One morning on Mount Stuart

View over Town Common, 16 km away, to Palm Island, 70 km away
View from Mt Stuart over Town Common, 16 km away, to Palm Island, 70 km away

Townsville winters are lovely. The weather has been so beautifully clear recently that I figured it would be worth getting up early just to take photos from the top of Mt Stuart of the sun rising over the ocean. Then, I thought, if I take food and coffee with me, I can wander round the mountain-top taking pictures of insects and trees and so on.

And so it was. I was on the road very soon after 6 a.m. and at the lookout on the mountain almost in time for sunrise. (It took a bit longer to get there than I thought – I’ll have to start earlier next time. Never mind.)
I took some photos walking around the loop track: Magnetic Island, Hervey’s Range, Ross Dam.

Peacock
Peacock

Then breakfast at the lookout with two very friendly peacocks (just cupboard love, I’m afraid) and another walk around the loop. The animal life was stirring by then: lots of Dingy Bush Brown butterflies but not many others; black ants; lots of small spiders – mainly Austracantha and Gasteracantha, the spiky ones; honey-bees having a wonderful time on the grasstree flower-spikes; and magpies but not many other birds. I had seen a couple of roos on the road up the mountain but there were no wallabies at the top as there used to be.

The morning was warming up. My light jacket and wind-cheater came off and my hat went on.

After a bit more wandering around the top, I got in the car and headed for the bottom of the hill, stopping four or five times on the way for landscape views and more bug-hunting.

I added Clearwing Swallowtails and Eurema butterflies, a leaf beetle, three more kinds of spiders (the beautiful green orb-weaver, the very slim Tetragnathid and one hairy grey-brown spider I don’t know), a heavy-bodied dark grasshopper, two kinds of hover-fly and a native bee to my list of species spotted.

Trees in morning light
Trees in morning light

I took the last photos at 10.15 and was in town for morning tea in Ross River parklands – but that’s another story.

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