The Tarcoola Track – An Experiment

tree colours 2

When this twentieth century of ours became obsessed with a passion for mere size, what was lost sight of was the ancient wisdom that the emotions have their own standards of judgement and their own sense of scale. In the emotional world a small thing can touch the heart and the imagination every bit as much as something impressively gigantic; a fine phrase is as good as an epic, and a small brook in the quiet of a wood can have its say with a voice more profound than the thunder of any cataract.                                   – Henry  Beston, Northern Farm

If you have a good knowledge of Australian geography, you may be expecting this walk to involve hot, arid, challenging terrain as there are a few outback locations named Tarcoola, including an abandoned gold mining town in South Australia. However, on this occasion it refers to a gentle one kilometre wander along the Brisbane River in the suburb of St. Lucia, a short drive or bus ride from the central business district.

This is the first walk a blog follower has specifically asked me to write about and in my typically extreme way, I took the task very seriously.  This was never going to be a quick one off stroll for me.  I took my time and returned on multiple occasions over the past six months.

The walk is only 1.15 km long (2.3km return) and I set myself the challenge of finding as much wildlife and other points of interest as I could. It was an experiment of sorts to see how much a short walk could deliver in terms of “blog-ability.” I’m very grateful to Tony and family for suggesting this track as I had no idea it existed despite frequenting the area for years. In all my walks, I’ve never viewed a live wild owl at close range. I’ve seen many tawny frogmouths which are often mistaken for owls, but on this short city walk I discovered my first Southern Boobook Owl. It wasn’t the only surprise I was to come across on the Tarcoola Track.

When discussing this short walk with family and friends, I mentioned that some readers wouldn’t regard it as much of a hike even though I find walks of any length rewarding. Lycra Man came to the rescue and replied, “But Jane, you know it’s not about the number of steps.” Now while there may have been more than a hint of sarcasm in his tone as he enjoys teasing me about my frequent philosophical musings, I am grateful to him for reminding me. When I thanked him, he replied, “Yes, it’s about time you realised I’m an intellectual giant trapped inside a lycra-clad body.”

I asked if I could quote him and he replied that since he’s just a fictional character and so never reads it anyway, it makes no difference. It seems my photo-shopping skills in posts he appears in are much better than I thought.

Often in hiking blogs we focus on rating the terrain. We grade a walk from easy to challenging and mention the length and hours it takes to traverse. But of course there are many ways to rate a hike. If you’re a nature freak like me you may rate it on the fungi that fascinate, the trees that transfix, the insects identified, the birds that baffle, the spiders that spin you out…okay, I tend to overdo it with the alliteration. It’s fun though!

You may also rate a walk on its spiritual or psychological benefits – how many worries it washed away, the pain purged, the hearts healed, smiles solicited, anxiety alleviated, anger abated,  imagination inspired or senses stimulated. You didn’t really think I was finished with the alliteration, did you?

It’s time to stop waffling and showcase this wonderful stroll which I now do on  a regular basis when visiting the nearby University of Queensland. Since I’ve done the walk many times, I’ve decided to group photos into galleries rather than try to tell a story. I hope that after viewing them you’ll agree that while this is only a short walk, it rates highly in the wildlife and scenic views stakes. It may not be an epic hike, but it’s special nonetheless.

Tarcoola is derived  from an Indigenous word meaning “river bend.” The entrance is opposite 157 Esplanade near the end of Tarcoola Street in St Lucia. It’s very easy to miss though so here’s a little help.

Tarcoola entrance arrow

There is a 9 bay, 2 hour free car parking area but you can easily take a bus to Hawken Drive close by if you want to spend more time there. The path meanders along the bank of the Brisbane River, passing through dry rainforest, mangroves, and open forest habitats.

Steps and small bridges add interest and there are solitary benches set at regular intervals overlooking the river, perfect for lunch breaks or romantic interludes…

Entrance to path

Dry rainforest path

Bridge

Path in soft light

creek 2

Brisbane River and city

path along bank

steps and wattle

Brisbane River through trees

Road in soft light

Path and cloudy sky

Brisbane River and clouds at Tarcoola

Path through tall trees

Bench set view of Brisbane River

Brisbane river trees and sky

Over 100 bird species have been identified along this one kilometre stretch. The picture quality of the following videos is very poor but I hope the sound gives you an idea of how much life exists in this small stretch of bushland. It’s hard to believe that the city centre is so close. If you want an extra birdy buzz, try playing all three at the same time.

Here are just a few of the species I’ve spotted. I’m yet to master the art of bird photography and the camera really struggled with canopy shots but they give you an idea of what can be seen. If you move the cursor over the pictures, the names will be revealed. Click on a picture to see its full size.

Interstate and overseas followers may not know that the Brisbane River is tidal. Its usual colour is brown.

Brisbane river brown

However, depending on the changing light it can sometimes appear a startling blue.

Brisbane River blue

This reminds me of Monet’s words,  “One does not paint a landscape. One paints an impression of an hour of the day.” I walked the track at sunrise, midday and sunset and during varying cloud conditions.

Brisbane River at sunset

Brisbane River view of house

River view 1

At one point you pass between a St Lucia Golf Course green and the river. Overhead mesh protects you from the danger of stray balls.

Golf ball protective net over walk way

Golf ball in mud 2

If you have a dog phobia, the Tarcoola Track may not be so appealing as it is a popular dog walking area. While most dogs seemed well trained, on one occasion I was barked and lunged at by two labradors off the leash while their owner was absorbed in his phone. At the last minute he gave them a command and they stopped, but the close encounter did leave me shaken.

