Join our zoo community

Zooboy28 in Australia

Discussion in 'Australia' started by zooboy28, 25 Mar 2013.

  1. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Day One Hundred and Twenty-Two:

    The course took place at the University of Queensland’s St. Lucia campus, and we stayed on the campus in student accommodation, which was quite good, and there was lots of exciting local wildlife. There was an orange tree outside the building, and all week there were Grey-headed Flying-foxes flying into it to feed on the fruit every night. These were very cool to see, and weren’t too skittish around people.

    As the course wasn’t consistently interesting (was on Computational and Mathematical Biology...), a few seminars were skipped, allowing exploration of the university grounds. Which were ridiculously flash, where does QLD get its money from? Oh right... Anyway, as well as beautiful architecture and lovely gardens, there were a surprising number of birds, the most exciting of which were Brush Turkeys. These were strutting around the cafes and gardens, searching for scraps and were very cool to watch. Apparently they used to be very common in Sydney too, until the Great Depression.

    There was also a large lake system, with all manner of waterbirds, including pelicans, herons, shags and fowl, as well as a turtle, which I haven’t been able to ID yet, see photo below (I'm thinking Emydura). There were also lots of Eastern Water Dragons, and a flock of Little Corellas. The Brisbane River surrounds three sides of the campus, and a walk along the banks revealed a few additional species too, including Great Egret and a probable Pardalote that couldn’t be ID’d to species level.

    I went for a walk one evening, and as well as a number of flying-foxes, which I really like watching, such fascinating creatures, I also saw a Ringtail Possum scurrying along a power line, which was pretty neat. All in all a good day!

    New Species: Pied Butcherbird, Pied Currawong.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    24,370
    Location:
    the world of tomorrow
    might be a Brisbane River Turtle (Emydura macquarii signata). Looks like it has the yellow stripe on the neck.
     
  3. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    That makes sense, and it definitely has a stripe, I got a couple of other shots while it was moving its head. Cheers.
     
  4. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

    Joined:
    20 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    4,489
    Location:
    Sydney
    Definitely macquarii.

    :p

    Hix
     
  5. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Day One Hundred and Twenty-Three

    Today was a free day, so I caught a ferry along the very scenic Brisbane River to the city centre, and then a train to Dakabin Station, from where I walked almost 2 km to Alma Park Zoo. Essentially a 2.5 hour journey! As it was school holidays, the zoo was extremely busy, but as I was on foot I was able to pass the long line of vehicles (extending along the road quite a distance!) and buy my $29 student ticket from the drive-through ticket office.

    Despite having studied the map extensively before my visit, the zoo was quite different to what I had expected. Most of the exhibits were very good, although a few were poor, especially the larger primate cages. The reptile house was rather unpleasant though, while there was nothing particularly wrong with the standard terrariums, the small size and single door meant it was very cramped and noisy on such a busy day, and I imagine it would have been rather stressful for the animals in there.

    The best exhibit was the massive enclosure for Rhea and Brazilian Tapir, both because of its inhabitants and its environment – large pool with mud, grassland area, and plenty of shady trees. Probably the best tapir enclosure I’ve seen. Other highlights were the extremely active Eastern Quolls, the excellent Red Panda enclosure, and the Emu and Dingo enclosures. The only new species I saw were Spectacled Flying-fox and Barking Gecko, although I also saw a Lewin’s Honeyeater in the grounds.

    While I enjoyed my 2.5 hour visit, I was a bit puzzled by the zoo. Some things just seemed a little weird, and I can’t really explain why. I’m not 100% sure why they are moving, but it appears from comments on ZooChat that they most definitely are, although there are no signs of this at the zoo, and a number of new exhibits and recent upgrades were apparent. The location and car park set-up are far from ideal, but the setting itself is brilliant, lots of narrow paths through tropical jungle, very beautiful. I imagine that a better location would allow competition with the touristy zoos nearby, and it could do with a more modern appearance to capture such a market. I think focussing on jungle species is an ideal way to go for this small zoo, which already has a pretty decent collection.

