Jane Blackwood manages our Cravens Peak Reserve in far western Queensland.
At the start of each December during each of the two years since I started my role with Bush Heritage, I have migrated across from Cravens Peak in the west to Goonderoo in Central Queensland.
Going east moves me along the temp and rainfall gradient to wetter cooler climes.
Goonderoo is located in the Brigalow Belt of Central Queensland, a fantastic interface of rolling grassy black soil plains with sandy rises and ranges, home to the Brigalow (a species of silvery wattle) and Lancewood (Acacia shirleyi).
Arriving at Goonderoo homestead with its stunning views of the Minerva Hills has become a regular part of summer for me.
Early morning bird choruses are a feast for the ears. Lately I’ve heard migratory Cuckoos, Spotted Bowerbirds, Dollarbirds "kek, kek, keking" and riotous Blue-winged Kookaburras! This year, in the shaded part of the garden, we even have the pleasure of watching a pair of Tawnies (Tawny Frogmouths) raise their chicks.
Out the back a pair of ravens is raising a noisy couple of young whose identity we have yet to establish, and in the paddock a Plains Turkey trails a single young one.
I've had the pleasure of sharing the reserve with volunteers Paul Bateman and Deb Bisa.
A captive population of the Flashjacks (Bridled Nailtail Wallabies) is housed on Avocet Nature Refuge next door to Goonderoo, and summer means afternoon visits to the wallaby nursery and soft release pen.
Along with Paul and Deb my duties have included supporting our partnership with the Spooner family, Wildmob and the Department of Environment and Science in the Flashjack Recovery Program by helping with the nursery maintenance and caring for the animals.
This year, due to a long spell of hot dry weather, supplementary Flashjack feeding began in October. Pails of sweet potato and lucerne are prepared for them on a regular basis. The trapping and release of some individuals has helped to reduce pressure on the nursery resources.
It’s very special to hang out with the them at the nursey as the afternoon clouds roll in over the Minerva Hills sunset.
The summer started with a season of hot fires in Central Queensland and as the high daytime temps continue, smoke hangs in the air and the Brigalow scrub is hot and dry underfoot unless you get going in the early morning.
Walking in the sheltered creek lines with the tangy smell of eucalypts, you may look up to find eyes trained on you from above at Koala Grove, a great place to spot koalas.