Over the weekend we set out to explore the Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba area. It’s about a 90-minute drive from Brisbane in good traffic. The Lockyer Valley’s an interesting drive, quite different to the coast to the north and south, it’s rich farmland and very flat out to the great dividing range.
Our first stop was at the University of Southern Queensland, to see Lake Galletly and Lake Lenore which are located on the campus. We’d been told these were worth a stop if you had an interest in birds, the University Campus is open access to the public and being a public holiday it was extremely quiet and easy to park.
The two lakes are man-made, designed by Jim Galletly, a former student in the 1940s and a long term staff member at the University. He originally created a small earth dam in the location in the 1950s and in 1980 oversaw the development of the current habitat and haven for waterbirds. Both lakes include excellent hides and Lake Galletly includes an island in the middle allowing safe roosting for waterbirds by providing a natural barrier against feral cats and other predators.
During the spring and summer, you can see migratory waders in the area but it’s best known for some lesser-seen ducks, particularly the pink-eared duck, freckled duck and plumed whistling duck. There’s a large flock of magpie geese and there have also been sightings of the blue billed duck reported here but we didn’t see any on this visit.
The bird hides constructed on both lakes out of recycled Angora goat boxes are solid and allow you to observe the birds from a close distance without disturbing them.