    After leaving the zoo, I headed back to the Brisbane CBD to check out the Roma Street Parklands, a large park with a very nice garden. There were a few birds here (and hundreds of Eastern Water Dragons), but no new species, visiting in summer would have been more productive I think, although the Bush Stone-Curlews would be tricky to spot year-round. After this I walked to the opposite end of the CBD to check out the Botanical Gardens, which weren’t as impressive, and had even fewer birds, although the adjacent mangrove walk was nice. Then I caught the ferry back to the University, this was very relaxing, I sat outside in the warm evening air, and watched birds and fruit bats fly across the river.

    New Species: Barking Gecko, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Spectacled Flying-fox.
     
  6. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Mar 2011
    Posts:
    4,710
    Location:
    Melbourne, VIC, Australia
    There were no buses from the train station to the zoo?

    Also, $29 discounted entry to a zoo sounds a bit steep, no? For a student, DDZ charges $21, though Currumbin charges $40 and Australia Zoo charges $47. Yeah, $29 isn't too bad then. Melbournze Zoo will charge just $21. :) Maybe Brisbane is just more expensive for zoos then I guess.
     
  7. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    As far as I know there were no buses to the zoo, their website said either call a taxi or walk. And while there was mostly no footpath and it was a fast, narrow road, there was lots of places that birds could have been, which kind of made up for it, although I didn't see anything interesting. And I did have to jump into ditches a couple of times to avoid vehicles.

    $29 is very expensive, but it is a small private zoo, and therefore comparisons with Melbourne et al. are unfair, although Darling Downs is a fair comparison. The other fact is that most local competitors (Australia Zoo, theme parks, etc) are far more expensive, although Lone Pine is a little cheaper. They also had a holidays promotion of adults at kids prices, although that was still $27!
     
  8. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Mar 2011
    Posts:
    4,710
    Location:
    Melbourne, VIC, Australia
    Halls Gap = $22
    Moonlit = $14
    Australia Reptile Park = $18

    Did you feel it was worth a $29 visit and a 2km walk?
     
  9. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Again, comparisons with non-QLD zoos might also be unjust, for various reasons. But it was a small and expensive zoo, and in summer you probably wouldn't be so keen to walk 2km there. For me, it was worth it, simply because it was a zoo, and it would have to be terrible for it not to be worth visiting. It does have some special species, e.g. Rhea, Spectacled Flying-fox, which are greatly in its favour, but most species are widely held. However I won't be racing back there, and if I do go back to Brisbane in the next ten years I wouldn't visit it again unless there are drastic changes, or it moves location.
     
  10. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Mar 2011
    Posts:
    4,710
    Location:
    Melbourne, VIC, Australia
    Yup, I hear you. SE Qld felt over priced when we visited a couple years ago.

    Are you still in Qld? Any chance of venturing down to the Gold Coast to check out Dreamworld?
     
  11. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    24,370
    Location:
    the world of tomorrow
    the zoo changing location is a bit of a head-scratcher isn't it? The current site has been sold and (I think) zoned for residential housing or something along those lines, but they apparently haven't got a firm replacement site yet. But they are making upgrades to the enclosures on the current site! It is weird. Also the new location, where-ever it turns out to be, is almost certainly going to be lacking in "jungle" and so the appearance of the moved zoo will be so much less than it is now.

    I found a boobook roosting in those mangroves at the botanic gardens. Have you seen bush stone-curlews in the wild yet? There are lots of them in the botanic gardens in Brisbane; they spend the days sitting in the bushes, especially in the round beds on the lawns.

    when I went there back in 2008 it was the same, walk from the station.

    I was just thinking he should date the entries to make it easier to follow. It was a week-and-a-half/two weeks ago he was in Brisbane, and only for a short period I think. So I imagine he'd be back in Melbourne now.
     
  12. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    No, I didn't see any curlews, I didn't know there was any in the Botanic Gardens, the Birds of Brisbane brochure I was using basically said the Botanic Gardens were very average for birds, and by the time I got there it was after 4pm so I wasn't looking very hard.