Dog walking 2

I also had another interesting experience. While half bending over to take a shot,  I was surprised by a dew-covered furry nose of a shaggy breed almost lifting me in the air with its enthusiastic dog “hello” sniff between my legs. I was a little embarrassed walking back to the car with a wet crotch area. Not all owners take their dog’s poo home with them as requested. The owner of what must have been a St Bernard sized breed was not so thoughtful and I still remember the squelch as I walked backwards into a freshly steaming pile while taking a picture of a bird. These people knew the right thing to do though.

Dog walking

Information panels have been erected to educate walkers about the birds and plants along the track. Here are a few examples.

general sign

The Lace Bark.

Native Rosella

Wonga Vine

I’m not sure what this it, but the tiny flowers and red berries are appealing.

The wattles were flowering in July.

Wattle

And what is this?

Unknown seeds

Towering eucalypts and other giants gave me an aching neck trying to take shots of them.

Tall eucalypts blue sky

sydney blue gum

Three trees

And after rain, colorful tree bark had me in a photographic frenzy!

tree group smallg

Cauliflower-like fungi and this tenacious specimen pushing its way out of a tree limb also caught my eye.

What would a walk be without some attractive eight-legged specimens, lacewing eggs and a brightly coloured comb?

spider 44

spider 7

Spider 2

lacewing eggs

Comb on a tree

Or remains of old dwellings and some colourful rocks?

Giant “caterpillars” are used to prevent erosion on banks.

Erosion control

For the plane fans,  the Tarcoola Track offers  opportunities for contrail admiration.

Plane

And for a last image, something much smaller –  lichen growing over a blue bench.

lichen covered blue bench

lichen on blue bench 2

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little experiment. I certainly did and I want to thank Tony again for suggesting the Tarcoola Track, a little known wildlife refuge in the heart of a capital city.  I had no idea when I embarked on this one kilometre walk what treasures it would reveal. Every time I return I find something new. Sadly though, I’ve heard talks of some of the land being used or altered by land developers soon.  So perhaps in a couple of years it may be gone.

Thanks for reading.

110 thoughts on “The Tarcoola Track – An Experiment

    • Hi,
      Yes it’s a lovely walk that is not well-known except to the locals. It is a shame that some dog owners aren’t as responsible as they should be. Thanks for your comment! Best wishes. 🙂

  1. What a marvellous walk and thanks for taking the time to both photograph it and put together this post. It must have taken quite some time.

    I know on my own walks how much one can see if one really opens one’s eyes and sees the small details.

    Good job with the bird spotting too. I imagine some of those smaller birds are wrens (going by their shape)?

    • Thanks very much, Vicki. I think this would have been a perfect one for you and I to share. It’s only short with seats along the way to rest. I can imagine how many beautiful shots you would have been able to take with your wonderful skills. I was thinking about my blogging friends such as yourself as I was wrestling with the light conditions and the tricky birds. Yes, I was wondering if they were wrens. There are supposed to be pardalotes there too. I am hoping that someone will positively identify them. Have a beautiful week. 🙂

  2. I know I would have enjoyed this walk with you, Jane. Such a beautiful and soothing trail. The water looked so smooth and I loved the audio/video of the path with birds of all sorts calling and chirping. Simply fascinating! You crack me up when you start talking about and displaying photos of lichen and insects (spiders) because even the reader feels the giddiness and excitement from you! Ha ha! Of course you know I am just as likely to get excited about the beauty of lichen and queer little bugs and insects. This is exactly why I can’t wait for new posts from you! 😀 I’m an addict!!

    • Hi Lori,
      I am sure we would have had a lot of fun on this walk! It’s a great one for friends who like to sit and chat or just enjoy a companionable silence appreciating the river views together. I have no idea how to properly work the video thing on the camera and it wouldn’t pick up the images of distant birds but I’m glad you enjoyed their chorus of sounds anyway. They were particularly noisy that day. It was weird to think that the city centre was so close. Well, I’m glad you appreciate my weird affection for spiders and lichen! As a child I was fascinated by these things and in recent years, my appreciation has returned. Thank you for your enthusiastic support, Lori. You always know how to make me smile! Addicted, indeed…haha. Thanks, my friend. 🙂

  3. What a beautiful place to walk, and what exquisite pictures. You made me feel as if I were right there, which is a real gift as Abu Dhabi is too hot at the moment to enjoy the outdoors. Thank you.

    • Thanks very much. I took hundreds of shots during my walks and it was difficult to decide which to include so I’m glad you enjoyed the finished post. I find it amazing that such a walk exists so close to the city centre. I’m very thankful I live in a city which has many green areas left for residents to enjoy. I know what the temperatures can be like in Abu Dhabi! I wish I could send you a cool breeze for relief. It’s winter here and while the nights can be a little chilly the days are perfect for walking with temperatures in the 20s (Celsius). Best wishes. 🙂

  4. What a wonderful post of your visit! I loved all the detail you gave us. It looks like a great place to take a nice hike. I enjoyed the videos of all the birds! It was like a chorus of wildlife, all ‘tuning-up’ for the performance.
    You really spotted many birds on this trail. You Aussies have such colorful birds. Most of ours are a shade of brown… makes for a tougher ID. 😉

    • Thank you very much. I recorded the bird sounds on my most recent walk there. It had been an unusually cold night and when the sun came up in a cloudless sky, it sounded like all the birds were celebrating! The thing is I can hear them but not so easily see them in the canopy. I don’t think I could become a professional bird photographer, for many reasons, one being that I would need a new neck after a short while! Best wishes. 🙂

        • Now that’s a good idea! I might lie on the bench seats though as I still seem to be picking up a few ticks even in winter…and ants. A little blow up pillow would be handy too. You’ve got me making plans now! Thanks. Ha ha. 🙂

  5. Beautiful photos. Love the fact you have shown the river and the surroundings in different times and weather. Your post makes me go and explore around Thames which also does change colour from the brown-grey to beautiful blue on a lucky day.

