Beware of the Crab Armies: A Sandgate Escape

Sandgate corella

“If you hurt them, the crab army will come and tear your eyeballs out with their sharp claws!”

I opened my eyes wide in mock horror and thanked the young lad for his sagely advice. It’s not often I drag my hermit-like self out to mingle with the crowds that flock to the coast on the weekend, but on this occasion I was being thoroughly entertained by a pair of young wildlife enthusiasts.

I know I promised a report on my chilly trip  south in mountainous rainforest country, but this week I’ll be sharing a mini-post about a coastal spot north instead because my free WordPress data limit has almost been used up. I will need to make some decisions about how I  upgrade before I’m able to share the  longer post with you.

When international people think about Queensland, it’s often the Gold and Sunshine Coast  that spring to mind. However, there are many other coastal destinations, including small suburbs of Brisbane, that have much to offer  tourists and locals.

While it’s certainly not known for its surfing opportunities, Sandgate, about 16km north of the Brisbane central business district  has a relaxed lifestyle that appeals to many. Wide concrete paths along the shore front are popular with dog walkers, cyclists, joggers and families.

Sandgate foreshore paths

It’s linked by a 35 minute train ride to the Brisbane central business district which means horrendous peak hour road traffic to inner Brisbane can be avoided.  Even though I live in the southwest part of Brisbane, it’s only about an hour ride on the train, making it an easy car-free escape from the bushfire smoke and heat of summer.  If it’s not peak hour time, I can also take my bike on the train with me. Nearby Redcliffe, Brighton and Shorncliffe also offer relaxed seaside living and Boondall Wetlands is a popular spot for bird watchers.

Kitesurfing Sandgate

At low tide, depressions left by feeding stingrays offer temporary homes for juvenile prawns, fish, sea worms and other marine wildlife. They vary in width and depth but one stingray may leave many depressions.

Sandgate sunrise with empty stingray holes.

Marine worm at Sandgate

It was these depressions as well as areas around the drainage outlet pipes that two little lads were exploring when I came upon the scene. After spotting my camera they were eager to help. I don’t share photos of the faces of other people’s children, but here’s one of  a helpful little hand holding a hermit crab that apparently “may tear my eyeballs out” if I’m not careful.

hermit crab

I also received a lecture about the differences between snails and crabs but by this stage the snails were firmly hidden deep inside their shells so the photo opportunities were limited.

A little later their father arrived with ice-creams and they insisted I needed a photo for my blog. So in case you are reading, thanks kids for your help…

Sandgate icecream

Regular readers will know I’m fond of seagulls and Sandgate offers plenty of interactions with these feathered critters. A one legged specimen caught my attention on one of my visits.

One legged seagull at Sandgate

The wide smooth foreshore paths encourage wheels of many kinds.

Sandgate recumbent cycle

Sandgate child bike

Sandgate cycling

Sandgate prams and wheelchairs

After excess social interaction I like to head to one of the local parks  for a little quiet time. Silence was not to be found on this day, however, as a flock of Little Corellas,  Cacatua sanguinea, were busy with their obsessive compulsive  chewing behaviour…on the reeds, on the tree trunks, on branches and even on each other.

Sandgate corella chewing

Corella holes in paperbark tree Sandgate

corella couple Sandgate

Sandgate corella perched

I’m often surprised by the number of bird species that local parks support. I’ve lived in rural areas for most of my life but I’ve probably seen more species since living in urban areas, and many of these have been in my own back yard or in local parks.

Tall paperbarks were flowering as well as bottlebrushes. Many of our native shrubs and trees flower in winter which provide much appreciated splashes of colour in our sometimes drab, dry bushland.

Paperbark flowering

Sandgate bottlebrushes

A little side trip to the nearby Nundah historical cemetery  gave me my history “fix” for the day.  Nundah was one of the first areas where free European settlement occurred in Queensland. Many were Germans who established a local mission, “Zion.” The area became known as the German Station by local settlers.

