January-February 2003                                                     No.246


February, Mon. 17: Annual General Meeting & Presidential Address
February, Sat-Sun 15-16: Mon Repos
March, Sat. 1: Conifers workshop
March, Sat-Sun 22-23: North Stradbroke Island
Long Excursion: Bukkulla — August 30-September 7


        1. Presentation of QNC Natural History Award
        2. Presentation of Annual Report and Balance Sheet
        3. Election of Office-bearers and Council for 2003
        4. Presidential Address: Ailsa Gillies
Full supper after this meeting, so please bring a ‘plate’.

NOMINATIONS FOR THE POSITIONS ON COUNCIL FOR 2003 are required to be in the hands of the Secretary no later than February 1.  They must be signed by a financial Club member and bear the nominee’s signed agreement to serve.  Nomination forms are available from the Secretary.


As is usual this meeting was devoted to highlights from the Club’s long excursion for the year, to the Princess Hills National Park, Upper Herbert River, and the Valley of Lagoons.  Six members gave short reports covering fields of activity.
   The overview, setting the Park in place, was given by Dick Date, who, aided by Jan, did such a magnificent job of organising the excursion.
   David Hanger presented the report on the vegetation and commented on the noticeable absence of weeds in the park; there were occasional ones, including lantana but not too many serious ones.  Most of the park, including the camp site surrounds is eucalyptus woodland of various species.  Three geologic types governed the vegetation: granite (the majority), laterite (some rocky tops with little soil, and other flatter areas with a deeper soil) and basalt.  Highlights were: 7 different wattles on the laterite: Grevillea pteridifolia and parallela; lots of grasstrees, Xanthorrhoea johnsonii; the silver elkhorn, Platycerium veitchii; the rare Eucalyptus howittiana, a Dendrobium speciosum in full flower; Hibiscus splendens found to be the most northerly occurrence record at the Herbarium.  Altogether 15 ferns, 4 orchids and 127 species of fertile plants were collected.
   Geoff Thompson said that there were few insects found at the beginning of the camp due to cold weather (2 C on the second night) but later the weather warmed and more were evident.  They found many water bugs and beetles, and one highlight was an area where Giant Cockroaches had their excavations.  These were in the hardest soil Geoff Monteith had seen these insects.  Also of interest was a mass of Dynastid beetle pellets found at what had evidently been the base of a termite mound dug into by an echidna.
   Deniss Reeves found that the Odonata numbers also increased as the weather improved, with a total of 23 species being recorded, consisting of 13 damselflies and 10 dragonflies.  The most important habitats were still or slowly flowing pools in the Herbert River with aquatic and/or fringing vegetation and one of the farm dams and a large shallow swamp known as Survey Swamp.   Deniss showed slides of some of the certainly beautiful damsel and dragonflies he found.
   Harry Hines based his trapping and surveys on the three geologic types, all in the western side of the park; he used a variety of methods of collection: Elliott, cage and pitfall traps; harp traps and trip-lining for bats (successful over water where the small bats come in to drink); birds were observed at all the trap/survey points.  The final tally was: mammals 9 + 3 introduced (pig, cattle, cat); arboreal mammals 3; bats 12; frogs 9 + 1 introduced; reptiles 31; birds 98.
   Ray Leggett illustrated with slides some of the fish he found.  He was impressed with the pristine nature of the river, with crystal clear water so that it was possible to actually see fish.  
   Helen Horton had co-ordinated the bird observations, which resulted in a total of 163 birds seen for the excursion.  Of these 133 were in the national park, with 87 in the close environs of the camp.  We were able to add 17 species to the park list created by previous Birds Australia North Qld surveys.  Unfortunately we did not see the Red Goshawk but there were plenty of other highlights, including the Barking Owl and Southern Boobook calling together at night.  

NEW MEMBERS: In November: Patricia Lander, Southport; Barney Hines, Chelmer.

We hope these members have a long and happy association with the Club.


Door                                           Supper
February: Bill & Helen Horton        Greg & Annette Neill     


It is with sadness that we record the death, on 25 October 2002, of Dr E.N. Marks, whom we all knew as Pat.  Pat has been a well known presence in the club for a very long time; her input covering all aspects from meetings to excursions, to publications, to advice in general, has been considerable and valuable.  Our deepest sympathy to her family.

On the 19th October, three members of the QNC (Pam Grice, Megan Thomas and Peter Woodall) judged the entries in the 49th Queensland Science Contest to select the best ‘natural history project’  in each of the five divisions, for prizes donated by the QNC. As in previous years, we found that the standard of many of the entries was very high and it was often difficult to select the best project.  The President, Ms Ailsa Gillies, gave the prizes to the winners at a presentation a week later.   The final selection was:
Division 1 (Gds P-3): ‘A Collection from my Garden habitat’ by Emma ($20)
Division 2 (Grades 4-6):‘Frogs of south-east Queensland’ by Matthew  ($20)
Division 3 (7 & 8):‘A Collection of Australian Native Orchids’ by Alex  ($30)
Division 4 (Grades 9 & 10): No award
Division 5 (Grades 11 & 12):‘Acacia fimbriata study’ by Philippa  ($35); and
‘Aegiceras corniculatum River Mangrove Study’ by Kim  ($35)
Each of the prize winners will also receive a year’s subscription to the QNC.


Moss, John T.: Butterfly Host Plants of south-east Queensland and northern       New South Wales.  Butterfly & other Invertebrates Club, Inc.  24pp. $5.50.
This booklet will be useful to those with a working knowledge of plant and   
butterfly names.  The use of both common and scientific names is helpful. However, the list would possibly be more ‘user friendly’ with the addition of some simple line drawings.   It is, in fact, a pity that the illustrations on the front cover, by Lois Hughes, have lost their beautiful detail due to their dramatic reduction in size.  In the absence of visual aids to identification, the booklet needs to be used in conjunction with references as mentioned in the introduction.  Local publications on native flora, and gardening with local native plants, would also assist with plant identification.
   A useful addition would be a list of suggested butterfly nectar plants, as these play an integral part in attracting butterflies into an area planted with larval host plants.
   The challenge to consolidate a wide-ranging subject such as this into a compact booklet is great, and considerable effort has gone into the production of this worthwhile booklet.                    Lorna Johnston

PS—NB   A reminder that this will be the last newsletter for unfinancial members.  The computer has this nasty habit of dropping unfinancial names off at year’s end
Check the label for financial status and      Have a Happy Christmas


 New additions to the library and available for borrowing are:
Ken Koolan: A Commanding Presence: the life of G.H. Barker, bookseller, naturalist and ornithologist.  206 pp. Ginninderra Press, ACT 2002.
G.H.Barker was an early and strong member of the Club.
Peter Menkorst & Frank Knight (ill.): A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. 268pp.  OUP, 2002.  An excellent field guide with colour illustrations.
Darryl Jones: Magpie Alert: learning to live with a wild neighbour. 156pp., UNSW Press, 2002. .