Tag Archives: bush turkey

Xanthorrhoea and Banksia Track Loop- Chermside Hills Reserve

Welcome to the Whistling Kite Collective’s Great Places to Visit series. This is where I review bushwalks and natural areas. Enjoy!

The Chermside Hills Reserve is a great natural area of Brisbane. This beautiful area is only 12 kilometres north of the CBD. Honestly, residents of this city are just so lucky to have such wonderful habitat places on their doorstep.

This wonderful area provides critical habita linkage and a variety of walking and cycling tracks.
This wonderful area provides critical habitat linkage and a variety of walking and cycling tracks.

This important bushland area provides a critical habitat link between the mountains and the coast (known as the Mountains to Mangroves Corridor). The Downfall Creek Environment Centre (open Monday to Friday at 815 Rode Rod, Chermside West) is a good starting and finishing point, as the site also offers a resource centre, track maps, indoor aquariums, activity sheets, touch and feel tables, water, timber playground, undercover bbqs and picnic tables and open grassed areas). The side of the Environment Centre wall is a painted mural of native animals in their habitats. My toddler loves this mural.

Lots of animals and bright colours attract little people to the wall.
Lots of animals and bright colours attract little people to the wall.
The shaded timber playground suits a variety of ages.
The shaded timber playground suits a variety of ages.

This Eucalyptus forest offers a variety of bikeways and walking tracks. The Xanthorrhoea and Banksia Track Loop bushwalk is a good distance for small children (about 1.2 kilometres and also suitable for prams as it is bitumen).  There is a good diversity of vegetation structure and floristics supporting abundant wildlife to engage the whole family.

Wide, sealed paths are suitable for prams in a natural forest setting.
Wide, sealed paths are suitable for prams in a natural forest setting.

Sensory play provided by this forest  include large logs, a timber bridge, small branches, crunchy understorey, rough grass trees, smooth eucalypt trunks and branches, shimmering tree sap from the iron barks, colourful leaves, glistening spiders’ webs and birds’ nests.

In autumn and winter the Banksias are in flower. These large, golden “candlesticks” are full of nectar. Little fingers and tongues retrieved the nectar from these flowers. “Very yummy nectar mummy!” We managed to leave some behind for the sugar gliders! This was a highlight of the walk through the Banksia track section

Banksia nectar is delicious for sugar gliders and toddlers! Photo courtesy of anbg.gov.au
Banksia nectar is delicious for sugar gliders and toddlers! Photo courtesy of anbg.gov.au

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The Xanthorrhoea track runs along the southern section of a small gully where we have seen swamp wallabies on a few occasions. “If we pat him, he might jump away”.  There are also plenty of bush turkeys, lizards and other birds in the area.

This area provides a good half day out when combined with a picnic or bbq lunch afterwards at the Environment Centre grounds. You can build your own adventure in this forest as several tracks can be linked for larger walks. Track maps are available online (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/documents/environment/bushlandandwaterways_chermside_hills_reserves_track_map.pdf) or from the Environment Centre Monday to Friday.

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She is a fast runner. You must be so proud…

Standard footwear for toddler wrangling...
Standard footwear for toddler wrangling…

Apart from the fact I lack the will, there is a very good (two year old) reason I can’t wear stilettos in public. Hmmm. Imagine some chase music. There is a bush turkey running for its life through the bush, closely followed by my shrieking toddler. Behind her is another bush turkey trying to keep up with its mate, closely followed by me. I’m trying to act cool, but sprinting after two birds and a toddler whilst wearing a maternity bra is not hilarious! Yes, any footwear other than flat sandals firmly strapped to my feet or a running shoe just won’t do for me at present.

Yes, my cherub is a runner; a fast one. She is at an adorable age where the world is unfolding for her in miraculous ways and almost everything is a joy to behold. Personal safety is not one of them. She can examine a dew-laden spider web for the longest time and describe it in the most beautiful way. There is innocence in her joy that makes my heart sing.

When she takes off without a moment’s notice though, I sigh on the inside and try to keep from freaking out! The parenting resources tell me this is a phase that will pass. I hope so.

I catch the toddler as the bush turkeys double back to the picnic tables (they are experienced with this situation of course). I crouch down and reconnect with her. She is so excited and instantly starts gesturing and telling me all about the fast bush turkey with the big tail that waggled as he ran. I find myself in a bind. I want to rouse and say “Don’t run away!” I also don’t want to stifle her curiosity and imagination. Really, for how long is she going to marvel at a bush turkey’s waggling bottom? What I do is this:

  1. Listen to her.
  2. Hold her and tell her I worry when she runs away and I would be very upset if she got hurt and I wasn’t there.
  3. Empathise and ask her to please stay with me when we are out.
  4. Describe simple consequences. For example, repeat offences will mean a swift car trip home!
  5. After the children are in bed, drink a large glass of wine.

Lately, she has been staying with me more often than not, but those occasions when she runs away make me crazy! The last time a lovely friend held my infant (and reassured me) while I collected my toddler off the ground. She was lying behind a parked car staging a protest… Ahhhh! Who knows what my cherub’s future holds? Maybe she will take part in some bush olympics against the animals. For now, I shall be in training…