I have known for some time about a Mahogany Glider (Petaurus gracilis) research project undertaken by the good people of Wildlife Queensland, but that’s almost all I knew until they scheduled a visit to the site last Sunday as one of their regular monthly walks.
Their monitoring site straddles Ollera Creek an hour North of Townsville, between the highway and the coast. We gathered at the Paluma turn-off before driving in convoy through well-timbered grazing land to the beach near the mouth of Ollera Creek.
The Black Bean in my title is a local tree, Castanospermum australe, and it’s flowering now. Two of our neighbours have well-grown specimens and I am simply taking this opportunity to share a photo of its attractive flowers.
Pacific Bazas, also known as Crested Hawks, are beautiful birds of prey which are uncommon enough to call for a photo at everyopportunity. We saw one in the Quarantine Station picnic grounds at Pallarenda on Friday as it flew up to perch in a tree.
From behind, we could see its head jerking up and down as it tore at prey which it was holding against its perch; from in front, I was able to get photos showing us what it was doing. It was carefully shelling a Giant Grasshopper in exactly the way we would shell a prawn, and for the same reason: to avoid the crunchy bits.
Torrens Creek is a tiny town just to the west of White Mountains National Park and it’s a natural stopping point on a trip to Porcupine Gorge or White Mountains (or Rainsby, for that matter, although I haven’t been that way for a few years).
A pre-dinner ramble from the pub to the bore and beyond coincided with the birds’ sunset activity: a Crested Pigeon (Oxyphaps lophotes) on a power line was extremely dubious about something on the ground; a Magpie reckoned that the top of the bore was a great vantage point; and a Blue-faced Honeyeater in a bottlebrush tree was touched by golden evening light.