Nundah Historic Cemetery

Nundah Cemetery Grave

The more I learn about the treatment of the first Australians,  the less comfortable I feel reading about such settlements. Some of my heritage is German, and  while I was interested to read about the strong German contingent,  I am also aware that the land was never bought from Aboriginal Australians. It was stolen. It is fitting, therefore, that the name was eventually changed from German Station to Nundah which means “chains of waterholes” in the local Indigenous dialect. The area around Nundah was dominated by the Turrbal people before European settlement.

German Station Park

German names on gravestone

child memorial

The cemetery lies next to a small forest of mainly swamp paperbarks. They range from young trees to some giant specimens.

swamp paperbark

Swamp paperbark Nundah

Swamp paperbark Nundah 2

While at the cemetery, I heard some shouting and bell ringing. I was hoping it wasn’t loud enough “to wake the dead” on this occasion!   It turned out to be cyclo-cross racing and so I grabbed a couple of blurry action shots through the trees.

Cyclocross Nundah

Cyclocross Nundah 2

Despite not being a traditional hiking post I hope you enjoyed a few pictures from one of my Brisbane escapes. Even in suburbia there is plenty of wildlife or evidence of wildlife to be found…and often  excited young children  willing to offer important warnings.

Thanks for reading!

64 thoughts on “Beware of the Crab Armies: A Sandgate Escape

    • Thank you! I’m super fond of seagulls. They make me think of freedom and I love how clean and streamlined they look. I’m glad you liked the shot! 🙂

  1. Unflattering as it is to confess, I found myself sniggering slightly at your conundrum – but only because I find myself in almost the same spot! For some time I’ve been watching my percentage of free data used creep ever closer to 100% and wonder how many more posts (and photos!) I can squeeze in before having to pay – and what that’ll mean for how my blog looks etc…. Given your publishing rate is higher than mine, I guess you’re going to be the guinea pig this time!
    Awesome! Thanks Jane! 🙂
    (P.S. great shots of the corellas)

    • Haha…it’s quite ok for you to snigger, Dayna. 🙂 I’ve been quite reckless with the number of pics I’ve been including. I haven’t even been blogging for a year and I am almost at 100%. I’ve been doing the same thing as you lately though as I creep ever so closer to the limit. I wasn’t game to risk trying to load all my Springbrook pics and not be able to finish the post. My son is an IT whizz – he’s almost finished a software engineering degree and doesn’t want me to pay. He wants to transfer my blog to his server thingo. I don’t understand it and as he is very busy with all his stuff it may be sometime before I can get it worked out. We used to be able to just buy a little more data but it seems now you don’t have that option. We have to upgrade to premium or business which is much more expensive. If I do pay, it’s actually a pretty cheap hobby in the end. 🙂
      I am happy to be the experiment for you to watch, Dayna. Heheh. It could be an interesting disaster…
      Have a great week!

      • Thanks Jane.
        I’ll fork out the $18 or whatever it turns out to be when the time comes. I’m ruing the full-sized pics of Walhalla and the Milford Track now though – lesson learnt. Still, it’s not much money and I might get more options. I’ve got some time left yet.
        Enjoy your week too. 🙂

        • Unless I can’t find the other options for some reason, the cheapest upgrade seems to be $129 per year now (premium). I can’t find the small amounts to just add more data that used to be available. Let me know if you find them. WordPress has changed things so much since I started. Other options may be hidden away. I hope that’s the case anyway…

              • I had a quick look. I’m not sure what the $18 is for, but there’s a $99 for up to 13GB…
                I guess you may loose a few people in the transition, but they’ll be followers who aren’t paying much attention. just make your last post “Follow me now at ….” and you can link to all your old posts. Not perfect but still free…

    • Thank you, Susan. I think you would have enjoyed it as well, It’s quite busy on a weekend but on week days the paths are quiet and they are flat and go on for kilometres by the shoreline. The breeze is lovely on a hot day and there are plenty of birds. Have a lovely week. 🙂

    • Hi Anna, the pics of people in short sleeves was taken a week ago. It was 27C in Brisbane that day. That’s a Queensland winter for you! I’m SW of Brisbane and there is often a 20C difference between our night and day temperatures. Frosts and then a beautiful mild day. Sorry you are feeling the chill over there! 🙂

      • It was only 14 here today! Spent the day inside slow cooking stews. Lol. I think a holiday to Brisbane sounds appealing right about now!

