Walking in the Paluma rainforest

Paluma Dam track
The walking track

A recent trip to Paluma Dam with the good people of Wildlife Queensland was enjoyable for the wildlife and just being in the rainforest but was far from strenuous. We walked across the dam wall and along a vehicular track to the west of the dam, took a side track to down to the dam shore, and returned the same way before lunching at the camping ground. Birds were constantly audible but frustratingly invisible, so most of my photos are of invertebrates.

Paluma Dam forest
Looking into the forest below the dam wall
Paluma Dam
Looking across Paluma Dam

These two butterfly species were the commonest on the day but are unfamiliar around Townsville. Braby notes that both are ‘common but local’ in their territory, the Wet Tropics. The upper wing surfaces of the Grey Albatross are white and pale grey with darker wingtips, so both shone out brightly in the shadows of the forest.

‘Puddling’ is the proper term for butterflies’ habit of landing on wet sand (as here) or beside shallow puddles (as here) to suck up some water.

These two spiders were both found in the camping ground, one on our picnic table and the other on the brim of a hat. The brown one is certainly Tetragnatha sp. but even the new Field Guide to Spiders of Australia calls it ‘unidentified’.  The green one? I suspect it may be a Mesida, in which case it belongs to the same family, but I’m not at all sure.

A miscellany.

Robber flies are aerial predators like dragonflies – note the huge flight muscles – but are ‘real’ flies unlike dragonflies or butterflies.

The hopper, a sap-sucker (Hemiptera) only about 5mm long, looks like it’s standing on something coarse and wiry but that’s only because of the magnification. In real life, the leaves are beautifully velvety.

leaves at Paluma Dam
Soft new foliage – gorgeous!

Alligator Creek to Cockatoo Creek

Alligator Creek picnic and camping area is a deservedly popular spot within Bowling Green Bay National Park.

In spite of the park’s name, the camping ground is well inland, on the upper reaches of the creek among the rugged hills of the Mount Elliot range. We have visited it a number of times over the years (this  link will take you to a 2012 post about it) but hadn’t ventured far beyond the immediate vicinity until exploring the track to Cockatoo Creek yesterday.

The track parallels the southern bank of the creek up into the hills. The first stop is the Lookout, Continue reading “Alligator Creek to Cockatoo Creek”

Trees in blossom

paperbark flower spike
One single flower spike – of hundreds, or thousands

Paperbark trees all around town are now blossoming enthusiastically, filling the air with their overpoweringly sweet scent. They are a few weeks  earlier this year than in some previous years (August is more typical, according to my older posts here on Green Path) and I just hope that they aren’t a sign that our winter is over and our temperatures are about to start rising again. Continue reading “Trees in blossom”

A winter morning at the Palmetum

Mount Stuart under a blanket of cloud
Mount Stuart under a blanket of cloud

Early mornings have been so beautiful recently that staying indoors unnecessarily is … criminal? silly? wasteful? something of that kind, anyway … and a week ago I took advantage of a couple of free hours to visit the Palmetum.

My top photo shows Mount Stuart as it has often appeared recently, with a delicate blanket of cloud which catches the sun beautifully until dissipating mid-morning. Continue reading “A winter morning at the Palmetum”

Magnetic Island profile

This blog is usually updated about twice per week so the gap since my last post is longer than I would have liked. I can’t even excuse myself by saying I have been away from home, but I do apologise.

We have been to Magnetic Island twice in the last fortnight and passed it on the way to Cape Cleveland two days ago. There should be at least one more post arising from these trips but meanwhile, here’s a photo from the last of them: the island as seen from the South-east, an unusual vantage point which puts Picnic Bay at the far left and Radical and Balding Bays at the right.

magnetic island
Magnetic Island from the South-east

The photo was taken from the ferry on the way to Cape Cleveland – another Wildlife Queensland excursion – on a blustery day of low cloud and occasional drizzle; the tops of Mount Cook (497m) which dominates the centre of the island, Mount Stuart (584m) and the spine of Cape Cleveland were all lost in cloud at various times. The overcast skies were such a contrast to our usual winter sunshine that the monochrome treatment seemed appropriate.

P.S. The organisers’ report on the trip is now on here on the WQ branch blog, with photos.