    • Thank you very much. It is amazing how a dull brown or grey waterway can change during different light conditions. Most of the time the Brisbane River is a murky brown but sometimes it shimmers silver and on other occasions can appear vivid blue, as in my shot. That’s one of the reasons I appreciate Monet’s artwork. I love his attention to light and colour at different times of day. I hope you enjoy your Thames explorations. Best wishes. 🙂

  6. What a lot of work you put into that short trail, your photographs were amazing particularly the ones into the tree canopy and the Monet inspired pictures of the river in all different lights with the changing colours. I do hope that developers don’t get their hands on it.

    • Thank you very much, Susan. In hindsight, I went a little overboard with taking photographs. While it seems like there are a lot in this post, I actually whittled it down from an album of hundreds! I found the walks and the focus on finding things very therapeutic at the time though. I often work nearby and so it was a quick way to obtain some exercise and relax. I actually had many more photos of the river in different light. I do love watching how the colours change. I’m glad you enjoyed their inclusion. I’m sure you would have enjoyed the many rainbow lorikeets and the majestic gums on this wander. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you as always, John, for your loyal readership and encouraging words. I know you would have appreciated this river walk. Kind wishes. 🙂

  7. Jane, I love this post! I think my favorite photo is the lichen on the blue bench. I can see that on my wall. What a delight it is to dig deeply into a single site, isn’t it, and really get to know it? Monet would be pleased with you.

    • Hi Melissa,
      Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the lichen picture as it’s actually my favourite too! 🙂 I love the pretty blue colours and the delicate details and patterns of the lichen. The Tarcoola Track certainly gave me a great deal of pleasure. It’s a short walk, but there is always something new to discover if you look closely enough. Have a beautiful week. 🙂

  8. A comprehensive guide, thank you. You are more charitable than I would be to inconsiderate dog owners. They have no idea that other people may not share their unstinting love for their pets. Your shots of the river in various lights were delightful.

    • Thank you, Tom. I do enjoy a river walk, especially early and late in the day during the rapidly changing light. It’s also when the birds seem most active here, especially in summer. While I may have been charitable in my written words towards the dog owners, I can assure you that at the time I was feeling much less so! I was attacked by a large dog when I was a young child and still have a scar so the labrador incident was most unwelcome. I’m just glad that I don’t have a serious heart condition. I expected the man would apologise for the incident but he continued staring at his phone as I walked off trembling. Oh well. 🙂

  9. This post is wonderful! I do hope the developers don’t spoil this fantastic walk – what a shame that would be. The photos of the views, the fungi, the lichen on the bench, all those birds, the trees and plants are so interesting and the recordings of the birdsong – heavenly! I love alliteration too so ‘my cup runneth over’!
    Hope all is well with you Jane?
    Best wishes, Clare xx

    • Thank you very much, Clare, for appreciating the photos, the recordings and the crazy alliteration! 🙂 Apparently, there will be some apartments or other form of housing built down one end somewhere. It’s very hard to find any details though. This was told to me by a couple of walkers who live in the area. One had the opinion that the council will do a deal in that the developers will agree to beautiful the area with concrete paths and other features. Personally, I would prefer to see these more natural wildlife areas remain along the riverbank. The opposite bank of the river is lined with luxury homes. I would like to see the river banks remain open to the public for all to enjoy the views and for wildlife to have a safe corridor. It’s about money though and this is prime real estate, unfortunately. I will hope for the best though. It’s one of the reasons I decided to do such a comprehensive post about it.
      I am quite well but feeling a little saddened by issues surrounding my relative in care. There have been some problems with her current location and I may need to try and move her again. The waiting lists are very long though. It is a compromise at the moment. You know what that is like, I’m sure, dear Clare. We do our best though.
      Thank you for reading and your kind comments as always. I hope you have a lovely week, Clare. x

      • We are quite fortunate in that most of our coastline and most rivers are accessible to the general public, only small areas are privately owned. With the need for more housing in this country because the population has grown so quickly in the last few years I can see that a lot of pressure will be brought to bear on public land. Sadly it is always luxury housing that is built; there are never enough cheaper houses or new houses for rent – which is what we need.
        I am sorry there are problems with your relative’s care home especially as you have so far to travel to sort it out. Waiting lists are very long here too and there seems nothing we can do about it except watch our loved ones get more and more unhappy or uncomfortable. My ex-mother-in-law has just had to go into a home as her dementia got so bad her sons and sister couldn’t cope any longer. She seems to have settled in fairly well and believes that the home is her house and keeps demanding that the other people leave!
        Take care of yourself Jane and enjoy your week as much as possible xx

        • Thank you again, Clare. Yes, unfortunately it’s the same here with lack of cheap housing. The luxury developments still keep being built though.
          The waiting lists for someone with the mental and physical problems my relative has are a problem here. She’s not happy with certain things that she says are happening but it is difficult to know if that is due the paranoia from her mental health condition or if it is real. Being far away it is not very easy for me to check on these things. I will have to have more discussions. It takes time to work these things out. I don’t have the mental and physical stamina or the equipment to care for her in my own home, sadly. Thanks, Clare. xx

