Birds and Bugs at Wellington Point, Redlands.

My birthday falls at a very busy time of year and for most of my life it just seemed like too much of a bother to celebrate it. However, a few years ago I decided I would make an effort to make them more memorable. Since material things aren’t so important to me, I chose to make my days special by travelling somewhere new each year.

I’m rather fond of seagulls so I was delighted when one  birthday trip to Wellington Point in the Redlands Shire, east of Brisbane resulted in me sharing a sunrise with a particularly friendly one. Strangely, it didn’t seem interested in my breakfast or in joining the other gulls by the jetty where the fishing boats were heading off for the day. Some people find seagulls annoying but they  signify freedom to me and I find the smooth white and grey features of silver gulls beautiful. Joni Mitchell’s first album way back in 1968 was titled Song to a Seagull and includes a beautiful song by that name so I don’t feel completely weird in my affection for this sea bird.

seagull-early-sunrise-wellington-point

 I’ve made a couple of visits back to the area since. My most recent one ended in me learning a few interesting wildlife facts I never would have discovered had I not been actively searching for something to share on my blog.

Wellington Point was named in 1842 after the Duke of Wellington, however before white settlement the people of the Quandamooka lived in this area for thousands of years. Redlands Shire was inhabited by tribes of the Yuggera language group who were skilful hunters and fishers. Minjerribah or North Stradbroke Island is included in the Redlands Shire and apparently the men of Minjerribah had a special relationship with the local dolphins. They would call the dolphins by slapping the water and digging in the sand with their spears. The dolphins would then herd schools of fish into gutters where people would catch them in tow-row nets. The left-over fish would be fed to the dolphins. Seafood remained plentiful until Europeans began to commercially fish in the area, after which the numbers of dugong, turtle, oyster and fish numbers were drastically reduced.

The European settlement of  Wellington Point and surrounding areas involved sugarcane and vegetable farms, a timber industry and tourism. Although much of the Redlands Shire has been developed, Wellington Point still has a quiet atmosphere and is popular for recreation.

Back to my walks now. As I mentioned earlier, my birthday visit to Wellington Point started with an intimate sunrise  spent with a feathered friend. The sunrise itself wasn’t spectacular but my seagull pal made it a little more special.

 

Seagull-sunrise-wellington

seagull-flying-sunrise-wellington-point

 

seagull - Wellington-Point

Sunrise-Wellington-Point3

As the sun rose I said goodbye to my mate and ventured off to take in more views. An ibis had set up position on a rubbish bin, ready for breakfast.

Ibis-sunrise

Beach-silhouettes

The other seagulls were busy preening themselves.What a shame about the human rubbish spoiling the scene.

seagulls

My most recent trip to Wellington Point (or Wello as some locals call it – we have a habit of shortening words and adding an “o” in Australia) involved a morning of strolling along the foreshore paths and  the boardwalk through the mangroves.

I  like a nice jetty and  find it interesting how a place can look quite different depending on the light. Here are two different views of  Wellington Point jetty.

Wellington-point-jetty-people

Wellington Point-Jetty-sunrise

There were plenty of people about trying to catch their lunch however these seemed to be the only fish that were biting.

toadfish-wellington-point

Toadfish used to be thought of as pests when I went fishing as a child. They were annoying as they often took the bait or bit off the small hooks. If caught, they couldn’t be eaten as they are extremely toxic. I had assumed that toadfish are common all over the world but apparently not so. Here in Queensland we have the common and the smooth variety. The family name Tetraodontidae means “four teeth” and these are fused forming a beak-like structure. I’m still trying to work out whether these are the smooth or common variety so if anyone can decide based on the Australian Museum descriptions, let me know.

toadfish

 As a child I think I was afraid of their teeth but I noticed for the first time on my walk how attractive their speckles are. I guess I wasn’t trying to catch a fish dinner though.

Tree

Continuing along I came to the mangrove reserve. Mangroves are unique and important ecosystems. There isn’t room in my blog to detail  the importance of preserving them, but they provide breeding grounds and food sources for many organisms, reduce erosion of coastline, and even act as sinks for a variety of heavy trace metals.

