Patterns in Nature - Fractals

Mandelbrot Satellite

Imagine a tree, a mature gum tree or bottle tree, and you're standing 50m away looking at the entirety of it. Now imagine you move closer and are looking at one of the larger lower branches. You might notice a similarity between the branch and the whole tree. Now pretend you're climbing up the tree and looking at one of the smaller branches or even the leaves. Again you might notice a property that's often used to describe fractals—self-similarity. In essence, each view of the tree presents a similar pattern, just at a different scale and maybe a different orientation. That is a pattern in nature that is like a fractal.

Fractals are sometimes termed as the geometry of nature, but this isn’t quite true. Generally, a fractal is a mathematical model that nature approximates. Fractals can be found everywhere—stream networks, our system of blood vessels, snowflakes, lightning bolts, clouds, snail shells. The list goes on.

But fractals are not just mathematical functions or something interesting to look at when on a hike. Fractals are applied in science, technology and industry and their use pops up in some surprising ways, from ecological identification and quantification to assessment of disease to analysing trends in the stock market!

Below are some images of fractals and fractals in nature. If you’d like to learn more about fractals, you can simply google fractals. Here’s one website that provides a little applet for creating a fractal. There are many others out there as well.

The Fractal Foundation

Fractals in Nature - Patterns in branching of a mature Cabbage Gum (Left);

Cabbage Gum demonstrating fractals

Fractals in Nature - Fjords, streams and mountains in southwest New Zealand;



Half a house is still a home

Half a house is still a home

During October on a field trip to the Carnarvon Range northeast of Augathella, Richard, Rose and Ryan came across an interesting find – a semi-slug. We’ve all heard about snails and slugs but have you ever heard of a semi-slug? No? What is it? Glad you asked!


Watch Out!

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The afternoon sun is setting - making it a little difficult to see the road ahead. So you lower your visor, put your sunnies on and wriggle around in your driver’s seat - trying to avoid the glare from the sun. Someone yells ‘watch out!’, you brake, but it’s too late.


Dodging the Black and White Blur

It’s 8am on a late August Saturday and the household cat has just been let outside. Not 1 minute later, the squawking of the newly moved in magpie can be heard as it dive bombs the cat. Not long after, the cat is pressed up against the window crying to get back inside.

Yep, it’s magpie season again!


Another successful Good Friday Walk on the Wild side!

Another successful Good Friday Walk on the Wild side!

Hosted by the Roma Bush Gardens committee and BOOBOOK staff as guides, the fourth Walk on the Wild side was held on Good Friday this year as part of the Easter in the Country celebrations once again followed by a pancake and billy tea breakfast.


Roma Bush Gardens Walk on the Wild Side and Pancake Breakfast

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Now in its fourth year The Roma Bush Gardens Walk on the Wild Side and pancake breaky is once again scheduled for Good Friday.  The walk will commence at 7am with breakfast to follow.  To reserve your spot or for further information contact Judith Symmonds on
0428 226 010 or Lynda Hardwick on 0427 056 442.  BOOBOOK staff will once again be in attendance to host the guided walks and to answer any flora or fauna related questions you may have.
The below article is from last years walk. 
Attendees at this year’s Walk on the Wild Side on Friday Morning at the Roma Bush Gardens were treated to lemon myrtle pancakes topped with brown sugar and lime juice and a cup of billy tea. 

The delicious breakfast was put on by Roma Bush Garden members, Lynda Hardwick and Eddy Row and followed an informative walk around the dam with BOOBOOK’S own Craig (Principal Ecologist) and Rose (Botanist). 

Children also took away educational worksheets on the Roma Bush Gardens produced by BOOBOOK.

This year walkers saw waterbirds such as Coots, Dusky Moorhens, Glossy Ibis and a Darter drying its wings.  A different suite of birds was present compared to those species that turned up in the very wet conditions of previous years.   

 Excellent fauna and flora guides were available on the day and can be picked up from the Queensland Murray Darling offices in Lewis Street or the BOOBOOK office at 15 Quintin Street.  
Now in its third year, the annual Pancake Breakfast is a great way to become more familiar and knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna in the area.

Spring Is In The Air

Springtime Flowers

IMG 46905 Swainsona queenslandicaOver the last few months you may have already noticed how colourful the roadsides have become as the local wattles flower in all shades of yellow from lemon to gold.

The wattles mark the beginning of the warmer seasons, giving way to more colour with splashes of blue, yellow, pink, red, white, purple and all colours in between. Spring is a great time to take a drive or walk to explore the diversity our district has to offer. Great places to go wildflower hunting include national parks, state forests, stock route reserves or if you are lucky enough to have your own block of land.


Apart from wattles, other wildflowers commonly seen include bluebells, darling peas, eremophilas, lilies, everlasting daisies, hopbushes and goodenias. This list is not exhaustive of what the Maranoa district has to offer, so keep an eye out for plants in flower along the ground, up in the tree canopy and in between.


One of the most showiest groups of flowering plants are the peas which vary in colour, size and habit. The bright pink darling peas are quite conspicuous amongst the dull grass. In total there are 12 species of darling pea (Swainson spp.) recorded in the Maranoa pastoral district (QLD herbarium 2010). One of these is threatened, the Murray darling pea (Swainsona murrayana) and is protected by federal legislation. Darling peas common in the local area include the smooth darling peas (Swainsona galegifolia and S. queenslandica).