  10. Pingback: Not the same old place | Barefoot Wandering and Writing

    • Hi Thea,
      I’ve just read your post. It’s a beautiful, joyful reflection! Thank you for linking to my blog post and for your kind words of encouragement. You inspire me! Best wishes. 🙂

  11. Well presented Jane, it looks like a great walk to do when in Brissy. I loved your Monet quote and pics, this is so true about bird photographs as well as others, we can only capture that moment in time, there will never be another identical, and it does not describe the whole scene but is only one aspect of it in time and space. Love your many views. You have showcased the walk well and shared something beautiful, have a great week!

    • Hi Ashley,
      Thanks very much. Please tell me if I’ve got the species identification wrong and also if you can identify the unknown ones. You are much more qualified than me to name them! I was hoping you might have some answers. 🙂 I have many photos of the birds from this walk and really wanted to share a mini album on each bird, such as the spangled drongo and the black-faced cuckoo shrike. I have pictures that make them seem like completely different birds because of the light, the angle and their activity. Sadly, I just didn’t have room. I totally agree with you about no two moments being identical. That’s part of the wonder and the beauty of life isn’t it? I hope you are well. Thank you again for your continuing support of my blog even though I have neglected yours in recent months. I hope you have a wonderful week. Kind wishes. 🙂

      • Hi again Jane!
        Took a closer a look at rthe unknowns for you, the lighting makes it difficult. When I lightened up the bird on the bottom right hand corner it looked like a female Golden Whistler, at least a Whistler female. The small yellow bird with red eye is mystery without more detail and less overexposure, but could be a Gerygone but the yellow wings throw me a bit. The bird with the white patch below ear is possibly a young Lewins Honeyeater, but again like you found, there are not a lot of possibilities, considering the one image in the light that it is, and the placement of the patch. Sorry I can’t be of more help. It is always difficult when all you have is one pic to go from. I held onto a photo for over nearly ten years and could not identify it. Had it in my Unknown Bird file and use try and match it. I saw it up near Darwin. On my recent trip to Broome I finally pulled out the old photo again and I knew instantly it was a Great Bowerbird. Sometimes it takes time to realise, the more we see, the more we learn. Enjoy your week my friend:-)

        • Hi Ashley,
          Thank you so much for going to all the trouble of checking out the unknown birds so carefully! There are golden whistlers in the area so that is likely it. There are also gerygones apparently and I had wondered about that as a possibility for the other shot so I am glad you think that too. I had no idea about the possible baby Lewin’s honeyeater. I did see an adult there so that could fit as well! Yes, I’m afraid the pictures are quite poor which makes identification so difficult and there are only the single shots which don’t give other angles. I will keep trying to take shots and observe the birds and hopefully that will help as well. Often I am taking shots from a great distance and I shake an awful lot. The best thing would be for me to sit down on a bench seat for an hour and let the birds just get a bit more used to me. They seem to be letting me get closer already so I hope with time I will get better shots. You’ve been very helpful, Ashley. I think you spent a lot of time and I feel a little bad putting pressure on you now! Thank you very much. I hope you have a wonderful week, too. Kind wishes. 🙂

  12. What you learned walking the Tarcoola track multiple times mirrors what I’ve learned where I live. Long before you began following my blog, I was traveling all over the state of Michigan, hiking the longer trails and doing a post about them.

    When my mother became ill, I no longer had the time or financial resources to travel as much, so I began walking the smaller parks closer to home. I found more wildlife and other subjects to photograph at the smaller parks than I had on the longer trails.

    The small green spaces in or near a city are the only places for wildlife to live around the major cities, and because the walks were shorter, I slowed down as well, which led to my seeing more of the things in nature to be found there.

    There’s also something to be said about knowing an area as well as the back of your hand, after a while, you know what to look for and where to find it. It’s also more relaxing to walk in a well known area, rather than rushing to finish a longer hike in the time allotted for it.

    Now that I’m in a position where I could go back to the longer hikes further from home, I doubt if I will.

    Anyway, your post was excellent, as always, and very well illustrated with your wonderful photographs!

    • Thanks very much for sharing your own experiences and also for the kind comments, Jerry. I’d have to say I’ve had the same experiences here with regard to seeing more wildlife in small green spaces in and near the city. As an example, during my 19km Coomera Circuit rainforest walk which took us seven hours I only saw a few bird species. I am always sure to see more on the 1km Tarcoola Track in just 1/2 hour. As you say, the wildlife is concentrated in a small area and often there is a constant water source for them, which also provides food such as insects and fish. I never get sick of the Sherwood Forest Park in the city either, where I often go for lunch. At both the Tarcoola and the Sherwood spots, I have come to recognise certain individual birds (or mating pairs) and which parts of the path they prefer. It is quite exciting to know my spangled drongo’s usual haunts. There is a delight in looking for him and finding him in his usual spot at a certain time of day! I think the birds are starting to know me as well as they allow me to come much closer now. So once again, I agree with you about the benefits of knowing a particular area so well.
      To be honest, I tended to be more of a short walks person in my past and enjoyed the simple small things such as my garden or when I had a tiny flat as a student, my collection of pot plants that attracted birds. It is only in recent years that I’ve been doing much longer walks as my family responsibilities decreased and I also my health improved. Now though, I am reverting back to the shorter walks closer to home and work as I don’t have the time or resources and my relative is unwell. I can always find something to enjoy on any walk. I’ve found that the more challenging long walks have been more so to help me improve my physical strength and expend some nervous energy, but sometimes as you point out, they can increase anxiety and reduce wildlife spotting chances because I am rushing to finish them. They also take up time in travelling.
      As you say, the Tarcoola Track was a good learning experience. It reminded me of how much slowing down helps us discover more about our surroundings. Sometimes I can get caught up in finding a physically challenging walk to do but whether or not it ends up being as satisfying as something smaller is questionable. Given the focus on “epic” walks on social media, I need reminding that the little walks can be just as or even more rewarding. I hope you continue to enjoy your wanders in nature and share your excellent photography for many years to come, Jerry. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Best wishes. 🙂