Mangroves

Mangrove 2

I would have enjoyed the mangrove walk more  if I hadn’t read far too many adult murder mysteries as a child. I felt just a little too alone among the mangroves. For once my walking pace became brisk as I returned to the more populated foreshore. Before leaving I caught a picture of an ibis feeding in the mudflats which is an unusual sight for me. Most times I see them feeding from rubbish bins at the university or venturing close to picnickers to steal lunch morsels.

Ibis-wellington-point

I also noticed this fungi growing on a log which was below the high tide mark. I was surprised it could survive such salty conditions.

Fungi

I came upon a couple of windsurfers. One was particularly talkative and gave me a lesson on the difference between the boards and sails from way back in ancient times (when I was a teenager) and the modern one he was using. In the old days when I tried windsurfing, the boards were long and narrow. Now they are wider and shorter, giving much more control.

Windsurfer 1

I vividly remember one of my early experiences windsurfing. I needed to be rescued as when I hopped on the board, I got the hang of it far too quickly and shot out to sea. The only problem was that the people teaching me hadn’t got up to showing me the lesson on how to turn around. The hire people zoomed out on their inflatable dingy and instructed me on how to drop the sail and manoeuvre the board around. I fell in during the process which wasn’t ideal for my anxiety levels as the movie Jaws rushed through my mind and I also remembered the number of sharks that I’d seen from my father’s small fishing boat in the same area. I am still alive today though with no bite scars, just a lingering embarrassment!

windsurfing-wellington-point

I hadn’t seen much wildlife at this stage but the sight of a large flowering hibiscus tree got my heart fluttering. In the past I’ve seen them be home to hundreds of Tectocoris diophthalmus, the brightly coloured hibiscus harlequin or cotton harlequin bugs. After a good search I was rewarded by this sight – a female harlequin bug. I had no idea that they actually guard their eggs until hatching.

Harlequin bug

I also found a blue nymph and observed this encounter between an adult and a nymph.

Harlequin nymph

Harlequin bug and nymph

The adult females are mostly orange but the males can be both blue and red or orange. These sap-sucking creatures are also known as stink bugs as when disturbed they can emit a bad smell which triggers others in the group to add to the smell. They not only feed on cultivated cotton and hibiscus plants but also Illawarra Flame tree flowers, bottlebrush and grevillea.

Hibiscus

Wellington Point is popular with people of all ages.

Love

Beach path

Kids-near-jetty

One of my favourite residents of Wellington Point is the pelican. When I see them I can’t help but think of Mr Percival from the Colin Theile novel, Storm Boy, and the famous film based on it.

Pelican- beach

Colin Theile was one of my favourite Australian children’s authors as a child. In a recent post about Byron Bay I wrote that pictures could show the beauty of the ocean views more than any words I could ever use to describe it. I came across this yesterday by Theile  which shows his talent as a writer. I may not be able to describe the sea well, but he certainly had a way with words.

“The green sea swept into the shallows and seethed there like slaking quicklime. It surged over the rocks, tossing up spangles of water like a juggler and catching them deftly again behind. It raced knee-deep through the clefts and crevices, twisted and tortured in a thousand ways, till it swept nuzzling and sucking into the holes at the base of the cliff. The whole reef was a shambles of foam, but it was bright in the sun, bright as a shattered mirror, exuberant and leaping with light.” – Colin Theile

wellington-point-jetty (2)

rocks

Wellington Point is in the Redlands Shire which is also known for its koala population but after much walking and neck craning I wasn’t able to spot one. However, in December I was excited to spot my first wild koala near Warwick, west of Brisbane. It was high in the tree and there was glare behind it but I managed to get a picture of its rump. Unlike me, it was being sensible and snoozing during the midday heat.

KoalaTwitter

While it may not be an extreme hiking destination, Wellington Point is a great escape from the city during the summer heat. Apparently, at low tide you can walk across to King Island, something I will have to try on another day. Given I am a slow walker, I wonder if I will become stranded. What a shame if I have to stay there and not return to the city until the next day…

seagull-legs

 

 

38 thoughts on “Birds and Bugs at Wellington Point, Redlands.

