take the time to once again thank the wonderful people who help us with identifying new species of both plants and animals and who happily share their knowledge with us.  We are very blessed to have such a great network of knowledgeable experts. I am also thankful for our 'blog' family who support us with positive comments and feedback and educate us on the findings in their own areas of Australia and internationally. Happy New year to you all and may 2016 bring more discoveries and adventures.

J, B, C & K and the critters

Highlights from 2015 at Jarowair

Beyond our patch Highlights from 2015...
  • Brendon visited Cape York, with the Bob Irwin Conservation Team on a research and discovery trip in September
  • Brendon and I had a weekend away at O'Reillys at Lamington National Park and were blessed to see a Fleay's Barred Frog in the wild!
  • I started work on the Indian Myna eradication project with the Toowoomba Branch of Wildlife Queensland in conjunction with the Queensland Murray Darling Committee & Highfields Men's Shed.
  • I was invited to meet famous environmental activist Erin Brockovich when she visited Australia and to introduce her to some of our cutest Koalas - what an inspiring passionate woman she is and it was an honour to meet her in person and to have some photos taken with her also.
  • We all went to Mission Beach, North Qld for World Cassowary Day 2015
  • I had a quick weekend visit to Rockhampton and got to have a little look around
  • We visited Ballina in Northern NSW and saw Eastern Rosellas in the wild, visited Cairns, Kuranda and Barron Falls and had a weekend at the Sunshine Coast where we rescued a broadshelled turtle on the way. We went to Lake Broadwater Conservation Park and Bowenville Reserve near Dalby.
  • We attended the opening of Stage 1 of the Koala Rehabilitation Centre at Geham, at which Brendon volunteered his time and talents, fundraising and building a massive outdoor enclosure.
  • We both volunteered rescuing many koalas, and other wildlife species and ensuring they were passed onto carers and received expert help. I continued volunteering one day a week with local Koala and Wildlife Rescue and have again learnt and experienced a lot. 
  • I continued my volunteer work as Group Co-ordinator with the Friends of Rogers Reserve in Highfields and we are looking forward to achieving some of our goals for this remnant patch of bushland in 2016 with the help of Toowoomba Region Council.  
  • The Toowoomba Branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland has had a successful year and has hosted guest speakers and attended environmental events in 2015. I have continued on as my role as President and Newsletter Editor/Marketing manager for the following year and look forward to future projects being completed in this positive group of people educating others about the importance of wildlife preservation.
  • Our daughter inspired us and educated us on the importance of researching the companies that make personal care products we use, to ensure they aren't tested on animals (or aren't using un-certified palm oil). 

Happy New Year from the Gray Family at "Jarowair"

We look forward to new discoveries and wildlife adventures in 2016!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Butterflies Galore at Jarowair

30th December 2015


The last few days of December has been an ideal time to see Butterflies at Jarowair, particularly near the waters edge of the dam.  The photos below and list were all recorded within a short time this morning.
  • Meadow Argus (Junonia villida)
  • Glasswing (Acraea andromacha)
  • Lesser Wanderer (Danaus chrysippus)
  • Blue Tiger (Tirumala hamata)
  • Common Crow (Euploea core)
  • Wanderer (Danaus plexippus)
  • Orange Dart (Suniana sunias)
  • Orchard Swallowtail (Papillo aegeus)
  • Small Grass-Yellow (Eurema smilax)

Meadow Argus (Junonia villida)

Common Crow (Euploea core)

Orange Dart (Suniana sunias)

Lesser Wanderer (Danaus chrysippus)

Male Orchard Swallowtail (Papillo aegeus)

Gorgeous Juvenile Pacific Baza in Nest

29th December 2012


You may have seen my previous post (see here) taken at our neighbours home just over a month ago, of the nest of a Pacific Baza (Aviceda subcristata), hidden amongst tree foliage.  Today I went back to see how the "chicks" have progressed.  The parents weren't to be seen and must have been hunting close by, but one chick could be seen easily, sitting high in the messy discreet nest.  It is yet to get it's full crest, but I'd imagine won't be long before it leaves the nest.  It was wonderful to see that the parents have been successful, especially that the nest is intact after the large winds we have had recently.


