Anderson Park Botanical Gardens and Conservatory

Anderson Park is the largest of the three botanical gardens managed by Townsville City Council. We have been conveniently close to it in Mundingburra for so long that we take it for granted but a couple of recent visits reminded us how pleasant it is; reminded us, too, of the Conservatory and the exotic fruit garden.

Bismarkia and other palms in Anderson Park
Bismarkia and other palms

The Conservatory

The council doesn’t publicise the Conservatory very well (it doesn’t even rate any text on the park brochure, for instance, although it is marked as a little grey square on the map) and only opens it to the public on Tuesdays but it’s worth a look.

view of conservatory
Anderson Park Conservatory

It’s full of gingers, ferns, cycads, bromeliads and other families. Many of them feature in our own gardens, of course, but most of us don’t have so many varieties, or get them growing so well. The two which caught my eye last Tuesday were the ornamental banana and the pitcher plants.

Tropical Fruit Orchard

The Tropical Fruit Orchard is right next to the Conservatory. We didn’t spend as much time there as we would have on a cooler day but noted both Black and Yellow Sapote fruiting abundantly and dropping ripe fruit on the ground, while a Pomelo and a patch of (edible) bananas were also quite productive. Stern notices forbid the collection of any fruit from the orchard; one can see the point, although the waste of good fruit is disappointing.

Lovely weather for ducks!

We’ve had lovely weather for ducks in the last week – ever since I posted about last year’s rainfall, in fact, although I don’t think my post was the cause. I visited the Town Common on Wednesday morning and enjoyed sloshing around in intermittent drizzle before the really heavy rain started about 11 o’clock. Everything was beautifully green and the waterbirds were feeding happily.

cattle egrets on Town Common
Cattle Egrets and others under dark grey skies

Most of this group were Cattle Egrets – more precisely Eastern Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus coromandus) – which are pure white in non-breeding plumage and rufous in breeding plumage. The bigger pure white birds are Intermediate Egrets (Ardea intermedia).

I met an old friend who was very excited at seeing a Pied Heron amongst them – a really rare sighting, she said, but I had to admit that I don’t know enough about birds to fully appreciate the rarity. I did get a (bad) photo of the bird, however.

pied heron feeding with Cattle Egrets and Intermediate Egret
Pied Heron feeding with Cattle Egrets and Intermediate Egret

For better photos of the Pied Heron (Ardea picata), you could visit Birdway.

The other unusual sighting was a Jabiru aka Black-necked Stork, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, fully-grown but still in juvenile plumage.

jabiru immature and adult feeding
Immature Jabiru with an adult female

Also seen in this short trip: small flocks of Magpie Geese were moving around; a single White-faced Heron and a few White Ibis and Spur-winged Plovers amongst the Cattle Egrets; Crimson Finches, a greenish honeyeater and a Dollarbird near the Freshwater bird hide; a couple of terns; and (heard but not seen) a Pheasant Coucal (links are to older photos on this blog).

Ducks? I’m sure there were but I can’t remember them.

I think I will have to start making lists like real birders do.

Ethical investing – using our money for good

Ethical investing is currently in our news because of a court case brought against a large superannuation fund, REST Super, by one of its members for failing to adequately consider financial risks arising from climate change.

Also, as it happens, a member of one of the more civilised online forums asked very recently about ethical investing and received some good answers. That synchronicity encouraged me to turn the forum posts into something more readable for Green Path by combining and rewriting the replies of several members; that means it is not all my own work although it appears under my name as usual.

Continue reading “Ethical investing – using our money for good”

Wet-season skies

The thunderstorms of the last few days have given way to thick, rain-heavy clouds and intermittent rain and drizzle; no big downpours, but we’re going to get some good totals if it continues.

From Mundingburra, the view of Mt Stuart (584 metres) tells us what the weather is doing. Here’s the mountain this morning from Aplin’s Weir, with its transmission towers rising out of low cloud.

Mount stuart, Townsville, in low cloud
Ross River and Mount Stuart

Townsville’s weather in 2019 – what happened?

The last few days have brought us some genuine early-Wet weather: heat, humidity and thunderstorms. We have recorded our first double-digit rainfall totals in months, so it feels like a good time to see what really happened last year.

The BoM released its Annual Climate Statement for 2019 a fortnight ago. It named last year as Australia’s warmest and driest on record but there were notable local exceptions: Townsville (1761 mm) and the middle of Western Queensland scored their wettest year on record. (So did the tip of Cape York, one spot on the WA coast and one spot on the Tasmanian coast, which reinforces the feeling that our weather is getting ever crazier but is not otherwise relevant here.)

Continue reading “Townsville’s weather in 2019 – what happened?”