  1. Happy birthday! It’s my birthday today too, weird! Thanks for another lovely post. I grew up on the Sunshine Coast and lived in Brisbane for many years, so I’m really enjoying keeping in touch with my home range via your blog! Thank you 🙂

    • Thanks! I hope you have a beautiful birthday! Mine is not exactly today but was recently. I still appreciate the good wishes though. Presents or good wishes can come any day before or after I say and they will always be appreciated. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I suppose many of these places will look very familiar to you then. I also enjoy your very interesting and informative blog. Thank you for the entertaining education! 🙂

    • Oh thank you, John. I would say that about your posts actually. Daily gifts! My birthday is not exactly today but as I replied to another comment, birthday wishes are very much appreciated whether on the exact day or not! Enjoy the rest of your week, John. 🙂

    • I am fond of macro-photography for that reason. Even some of the critters we don’t feel fond of, such as a fly can look beautiful when magnified. Often it’s only when we take such shots that we can reveal the intricate designs of nature. Thanks for reading and commenting. Lovely to hear from you!

  2. Happy birthday! I loved your seagull shots. Your photos are so pretty. Also if I caught a toad fish I’d take a picture but I’d get cranky if it kept eating my bait and I didn’t catch something I could eat.

    • Thanks! I do think seagulls are pretty so I was happy to get some nice shots of my feathered friend. Yes, toad fish can be very annoying while fishing but are quite interesting to examine. I seem to remember it being a bit of a trick to try and remove a hook from their mouth because of the teeth, but perhaps I was just a little young and scared of them. 🙂

  3. Another eye catching post, your pictures are so good. Sea birds, insects, the sea itself foaming away and even a koala, splendid. I also loved the words written by Colin Theile, thank you for introducing him to me.

    • Thank you, Susan! I was a little sneaky adding the koala photo when it came from a different walk, but I did want to share my first glimpse and I won’t be writing up the farm walk to be able to include it there. I’m glad you enjoyed Colin Theile’s writing. He appreciated the natural world and also human emotions and made some moving stories including them. 🙂

  4. Happy Birthday Jane, for whenever it falls.

    I have a tip for you, for when you walk out to King Island. Take shoes. You may have been sensibly planning to do so anyway, but I can assure you that the course sand is (I don’t expect it’s changed since I was last there) liberally strewn with broken shells, coral and stones which sometimes makes finding a softish patch of sand to walk of somewhat tricky. Having shoes makes walking around the island easier, too, but then you can say you’ve seen the other side! It’s also further out than it looks.
    As for seagulls… (Nice work with the flash!) on their own they can be quite amusing. We had a lone one visit us on our return trip from Wilson Prom Lighthouse. It was probably disappointed we didn’t share lunch, but it tried hard to persuade us – without actually attacking us.
    There are plenty around Melbourne – being a port city on the bay, that’s not surprising. When we go to the rugby of an evening in late summer/autumn(fall) there are plenty of moths and insects around, attracted by the wide, watered expanse of grass I presume. Marauding flocks of seagulls line up on the very distinctive roof line of AAMI Park, then sally forth in squadrons in s life and death battle (which is pretty one sided, I have to admit). I enjoy watching the gulls swoop around in front of us (when, occasionally, the game gets a bit bogged down) and viewing both shows from an elevated position (level 3) gives a different perspective.
    Lovely post Jane, thank you.
    : )

    • Hi Dayna,
      Thanks for the tip about the shoes! I am a little freaked out by stone fish because I saw them often where I once lived so I usually wear those protective swimming shoes or something similar. However, my family probably wouldn’t so it’s great to be warned so I can make sure they have something suitable.After hearing you’ve walked there I am very keen now. I am hoping to see a few sea creatures like crabs that just don’t seem to be about on the shores much around Brisbane. I had no idea it was possible to walk across until I read about it. Writing a blog is handy sometimes!
      I can imagine that large flocks of seagulls could get a little noisy and might leave some “gifts” on people too. As you say they can be entertaining as well. I like watching the odd keen one on its own. I think as a child I wanted a pet one, but then I seemed to want to make pets of everything when I was that young! Thanks for reading and your helpful comments, Dayna. Always great to get your input. 🙂