        • 14 is a bit nasty, especially if it’s windy! I prefer cold weather to the hot, humid summers we have here. Winter is my favourite season in Queensland. 🙂

  2. Hi Jane, I logged on thinking I’d be seeing plenty of grey skies and rain (just like home really) and I got blue skies and the beach, actually after living through our winter that was pleasant surprise. Once again another great post, your photos are great, do you do any post op work on them? Interesting to read of the issues with wordpress, I noticed that Dayna has an add on her site now, is that because of the data limit? Sam has just opened a wordpress account for herself so we’ll see how that goes, that’s also why I’ve changed my email. Blogger has a lot of issues but at least it doesn’t cost me anything:) Cheers Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,
      I don’t have a camera that shoots in RAW and I don’t have Photoshop but sometimes I will use the program “gimp” to adjust the brightness or contrast. That’s all I know how to do. The old camera I use is very finicky with light conditions and of course I don’t know how to use it properly so some days the pictures turn out ok and others they are washed out. For every ok pic I probably take about 30 bad ones! Heheh.
      Yes, you’ve had some pretty miserable weather down that way. It’s nice if you like snow though I suppose! We’ve had some chilly nights but the days have generally been typical Brisbane weather…gorgeous blue skies and mild temperatures. Last Sunday when I took most of those Sandgate pics it was 27C.
      I’m not sure about the advert on Dayna’s blog. I don’t see it as I have ad-blocker on. I know that when you have a free account with WordPress they will put adverts on your page sometimes and you can’t do anything about it. If you don’t want adverts you have to pay an extra amount to keep them off. You’ll have to tell me if I have ads on my blog and what they are…I hope they aren’t dating site ones! 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Kevin. Great to hear from you. Am loving seeing pics of you and Sam on your trips. You look like you have a great time (apart from the mossies). 🙂

  3. As ever a great range of stuff going on in your blog Jane. Great stuff, though I’m not sure ice creams should ever be that colour! 🙂

    • Thanks, Pete! I have to agree with you about the ice-cream colours. I’m more of a traditionalist when it comes to flavours! That almost looks like it could be radioactive…scary. 🙂

  4. Once again, Jane, a lovely read with great humor sprinkled around! I loved the candid shots and of course your nature photos are always the unusual and not often noticed. Personally, I love that you entertain us with a different sort of adventure from time to time… I like surprises!

    I have been paying $20 a year for my extra WordPress space for two years now, but it appears now it will be even higher from what I am reading here? I also pay for an ad-block which is $30 a year. It probably won’t matter what additional I have to pay because I have no clue about self-hosting and truly only use my blog to write for fun. I’m not making money. I chalk it up to hobby-type entertainment for myself.

    • Thank you, Lori. I wasn’t feeling very inspired this week to write but sometimes it is best to just do it anyway. I’ve a tendency to get out of a habit and give up when my confidence is running low. The interaction with the two kids made my day actually. It’s been a while since I’ve seen kids enjoying nature like that. It reminded me of my youth when my brothers and I would be outside a lot getting dirty and just having simple fun.