Pacific Baza Chick in the nest 29/12/15

Pacific Baza (Aviceda subcristata) Juvenile

Pacific Baza (Aviceda subcristata) Juvenile

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ootheca of Large Brown Mantid

29th December 2015


Large Brown Mantid (Archimantis latistyla) and Ootheca in our Mulberry Tree.  The Ootheca is like a spongey case made from materials produced by the mantid, in which it lays hundred's of eggs. The case becomes much harder once it drys.  I also noticed the Large Brown Mantid in the same tree not far from the ootheca.  I am keeping an eye on the case in hopes of seeing the young nymphs hatch.


Ootheca of Large Brown Mantid (iphone photo)

Large Brown Mantid at Jarowair (iphone photo)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bentley the baby Butcherbird

28th November 2015 - 28th December 2015


One afternoon, when walking along the veranda at Jarowair, a young Pied Butcherbird came and landed above Brendon and started calling out to him.  It proceeded to hop onto his hand and call out to be "fed".

It was the most bizzare occurance.  None of our neighbours have raised a butcherbird and although there are wild ones here, they have nested down the back of the property and we have little contact with them.  The only option is that this bird has been hand raised by someone and released out our way, but how it came to Jarowair is a mystery.  Some of our friends say that he just "read the signs" at the front of the property and knew he would be looked after here! 

Since the 28th of November, and now named "Bentley", this baby butcherbird has grown markedly and is learning each day.  He comes for occasional feeds of mince, mixed with insectivore, and meal worms, but has been catching his own insects and using his natural instincts too.  He sleeps in the trees every night and is always is alert with other birds sound their "alarms".  He even was the hero on Boxing Day, alerting us to an Eastern Brown Snake in the house yard. (see here)

B & J

28th Nov 2015 - The first moments of the arrival of baby 'Bentley" the Pied Butcherbird at Jarowair

28th Nov 2015 - The first day of the arrival of baby 'Bentley" the Pied Butcherbird at Jarowair

Bentley the Butcherbird, hiding in the pot-plant behind the outdoor lounge, from a Crow (01st Dec 2015)

"Bentley" growing up.  26th December 2015

Bentley, helping himself to the mealworms.

Giant Wood Moth - the size of a Bird

18th December 2015

GIANT WOOD MOTH (Endoxyla cinerea)

I came across this Giant Wood Moth just after dark at Jarowair recently.  I saw it moving around and at first thought it was a Noisy Miner due to it's size and colouring!  This one we measured to be 6 inches in length!

The Giant Wood Moth emerges from a hole in eucalyptus trees in mid-summer.  Once they emerge, they only live for a couple of days, during which time they will mate and lay up to 20,000 eggs before dying.

B & J

Giant Wood Moth (Endoxyla cinerea)
Giant Wood Moth (Endoxyla cinerea)
Giant Wood Moth (Endoxyla cinerea)

Butcherbird finds Eastern Brown Snake

Boxing Day ~ 26th December 2015


Boxing Day 2015 was a rather hot day here in rural South-East Queensland. We all sat outside on the deck to eat our lunch of Christmas Day left-overs, and our friendly juvenile Butcherbird named "Bentley" was sitting on the veranda railing with us.  We were all chatting away, listening to Johnny Cash and talking about how Bentley loved to sing along when nobody was watching, when all of a sudden the bird flew away from the deck down towards the pool fence.  We all commented that it was strange and that he must have seen something, when he then proceeded to fly further and hovered over an Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) on the lawn. The snake reared it's head at the Butcherbird above and took off towards the garden!  

We all dispersed quickly, searching for the camera, bringing the dogs inside and racing down the stairs to see where the snake went to.  We watched it for a few minutes before it disappeared into the thick garden.  Brendon took some video on his phone (see below).  Bentley the Butcherbird was the hero of the day.  What amazing eye sight he has.  We were very impressed at his instincts, which at times we have questioned a little, when he has been chasing flower petals blowing in the wind.  

We all agreed that it is some time since we have seen an Eastern Brown on our property and couldn't be sure of the timeline as we have not recorded all sightings are recorded on the blog, but believe it's well over 12 months ago.

More on the story of our Butcherbird to come...

B & J

Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) Jarowair - Boxing Day 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Appreciation of 'Common Australian Birds'

13th December 2015


We were fortunate to have a visit from my good friend and her son, who live in beautiful London. Young Master A was quite interested in Australian wildlife and wanted to see as much as possible during his trip.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't at it's best when they visited us, and the Koala's and Eastern Grey Kangaroo's remained elusive in the wet weather.

