A visit to Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is very beautiful and is only twenty minutes by ferry from Townsville but we only get over there a couple of times per year. Here are some souvenirs, with minimal commentary, from our visit last weekend.


magnetic island walks
The beginning of the walking track up to Hawkings Point

Two walking tracks lead up from the Eastern end of Picnic St, Picnic Bay – one towards the Recreation Camp and the other, new us, to a lookout on top of Hawkings Point.

That’s the one we took, early on Saturday morning. It’s a short walk – less than an hour going up, even with stops for photography – and is rewarded by expansive views Continue reading “A visit to Magnetic Island”

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos

The highlight of Thursday’s stop-over was actually nothing to do with insects but was discovering a pair of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii, aka C. magnificus) feeding on the fruit of a Sea Almond tree (Terminalia catappa) in the park. The male, distinguished by bright red patches under the tail and pure black feathers around the head, immediately flew up to a nearby power-line but his mate, hungrier or braver, stayed in the tree and from only a couple of metres away I watched her pick a green fruit and munch through the whole thing.

black bird on powerline
Male Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
close-up of bird head with fruit
Female Red-tailed Black Cockatoo with sea almond
black bird in tree
Finishing off the fruit

There’s another photo of a female here, just to prove females do have crests.

There are six species of large black cockatoos in Australia, according to Slater’s Guide, but this is the only one found in North Queensland except for the Palm Cockatoo which is restricted to northern Cape York and, as this photo on Birdway shows, is distinctive enough not to be mistaken for our local species.

Choosing at leisure

Black Cockatoo portrait
Female Black Cockatoo

Like many people, I use a rolling display of photos as a screen saver. In my case, they are a random sequence, usually drawn from unsorted recent shots. One consequence is that I might slowly grow to like a particular photo, and this one from Billabong two months ago is one of those.

I can also use it to familiarise myself with a big group of photos and at the moment I’m doing that with shots from Strand Ephemera, a public art show along our beachfront. It’s a great show this year and if you’re in Townsville you should get down to see it – soon, since it finishes on Monday.