        • How do you know they weren’t? 😉 Just joking. I was a very boring, nerdy student who didn’t even know what a marijuana plant looked like. When I first moved into my current 1/2 acre block, I found out though as someone must have planted them in the past and they’d seeded. I had to keep pulling new ones out. I haven’t seen any in a while here though. There are penalties and jail terms for growing, smoking and selling it. I wouldn’t like to get a fine/jail term for accidentally having them in my garden. I live in a suburb that is slightly dodgy so I’m not sure they’d believe me if I said they weren’t mine! 🙂

  13. I love discovering these places I never knew existed on your blog! I lived in that exact locality for around 10 years, off & on, taking daily walks around those streets, and never knew about Tarcoola Track! Although from reading your blog, I have strayed onto the section near the golf course, but didn’t realise it was part of something bigger – clearly I wasn’t paying attention in those days. 🙂

    • Hi Manu,
      I lived, studied and worked in the St.Lucia area on and off during my life also and never knew about this walk. There doesn’t appear to be much about it online either. Perhaps this has helped protect the wildlife though? I’m not actually sure how long this walk has been “official”. From what a couple of locals told me, much of the area was over-run with weeds such as lantana. The bush regenerators have done a lot of work to remove them. Lantana and certain vines are still a problem. It’s quite possible the walk was not even signposted back when you were there or even on publicly accessible land? It’s been difficult to find out much history about it really. There is talk of housing development near the golf course so I have no idea if it will exist in the same form in the near future. I even saw a couple of men measuring up areas on Friday. I will find out I guess when I keep returning! Thanks very much for reading and commenting. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks, Marina! It certainly is a lovely little walk and I’ll be doing it again this week. It’s great to hear from you. I do hope you are having some nice summer weather still. Here, the winter days are glorious at the moment with blue skies and mild temperatures. Best wishes. 🙂

  14. Hi Jane. Tony here. I am sooo glad that you found the walk and loved it as much as we do. Loved your posting, the photos and bird sounds too. It will be our “go to” descriptive Blog when I try to describe “Tarcoola Delights” to others like us. We may see you on the track one day. 🙂
    Till then, best wishes, Tony

    • Hi Tony! I’m so glad you didn’t give up on my blog during my long absence. I was hoping you would read this post as I wanted to thank you for suggesting it. I’m glad the post didn’t disappoint. Yes, I am usually walking there once or twice a week so keep an eye out for a short, dumpy woman on her own with a Canon hanging around her neck! I won’t be able to recognise you of course. Thanks again. I do hope all is going well with your family. Best wishes! 🙂

    • Haha…I wondered if anyone would comment on that. It was pretty funny really. I didn’t hear it come up behind me at all and I was trying to focus on a bird so I was a bit distracted. I didn’t know what or whom it was at first! I should probably be a little more aware of my surroundings really.Thanks for reading and commenting, Brian. You made me smile, although I am still disappointed for you about the loss of all your lovely chooks. I hope that things can be sorted out soon and the rest of the creatures – both domestic and wild – are safe on your property. Dogs and cats can do so much damage. Thanks, Brian. x

  15. Some short walks can be very rewarding, it does not need to be 10 km to be great. One of the best hikes I did was the Queens Garden trail and that was “only” 3.0 km of total distance but yet one of the best regarding the views and the rocks we have seen. Your entry proves it again… you just have to open your eyes and look around you to find beauty. You don’t need to be on the summit of something to be rewarded by a great sight.

    Thanks for this

    • Thanks very much for sharing your own experiences and thoughts. You’ve certainly done a lot of travelling to amazing places in your life so it is great to hear that you agree that it’s “not about the steps.” We can find beauty in just about any walk, big or small, can’t we? It sounds like I’ll have to check out the Queens Garden Trail if I am ever in that part of the world. Have a wonderful week. Best wishes! 🙂

  16. Hey Jane, I’ve actually been to Tarcoola and done a post about it, although the one I went to was basically a pub and a rail siding in the SA outback. We may be the only two people to ever feature Tarcoola in a blog even if they are thousands of kilometres apart!
    I can’t say I’ve ever gone down the dog shit route though, but you described it so well!
    More great photos and another great read, I look forward each new offering…… and I reckon you get more comments for one post than I get in a year of posting my crap, you should be proud:)
    Cheers Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,
      I was wondering if you’d see Tarcoola Track in the title and wonder how I managed to zip over to SA for a quick visit. It’s certainly not in any way like your Tarcoola, hey? It is amusing to think we’ve both done posts on such different places with the same names. I’m not sure if I’ve read that post. I could have linked mine to yours. I will have to check it out to make sure it’s family friendly. 🙂
      Well, I may have talked about dog droppings but I used the milder term of “poo”… I managed to not lose all decorum, I hope!
      Thanks for your encouragement. People have been very kind with commenting. You are such a prolific blogger that I reckon your followers are just overwhelmed and can’t keep up with your activity. I know that you’ve posted several hikes before I’ve had a chance to think of a comment on one I only just read. I only post about once a month these days. Number of comments doesn’t equal quality of blog. I hope you are out adventuring soon after your leg surgery. Thanks, Kevin. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Ha Ha, yeah we are a bit more uncouth over on blogger, family friendly and goin’ feral aren’t words normally seen in the same sentence together in relation to a lot of my stuff:)!

