As I said a few days ago, the wildlife at Porcupine Gorge was abundant when I visited it last week. Here’s a sample of photos under the three broad headings of mammals, birds and invertebrates (i.e. insects and spiders). I did see some reptiles as well – a goanna and a frill-necked lizard (I think) on the road, and several small skinks around the gorge – but have no photos to share here.
A large wallaby or small kangaroo species was quite common in the early mornings but I’m not sure which species: possibly red kangaroo or agile wallaby, but I’m inclined to think they were Antilopine Kangaroos, Macropus antilopinus. If so, they were at the Southern end of their known range.
This is an illustrated list of places in the vicinity of Porcupine Gorge which are worth a look for one reason or another, intended as a guide to visitors and context for my wildlife photos (still to come). My starting point is the camping ground. Working away from it …
There is a waterhole beside the camping ground access road which attracts quite a lot of bird life.
Turning North towards the Lynd soon takes you over an attractive creek crossing, White Cliffs Creek. It’s an incipient gorge, having cut only a few metres into the white sandstone, and is good for birds and butterflies. Travelling further up the same road takes you through typical savannah country and, eventually, to Undara Lava Tubes, Greenvale and the gemfields.
I’m not going to claim credit for it, of course, but my post about rainwater tanks was followed almost immediately by the best rain Townsville has had for years, with totals like 250 to 600 mm over a week or so, depending on exactly where you looked. Ross Dam went from about 15% to over 80% – but I will say more about that in another post.
We know, of course, that some birds are smaller than others but we aren’t often close enough to them to put their size into context. This female Scarlet Honeyeater (Myzomela sanguinolenta, aka Scarlet Myzomela) charmingly demonstrates her minuscule size and weight by hanging from the petals of a Yellow Bell to feed on its nectar.
She was deep within a tangle of Yellow Bells on the bank of a creek on Hervey’s Range – too cute to resist but too far away, really, for a good photo. Males are responsible for the species name, by the way. Females and juvenile males are brown with perhaps a small blush around the cheeks, but adult males (see one in this older post) are very colourful.
Last week’s post celebrated the dragonflies of Rollingstone Creek, just North of Townsville, but the birdlife deserves its share of attention, too. I saw most of the same species as on my first visit but some were more obliging this time.