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!

Ringlets on grassy hillsides

Brown Ringlet
Brown Ringlet at Paluma Dam

Ringlets (Hypocysta spp.) are smallish, brownish butterflies showing attractive flashes of orange in flight but camouflaged at rest unless they spread their wings to bask. Their wingspan is about 30mm, very much the same size as the common Grass-yellows (Eurema spp.) but noticeably smaller than Migrants, Crows and Tigers and larger than the Blues.

All six Australian species are found on the East coast and we have three of them in the Townsville region, the Orange, Northern and Brown Ringlets (H. adiante, H. irius and H. metirius) although the last of these is not common close to Townsville. In fact, we rarely see any of them except on the rocky grassy slopes of Castle Hill, Mt Stuart and the Many Peaks Range. Why not? Continue reading “Ringlets on grassy hillsides”

The invasion of the butterflies

Tawny Coster, Acraea terpsicore,
Tawny Coster (female) on Cape Pallarenda

The Tawny Coster, an Asian species, was first noticed in northern Australia five years ago and has been spreading southwards ever since. It has reached Townsville in the last few weeks.

I was alerted to the alien invasion by a friend in Bushland Beach who saw them a fortnight ago and asked me if I had seen any  Continue reading “The invasion of the butterflies”

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”