    • Thanks very much, Terry. Yes, it’s surprising how much is along such a short walk. It’s funny how long it’s taken me to find out about it considering I’ve been in that area frequently. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post. I hope you are well. I am on the way back to visiting your blog this week and looking forward to your beautifully photographed treasures from Montana. Best wishes! 🙂

  17. This track is a gem. It’s hard to imagine that it’s so close to the city centre. And sad to think it might disappear under the weight of development. As habitat for a diversity of birds, it’s a wonder there isn’t a case for protecting it as a nature reserve. I really enjoyed your audio of the birdsong Jane and played it as I read – very effective. Your opening quotation is beautiful. Thank you Henry and thank you Jane.
    p.s. yes alliteration is fun. Please continue 🙂

    • Thanks, Gail! When I found the boobook owl I showed a couple of walkers who told me about planned development happening down one end of the walk. They only had vague details and when I tried to search online I couldn’t find anything. Apparently it’s been an issue that has been discussed in the past. I was quite busy at the time travelling to do with family illness so it went out of my mind until recently when I started walking there again. I will have to look into finding out more details. The birds were in fine form that day! It certainly didn’t feel like I was in the city. Yes, Henry’s words were beautiful, weren’t they? I believe he wrote them way back in the 1920s or 30s I think. I may be wrong though. I’m pleased you enjoyed them. I wonder what he would make of our current world! I’m so glad you’ve been riding the rail trail and sharing shots as I’ve been curious about it for some time. Thank you and best wishes. 🙂

  18. What a delightful walk indeed. I needed that given the recent attack by some evil gremlin that locked up my computer. So sorry about the steaming piles of sh** you encountered. I think people are so rude not picking up after their pooches. One town around here threatened to start a DNA registry to track down offenders. I’m not sure what ever became of that intriguing venture!

    I especially loved the bird recordings and the pics of birds that are totally exotic to me! Thank you!

    • Oh no! I’m sorry to hear the news about your computer. I hope it’s working ok now. I also know too many people who’ve had their blog hacked. I had never thought about the possibility of DNA testing of doo poo. I wondered how easy it would be to extract so I googled it. What a fascinating topic! You can try to get it from the epethelial cells from the mucosa on the outside of the stool and there is a way to get it from the rest of the stool but it’s a little more time consuming. I think the threat of it happening might be good enough to scare some people into picking up after their dog. The cost of DNA testing is pretty high though so it’s likely that would stop most towns from doing it. We actually have a problem with cat faeces giving native wildlife diseases that kill them. Cats can live with toxoplasmosis but it is a killer to some of our native mammals. Feral cats also kill a huge number of species here.
      Anyway, I’m glad my post helped cheer you a little after the evil gremlin attack. I hope it doesn’t happen again! Thanks very much for reading and for taking the time to comment as usual. I know you’re very busy at the moment. Best wishes! 🙂

      • Sorry for the misunderstanding. It wasn’t a WordPress problem, but I somehow ended up with an evil gremlin that tried to take over my computer. I’m not sure where I got it, but I have suspicions. The technician who fixed it taught me never to click on a link telling me to update a program, but to go directly to the pertinent site. sigh… and here I thought my Mac wasn’t likely to be attacked.

        LOVED the research you did on the dog poo! I suspect that simply announcing they would do DNA would be enough to make some folks more considerate. But now I have much catching up to do… 🙂

        • PS… I also have a problem with cats -feral and otherwise. Even with a solid six foot fence around my place here in town, they get in to leave their ‘calling cards”. Then my pup thinks they’re tootsie rolls and gets sick…. sigh
          (lovely thought as I’m eating breakfast!!!)

          • I actually knew what you meant about your computer, Gunta. I wasn’t very clear in my reply when I added my comment about friend’s blog sites being hacked as being an annoying thing too. 🙂
            Oh dear, that’s pretty disgusting about the tootsie rolls and reminded me of when my son was very young and would find similar things in the sandpit and roll them around to create a “crumbed” sausage effect…yuck! Thankfully he didn’t eat them though, as far as I know! 🙂

  19. A terrific post Jane. I love that you found so much to write about and photograph in such a short walk.

    What a gem of a track close to the city, and what a tragedy if it’s impacted by development. This incremental loss of nature is insidious and seems to be happening almost everywhere.

    Regarding the bird photos:
    First Unknown bird is a Brown Honeyeater.
    Unknown bird 6: Golden Whistler I think.
    “Thornbill?” is a female Golden Whistler — note yellow wash on undertail coverts.
    Unknown bird 9 is a Golden Whistler — the relatively large head and distinctive bill shape is more apparent in this one.
    “Thornbill” is also a Golden Whistler.

    I think those female Golden Whistlers were playing jokes, getting in your shots and striking different poses just to confuse you!

    The plant with the red fruit looks to me like Cordyline petiolaris.