      I’m not sure if I am just getting confused by the new set-up of WordPress or not but I can no longer find the cheap options for just adding a little extra data as you’ve been doing. That’s what I had planned to do but now it seems I need to pay a much higher amount for a package. Anyway, it’s pretty cheap for an entire year really to do something fun. I don’t smoke, drink or have expensive hobbies. All I do is walk, read, take pics and write so it’s probably worth it.
      Thanks for your continued encouragement, Lori! 🙂

    • Thank you, John! Heheh…the beginning does sound a bit gruesome doesn’t it? I love the imagination of young children. I had to stop myself from giggling when he told me that in a completely serious voice. He was enjoying giving me a bit of a tour of the pools. Have a wonderful week, too, John. 🙂

    • Thank you for that interesting information, Daniel. One day I hope to visit Spain as I have distant relatives there from a Spanish branch of the family. It would be quite funny to come across bottlebrushes while on the other side of the world. The picture you shared is lovely and they are obviously thriving in your climate. Have a great week. 🙂

  5. Lovely post Jane! The seagull photo is so good! I enjoyed seeing your seaside pics. I am glad you heeded the warning and kept well away from those dangerous crabs!
    When I first started blogging 18 months ago I posted all my photos full-size until I found I was running out of space. I then started going through all my old posts down-sizing all the photos (erasing them from the posts and from the media library and then inserting down-sized versions). The quality isn’t as good and a lot of fine detail is missing but I managed to retrieve a lot of space. I got fed up with that as it took so long to do so I went mad and up-graded. My daughter then told me I could use Flickr, copying and pasting my photos into my posts like links which means that they aren’t included in the media library. You then don’t have to down-size the photos. I haven’t tried this yet so have no idea if it will work or not but my daughter assures me it will.
    I am constantly amazed at the difference between us in temperature and weather. We have 27 C today and are so pleased we have a hot summer’s day. My husband finds it too hot and won’t go outside and work until it cools down this evening. We have had quite a cool summer this year with many days not getting much above 14 C (late spring/early autumn temps) and one night last week we got down to 2 C which is really cold for August.

    • Thanks, Clare, for the lovely comments! The seagull pic was one I took some time ago at Sandgate but liked it so much I wanted to include it in this post. I think I probably took about 20 ones of the bird that look almost identical. I suspect I will always be fond of them despite how much they bicker sometimes over food… 🙂
      I will have to get myself sorted over these pics. I think I have to upgrade anyway to be able to link with a Flickr account. In the end it is probably not much to pay for the entire year and I don’t really do much else in my life that costs much. It’s a cheap hobby really. I’ve never been very good at spending money. 🙂
      I’ve noticed that the weather your way has been a bit strange. Quite cold for summer! I can imagine that 27C would be a challenge for many after such a nippy season, but I’m pleased you’ve enjoyed the hot day. Winter is quite mild in Brisbane really and the maximums don’t often fall below 20C!
      Thanks for reading and your lovely feedback, Clare. Enjoy your week and I hope you have a few more warm days of summer still to come. 🙂

      • Thank-you Jane. I enjoy blogging very much too though haven’t had as much time for it this year as I had last. Living out in the country we don’t go out much so have to amuse ourselves at home. I’ve found the blogging community so interesting and amusing I really couldn’t give it up. I hope you have an enjoyable week too. Clare 🙂

  6. Interesting diversion post Jane. I grew up near the coast and use to photograph a lot of coastal material and miss the beach a lot due to its ever changing coastal scape. Love your little story and the correllas. The renewal for my website was yesterday, and was dearer than previous because our dollar is so poor against the US. I was running out of space with Premium and have had to remove many of my earlier blogs and data. The counter they employ on my Stats page was not recorrecting properly when I removed media and blogs, so I removed more than I had to. They have fixed the problem now. My movie files take up much of the room and I will have to reduce the quality or the number in future. It is a an inexpensive hobby once you get it underway, it is just the time. Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy what you present, and it gives me a longing to come and explore up your way again, but it will be next year probably. Have a great week Jane!

    • Thank you very much. I’m glad you enjoyed the mini-post.

      I had wondered if I would have the same problem in the future with running out of room in the Premium upgrade as I was considering adding videos but lately I’ve been struggling to find time to collect any new material so perhaps I’ll be fine. It must have been annoying to have to go through and remove so much stuff. Thanks for the warning. I’m assuming there is no option for you to buy a little more space now apart from taking up the expensive business plan one that gives unlimited space? Perhaps I will start another blog and link it to this one if I fill up premium. It’s quite possible I will run out of blogging steam by then though! I have other writing I need to do during the week and I am also wanting to get my home ready to sell in the future which takes up a lot of time.

