Ahhh… winter!

Ross Creek, Townsville
Ross Creek at Sandy Crossing on a winter’s morning

Our few days of rain last month, welcome as they were, seem to have been an aberration and we’re now enjoying a normal Townsville winter – cool nights, warm days, blue skies and humidity low enough that static electricity sparks off car door handles. Every second person you meet asks, “Isn’t this weather gorgeous?” and the answer is always some version of, “It sure is!”

I paused at Sandy Crossing quite early one morning last week for this photo. The dew was still on the grass and the birds were moving around the mangroves – Brown Honeyeaters making far more noise than their size seems to warrant, as they so often do; a Rainbow Bee-eater perching watchfully on the power line; and a little gathering of Woodswallows not far away.

White-breasted Woodswallow
White-breasted Woodswallows welcome the sun

One morning on Cape Pallarenda, with birds

A few days ago I left home just before dawn to visit Pallarenda – specifically the Old Quarantine Station, Cape Pallarenda and Shelly Cove.  Part of my motivation was simply to be outdoors, since the weather at this time of year is too beautiful to waste, but the main reason was to see the wildlife. I didn’t have to wait long: a couple of crows came to check on me when I sat on the beach to have breakfast. I walked down to the water’s edge afterwards and turned round to see Continue reading “One morning on Cape Pallarenda, with birds”

Birding from Mingela to Clare

On Sunday I enjoyed a longer-than-usual BirdLife expedition, a round trip from Townsville to Ravenswood via Mingela, returning via Clare and Cromarty for a total of nearly 300km. One of the reasons I accepted the invitation so enthusiastically was that I had never been over the ranges from Ravenswood to Clare and Continue reading “Birding from Mingela to Clare”

Townsville’s dry season begins

Pied Imperial-pigeon in treetop
Pied Imperial-pigeon in the topmost branches of our poplar gum

Easter seems to me to mark the usual turning point between Wet and Dry seasons here in Townsville, and it has certainly seemed so this year. Cyclone Debbie was looming as we left for Bali on March 25 but by the time we returned, a week ago, humidity had dropped right off, nights were noticeably cooler, the frangipanis were losing their leaves and the prospect of more real rain seemed to have evaporated.

I would love to be proven wrong on this, because Continue reading “Townsville’s dry season begins”

Blue-faced Honeyeater family

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater family portrait

Young Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Entomyzon cyanotis, aren’t “blue-faced” at all: their cheeks change from brownish to yellow-green, and then to blue at maturity.

These three were part of a group of four or five moving around my garden in mid March – very likely a family group, in which case we’re looking at children perched above a parent.

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Immature Blue-faced Honeyeater

A visit to Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is very beautiful and is only twenty minutes by ferry from Townsville but we only get over there a couple of times per year. Here are some souvenirs, with minimal commentary, from our visit last weekend.

Landscapes

magnetic island walks
The beginning of the walking track up to Hawkings Point

Two walking tracks lead up from the Eastern end of Picnic St, Picnic Bay – one towards the Recreation Camp and the other, new us, to a lookout on top of Hawkings Point.

That’s the one we took, early on Saturday morning. It’s a short walk – less than an hour going up, even with stops for photography – and is rewarded by expansive views Continue reading “A visit to Magnetic Island”

Blue-winged Kookaburra, nesting at the Palmetum

Just a quick post today to keep the blog ticking over while I’m busy with other things: three photos taken on a visit to the Palmetum in mid November where we were lucky enough to see a male Blue-winged Kookaburra, Dacelo leachii, identify his nesting hollow for us by visiting it.

Blue-winged Kookaburra
Male Blue-winged Kookaburra in the rainforest area of the Palmetum
Blue-winged Kookaburra nest
That looks like a nesting hollow
Blue-winged Kookaburra nest
Yes, that’s what it is!

There’s more information about the species and its Laughing cousin on this page.