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

Wallaman Falls after rain

Wallaman Falls flowing well after rain

My third visit to Wallaman Falls was a day trip with Wildlife Queensland. A full report will appear on their blog in due course but I thought I might quickly share this photo and mention my previous posts – from almost exactly one year ago and two years ago, as it happens. (This is a good time of year for camping and bushwalking, since everything is still quite green after the Wet but the weather is reliably fine and not too hot.)

I have added the spider and insect photos from this trip to my existing Wallaman Falls album on flickr.

A Balinese flying fox

I interrupted my intended series of posts about Bali (snakefruitbutterflies) to keep up to date with local subjects but I can now return there in spirit if not, unfortunately, in body.

Here’s the only local flying fox we saw close up, resting beneath its perch outside a restaurant in the hills between Mt Agung and Ubud.

The lovely golden fur was enough to alert me to the fact that it wasn’t a species we have here in Australia but discovering its identity wasn’t easy: Wikipedia tells us that there are at least 60 species worldwide but few online resources go into any more detail.

In the end I consulted yet another of my Friendly Local Experts Continue reading “A Balinese flying fox”

Balinese butterflies

paddies
Rice paddies near Ubud

We were based in a guesthouse just north of Ubud for the whole of our two weeks in Bali. It was five minutes’ walk from the nearest road, along a narrow footpath (and scooterpath) through the rice paddies. We could, and often did, walk all the the way into the city on the same track. The forty-minute stroll ran beside the edge of a steep narrow valley much of the way, passing occasional houses, craft stalls, shops and ‘warungs’ – local eating places ranging from very basic food stalls to simple but delightful restaurants.

These walks gave me ample opportunities to indulge in nature photography Continue reading “Balinese butterflies”

Cleveland Bay from Castle Hill

Cleveland Bay from Castle Hill
View from Castle Hill to Cape Cleveland

Castle Hill is a great vantage point for looking out over Townsville and its environs and I visited it recently to fill in gaps in my knowledge of Cleveland Bay. The top photo (click on it for a larger image, as usual) is a wide-angle view of the Southern half of Cleveland Bay, Continue reading “Cleveland Bay from Castle Hill”

A bat in the house

I called my previous post “An unexpected visitor” but reflected soon afterwards that I should have saved the title for an even more unexpected visitor, the bat which flew in through the open back door on the evening of the same day.

microbat in flight
From above

It flitted round and round the house for ten or fifteen minutes, without ever settling Continue reading “A bat in the house”

Blencoe Falls camping ground

I wrote recently about Blencoe Falls and the road to them but didn’t say much about the camping ground. The National Parks page provides all the basic information but didn’t make clear (to me, at least) that what is offered is basically free camping along a two-kilometre stretch of creek: when you drive into the nominal “camping ground”, all you find is an information shelter (under the dead tree) and a toilet in dry scrubland.

Blencoe Falls
Blencoe Falls camping ground

All the campers were settled down beside the creek, in shady sites well off the road. The creek itself was a tranquil string of broad pools linked by rocky shallows but the sandy, rock-strewn banks confirm the implication of the flood marker fifty metres back from the bridge, i.e. that it must sometimes be a raging torrent.

blencoe falls
Blencoe Creek from the bridge
blencoe falls
The flood height post, well back from the creek

I found plenty of wildlife beside the creek – lots of birds, including a Sea Eagle (they are not restricted to the coast), a cormorant, parrots and honeyeaters, and a good number of insects (now here, on my flickr photostream).

The most numerous animals, however, were flying foxes – there was a colony of hundreds or a few thousand just downstream from the bridge. They are Little Reds, a nomadic species, so they may not stay long, but they certainly made themselves known aurally and olfactorily during my visit and were an impressive sight as they swirled into the sky to go foraging at dusk.