Dry Town Common – with birds

Townsville’s Town Common Conservation Park is a world-famous (amongst birders, at least) wetland and bird refuge but it is not at its best now, six dry months after the second of two consecutive failed Wet seasons. My first three photos were all taken from the lookout above Tegoora Rock a week ago, looking towards the city, then turning right to look along the inland face of the Many Peaks Range, then (for completeness and variety) right again to look into the scrub on the ridge behind me.

town common dry season
View from the Tegoora Rock lookout towards the city – Castle Hill is just to the left of the picture

Continue reading “Dry Town Common – with birds”

One morning on Cape Pallarenda, with birds

A few days ago I left home just before dawn to visit Pallarenda – specifically the Old Quarantine Station, Cape Pallarenda and Shelly Cove.  Part of my motivation was simply to be outdoors, since the weather at this time of year is too beautiful to waste, but the main reason was to see the wildlife. I didn’t have to wait long: a couple of crows came to check on me when I sat on the beach to have breakfast. I walked down to the water’s edge afterwards and turned round to see Continue reading “One morning on Cape Pallarenda, with birds”

Rowes Bay, Town Common and the Palm Islands from Castle Hill

Rowes Bay
Rowes Bay – the view from Castle Hill through the gap between Cape Pallarenda and the West Point of Magnetic Island

When I visited Castle Hill for photos of the Cleveland Bay hinterland (previous post) I naturally walked around the other peak for views to the North and North-west. Continue reading “Rowes Bay, Town Common and the Palm Islands from Castle Hill”

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”