Townsville is on Ross River but the ‘river’ nearest the city centre is not Ross River as such but Ross Creek, a mangrove creek which separates South Townsville, Railway Estate and the port from Hermit Park and the city. I often stop where Queen’s Road crosses Ross Creek (satellite-view map) when I have some spare time on my way home from the Aquarium (see previous post) – usually around lunchtime – and wander around with my camera. There is always something to see whether it is insect life on mangrove flowers, turtles or birds. A couple of weeks ago I spotted these Peaceful Doves, Geopelia striata, in a banjo fig tree.
Peaceful Doves are common in open woodlands around all of Australia except the South-West, according to Slater’s Field Guide, but they are particularly common in Townsville and their calls are integral to the soundscape of our daily life. They are small birds (the Diamond Dove is about the same size but all other Australian doves and pigeons are bigger) and feed primarily on seeds on the ground. We tend to think of them as ‘not very smart’ but they manage to survive quite comfortably in urban environments so maybe we are being unfair.