    In the third photo from the top, is that a Stinging Tree overhanging the track? Can’t quite tell from the pic but the big heart-shaped leaves caught my attention.

    I love all the photos but my very favourites are the first (with the beautifully coloured trunks) and the last (the lichen).

    • Hi Carol!
      It’s wonderful to hear from you. I’ve been enjoying your great new blog. I was going to tweet the unknown bird shots to you for an opinion but I’d already asked about a couple recently I think and didn’t want to be a pest. 🙂
      Thank you very much for the bird identification. Yes, those golden whistlers were sneaky! Sometimes I do wonder if they like to tease me. 😉 I’ve seen golden whistlers about before but wasn’t thinking about the more dull female colouring. The different colouring of the sexes and juveniles of birds often tricks me. I’m very glad I have experts like you and my other follower, Ashley, to help me out! I hope with more observation practice I’ll be able to recognise these birds more easily. My new Canon Powershot has a great zoom which helps so much now. In the past I wouldn’t have been able to get a shot at all. Now at least I can get a shot, even if it’s blurry and blow it up on the computer screens to see. I love it. For a relatively cheap camera it has a great zoom.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the first and last shots best as they appealed to me too. I love the colours and patterns of our Australian native trees and lichen always fascinates me. I’m hoping the track will remain safe from development although I did see a couple of people there measuring up something along the path. I guess I will find out soon enough.
      The tree you mentioned is actually a native hibiscus, common name cottonwood I think. The harlequin bugs love them. I will check the scientific name from the information board when I next visit, to make sure. It does look like a stinging tree in the pics though. There were plenty of those at Ravensbourne national park that I visited recently. I had to be so careful.
      Thanks again for all your help. I look forward to reading your next post and also enjoying all your great twitter pics. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Thanks Jane! Never worry about being a pest – on the contrary, it’s a pleasure 🙂 You got some great bird shots and I’m glad you’re enjoying your Canon Powershot. I use the SX50, which was the model before the SX60. Thanks too for clarifying what that tree is. Native hibiscus makes sense.
        Cheers, Carol

  20. A marvellous blog full of gorgeous photos – bark, reflections
    , lichen and birds all lovely. Very jealous of your Boobook owl! Thanks as always for a lovely read.

    • Thanks very much, Nic. I was pretty excited by that Boobook Owl but I don’t think it was as happy to see me. I disturbed its sleep while tried to take shots. They are smaller than I expected unless this was a juvenile. Anyway, the sighting means I’ll always be tempted back by the chance to see it again, as well as all the other birds along this 1km patch. I hope you and your family are well. Flu season can be nasty. Best wishes! 🙂

      • I know what you mean about going back to make further sightings. I keep loitering in the area where I saw my peregrine falcon make its kill hoping for another spectacular view but so far no luck!!

        • Yes, those were fantastic pics that you took! I’d be going back again too. I was delighted to see a black shouldered kite catch and tear apart a rodent recently. Unfortunately, my camera battery was flat! I went back to the cove again, saw the kite but there was no gruesome dinner! I’ll head back again of course! 😉

  21. Well, Lycra Man is right Jane (Wait, is he not real?!?!?), you’ve made a damn fine story out of a place where people walk their dogs routinely. Sure, nature over there is brilliant and helped you out, but the fact is that you can make good stories out of pretty much anything, I daresay (well, making a page turner out of a Risks & Issues review session on a Tuesday morning mightn’t be easy, but…).

    Anyhow, the bird slideshow cracked me up. Not only they’re beautiful little things, but their names are great. Blue-faced honey eater? BRILLIANT NAME!

    Fabrizio

    • Haha…I will leave you to decide if Lycra Man is real or not. It’s nice to leave an air of mystery, don’t you think…;-)
      Thank you very much for the compliments about my writing. You are too kind, Fabrizio. I always appreciate the encouragement as I find writing for a public audience quite intimidating! It is lovely when readers are kind enough to give positive feedback. Hmm…I think I will leave you to tackle the Risks and Issues session though. There is no dog poop involved in that is there?? I’m actually intrigued about what area that encompasses.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the slideshow. I didn’t realise the names were that interesting, although now that I think about it, spangled drongo is quite funny! I guess I get used to the way we name birds here. 🙂
      Thanks very much for reading and commenting again. Once again I apologise for lagging in my own ability to read and comment on other’s blogs. I’m so sorry that I can’t keep up these days. I’m barely managing to write a blog post once a month. I hope you are well and enjoying a wonderful weekend. 🙂

      • Hi there Jane!
        No need to apologise! I think reading and commenting blogs should be a free choice, not a ‘must do’. I don’t read everything in my feed, I don’t comment on everything I do, and I don’t expect people to comment back just because I do, it’d be a bit like offering cake to someone just to claim cake back from them!
        The poop involved in my R&I sessions is only metaphorical, but it comes in plenty!

  22. After I watched your first bird warbling video, YouTube suggested six other videos, including the great hymn “Abide with Me” (the singing begins a couple of minutes into the film). One of the other suggestions was the Arensky Piano Trio, which we heard a live performance of a couple of weeks ago as part of the annual Austin Chamber Music Festival.

