Roy was keen on an early start, largely to investigate supply shops, so we planned to meet at 07:30. What the hell, with the jetlag induced by a 10-hour time change, I’d be awake anyway.
We made a major advance in navigating Brisbane’s maze of roads. We had seen signs advertising supermarkets (Aldi and Woolworths) a little south of our Ibis Budget hotel – we know how to live. However, from our hotel we can only turn north on the dual carriageway beneath my window. With the aid of Google navigation, we solved the conundrum. It’s easy: you simply force your way out into five lanes of commuter traffic which is stationary because of the traffic lights also outside my room, force your way across all five lanes with ¾ mile so you can turn right at another set of traffic lights, trundle down the side street to a handy-dandy roundabout, spin all the way round it to head back to the dual carriageway and finally turn left at the traffic lights again. Voila, you have done a Brisbane U-turn and are now heading south.
We found the shopping centre boasting our two supermarkets. Furthermore, we found a covered car park with a 2-hour free stay. Ascending to the shopping level we discovered that Woolworths was not yet open – I mean it was too new a shop rather that being too early in the day. Just opposite was Aldi with lights and vague signs of life. However, it, too, was still closed. We may have been ready early but Aldi opened at 08:30. We’d also seen a neon sign for Coles, which Roy thought might be a hardware store but no, with some relief we discovered it was not only a supermarket but a supermarket that opened at 08:00. As well as lunch, I bought some SPF 50 cream; it seems that the week ahead is heading for 36°C.
We were now in a position to head for what research suggested might be one of Brisbane’s better dragonfly sites, Bulimba Creek. It’s quite a long creek but Roy had found a recreation area complete with parking. There was, at least, some water in the creek, though it looked quite low, but there was little access, either. We wandered but this side was a wash out.
There appeared to be more on the far side where, over the road bridge, there was another car park, tables, exercise equipment and a few people. We moved and set about wandering. Our first customer was a Blue Riverdamsel (Pseudagrion microcephalum), hunting from a perch close to a pontoon. The pontoon was clean enough to adopt a prone position. Since I was lugging Francine’s excellent 100mm macro lens with me, I managed to stick it close enough to the critter and not scare it away.
Further access to the creek itself proved impossible but there was a lake (pond, in Ozzie-speak) which a couple of returning birders were keen on. We headed in that direction. en route we spotted what could be the most interesting find of the day, a wonderful caterpillar. I don’t know Ozzie adult butterflies and/or moths so I’ve no chance with this but it is a thing of beauty.
We crossed the creek, with no further signs of much life, and arrived to find margins once again surrounded by impenetrable reeds. I was beginning to see a pattern forming. Wandering around the lake we finally found a grassy slope down to the water’s/mud’s edge and were rewarded by a fair amount of activity. Nothing here that I snagged was new to me, sadly, but there was a 2nd meeting with the very colourful Red and Blue Damselfly (Xanthagrion erythroneurum). Francine and I had found it first in Oz two years ago.
We lunched and had a protracted conversation with a local who aske us the dreaded Brexit question, before trying another park showing a river running through it. It was dry. This could be a second pattern forming.
I was reaching my had-enough point so we agreed to give Roy’s Koalas a second try at a second bushland location. I left everything n=but my water bottle in the car as we searched and failed yet again to see any sign of a Koala. What we did see was a Graphic Flutterer (Rhothemis graphiptera) flitting in the forest. I was a tad sickened when it chose to settle and flash its gaudily pattered wings in a patch of sunlight. Bother! That would have been a 2nd new species for me. We were looking for Koalas apparently away from obvious habitat, for heaven’s sake. Maybe we’ll see them again.
We had another nightmare of a return journey to the hotel, once again missing completely at the first attempt. I won’t miss Brisbane when we move on.
Before dinner and a couple of very necessary beers, I made my first to rinse a shirt, socks and underwear. The basin is the size of a teacup with no plug so I’m likely to be rewarded with only limited success.