110 years of Australian temperatures

I’m a sucker for a good graphic and here’s one of the best.

What I’ve posted here is a screenshot of the BoM’s page, but clicking on it will take you straight to the original page where each of the individual maps is slightly larger and is linked to a full-page version. There’s also a link to a poster-size pdf if you have a place for it; a classroom wall would be an excellent spot.

Australian temperatures chart
110 years of Australian temperatures

Green Path has more climate change resources in a dedicated page, and the BoM has lots more on climate change, too – start here if you like solid data displayed in clever graphics.



Birds along Ross River

The birds along the Ross River bike paths are a constant pleasure. Every time I ride there, there is something worth stopping to watch and (if possible) photograph. Here are three such highlights, all from the short stretch of river between the Nathan St and Bowen Rd bridges and all within the last month.


We often see one or two pelicans along this stretch of the river but larger groups are not so common. This group on the Annandale bank, opposite the end of Water St, had four or five members when I first saw it, late one afternoon, but more came in as I watched. I caught some of them doing weird things with their enormous beaks.

Pelicans on Ross River
Coming in to land
Pelicans on Ross River
Just landed
Pelicans on Ross River
One way to make sure it’s empty?
Pelicans on Ross River
Pelicans on Ross River
The whole group at dusk


A dead tree on the Annandale bank just above Aplin’s Weir was an ideal perch for a flock of Little Black Cormorants (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris). When I first saw them, there were two egrets on the lower branch but one of them soon left and the other moved up to join the cormorants.

Little Black Cormorants and an Egret
Little Black Cormorants and an Egret

Rainbow Bee-eaters

Rainbow Bee-eaters (Merops ornatus) roost communally overnight except during the nesting season. Riding down the Annandale side of the river between Aplin’s Weir and the Bowen Rd bridge late one afternoon I saw large numbers of them in the air. They are one of my favourite birds so I stopped to watch.

They were coming in to roost in a dense tree (a fig, I think, but I was more interested in the birds) right beside the bike path, often settling briefly in  straggly smaller trees nearby while (apparently) making up their minds that it was indeed bedtime.

Rainbow-bee-eaters in flight
Circling in
Rainbow-bee-eaters perched
Resting for a minute
Rainbow-bee-eaters roosting

I saw larger groups of them shoulder to shoulder when I caught them roosting beside Ross Creek in South Townsville a few years ago; you may like to visit that post for more photos and information.

No Laughing Matter

Guest post by Liz Downes

Early on Saturday morning my daughter heard a lot of scuffling going on in the leaves near the back fence and, through her bedroom window, saw two kookaburras locked together in some kind of struggle. After closer examination through binoculars she identified one as a Laughing Kooka and the other as a Blue-winged.  The latter, let’s call him Bluey, had more extensive and more vivid blue plumage and also a pale, “scary-looking” eye compared with the Laughing one’s deceptively gentle-looking brown eye.

What she discovered was that Laughing Boy had its beak jammed down the throat of Bluey, which in turn had its own beak firmly clamped down on the intruder, and they were dancing about like that apparently unable, or unwilling, to unlock themselves.

Continue reading “No Laughing Matter”

Golden Orb Weaver – a small life well lived

We were pleased to see a big orb web strung between palms, bananas and the cubby-house at the back of our garden towards the end of May.

Its architect, constructor and homeowner was resting, head down, in the middle of it. I introduced our three species of Golden Orb Weaver here so I don’t need to say much about her identity today except that she was an Australian Golden Orb Weaver, Nephila edulis.

Continue reading “Golden Orb Weaver – a small life well lived”