A collection of photos from our visit to Alligator Creek on Easter Saturday, as promised a few days ago in my post about the goanna.
We parked at the picnic ground, followed the Alligator Creek Falls walking track as far as Cockatoo Creek, two kilometres upstream, and returned for a late lunch before a heavy shower of rain made us decide to return home rather than walk down for a swim.
The creek and park are at their best now. Recent rain has flushed out the creek and it is still running well without being too scary for swimmers, while the vegetation is green and lush. Butterflies were everywhere, skinks and bigger lizards were sunning themselves on the track and on the rocks beside the water, and flowers were abundant.
This red ‘hibiscus’ was identified as a Native Rosella (Abelmoschus moschatus ssp. tuberosus) by WQ folk when we saw it on a walk at Oak Valley; there’s a full description here on ANPSA. A taller white and pink hibiscus which was also quite common (old photo) was probablyHibiscus forsteri.
We visited Alligator Creek today. It was very beautiful after recent rain and more photos will appear here soon but the goanna we saw in the picnic ground gave us so much pleasure that it should have a post to itself.
It was a Lace Monitor, Varanus varius, and must have been nearly fully grown because it was about 1.7 m long and they only grow to 2.1 m, according to Wilson’s Field Guide to Reptiles of Queensland.
It approached us on the ground in their typical straddle-legged waddle, its tongue flickering ahead constantly, ignoring us completely and ignoring the scrub turkey nipping at the tip of its tail. (Why would the turkey do that? Perhaps it thought the tail tip was a prey-sized lizard. Perhaps it was driving the goanna out of its own territory.)
Goannas are “arboreal, foraging widely on the ground but taking to trees if disturbed,” according to Wilson, and I’m sure this one has learned that humans aren’t usually a threat and often leave food behind after their picnics. Perhaps our laughter surprised it, though, because it rushed up a skinny tree and hung there for while, slipping occasionally on the smooth bark, before relaxing enough to turn around and descend head first to the fence rail and then back to earth to continue on its way across the picnic ground.
Green Path doesn’t spend much time on lizards other than geckos or skinks, mainly because its author doesn’t see them terribly often, so a quick overview may be in order.
The lizard families we have in Queensland are Geckos, Skinks, Dragons, Monitors (Goannas) and Flap-footed Lizards (Legless Lizards). (Wikipedia has a beautiful taxonomic chart that places them in relationship to each other and all the other families worldwide, if you’re interested.)
Almost every visit to Hervey’s Range rewards me with material for Green Path but we do miss a lot of its wildlife because we’re merely visitors, not residents. This beautiful creature, stretched across the track yesterday, is a case in point.
The walking track through the hills between Nelly Bay and Arcadia, with its extensions to the Sphinx Lookout and the Forts walk carpark, is longer than most and I hadn’t found an opportunity to explore it until last weekend. The weather was gorgeous and the landscape was at its best.