January 24, 2016

Summer in the city 6: Enoggera Reservoir

The D'Aguilar National Park lies northwest of Brisbane, roughly between Wivenhoe and Samsonvale reservoirs. The North D'Aguilar Section includes what used to be called Mount Mee State Forest; and the South D'Aguilar Section was formerly Brisbane Forest Park. In the extreme southeast corner of the Park, just 12 kilometres from the centre of Brisbane, is Enoggera Reservoir, part of an SEQ Water estate. It is accessible off Mount Nebo Road in The Gap, via Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre.

'Venture diversely', says the Queensland National Parks Discovery Guide to the D'Aguilar. We were looking for birds as we walked the Araucaria track (5 km return) around a small proportion of the indented Reservoir. By the way, I don't know why it's not called Enoggera Dam. We chose a Saturday afternoon in the summer holidays, and the car park was still rammed at 3. There would be more spaces except that some of them are double length, for boat trailers. Lots of people had parked on the access road.

First we had a cuppa in the Green Tree Frog Cafe, which is very pleasant, with a deep-in-the-forest feel to it.
Initially, we weren't optimistic about finding birds, the noise from the 'beach' being loud and screamy.
Fortunately for us unsociable, peace-and-quiet types, the path soon heads around a mini-inlet, out of earshot of the fun-loving shouty people. Immediately, some birds appeared. By the end of our relatively short walk we had seen two types of Fairy Wren (Red-backed and Variegated), Brush Turkeys, Pacific Black Ducks, Dusky Moorhens, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Ibises, Honeyeaters (possibly Lewin's), Magpies, a gang of four juvenile Torresian Crows, and possibly a Spangled Drongo. Heard but not seen were Eastern Whipbirds and Bell Miners (to us, aka Tink Tinks). Plus a couple of unidentifiables.
Mama Moorhen
Moorhen chick trying to catch up
The forest didn't appear to be particularly out of the ordinary, but I don't think we've ever been on a walk in Australia when we didn't find something interesting. Today, there were carpeted lilies; brilliantly coloured bark; and striking reflections and contrasts.
We passed a couple of walkers at one point who told us there were two koalas (I thought they said) round the corner. In fact, they'd said goannas, which we came across instead, much to my disappointment. The goannas redeemed themselves by tree-climbing, which always seems such an extraordinary feat for them, and these were big.
Goannas are large monitor lizards and were so called by early settlers who were reminded of South American iguanas. There are more than 20 species of monitor lizard in Australia, which all look much the same but differ in size. The largest is the Perentie, which we didn't see, unfortunately, but were hoping to, on our last Outback trip.

Towards the end of the afternoon, the track was popular with runners. It's a manageable distance with a few up-and-downy bits to improve stamina. If you search online, you'll find references to a much longer walk, all around the Reservoir, but there isn't an official track, and you'd need a decent map (topographic map available at the Visitor Centre) to find your way along management roads before joining a shared trail (horses, cyclists and walkers) along South Boundary Road and then Payne Road to get you back to Walkabout Creek.

If you don't want to walk at Enoggera Reservoir, you can do beachy things, kayak (only paddle craft allowed on the water), or mountain bike, and all of it in Brisbane's backyard.
Dam and the back of Mt Coot-tha


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