Mount Stuart after rain

Mount Stuart
The top of Mount Stuart from the inland (South-Eastern) side. The last of the cloud cleared as I arrived.

Wildlife Queensland intended to visit Mount Stuart on March 24 but their date clashed with a biking event on the mountain so they went to Alligator Creek instead. I, on the other hand, went to their first-choice location a week later. My reasoning was that all the rain we’ve had recently would have made it exceptionally green, and so it was.

I said in August 2016 that, “The summit is a difficult environment for plants and animals alike: very exposed, very dry, and with only a thin covering of soil where there is any at all. Vegetation is ‘open woodland’ with a decent covering of tussocky grass, but most of the trees are tiny. Ants seem to be the most abundant invertebrates but there were other insects to be found as well as the spiders which prey on them.”

New plant growth always feeds more vegetarian insects, which in turn feed more carnivorous insects, spiders and birds, so conditions were good for all of them on this visit. Paperbarks and other trees were in bud rather than in full flower, so the flower spikes of the Grass-trees (Xanthorrhea) were the main nectar source, attracting European honey bees, several species of fly, Tiger moths, beetles and ants – and one Rainbow Lorikeet, too intent on lunch to fly off.

Rainbow Lorikeet on grasstree flower
Rainbow Lorikeet feeding on the flower spike of a Grass-tree, with bees lower down.

Butterflies included Blue Tiger, Glasswing, Common Crow, Grass Yellow, Ringlets and Blues. Nearly all the spiders I saw were orb-weavers, Neoscona  and Eriophora species, but there were some Jumping spiders and one silver orb-weaver, Leucauge sp. Ants were everywhere, and there were quite a few wasps and beetles.

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