The Great Outdoors
Going wild in Ipswich
Whether you are an avid bird photographer or just starting out in photography, the Ipswich region has plenty of parks and reserves that are great for bird and wildlife watching or photography. Photographer Michael Gibbs (@mgp_wild on Instagram) has listed five of his favourites.
I tend to stick to Chalk Circuit here at Hardings Paddock and it is not unusual to be met with a chorus of Wrens (either Variegated, Red-backed or Superb) singing out on a branch or top of a thistle weed within only a few metres of taking this track. I generally don’t hike too far into this trail as I find the birds are quite active.
Once settled into my spot the birds will also get back to going on about business and allowing some good photos if you are lucky.
Some of the birds you can expect to see are Restless & Leaden Flycatchers, White-throated Treecreeper and Finches (Red-Browed, Double Bar) not to mention the Wrens.
Purga Nature Reserve
A 15 minute drive across from Harding’s Paddock is the Purga Nature Reserve. It is the largest protected area of endangered Swamp Tea-Tree forest in the world. The tree-scape can make for some lovely pictures.
Keep your eyes open for wallabies and kangaroos – there has even been sightings of echidnas but my favourite would have to be the Rose Robins that I have seen frequent around the frog pond.
White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Estate
White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Estate, located in the suburb of Redbank Plains and one of the busier spots as it’s a popular with hikers, it is a great spot for getting out in nature.
I find White Rock to have a vast array of birds from the small such as Scarlett Honeyeaters, Spotted Pardalote, Eastern Yellow Robin, Rainbow Bee Eater, Silvereye, Finches and Wrens right up to birds of prey such as the Pacific Baza & Powerful Owls.
You will even hear the calls of the elusive Eastern Whipbird and if you are lucky enough even see one or better photograph it.
Colleges Crossing is a great spot for chasing water birds like Egrets, Cormorants, Pelicans and sometime Kingfishers but these birds take a keen eye to spot. Time of day dependant, you could see the local raptors circling around colleges crossing such as the Eastern Ospreys and Brahminy Kites looking for their next fish meal.
Depending on the time of the year the resident Black Fronted Dotterel will make an appearance and these birds are small so keep a look out especially around the water’s edge. Also keep an eye out in the long grasses along the waters edge for Golden Headed-Cisticola and Wrens.
Ipswich Nature Centre
The Ipswich Nature Centre at Queens Park is a suitable place to practice your wildlife photography. With the centre housing Wallabies, Wombats, Emus, walk through bird aviary and even a Bilby enclosure, you have some great photo opportunities without the hassle of waiting in locations for that one shot to jump out in front of you.
The park is not just limited to the Nature Centre, it also offers the chance for some macro photography especially if you like to photograph native Australian plants and flowers.
With any of these spots time of day is important. I find mornings and afternoons are the best times, try to avoid the middle of the day when it’s at its hottest as most of the wildlife will be looking for shady cool spots to rest or sleep in.
So next time you go wild in the Ipswich region, don’t forget to take your camera!
To see more of Michael Gibbs’ wildlife and birdlife photography, follow him on Instagram – @mgp_wild.