For a weekend in late October last year, over 20 people descended onto four adjoining Land for Wildlife/Nature Refuge properties in the southern Scenic Rim for a BioBlitz. Most attendees were Land for Wildlife members from across the Scenic Rim. They were all there to learn, listen, watch and share with each other, creating a memorable, respectful and positive gathering of like-minded landholders.

A BioBlitz is a gathering of professional, amateur and budding natural history experts. Some BioBlitzs cater for hundreds of attendees with concurrent surveys of birds, dragonflies, fungi, plants, bees, butterflies and other lifeforms during the day and mammals, frogs and invertebrates at night. This Scenic Rim BioBlitz was smaller in scale but nevertheless packed with diurnal surveys of plants, birds and butterflies and nocturnal spotlighting for mammals and birds.

The night before the official start of the BioBlitz, as we were unwinding and enjoying a social evening, a loud owl call stirred us into action. Testing out my new red filtered spotlight, we went to find what we thought was either a Barn or Masked Owl, based on the screeching call.

Sure enough, nearly back to camp from our walk, we spotted a pair of Masked Owls. The next few hours turned into an amazing discovery of watching and listening to this pair interact with each other. As the clock approached midnight, we all decided it was time for bed as the first event of the BioBlitz was to begin in a few short hours.

We were privileged to be able to survey these Nature Refuge properties, three of which had never been formally surveyed. The owners were interested to see if species varied with the different vegetation and aspects. With over 650 hectares of land to cover we were never going to get everything surveyed so we focussed on birds, flora and mammals. Over the duration of the weekend, some of us walked over 60km and we all left feeling full and grateful for being able to soak in other people’s passions and knowledge of the natural world.

Banner image: Masked Owls

Article by Catherine Madden
Land for Wildlife Officer
Scenic Rim Regional Council
Wildlife photos by Deborah Metters

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