Wildlife

Accessibility links

Wildlife

Breadcrumbs

USC’s Sippy Downs campus is a remarkable environment. A native fauna and flora reserve, rich with diversity, the campus provides amateur and professional wildlife warriors, conservationists, researchers, photographers and artists with a wealth of discoveries.

Every now and then, someone comes to our attention doing something amazing and doing it quietly. No fanfare. Meet Gerard Mills. He's a photographer, an artist, a teacher and a man with a purpose and passion.

Gerard has set himself an immense, but enjoyable, task of photographing the vast diversity of wildlife on USC's Sippy Downs campus. It's a ten year odyssey that sees him walk thousands of kilometres each week in every direction of USC's 100 hectare campus to, in his words, “find out what's there”. You will often see Gerard about campus with his trademark brown hat and his imposing camera slung about his shoulder.

Three years into his mission, Gerard has taken more than 30,000 photographs of USC's wild creatures and their activities on campus. Gerard is geo-tagging each photograph to precisely locate where a creature is and when. He is working closely with USC Animal Ecology scientists, Scott Burnett and David Schoeman, to scientifically identify the different animals and their species.

Their collaboration will be showcased on this website and will help USC record the extraordinary diversity of campus wildlife, their habitats, behaviours, numbers, interactions and other important environmental dynamics. The potential of this work to contribute to the future knowledge and protection of campus wildlife may well be far reaching.

View live webcam images

...from the AMS nestbox

Check out archived time-lapse footage in the Observations blog

Asset Management Services AMS Webcam Live Image

Select a gallery to view Gerard's work

Wildlife feature - Winter on campus at Sippy Downs

Winter coverings, downtime and rest for many campus creatures

Winter on campus is a time of chilly early morning mists and mostly clear sunny days. Many of our creatures are sticking closer to the nest, seeking out sun-filled corners for warmer hunting grounds or for washing and preening themselves. Others, like the reptiles and many other species, are slowing down their activities with the later sun rise, colder temperatures and shorter days.

A man for all seasons, our intrepid photographer, Gerard Mills, continues his mission of photographing the diversity of our campus wildlife. Here are some of Gerard's wintertime observations: 

The insects, although always abounding on campus, seem to go to ground and are harder to find in the winter months.

Redbrow Finch

With food supplies less abundant, the Redbrowed Finch (above) moves from the seeding grass south of the lake to feed in smaller numbers in winter in the trees south of the lakes, either side of the middle between the two lakes.

Another seed-eater, a cockatoo-like bird, the Little Corella, can't sit still for long, but busies itself in closer to the university buildings in August.

A pair of Striated Pardalotes

The Striated Pardalotes (above) nest in the creek banks near the multi-tier car park in early June. The raptors - the Sea Eagles, Ospreys and Spotted Harrier – are all still regulars although facing more competition for food in winter from visiting shoreline migratory birds.

Purple Swamp Hen

All the regular members of the campus family, the prolific Purple Swamp Hens (above), the Brown's Honeyeaters and the Ibis (below) remain widespread, maintaining their everyday routines.

Ibis

The biggest nuisance bird on campus, the Common Myna (below), raids the living quarters of some of our marsupial tree dwellers, stealing their abodes to nest and are quite aggressive about it.

After a two year mission, Gerard finally managed to capture the elusive Squirrel Glider (below) on campus in May and updated his species count since he began photographing on campus almost 4 years ago.

Squirrel Glider - photo taken by Gerard Mills

So far, Gerard has recorded 202 species of insects, 112 species of birds, 70 species of spiders, 10 species of reptiles, 10 species of mammals and 5 species of amphibians.

Gerard Mills

“I love the wildlife at USC because of the diversity”

Dr Scott Burnett

"It has great value for students...especially in Animal Ecology courses" Dr Scott Burnett

Professor Greg Hill

"Gerard's photographs, they're very special...they leap out at you"

Dr David Schoeman

"His attention to detail will help students to see the environment for what it is" Dr David Shoeman

Quotes - Gerard Mills

"Mostly it’s about sex and food. If it’s not sex, it’s food"

Back to top

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned more than {{model.MaxResults}} results.
The top {{model.MaxResults}} of {{model.TotalItems}} are shown below, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned {{model.TotalItems}} results, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned no results.

No search results found for

{{model.ErrorMessage}}