      I love being near the sea and spent some time living in small coastal towns in my childhood. I also love the space of the outback. Both enable you to see distant horizons and wide expanses of sky. I miss both places.
      Thanks for reading and your continued support. 🙂

      • Yes Jane, you can link several blogs to one site as I have, it works and takes care of the media storage problem better. But now I am reducing the size of my jpgs and length of video. The quality I need to keep, as it is not that wonderful as it is and would suffer if I reduce it. Have a great week! 🙂

    • Heheh…you made me laugh. We do tend to have a lot of venomous or bitey creatures here, big and small. The young lads were very entertaining companions that day. Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

  7. Thank you for this glimpse into your world! Your beaches during the winter look like ours in the summer, in the winter, they are almost entirely deserted due to the snow and ice. We don’t have tides, sting rays or tidal pools either, so seeing them was pretty cool.

    Nature is where you find it, whether close to home, or off in the wilderness somewhere. Like you, I actually see more wildlife around home than in the wilderness.

    I don’t know what software that you use to prep your photos for blogging, but here’s what I have done to save space. I made a folder on my computer for blogging photos, then, I take the full size, full resolution images and reduce them in size to the largest size that the theme I use allows, then, reduce the quality slightly, and change the resolution to 72 DPI rather than the full 240 or 300 DPI that come from my cameras. Computers can’t display the full resolution anyway, so you don’t lose very much. Both the Canon software that I used to use and Lightroom allow me to do this in bulk action, I choose the photos that I want for the blog, and copy those to the blogging photos folder reducing the size and resolution all at the same time. Still, I’ve been paying WordPress $20 US for 2 years now.

    • Thanks very much, Jerry, for the kind feedback and also the helpful information about prepping photos for blogging. When I first started blogging I made the mistake of uploading full size pics but after a few posts I started to reduce them in size so the shortest side was only about 1000 pixels. It depends on the picture though. If it’s a macro one I don’t like to reduce it as much. The resolution on the old camera I use is actually pretty poor compared to modern ones. Even some of the cheap $100 pocket cameras take better pics. I quite admire the photos my kids take with their fancy phones! I will probably just pay to get the extra data and then be more careful. I may not get out much over the next few months which may solve the data problems anyway! 😉

      On weekends beaches are pretty crowded here, whether summer or winter. School holidays are even busier. I prefer visiting on week days when they can sometimes be deserted. I’m hoping one day to visit the wilderness coast in other states where the masses don’t venture. I do like my solitude! 🙂

      Thanks so much for your support and helpful information, Jerry. As you know, technology isn’t my strong point! 🙂

    • Thank you for the kind feedback, Curt. I appreciate it. It’s a lovely area to live and visit and I’m thankful to have such places available to me when I want to escape the heat and pollution. Have a great week. 🙂

  8. Hi Jane. I am envious – 27 degrees with people wandering around in Tshirts and eating icecream! In Castlemaine, we are grateful the temperatures this week will be more than 10 degrees.
    I think kids like the rainbow coloured icecream because it is so colourful – I can’t imagine it tastes of anything much.
    Those are very smug looking corellas. They are obviously pleased with their handiwork.

    • Hi Margaret,
      I probably shouldn’t tease my southern friends with sunshine and ice-cream. It’s a little cruel when you’ve had such chilly weather this winter! 🙂
      Yes, I’m sure it’s just the colours the kids like. Maybe I will test it out the next time I am there… I will let you know.
      “Smug” is certainly the word to describe those corellas. Their handiwork was quite impressive! It reminded me of the time I lived in Longreach during a terribly long drought. Huge flocks of corellas took up residence in the town and stripped many of the native eucalypts. The noise was quite incredible. My kids would scare them away by banging saucepan lids but they’d return again within the hour. Once the rains came they disappeared again.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Margaret. It’s lovely to hear from you. I do hope you have some warmer weather soon. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it! There were other little creatures I took photos of but they were too blurry through the water to share I’m afraid. I think the multi-coloured ice-cream looks pretty but isn’t something I feel like eating. The kids enjoyed it though… Best wishes! 🙂

  9. Thanks for taking me on another journey, Jane. Paperbark and parrots; a very familiar Australian scene for me. 🙂 I loved watching those noisy Little corellas during my time there and my son (18 mths at the time) always enjoyed finding a hermit crab and still does.