    • Now you’ve told me that I’m wondering what comes up when other readers listen to them. I’m assuming suggestions are usually based on what you’ve recently listened to or perhaps something else – the subject of the video? Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of 50s music suggested to me. “Abide with Me” is a beautiful hymn. That’s also a nice co-incidence that the Arensky Piano Trio was suggested. I’m relieved nothing unsavoury came up! Thanks for reading and commenting, Steve. It’s always lovely to read your thoughts. Have a beautiful day. 🙂

  23. Your posts are just consistently wonderful. Loved the words and images, as always. Creatively arranged again to top it all off. Lots of work here. And … a bodacious boobook!!! Awesomeness. Best, Rob.

    • Thanks very much, Rob. You’ve always been very encouraging of my efforts. I was so excited to see the Boobook. I appreciated your alliteration too! I look forward to reading more of your excellent blog posts when you have time in your really busy schedule to post. Best wishes! 🙂

  24. You have bought back some memories with this post Jane 🙂 When i used to live at Indooroopilly I did this walk a few times. That was many years ago now and I was lucky to never run into too many dogs, the secret of that area must be out now!

    • Hey Amanda,
      Thanks very much. It seems the track has existed for a while then! I’m glad you avoided dog poo and lunges. 😉 I probably haven’t helped keep it secret by my blog post either! Just saw you’ve posted about Larapinta. Looking forward to reading it soon. Well done. Looks like an amazing one to do. One day, I hope. I miss those colours. Best wishes. 🙂

  25. Hi Jane. Here I am again coming up at the rear. I allowed plenty of time tonight to read your extensive post. You certainly did the walk justice. I echo the sentiments of others who are dismayed by the thought the integrity of the walk may be compromised by private development – grrr!
    I enjoyed the bird calls. I recently visited family who live on the Gold Coast and about 13 years ago, family who were living in Townsville at the time. I was fascinated and delighted by the range of bird calls I heard in the urban areas. There were even Rainbow lorikeets living it up in the glitter strip of Cavill St. Surfers Paradise.

    • Hi Margaret,
      I am always pleased to hear from you no matter when you get a chance to comment. The blogging world has had to take a back seat for me in recent months due to family and work priorities and I really don’t expect people to have time to read and comment on my blog. I am always humbled that they do. I haven’t had a chance to return to the Tarcoola Track as planned. I am somewhat nervous about what I may find. Let’s hope it remains undisturbed by development!
      It is amazing isn’t it how many bird calls we can get in suburban Brisbane. At present the noisy cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets are keeping me entertained on some tall flowering trees in my yard. It’s reassuring to see that nature can adapt to human building areas such as Surfers Paradise. Thank you for visiting again, Margaret. I hope you are well and the weather is treating you kindly down south. Best wishes. 🙂

  26. Lovely post, Jane! You really show how much can be seen if we open our eyes and work on noticing the world around us. Love the inclusion of some familiar bird sounds. Even that raucous cockatoo has a charm to it. Obviously I love the bird collection (good spot on the owl) but I adore the way you have captured the same landscape in different light and brought those images together with the words of Monet. Another great post!

    • Thanks very much, David. The owl sighting was a highlight for me. As I wrote in my blog post, it’s the first close up of a live wild owl that I’ve seen in all my years of walking. I’m glad you appreciated how light changes the landscape. I came across that quote of Monet and thought how true his words were. Scenes change from hour to hour and at sunrise and sunset, even within minutes. A good reason to revisit an area at different times of day and in different weather and seasons. Ah yes, those cockatoos, rosellas and crows were pretty noisy that day. After a chilly night they were celebrating a clear blue sky I think! Thanks for your encouraging words, David. 🙂

  27. Playing the bird call videos all at once was a brilliant idea. I do hope the development plans fail to eventuate. Small walks like this one are priceless treasures. It looks like something even I could manage.

    • Thank you! Yes, it would be disappointing if any of the track was lost to high rise development. So much is disappearing as it is. These small suburban walks are great because they provide homes for wildlife, improve the air quality in cities and offer residents an appealing form of exercise. They are a real treasure and need to be protected. I’m glad you enjoyed the bird calls. I accidentally played all three at once and found it fun so I’m pleased you liked that idea. I hope you are well and thank you again for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. I’ve been out of the blogging loop again lately due to family and work responsibilities. Best wishes! 🙂

  28. What a lovely place to walk, and what wonderful pictures.. I cherished all the point of interest you gave us. It would appear that an incredible spot to take a pleasant trek. I delighted in the recordings of the considerable number of winged creatures!

    • Thank you for reading and adding your thoughts. It is always lovely to receive feedback. It is indeed an enjoyable walk. The early morning bird song can be quite startling and the river views are very calming. Best wishes. 🙂

  29. Lovely pictures.The St Lucia Esplanade Bushcare Group created and maintains this pleasant riverside spot. They can use more help weeding, and can be contacted through the Brisbane City Council’s Habitat Brisbane. The bush with the red berries is a palm lily – Cordyline species. The seed pod with the small red seeds “And what is this?” is from a problem weed that the group has spent much time removing. It’s Abrus precatorius, also called Gidee Gidee or crab-eye creeper, and the seeds are poisonous.

    • Hi Ross,
      Thank you very much for sharing all that information. I should have mentioned the work of the local Bushcare Group. They do a wonderful job. I live in the Ipswich area and this year won’t be visiting UQ much as circumstances have changed but I hope that others in the region will see the contact details and offer help. Brisbane has the perfect environment for many exotic weeds such as lantana and it’s a neverending battle to keep them under control, isn’t it? I know in the White Rock conservation area in Ipswich, it’s a struggle for helpers to control lantana and creeping vines. Thank you for the plant ID. I had no idea where to start looking for the crab-eye creeper online in particular. Best wishes. 🙂

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