Friday, 4 November 2011

Lake Baroon, Kondalilla, Maroochydore

Native - or Ivy-leaved - Violet Viola hederacea

A visit to the doctor meant the prospect of Na's stomach clearing up seemed a distinct proposition, so we carefully planned an excursion to Lake Baroon Pocket Dam, with the option of a walk up into Kondalilla Falls National Park should she feel fit for it.

Lake Baroon is a fairly small reservoir to the west of Palmwoods, popular with picnickers. Surrounded with Eucalypt woodland, it looks a bit like a Spanish or South African reservoir, though at least here the Eucalypts are native. We started with lunch at the dam itself, watching Pacific Baza displaying whilst a couple of Australian Pelicans drifted languidly in to snooze with cormorants and darters on the little island just offshore. A gentle wander to the lookout below the dam yielded few birds, but some information boards helped us to identify some of the trees around us (Grass-trees, Red Oaks and the mildly-amusingly-named Black-butt). Fuelled with enthusiasm for a longer leg-stretcher, we headed off up towards Kondalilla Falls.

The birdlife immediately changed - an early morning visit would have been ideal, but we were there in the late afternoon. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos screeched incessantly from the taller trees, occasionally pausing to regard us with a baleful eye as we ambled by. Brown Thornbills - somewhat like a plainclothes Goldcrest - twittered and flitted in the understorey and the canopy, occasionally joined by Rufous Fantails which flicked determinedly after them, their tails splayed wide in a splash of vivid russet against the browns and greens of the trees.

A break for water at a bench offered us our first snake: a Black Whip-snake gliding rapidly past us, keeping a wary eye in case we attacked it. We kept a wary eye on it in case it attacked us, and so the danger passed by for all concerned. We wandered on until we reached a small waterfall, where again we stopped and admired the view and a Grey Shrike-thrush (neither shrike nor thrush, but definitely grey).

Kondalilla National Park - the river below Lake Baroon

Waterfall in Kondalilla National Park

Lake Baroon from Kondalilla NP

The following day was a relapse day, so we confined ourselves to Palmwoods and the local ponds again.

Native waterlily species (Nymphoides indica?)

Splendid Longlegs Austrocnemis splendida

Wandering Percher (Diplacodes bipunctata), I think.

Eastern Water-skink Eulamprus quoyii

By evening, Na was well enough for a brief jaunt to Maroochydore, where we wandered along the beach in the dying rays of the sun, watching the waves break and the dog-walkers, joggers and walkers going their different ways. A handful of Red-capped Plovers suddenly popped up with a couple of Red-necked Stints, and a rather nice collection of Gull-billed, Crested and Common Terns streamed in to roost on the sand-bars at the river-mouth. We rounded off the day with a couple of Mangrove Honeyeaters and a pleasant picnic dinner.

Sunset over the Maroochye river

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