I was quite inspired though, by our young visitor and how he was fascinated and intrigued by everything he saw.  He was so impressed with how beautiful the Galah's were in the tree and wanted to take their photo. As they were quite high, he helped me to take a photo on the camera as the iphone just wasn't zooming in enough.  Galah's are a bird that we see on a daily basis here, and have always been a common sight, throughout my childhood growing up on a farm.  I must admit I don't stop often enough to admire how beautiful they are, and it took my friends son, to show me how even the 'common birds' are beautiful... and so they are.  This is the end result of the joint photo.

I can't wait until I can visit them in London and see the beautiful Green Parrots and Red Robins that are their 'common birds'.

Galah's at Jarowair 13th December 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Flower-loving Fly

6th December 2015

Flower-loving Flies - Apiocera moerens

Family Apioceridae

Master C noticed these unusual "flies" resting on the base of an upturned tube stock pot in the garden at Jarowair. I took a couple of photos, but it has taken me some time to identify them.  They are native Flower-loving Flies (Apiocera moerens) and they are usally found resting on the ground.    They are in the Apioceridae family.

"Apioceridae is a small fly family with only a single genus Apiocera. They are close related to Robber Fly Asilidae. Adults are essentially flower feeders but mostly found resting on ground. Their larvae are believed breed in soil and possibly carnivorous, somewhat similar to those in Asilidae."  (source: Brisbane Insects)

J & C

Flower-loving Flies - (Apiocera moerens) - Jarowair 06th December 2015

Flower-loving Flies - (Apiocera moerens) - Jarowair 06th December 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Pacific Baza Nesting

28th November 2015


Our neighbours have been watching this beautiful Pacific Baza (aka Crested Hawk) building it's messy nest high in an ironbark tree, right in front of their home over the last few weeks. The bird then progressed to sitting on the nest.  I went over to take some photos, which proved rather challenging.  The nest is well placed high in the tree, with plenty of foliage surrounding it to give good coverage.  There is no mistaking that crest and bright yellow eye though!. I must admit, I was surprised at the location of the nest, only metres from the house where large dogs live in the yard and just above where our neighbours visitors park their cars!  I always imagined they would choose a very secretive location!  More photos to come of the baza families progress.


Pacific Baza on it's nest - Kleinton, South East Qld, 28th Nov 2015

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Spotted Python in the Bird Aviary

28th November 2015


I noticed this Spotted Python (Antaresia maculosa) hiding in a container within the the storage cupboard of our bird aviary.  We are not sure how on earth it actually got in there in the first place, but Brendon re-located him under a hollow log in the garden nearby.  This is the second time we have had a small Spotted Python in the "snake proof" aviary! (see previous post from 2013 here)

J & B

Removing the Spotted Python (Antaresia maculosa) from the storage room

Spotted Python (Antaresia maculosa)

Spotted Python (Antaresia maculosa) returned to the wild.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Water Scorpion in the pool

15th November 2015

WATER SCORPION (Laccotrephes spp)

This Water Scorpion was observed in the swimming pool by our children. Master C took some photos of it on my phone to record the sighting, prior to catching it in a net and re-locating it to a waterhole in the creek.

C & J


The water scorpions are distinctive aquatic bugs that possess raptorial forelegs for capturing prey and a breathing siphon extending from the end of the abdomen.

Nepids are poor swimmers and prefer to wait in ambush for their prey with just the siphon extending through the surface of the water. Their prey consists of other aquatic organisms that come into their range, particularly small crustaceans and insects, though they will take tadpoles and small fish if presented with the opportunity.

The raptorial forelegs have an organ that apparently senses the vibrations of the prey, which combines with the use of visual clues to make the Nepidae formidable ambush predators.

WATER SCORPION (Laccotrephes spp) at Jarowair

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Spectacular Storms

14th November 2015


November saw some spectacular storms and some much needed rain on the Darling Downs.  This photo doesn't do the dark storm justice, but the little windmill was spinning so fast in the wind, I thought it was possible that it would spin right off and blow away!


The storm is coming... 14th November 2015

White-throated Gerygone building her nest

14th November 2015


Over the last week and a half, we have watched the size of this nest made of spider silk and grasses grow markedly in size.  The nest is hanging from very small branches on an ironbark tree at our patch.  We had noticed a little bird tending to the nest, but it has taken a week for us to get a good look at her.  Today, even though it was overcast and about to rain, I was able to get a few photos of this beautiful White-throated Gerygone (Gerygone albogularis), tending to the nest.  The little bird darted in and out with nesting material and kept re-arranging the nest.