    • Thanks David. I’m glad it brought back some happy memories for you. I love watching the look of delight on young kids as they discover and observe critters on the beach. Their gasps, squeals and intense examinations remind me to take more delight in simple pleasures. At some point growing up we often lose that joy in nature as we get bogged down in work, study and commitments. The laughter of kids and their thrill at discovery is so refreshing. I’m glad your son still gets a kick out of hermit crabs. So do I!
      Yes, parrots and paperbarks (I should have called it that perhaps?) are very Australian! Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  10. I sampled a couple of your pictures to see their size. The photograph of the bicycle rider is 1.3 megapixels in size, and the photograph of the parrot is a whopping 3 megapixels. By way of comparison, I keep all my photographs to about half a megapixel, and many bloggers use smaller sizes. If you’re willing to keep your photographs smaller from now on, and if you gradually replace photographs in older posts with smaller versions (deleting the earlier, larger versions from your WordPress Media Library as you do so), you can prolong your free use of WordPress.

    • Hi Steve,
      I actually reduce them a lot before I upload them. I usually reduce them down to about 1000 X 1500pixels. That is what someone recommended to me. When I reduce them much further they are often blurry. I have a terrible screen on my laptop though and so it is hard to tell what other people are seeing. They look much better on a large screen desktop apparently. It makes it hard to edit as well. Ah well, I will try reducing them down a lot more and seeing how people react to them… Thanks for your help, Steve! I don’t call myself a technophobe for no reason. 😉

    • Thanks, Brian. It’s not magnificent coastline like down your way, but it’s got charm, especially on a hot or smoky day. 😉 The little helpers were hilarious. It’s been a long time since my kids were that age. Brought back some memories. I hope all is well with you? Best wishes! 🙂

      • Yes Jane, all is going OK here. Hope you are going well too 🙂
        It’s great when the unexpected happens…some kids can be entertaining can’t they?
        I have sorted some photos and am hoping to do my blog tonight as long as I don’t get caught up in stuff.

  11. Your Sandgate tidal photos are beautiful Jane. And on the esplanade, there seem to be quite a few bikes getting around which is great to see. It looks like a pleasant place to ride. Great to see!
    Thanks for another enjoyable post Jane.
    ps Good luck with sorting out the WP storage.

    • Sorry to reply late, Gail. I’ve been away from Internet. Thanks for those kind comments. Yes, I was very pleased to see so many bikes, particularly being ridden by young children. I don’t often see that in my suburb. It just goes to show that if safe places are available to ride, people will utilise them. I hope to see more spots like that around Brisbane in the future.
      I hope Byron Bay is/was good. I need to check your blog once I’ve caught up on today’s emails. Best wishes! 🙂

  12. I’m on the fence when it comes to seagulls – they can be fairly aggressive and certainly specialise in involuntary food removal!

    The German grave stone was sad sight – didn’t realise the mortality rate for small children was so high, but I’m guessing it’s a similar story all around the world for that period of time.

    • Hi Rob,
      You are certainly not alone in your opinion about seagulls! My daughter does not trust them although she admires their plumage. I can’t remember if you’ve read my post about them interrupting our chips lunch but she was not at all impressed! 🙂
      Yes, the mortality rate for young children was very high in those days. The absence of vaccines, antibiotics and good obstetric care for mothers in labour contributed to many deaths of young ones. It must have been heart-wrenching as a parent back then to lose so many kids.
      Thanks for reading and for your thoughts, Rob. Always appreciated. 🙂

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