    Ok, I might date the entries then. I am back from Brisbane now, much colder here in Melbourne! Was just up there for the course, Sunday-Friday, so no time for Dreamworld, etc.
     
  13. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Day One Hundred and Twenty-Five

    5/7/2013. This was my final day in Brisbane, and after the school finished, I took the ferry to Southbank, where I visited the Queensland Museum. This was free entry, and fair enough too, as it wasn’t particularly impressive, and relatively small. Interestingly, the first exhibit I saw was the decapitated and mummified Night Parrot found in the Diamantina National Park in 2006.

    The museum’s major natural history exhibitions included Marine Reptiles, which was actually very cleverly displayed, with the sea surface sloping up and away from the viewers, very cool; Giants of the Past, which was just a replica Muttabarasaurus skeleton and a large replica of some footprints, disappointing; and the Discovery Centre, which had many display cases with local animal species, and a variety of interaction objects, such as turtle shells. This was also where most of the live animals were kept, although the only vertebrates were Green Python and Leaf-tailed Gecko.

    The Museum’s shop was really good, and I purchased the Pizzey & Knight Birds of Australia Field Guide there, as this was the first place I’d seen it. From the museum, I explored some of the rest of the Southbank, including the small but pleasant rainforest boardwalk. And then caught the train to the airport, and a plane back to Melbourne.

    New Species: Leaf-tailed Gecko.
     
  14. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    24,370
    Location:
    the world of tomorrow
    I really liked the Queensland Museum when I visited. They had a Dunkleosteus skull there; a hall filled with stuffed animals with outlines of "giant" animals on the wall behind (T. rex, Quetzalcoatlus, giant squid, that sort of thing); a mummified snake-eating-echidna (or maybe a goanna-eating-echidna? I can't remember, but it had been killed by the echidna's spines)...all sorts of cool stuff. No headless night parrot though.

    Oh, also: http://www.zoochat.com/674/leaf-tailed-gecko-saltuarius-swaini-48244/ (found in the Lamington National Park outside Brisbane :))
     
  15. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    I think the dinosaur part may have been partially closed down, as it was just one large skeleton and the footprints, plus a couple of small display cases, very minimal. I'm sure I didn't see that wall. And nor did I see the echidna, which sounds pretty cool. The upstairs area with all the stuffed animals was quite good, although nothing particularly exciting or novel. I did like the marine reptiles display though.

    Nice photo of the gecko, that would have been cool to find!

    Here's a photo of the Night Parrot:
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    24,370
    Location:
    the world of tomorrow
    just checked: it was a perentie eating an echidna. The Muttaburrasaurus was just in the entrance way I think. The wall of giant things was in the same room as the "museum zoo" which was loads of all sorts of cool stuffed animals. The giant things I noted were Carcharocles megalodon, Meganeura, Architeuthis, Tyrannosaurus, Archelon, Harpagornis and Quetzalcoatlus but there were others as well.
     
  17. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    24,370
    Location:
    the world of tomorrow
    from the museum: perentie eating echidna, Museum Zoo, numbat
     

    Attached Files:

  18. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    OK, so the bit beyond the Muttabarasaurus might have been closed off then.

    Definitely didn't see the first two, but did see the numbat. Admittedly I was in a hurry, and the place was packed for the school holidays, but I think I would have noticed the "zoo" part if it was there.

    The following photos show part of the marine reptiles display, a cool display of Tawny Frogmouth skeletons, and the numbat!
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    24,370
    Location:
    the world of tomorrow
    I don't remember the marine reptile display. I suspect that might be where the "Museum Zoo" was in 2008 when I was there. The frogmouth skeletons weren't there then either.
     
  20. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,798
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Yeah, that might be the case, the "Giants of the Past" is essentially adjacent to the "Marine Reptiles" display.

    The frogmouths were upstairs in the main animal area. They were quite well done, all along one branch, but in a variety of different poses.