Freshwater Crocodiles in Ross River

We know they are there, but we don’t often see them – freshwater crocodiles in Ross River, that is.

Freshies, as many locals call them, are smaller than salties. They are generally shy, attacking only when startled into defending themselves; and when they do, their narrow jaws and relatively small teeth can’t do as much damage as a saltie’s heavy head, although the Australian Museum warns us that they can still cause serious injuries.

They can also be hard to spot, even in plain view.

crocodile on log
Catching some sunshine

This one was barely a metre from the river bank, and less than ten from the bike path upstream from Aplin’s Weir on the Douglas side of the river.

I only interrupted my ride because I saw a water bird drying its wings on the tip of the dead tree, and only noticed the crocodile after taking photos of the bird.

crocodile on log
A closer view

I walked down the bank to within a couple of metres of the croc but it didn’t even stir, and I had to resist the temptation to toss a stick at it to make sure it was still alive: crocodiles deserve their nap times just as much as we do. I reckoned it to be 1.5 – 1.8 metres long, which in freshie terms is well grown but not outstandingly large.

The bird wasn’t bothered by my movements, either. It was still on its perch after I had finished photographing the crocodile beneath it:

Little Pied Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant

Townsville’s 2019 floods – consequences in daily life

This post extends my April post, Townsville’s 2019 floods, by mentioning some consequences, both temporary and ongoing, of the flood damage.

Accelerated decisions
  • Old people flooded out of their homes may not return but find retirement accommodation, a move they may have been resisting for years.
  • All sorts of people will be replacing furniture they were already planning to replace because it was looking shabby.
Cancellations
  • Both of the main performing arts spaces, Civic Theatre and Riverway, were flood damaged and had to be closed for repairs, forcing the cancellation of events scheduled well into the middle of the year. Civic Theatre, I know, is re-opening for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in July – but then re-closing to finish repairs.
  • Sports grounds were also flood damaged, forcing the cancellation of events up to national-festival level.
  • The Alice River bridge on Hervey’s Range Road was severely damaged and needs to be rebuilt. Rumour (which is all I have) has it that the road won’t re-open until late this year. Until it does, Hervey’s Range residents can only get into town via Black River Road and the Highway, an extra 10 Km each way.

Continue reading “Townsville’s 2019 floods – consequences in daily life”

Insects in my new Townsville garden

Each garden attracts some different insects and spiders from its neighbours because of the different food plants and micro-habitats it offers. The difference between our old garden and our new one is most apparent in the butterflies, since their caterpillars often eat only one or two species of plant.

Here we haven’t (yet) got any Plumbago, so we have no Plumbago Blue butterflies; but we do have Cycads.

cycad blue butterfly
Cycad Blue on the rib of a caterpillar-chewed cycad frond

Continue reading “Insects in my new Townsville garden”

Birds in my new Townsville garden

Rainbow Lorikeets and Blue-faced Honeyeaters
Rainbow Lorikeets and Blue-faced Honeyeaters feeding on a palm flower

One of the reasons for the long gap in activity on Green Path was that we were moving house. We are still in Mundingburra, and still between Ross River and Ross River Road, but our new garden is quite different so it will attract different birds and insects.

The new garden is dominated by palms instead of huge mango, poplar gum and paperbark trees. Continue reading “Birds in my new Townsville garden”