In Australia, spring conventionally begins on 1 September (and finishes on 30 November). However, here in sunny Queensland, there is evidence that spring has sprung already. On my recent walks, I have noticed many examples of new life: flowers budding, baby animals and of course the birds and the bees. You can see all these signs of spring, and more, at Oxley Creek Common, which is a large, natural wetlands environment and important area of open space and farmlands in urban Brisbane.
At the Common, there is an Environment Centre, with amenities; and Community Barbeque Shelter erected by the Rotary Club of Rocklea in 2009. It is the perfect spot for a picnic, outdoor party, BBQ or family gathering.
There are several kilometres of trails which are popular with local walkers, joggers and dog walkers. Dogs must be kept on the leash to prevent them from interfering with livestock. However, there is a dedicated section of the Common which is fenced off for dogs to freely run and play. Cycling is permitted but please do so with caution. The trails are well signposted and there is a Trail Map at the start of the walk. You can choose between Pelican Island (take the left fork at the Tidal Gauge) where you may be lucky enough to see a pair of Black Swans as well as the eponymous Pelican; or Secret Forest (straight ahead) which I call Fairy Wren Glen. Don't forget to look up to see the possum boxes and hopefully spot a baby possum too.
Calf at Oxley Creek Common Farmland
Oxley Creek Oxley Creek begins its journey at Mount Perry near Beaudesert and then flows 70kms through natural bushland and farms, and 30 suburbs to the Brisbane River. One of the six tributaries to run into Oxley Creek is Stable Swamp Creek which bounds Oxley Common, and is more picturesque than it sounds. The narrow line of mangroves established at the edges of the creek forms a wildlife corridor for animals to travel through the area. Unfortunately, urban creep has adversely affected the water quality of the creek. Invasive plant species, erosion and waste disposal are some of the problems facing the preservation of the natural environment of this resource. Take care with the steep creek banks as there are no fences. There is a jetty at the creek so it is an ideal place to go canoeing.
Freshwater Wetland Ecosystem Wetlands are a rich and valuable resource. They are a source of food and water, a place for recreation, education and scientific interest, and also home for many plants, animals, birds and insects. They are filtration devices for the creek system and the flood plain: they remove toxins from stormwater as it flows through the wetlands.
Several natural drainage lines flow across the site, providing connecting flow between Oxley Creek and Stable Swamp Creek. This is an important ecological area as there are few surviving freshwater wetlands in the Brisbane urban environment. They are significant from a regional perspective as they provide resting places, such as Pelican Island, for waterbirds during migration to other wetland areas.