I took my camera down to the wetland boardwalk behind Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre and the (new) Landcare Nursery a week ago. It was a very hot day but I found a good shady spot with views to nearby swamp and perches, and waited for the birds to forget I was there.
The wide images at the top of each page on the site are called ‘header’ images in WordPress, the software package used here. Each time a user visits a new page, the software chooses one at random from a pre-formatted collection. New images are added from time to time but many of them are not identified, so here’s the current collection with the captions they deserve.
The extreme ‘letterbox’ format required poses some challenges, of course, so the famously flat landscapes of Western Queensland may be over-represented, but the Town Common, one of our favourite local places, lends itself very well to the format too.
The Town Common Conservation Park, to give it its full name, is a valuable wetland year-round but changes with the seasons. Now, in mid-September, it is drying out. Grasses and small shrubs are dying off except where they are in or near the remaining open water. Water birds are returning to the Common as other resources dry out even more, but insects and other birds are not so numerous.
I walked the Many Peaks trail again last weekend, almost exactly a year after my previous visit. This time, walking with friends, I didn’t stop so often to look at little wildlife, but we still took about five hours for the twelve kilometres or so. That seems, in fact, to be a reasonable minimum time for the route for anyone who wants to enjoy it.
The Wet is well over but there is still open water. The water birds, however, still have other options and are not in great numbers on the Common. That said, we did see Drongo, Magpie Geese, Egret, Peaceful Dove, Honeyeaters, Rainbow Bee-eater, hawk (probably Black Kite), Plovers, Scrub Turkey and other species.
The Tawny Coster is now so well established that it was one of the commonest butterflies but there were plenty of the usual Swamp Tigers, Blue Tigers, Crows (both Common and Brown) and others.
My very first impression of Townsville’s landscape, thirty years ago, was of dead-flat land interrupted by peculiarly isolated hills and ranges, and it has only been reinforced over the years by views and events.
The views? Getting to know the topography from the top of Castle Hill, Mt Stuart or (most recently) Mt Marlow on the Town Common reveals a coastal landscape of mangrove flats rising (minimally) to the suburbs which wrap around the bases of the hills, with Ross River, Ross Creek and the Bohle River winding lazily through them.