      • My grandma (Nonna) has this story that once, when she was a young working woman, she had the afternoon off so she drove down to Wellington Point and walked out to King Island. Poor Non fell asleep sunbaking (this would have been back in the ’50’s – way before people know to be concerned about sun cancers) and didn’t wake up until the tide was well and truly on the turn! She made it back, wading and swimming in paces, but it certainly was a bit of a shock for her. Back in the days before mobile phones, she could have been stranded there til the next turn of the tide, with a very, very worried family at home!
        So tip number two is: there’s plenty of time to walk out and back at low tide…just don’t fall asleep while you’re out there!
        Oh, and your concern about stonefish probably isn’t unfounded. There are plenty of reasons to take at least a pair of thongs (flipflops) and stick to the sandy bits.
        : )

        • I was just thinking how much mobile phones have changed our activities. Now we often take for granted how easily it is to contact people to tell them where we are or if we need help. Back in the old days (when I was a kid) if you didn’t tell someone where you were going it was a case of guesswork. I can imagine your Nonna’s reaction when she woke up to find the tide had turned! That sounds like something I may have done. I think I may take my essential chocolate with me when I do the walk (and one of those little fold up space blankets) just in case I get carried away with taking pics…I can be very absentminded sometimes! Thanks for tip number 2 and the interesting story about your Nonna, Dayna. 🙂

  5. Happy Birthday, Jane!! As always, I enjoy these walks with you. I love that you notice the odd critters, and your posts are so educational and informational. I hope you had the loveliest day! 🙂

    • Thanks Lori! I suspect the “odd critters” is the main reason I go on these walks sometimes. I’m still a bit of a kid when it comes to enjoying insects and other novelties like that. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and your comments are always so encouraging! I’m looking forward to your next entertaining story. 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the selection. I tried hard to find something to include. Having to write a blog is responsible for me making some discoveries I would have normally passed over. I hope you have a lovely day. I’m enjoying your continuing updates about life in your own region and personal life. 🙂

    • Thank you! It was a very friendly gull and strangely, not very keen to join the others. I am very fond of pelicans. Even when I lived 800km from the sea, we would be visited by pelicans that would come during flood years when some of the larger outback lakes would fill. They are very majestic birds when flying and have quite a cheeky look about their face. Always lovely to read your comments! Thanks! 🙂

  6. Lovely post Jane. I do not care much for material objects either, a day out and about enjoying nature is my preference for birthdays also.
    Seagulls are funny birds. Have you ever read the book “Jonathon Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach?

    • Thanks, Amanda! I did read it many years ago as a child and was actually going to pop in a few quotes. However, I couldn’t remember everything about the book which is unusual for me which made me wonder whether something happened in it I didn’t like. Maybe it ended really sadly! Here is one I had set aside but I’ll share it with you instead:

      “Why, Jon, why?” his mother asked. “Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon? Why can’t you leave low flying to the pelicans, the alhatross? Why don’t you eat? Son, you’re bone and feathers!” “I don’t mind being bone and feathers mom. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can’t, that’s all. I just want to know.”
      ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
      So nice to know you share my own enjoyment for enjoying nature on our birthdays. Looking forward to perhaps being able to share a walk one day (if you can handle my snail’s pace!) Thanks for your lovely input as usual, Amanda! 🙂

  7. Thanks for the Wello Point pictures! One of my favorite spots for years, (and we lived there for about a year) and happy belated birthday. Xxx

    • Thank you! Wello is a really nice spot. I’d love to live there. A lovely cool breeze and it seems pretty relaxed. So glad you enjoyed the pics. I hope you get to visit again one day. I hope all is well with you and the fam! xx

    • Thanks Rob! It’s wasn’t exactly an extreme hike but it was relaxing. I haven’t had much time and it’s been a little hot and humid for my liking. We do have some beautiful colours on our eucalyptus tree trunks in Australia and the fallen leaves can be lovely shades of red, yellow and brown too. So while we may not have a distinct Autumn season of changing leaves where I live, we can still enjoy this aspect of our gum trees. I enjoy the many different textures and colours of our tree trunks on my walks. Thank you for your kind praise. 🙂

  8. Happy Birthday, but thank you for the gift of somme memorable photos of your corner of the world!

    I too like gulls and think that they are beautiful birds, despite their sometimes disgusting behavior. 😉

    The macro photos of the insects were superb, as were the pelican shots.