Don’t worry if you have missed seeing the early wildflowers because there is more yet to come as the weather warms up.


Spring is also a great time to get involved in the garden when plants are growing actively.

Check out our Springtime flowers photo album on our facebook page by clicking this link https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.318468438297155.1073741865.166876180123049&type=3&uploaded=9

Pictured is Swainsona queenslandica.



Fairy Martins - Boom-time builders

By Senior Ecologist, Richard Johnson

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On a recent trip to Chinchilla, I noticed a colony of Fairy Martins building their distinctive flask-shaped mud nests under the eaves of a new and apparently unoccupied house. This got me contemplating the changing fortunes of this little bird.


Sunday 8th September - National Bilby Day!

Meet Soph Bilby. BOOBOOK's Bilby Buddy

BilbyBuddy SophAt the Bendemere Garden Club Day held at the BOOBOOK office on Sunday, 4th August Garden Club members contributed a gold coin donation towards the afternoon tea provided by BOOBOOK.

BOOBOOK staff unanimously agreed to use the donation to sponsor a Bilby and become a Bilby Buddy. So........ meet Soph, BOOBOOK'S Bilby Buddy. Click here to view Soph's profile http://www.enviro-print.com.au/SaveTheBilbyFund/2013/pages/Soph_Bilby.html

If you would like to sponsor a bilby, become a Bilby Buddy or would like more information click on the link below and head over to their page for more information. You can even view the Bilby profiles online to choose which one you would like to sponsor http://www.enviro-print.com.au/SaveTheBilbyFund/2013/pages/Become_a_Bilby_Buddy.html


Do you love native birds?

Have you tried attracting them to your garden?

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One family in Roma have gone that little bit further by placing nesting boxes in native trees in their yard to try to encourage them to nest and have been successful!

At present a pair of Eastern Rosella's are nesting in their backyard. Rainbow Lorikeets have also taken up residence in another nesting box and at least two others are currently occupied with Ringtail Possums, a male possum in one and a mother and her baby in another. The nesting boxes have been in place for about twelve months, just missing the mating season last year, but this year several native species have made them their home.

A lot of research, time and effort has gone into setting up the nesting boxes and BOOBOOK were only too happy to provide information to assist with this fantastic project.

If you would like more information on how to set-up nesting boxes in your garden or where to purchase them please give the BOOBOOK office a call and we can provide you with this information.

This is just one image of the nesting boxes erected. For more images visit and like the BOOBOOK facebook page by following this link https://www.facebook.com/pages/Boobook/166876180123049


Great Day At Gurulmundi

Gurulmundi Wildflower Tour

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A big thanks to everyone that came along to the Gurulmundi Wildflower Tour yesterday. Although the wildflowers were not quite at their spectacular peak this year, there was still plenty of them to see. The flowering grass trees in particular were stunning, attracting a wide range of insects such as butterflies, ants and native bees. Stopping at various locations along the way, the very interested crowd listened intently as BOOBOOK's Principal Ecologist, Craig Eddie, and the BOOBOOK team pointed out the many interesting species of plants in the area. Some, such as the Gurulmundi Heath-myrtle and Curly-bark Wattle, are threatened species and endemic to the area.

We look forward to next year where the display should be even more spectacular!

If you would like to see more images taken on the Wildflower Tour like us on facebook and check out our Gurulmundi Album https://www.facebook.com/pages/Boobook/166876180123049


National Bilby Day!

Win a visit from a live Bilby at your School....

National Bilby Day is coming up on Sunday 8th September.  Why not enter the 'Face the Challenge Crossword Competition' for your chance to win a visit from a live Bilby at your School. 

For more information visit http://www.enviro-print.com.au/SaveTheBilbyFund/2013/pages/entry_forms.html



Gurulmundi Wildflower Tour

BOOBOOK presents!

Gurulmundi Wildflower Tour

On Father's Day, Sunday 1st September 2013, BOOBOOK will be hosting a wildflower tour at the Gurulmundi wildflower area northwest of Miles. 

Why not join the BOOBOOK ecology team for a walk in the bush.  This relaxing and informal day will involve driving your own vehicle in a convoy to various spots to look at and identify the array of flowering native plants.  Should a bird, lizard or other creature wander by these will be identified too.

If you would like to take part please register by 23rd August by contacting the BOOBOOK office on 07 4622 2646.  For more information please click the following link.

Gurulmundi Wildflower Tour



BOOBOOK Hosts Garden Club Visit

BBK4 20212 compressed copyrightOn Sunday 4th August BOOBOOK played host to 50 Bendemere Garden club members and members of the local community to show the range of native plants that landscape the new premises in Quintin St, Roma. Craig Eddie (BOOBOOK Principal Ecologist) and Rose Aisthorpe (BOOBOOK Botanist) were on hand to give a run down on establishing the garden including garden design, soil type, plant selection and health, habitat features and water regimes. Attendees were able to have their questions answered, get their plants identified, check out BOOBOOK herbarium samples and take home brochures and field guides. A cuppa in one hand and a scone in the other with like minded people made it a wonderful afternoon. Thankyou to all those who attended!