Hello from the mouth of the mighty Johnstone River,
King tide today of 3.2metres and higher for the next few days is a clear remainder of what climate change could bring to coastal towns and cities.
The end of the Coquette Point road goes underwater on a 3.2metre tide. A 3.4metre tide brings the river all the way to the nursery ‘out’ gate.
Jelly fish have been on the move this week, but not in the numbers I have seen in the past, and when the tide went out some lay stranded in the mangroves.
_by ANNE WILKINSON.
_This is an amazing, and for the natural world if not for we humans, an energy-rich time of year.
Hot and uncomfortably humid it may be, but the plants just love it. Trees are bursting into life, almost as if the bits remaining to them have been pushed into action by the cyclone.
Insects, many large and quite beautiful, like the varied butterflies and dragonflies so prevalent at this time, bumble around, sometimes colliding with one as one walks. What a privilege it is to have a Ulysses butterfly land on one’s shoulder, or a large green dragonfly perch on one’s hand. And in many places it is worth taking a second look, because all is often not what it seems.
On a young currajong tree in the garden, for example, what I thought was new growth was not one, but two, giant stick insects. They merged so well with the colour of the real twigs that to look away was to lose them. By next morning they were gone.
This week Ian Penberthy has gone to that great ‘recycle bin’ in the sky. Ian died in his beloved Innisfail of a heart attack on Wednesday. Ian’s life was a celebration of the natural world. He is best known for his Camel Tours, particularly with Sinai Guides, however his work with MATE, Man and the Environment, best explains Ian’s philosophy in life. Thank you Ian you were an example to all of us on how we can live a simple life and be content.
Cloud cover this afternoon brought a welcome relief to the oppressive heat. January without rain is certainly unusual and even more remarkable is the twinkling, turquoise Johnstone River and clear blue sky. The river at the mouth is thick with bait-fish and I found this small sting-ray swimming in the shallows off my beach, easy to see in the glass-clear water.
_by ANNE WILKINSON
Welcome to a new year which we hope will be kinder to everyone – humankind and wildlife – than 2011.
And, of course, nothing has stopped in the wild world over the holiday. In fact, it has been quite a busy time.
The big female cassowary, not seen for some weeks, has once again taken to wandering in the wildwatch garden. She examines everything so carefully, walking deliberately as if she is considering every step. It is good to see she is in wonderful condition, her black feathers shiny and her red and blue neck and wattles bright. Her eyes are bright too. If ever a creature had “presence” it is this cassowary.
Last Sunday we had a look at the Little Terns nesting at Tully Heads. Very Happy to see the council's road block, beach-nesting sign (some of those words were So familiar....) and big rocks, so people cannot drive out to the end of the spit anymore (thanks CCRC). Mind you, one cast-netting fisherman had his unleashed small dog with him. I guess the dog couldn't read either.
Hello and Happy New Year from Coquette Point,
This week I closed my Garden Centre in Innisfail and am now operating solely from the nursery at Coquette Point. I followed the old adage ‘If you are not enjoying what you are doing then stop’.
It is interesting times for the Coquette Point cassowaries. On Tuesday it was a thrill to see ‘Dad 4’ again, first time since August 8. Unfortunately he did not have chicks with him.
Photo Jeff Larson
On New Year’s Eve, a Giant Petaltail (Petalura ingentissima) visited our garden. She was the second we had ever seen – the first arrived in 2009 and hid behind a Livistona trunk so Jeff could only get partial photos of him.
He was a “he” as he had the elegant oval appendages (or petals) at the tip of his tail. The petaltail that arrived on New Year’s Eve was a female dragonfly, without petals.
Scuffling noises on the roof, like there was something in the ceiling woke me up early in the morning a couple of days ago. It was accompanied by a loud ruckus of butcher bird calls and on closer inspection a family of black butcher birds had killed a reasonable sized green tree snake which was now laying motionless on the ground surrounded by the family, all 'talking' about it.
The snake must have been in the large sapling that has had an enormous growth spurt as part of the rejuvenation of the rainforest and is beginning to bend over the house under the weight of the vines proliferating since cyclone Yasi.