Summer fun for junior rangers

Turn a walk in the park into a city safari thanks to these top tips from our park rangers. Here are five fantastic creatures for kids to look out for in our parks and gardens this summer.

1. Sacred kingfishers
Spot these little cousins of the kookaburra by their beautiful turquoise feathers. Sacred kingfishers spend winter in the tropics as far north as Papua New Guinea and return south each summer to breed in our tree hollows. They’re shy, so you will often hear their distinctive ‘kee, kee, kee’ call long before you see them.

2. Peacock spiders
These tiny spiders have become online celebrities thanks to their bright, jewel-like colouring and incredible courtship dances. But they’re only as big as a grain of rice, so you’ll have to look very hard to see them in real life. Peacock spiders also ‘bungee jump’ at moving prey, attaching silk to a tree for their safety line.

3. Dainty swallowtail butterflies
Keep an eye out for these stunning creatures around lemon and lime trees, because the caterpillars love to feed on citrus leaves. You can recognise the butterflies by their colourful, spotted wings and the yellow markings along their bodies. Their flight is often slow and lazy as they look for a spot to lay their eggs.

4. Pobblebonk frogs
Listen out for these large, noisy frogs around many of the ponds in our parks and gardens. They are easier to hear than to see as the males make a distinctive ‘bonk’ call that sounds a bit like a banjo string being plucked.

5. Common garden skinks
Do you have a vegetable garden? These shy lizards are very handy little friends to have around because they love to feed on slugs, earwigs, caterpillars and other garden pests.  If you are quiet you can watch them sunbathing or darting about hunting for insects.

Just for kids
Learn more about wildlife, the Aboriginal seven seasons calendar, biodiversity, water-sensitive urban design and more through our Junior Ranger program and pop-up Nature Trailer. With your help, we can empower people of all ages to look after our environment.