    • Thank you! I think one of the pleasures I get from photography is the thought that I can share my memories with others who weren’t there.
      I’m glad there are other people who like gulls too! They are pretty common and messy and noisy sometimes but I’m still strangely fond of them. I suppose they remind me of carefree days by the sea. A simpler time.
      This old camera I use seems to be particularly good for macro shots so much so that even when I get another one, I will probably want to keep using it for that purpose. It’s not so great in low light situations and distorts people’s faces.
      Thanks for reading and for the lovely comments, Jerry. I hope the new computer gives you lots of pleasure with your photography. Looking forward to reading and seeing how it all works out! 🙂

  9. Lovely post Jane and happy birthday for whenever it was. You’re right about the camera (although moreso yourself for finding them and taking the shots) having its strength in macro. I also love the jetty shots.

    • Thanks Cameron! Yes, I do love the macro setting on this camera. I suspect if I made the effort to learn how to use the manual settings properly rather than just use auto for other shots, then I could produce better results, but I am a bit lazy and also not confident about technical things. I think I do what just feels easiest at the time. I love jetties and really admire the artistic shots that other photographers take of the pilings and the different light settings. I have nice memories of fishing from jetties with a rather nice young man in my youth. Companionable silence by the sea was lovely. Looking forward to seeing pics from your latest trip. Thanks. 🙂

  10. Not a big fan of seagulls myself and yet I find them incredibly adorable in your pictures. Not sure why 😀 and the pictures of the bugs (not a big fan of bugs either!), are so pretty and colourful!

    • Thanks Zascha,
      It was actually an unusual seagull. I did wonder at the time if it had been a bit of a pet/friend to a regular beach-goer. It wasn’t interested in the other seagulls at all and just seemed content to sit near me. I actually had quite a different experience with a mob of seagulls recently which I’ll write about some time. Bugs certainly don’t appeal to everyone and these can make a bad smell when provoked but as you say they are pretty and colourful in pictures! Thank for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. I’m glad you liked the pics. 🙂

  11. Happy belated birthday Jane. I hope your day was wonderful. Judging by the photos, I think you had an amazing day.
    I haven’t been to Wellington Point since I was a child and I used to walk out to King Island then and worry about the sea coming in if I wasn’t quick enough. It looks to have changed a lot since those days though.
    I also loved your Colin Thiele reference. Storm Boy is amongst the books on my book shelf and I remember reading it as a child.

    • Thanks Suze! It’s actually been wonderful to do something a bit different on my birthdays in recent years. It’s been a little surprising to me how lovely it feels to be able to look back and remember that I did this or that on my birthday. Before I decided to do that, I only had one distinct memory and it wasn’t a nice one.
      You used to walk out to King Island? How lovely. I am a little nervous about getting back again before the tide turns. I will have to curb my tendency to get distracted and take 100s of photos! 🙂 Yes, I expect it would have changed a great deal since then.
      I had quite a few favourite Australian authors as a child (Patricia Wrightson and Ivan Southall were a couple) along with Colin Theile and I have sourced old copies from second hand books shops in case they go out of print. I gave them to my own children to read and I suppose my grandkids may read them, if I ever have any. Colin Theile was a very gentle, encouraging author. I read a book about him and he really took the time to respond to children’s letters and praise their own efforts. He was a kind person as well as a great author.
      Thanks for reading and for your encouraging comments as usual, Suze. I hope you didn’t get flooding at your place from the effects of the trough and then the ex-cyclone. 🙂

    • Thanks Gunta! Don’t worry about catching up on my blog. I’ll probably be having a break from my own blog soon and busy with Mad March work and I’ll be in the same situation. I’m just glad you had a wonderful break away. Great photos so far. 🙂

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