It is three years since we have noticed a White-throated Gerygone nest here at Jarowair.  It is interesting to note that the tree chosen is only a few meters away from the gum tree that the birds have used in previous years.  (see Previous post from 2012 here).  

White-throated Gerygones are insect eaters and are common in south-eastern Australia.  They have a beautiful happy little trill sound and are most enjoyable to watch.  You can listen to the noise they make on the Birds in Backyards Website here

J & B
White-throated Gerygone (Gerygone albogularis) Nest
White-throated Gerygone (Gerygone albogularis) tending to the nest

White-throated Gerygone (Gerygone albogularis) in the same tree as the nest.

White-throated Gerygone Nest 13/11/15

Friday, November 13, 2015

Nocturnal White Crowned Snake

13th November 2015


The White-crowned Snake (Cacophis harriettae) is a quiet beautiful snake with a shimmery grey body colour like above and below with a cream stripe around the snout and neck area.  They grow to around 50cm in length and hunt at night for skinks and their eggs.  This one was found at our patch quietly moving around at night.  The last sighting we had of one here was of a dead juvenile found caught in a spider web in February 2014, and previous to that a live one in March 2013.  Such a beautiful snake!

B & J.

White-crowned Snake (Cacophis harriettae)

White-crowned Snake (Cacophis harriettae)

White-crowned Snake (Cacophis harriettae)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Galah Acrobatics in the Rain

08th November 2015

Galah Acrobatics in the Rain at Jarowair

A heavy rainstorm in the middle of the day had us all heading inside.  As we stood in the kitchen, we noticed a pair of Galah's having a ball doing acrobatics on the end of a high tree branch in the rain. They were quite entertaining and I couldn't resist taking a few photos of them.  The photos are a bit dark and blurry due to the storm, but I had to add them anyway.  J.G.

This one is my favourite of the lot!

Wolf Spider in the day

08th November 2015

WOLF SPIDER (Lycosidae)

Wolf Spiders build burrows in the dry ground, some with trap doors some without. They are a nocturnal spider whose eyes have a reflective grate that shines up in a reflective blue colour under the torch light at night, almost like someone has sprinkled glitter over the lawn at times!  This one behaved well during the day at the entrance to it's hole, while I took some photos with the macro lens on.  

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae)

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Three Tawny Baby Fledglings

06th November 2015

Three Tawny Frogmouth Baby Fledglings at Jarowair

A couple of nights ago, just hours before a large rain storm, Brendon noticed that the Tawny Frogmouth babies had left the nest and moved to a nearby Ironbark tree with the parents.  We were quite worried about how they would go in the storm, and Brendon went to check on them after the rain finished and they were all okay.  Yesterday I went to take some photos and discovered, not two but three babies!  All this time we thought there were two, just like last year, but there had been one other hiding in that scrappy nest the whole time! 

It is interesting to note that they have relocated the babies to the very same tree that they used last year to relocate the fledgling pair that they raised.  Such cute little bundles they are.  I love this photo below showing the whole family, two parents and three bubs - they look so proud.

See past blog posts about this family here:

J & B.

Tawny Frogmouth Family at Jarowair 06/11/15 Three Fledgling Babies and Two Parents. 

Tawny Frogmouth Fledglings at Jarowair 06/11/15

Tiny Jumping Spider

06th November 2015

Tiny Jumping Spider at Jarowair

I am yet to get confirmation on the actual i.d. of this tiny Jumping Spider.  It was very fast moving and hard to get a photo of, but I had a lot of fun trying to get a few photos with the macro lens on. I love their eyes!  This one was around 4-5mm in length and a pale yellow colour.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Native Frogs are loving the November Rain

06th November 2015


The sounds coming from the water holes, in the creek, newly filled after a good amount of November Rain are deafening from the native frogs - but fantastic just the same.  There are plenty of species out and about. Here are just a few I managed to photograph during one night.  B.G.

Scarlet-sided Pobblebonk (Limnodynastes terraereginae)

Graceful Treefrog (aka Dainty Green Tree Frog) (Litoria gracilenta)

Ornate Burrowing-frog (Opisthodon ornatus)

Ornate Burrowing-frog (Opisthodon ornatus) Pair, making the  most of the wet season :)

Smooth Toadlet or Eastern Gungan (Uperoleia laevigata)

Emerald Spotted Tree Frog (Litoria peronii)