Many Peaks Trail – insects and plants

yellow flowering tree
Kapok flowering above Tegoora Rock

As promised, I’m posting photos of wildlife (and a few plants) seen on my recent Town Common walk.

The Kapok tree, Cochlospermum gillivraei, is one of many tropical trees which loses its leaves in the dry season and bursts into flower before the foliage returns.

Our local species is one of four kapoks which occur in northern Australia. It is unrelated to the kapoks of Central America and Africa but, like them, has big seed pods filled with cotton-like fibres.

We have found that both the (native) Batwing Coral Tree and the (exotic but well and truly naturalised) Poinciana flower best when they receive least water though winter, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kapok is the same.

red cucumber
Native Bryony, aka Striped Cucumber

This bright red fruit caught my eye on the edge of the rainforest a little further along the trail. It’s a Native Bryony, Striped Cucumber or Marble Vine, depending on who you ask, but a Diplocyclos palmatus whichever common name you use.

It is  native to Australia but Continue reading “Many Peaks Trail – insects and plants”

Walking the Many Peaks Trail

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was hoping to walk the full length of the Many Peaks Trail in the Town Common Conservation Park (map – pdf) and on Thursday I finally did it. I had ideal weather for it, mostly sunny but with enough cloud and breeze to keep temperatures very comfortable.

I left the Pallarenda carpark at about 8.30, went up the hill just before Tegoora Rock, then along (and slowly but steadily up) the trail to reach the summit of Mount Marlow (213 metres) for an early lunch, continuing down to the old Bald Rock carpark and returning via the Lagoon Trail to be back at Pallarenda by mid-afternoon. This timing and direction of travel worked well, since Continue reading “Walking the Many Peaks Trail”

Yellow Honeyeater in winter

yellow honeyeater
White-gaped (lower left) and Yellow Honeyeaters in poinciana foliage

I’m still occasionally seeing new species of birds in our garden, even with 50 already noted in my big list. This Yellow Honeyeater was one of many birds (Cuckoo-shrike, Drongo, Leaden Flycatcher and Peaceful Doves as well as Blue-faced, White-gaped and Brown honeyeaters) I saw yesterday. It’s not uncommon around the city’s parks so I wasn’t too surprised to see one here but still, this is another ‘first’ and they’re always pleasing.

I didn’t manage any particularly good photos but chose to post this one anyway, because it shows the Yellow in relation to the White-gaped, i.e. just a bit smaller. It is still significantly bigger than the Brown.

Incidentally, Winter has lost its scare quotes since my previous post. We’ve been down to 11C overnight and daytimes tops are in the low 20s rather than high 20s. Humidity has dropped, too.

Insects in ‘winter’

Our ‘winter’ (the scare quotes are due to the fact that we’re still hitting 28 – 30C most days and about 20C overnight) is a relatively quiet time for insect life in our garden. We’re still seeing the large butterflies – Cairns Birdwing, Ulysses, Crow and Eggfly – fairly regularly but there aren’t as many as there were a few months ago. The same is true for the less conspicuous insects, the wasps, flies, mosquitoes (no loss!), sap-sucking bugs, ants and so on, but there’s usually something of interest to photograph on an amble around the garden. Here is a sampling from the last three weeks. As usual, click on any image for a larger version Continue reading “Insects in ‘winter’”