For an annual change of scene, we left Tamborine Mountain for Beechmont, Queensland with the assistance of local Susan Cully to view a relatively hidden gem of a conservation area. Eight Nature Walk members of Tamborine NHA and some Beechmont members of Caring for Plateaus who were also in Beechmont District Landcare Association (BDLA) and Lamington NHA met in Akoonah Drive off Binna Burra Road. Here we entered the Back Creek Regeneration project for an easy walk on a simple track north along the creek through a Beechmont District Landcare Association Reserve project. Some very few bits of beautiful remnant vegetation still remain. Re-vegetation is ongoing.
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From the Ethos Foundation 2006 Annual Report, this regeneration area was begun with;
- "Creation of a partnership of Ethos Foundation with Beechmont Landcare’s sub branch Timbarra Landcare in order to begin restoration of Back Creek and surrounding forest areas which bordered the Ethos site."
- "National Tree Day tree planting event"
- "Grant application to Beaudesert Shire Council to secure funding for weed eradication and regeneration at the Akoonah Drive end of Back Creek."
- There was also a "Collaboration with the Ridge on Binna Burra for the declaration of a Nature Conservation Refuge over 200 acres of rain forest at the Ethos site."
This work continues by locals such as in August 2013, inclement weather did not deter a group of Summit Estate residents getting together to plant 100 rainforest tube stock into an area newly cleared of lantana and other weeds, in the Akoonah Drive, Beechmont reserve. The plants were sourced locally and were grown from seeds from the area. The Gold Coast Hinterlander
Back Creek is a primary waterway for the Beechmont Plateau and feeds down through Denham Reserve to the South West side and down to the Coomera River below the Southern edge of Tamborine Mountain. (Map) You can see some Back Creek flow monitoring statistics here most probably from further down stream automatic sensors. For lower Back Creek some further information contacts might include the Back Creek Gorge Conservation Assoc Inc. The headwaters of Back Creek are adjacent to the Binna Burra section of the Lamington National Park.
We started our walk where Back creek flows under Akoonah Drive on a simple track on the west side of the creek. This track travels through regeneration of the Riparian zone of the creek and is well established. The track commences in medium density mixture of established trees and shrubs and gradually opens out further up to mixtures of density, new plantings and grass and other ground cover patches.
< The Rose Marara was in flower in many places and fruit showing on several species.
We were very lucky that some new Beechmont residents joined us after a very long drive. The young man had an extraordinary knowledge of the plant life and helped identify many species. Unfortunately, so many s fast that we did not capture all of them in this report. This was the final impetus for us to invest in a voice recorder for future Nature Walks. You can scan the Gallery Tab here and the Species List Tab for some of the Species identified. Unfortunately they had to leave us when we reached the creeks headwaters. >
We were advised there are over 1400 identified native species of plants at Binna Burra end of Beechmont. This is twice as many as at Tamborine Mountain.
< Much of the ground here was Rhyolite with Eco-systems dependent on that structure.
Annotated extracts based on QLD Government NPRSR - Lamington National Park Nature, Culture & History.
The Tweed shield volcano erupted numerous times, spewing masses of molten lava onto the surrounding landscape from what is now Lismore in the south, to Tamborine in the north. Most lavas were basalt, which gives deep fertile soils. There were also some flows of rhyolite with layers of ash and boulders, particularly around Binna Burra, which give poorer soils.
The silica-rich rhyolite units may be over 100m thick and commonly form layers that are resistant to erosion, resulting in cliffs and waterfalls that are common in the Lamington National Park.
The different soils derived from basalt and rhyolite lavas have determined how plant communities are distributed. Rainforest commonly occurs on soils derived from basalt, while rhyolitic soils, which are lower in available plant nutrients, support the open forest, simpler rainforests and heath. Many rare and endangered plant species are found in these ecosystems.
The creek twists here against a steep forested slope on the west bank and a grassy area to east with Fern and other trees and small rainforest plants. A twisted log stretches over the creek and above a miniature waterfall set. You can look down to examine for insect or other creek inhabitants. It look very Eco-healthy with some natural debris to promote the Eco-system health.
< Leaving the headwaters of the creek we headed west through changing forest from Back Creek up against open forest and grassy slopes. This included some new plantings in the foreground of this photo.
Bird life was active and good record made of 20 birds listed for the walk (see Species Tab). Here is a Black Faced Cuckoo-shrike in the middle of the photo. >
< At the top of the hill we came upon a small cleared area next to an old logging winch (relocated to this position) and looking out over Illinbah valley and the range at its southern head. This provides big views across Lamington Plateau (towards Green Mountains).
Extract from Scenic Rim Regional Council on Beechmont Logging: In the 1870s timber getters and selectors began working their way up the Nerang River to the base of Beech Mountain. This was in response to the increased demand for timber and agricultural produce which accompanied the establishment of Southport as a seaside resort from the mid 1870s. Small-scale saw-milling at Beechmont developed in the 20th Century.
< We descended this road with partial views North. There were a number of Red Cedar small trees along the roadside which is good to see after past logging specie reductions.
On the downhill run of Akoonah Drive we stopped at the regeneration project on the western edge, where several species were noted to include Banksia integrifolia, Banksia unidentified, either Phebalium or Epacrid, Hakea salicifolia (Willow-leaved hakea), a Leptospermum otherwise Baeckea (undetermined sub-species), either Phebalium or Epacrid (not Leptospermum), Kangaroo grass, and a likely Leptospermum variabile. To the right is the likely Leptospermum variabile. >
Back at our parked cars we sat on some logs and had morning tea. The Ellers were fixated most of this time on incessant chatter of several sets of Spangled Drongos. See the Videos Tab.. They had never heard such a long drongo conversation.
< We split up for our respective home paths and several of the TMNHA group stopped at the School Community Centre at the Beechmont roundabout. The view down the Numinbah valley here is spectacular but unfortunately too cloudy for a good photo today.
|Identifications from one or more of Beechmont Expert and Mike Russell|