After lunch on Sunday I made a snap decision to visit the Town Common. I had been thinking about it for a couple of weeks but hadn’t had a perfect opportunity; Sunday afternoon still wasn’t perfect but I decided it was good enough and I wouldn’t delay any longer.
I knew that there had been fires in the park but I didn’t have much idea of their extent. I found that most of the area from the park entrance almost to the Freshwater Lagoon bird hide had been burnt (there’s a map here – a pdf which will open in a new window) but the area between the Freshwater Trail and the ridge line of the Many Peaks range was untouched and still quite beautiful (I didn’t visit the seaward side – it may be fine, too). It was all quite dry, however, with more mudflats than water, as one would expect at the tail end of the Dry season. The Wetlands Walk, between the Pallarenda carpark and Tegoora Rock, had dried out completely although the vegetation was still green.
My ‘bird of the day’ was the brolga. I saw a flock of a dozen on mudflats of the Long Swamp, a group of three near Tegoora Rock and – closest of all – a pair beside a pond in front of the Golf Club. I watched them for ten or fifteen minutes and saw a small example of their famous courtship behaviour but the female wasn’t very interested and the male soon went back to grazing companionably beside her. Here’s a selection of photos in their correct sequence:
I also saw an egret, plovers and many smaller birds including Rainbow Bee-eaters, Peaceful Doves (it actually seemed odd to see them in the wild after seeing them so often in suburbia!) and a Red-backed Wren. The insect life was dominated by Danaid butterflies (Marsh Tiger and Plain Tiger), Clearwing Swallowtails, grasshoppers and green-ants (these links take you to older photos).