The Nudgee Beach Reserve is located on Brisbane's north coast and not far from the airport. It is part of the Boondall Wetlands Park, a favourite of mine, where wildlife is always aboundant and sightings are guaranteed. The location is equipped with wooden paths that will bring you over the muddy banks of Nudgee Creek where lots and lots of crabs hide themselves in their burrows just as you walk over.
The walk stretches on in a very interesting habitat characterized by Mangroves growing on both sides of the path, the ground looks rather muddy due to the changing tides thus making the perfect environment for the crabs. Bird life is also rich, in Spring the sweet song of the Mangrove Greygone fills every corner of the mangrove bush, just as the call of the Collared Kingfishers, chasing each other between the braches and over the mudflats at lowtide.
At the point when the mangrove bush thins out, the banks of the creek become sandy and still with plenty of high trees around, it provides the perfect habitat for the Rainbow Bee-eaters, Merops ornatus, a migrant from the north who spends Spring, Summer and Autumn down south.
Their shape in flight, their musical chattering and their colours make them unmistakable. A range of greens, blues, yellows, blacks and oranges darting in the sky is always an exciting sight.
|The colours of the Rainbow Bee-eater|
But they are rather shy and won't allow you to get too close, so good binoculars are a must. Their agility on air is outstanding, they make catching insects in flight look like the easiest thing. The male allowed me to watch him for a long time as he was perched on a lower branch a Eucalyptus tree in the shade. I was able to notice the only difference between male and female that is the pair of central tail feathers. Both sexes have two extended shafts which are longer in males.
Somewhere, hidden between the sands along Nudgee Creek is their tunnel nest, bearing the new generation of Rainbow Bee-eaters.