The Palmetum is one ‘campus’ of Townsville’s botanic gardens. Its special focus is palm trees, as its name implies, but palms range across so many habitats, from rainforest to desert, that the gardens are very varied. I found lots of wildlife to photograph on a Saturday afternoon stroll, even well into the Dry season.
There were plenty of birds – Rainbow Lorikeets, Ibis, Black Duck and a few other familiar species, plus one which I had to look up. My first thought that it was a honeyeater, since it was about the size of our Blue-faced Honeyeaters and had a similar patch of bare skin on its face, but it turned out to be a Little Friarbird. I hadn’t been far wrong, however, since friarbirds are members of the same family (Meliphagidae) as honeyeaters.
But insects claimed most of my attention, although numbers were down in the park just as they are at home. I found a peculiarly-equipped bug, several species of orb-weaving spiders, damselflies around the lagoon and in the rainforest, a few dragonflies and a few butterflies.
These butterflies are seen year-round but their colours, like those of other leaf-mimics, depend on the season. Melanitis leda, the Evening Brown, is my favourite example of how they change – look at this collection.