Monday, 20 November 2017

Pig-nosed turtle (Cairns Aquarium)

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Palmer Sea Reef, Port Douglas

The joined 15th (foreground) and 10th greens at Sea Reef
The view from behind the second green gives some idea of how large the greens are

The beautifully set fifth green

From the sixth tee 

The approach shot to the seventh with some lovely bunkers and landscaping

The tenth hole from the tee

The eleventh green

The 15th

The sixteenth green offers an obvious pin position for the sadistic greenkeeper

The final hole has bunkers galore

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Leaf-tailed gecko (Cairns Aquarium)

It had been hard to get a good shot of the leaf-tailed gecko at Cairns Aquarium as it seems to prefer sitting on the side of the branches opposite the glass, and it was nice to finally catch it out front. I wonder how many of these I've failed to see in the wild.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

A lovely day in Cairns, roaming crocodiles, and a strange offer

The view from my newspaper reading spot, with Taylor Point in the center
We've apparently had a recent crocodile sighting at Trinity Beach, and extra warning signs have been placed along the beach. They've reopened the stinger net for swimming and there were a few people swimming. After wandering down to have breakfast at Fratelli's, I lazed at the end of the beach to finish reading the Saturday Paper.

I then headed over the headland to Taylor Point. On the path I passed two youngish boys, perhaps 13-14. "Would you like some of my salmon?", I thought I heard one say to me. "Salmon?", I queried. "Yes, salmon", he said holding what looked like a plastic cup of mousse. I declined, and remain somewhat baffled. I kept walking.

Taylor Point with Palm Cove, Double Island and Haycock Island in the distance.
Crocodiles don't spend much time out at the beaches. They pop out briefly when travelling between the rivers and creeks, usually at night. One such creek divides Trinity Beach from Kewarra Beach, and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has decided that a crocodile in the area (not necessarily the same one spotted at Trinity Beach) is large enough to warrant removal. A baited crocodile trap has been installed near the mouth of the creek.

The small creek near Taylor Point with a baited crocodile trap
We've had crocodiles in the news a bit recently, with the death of an elderly woman in Port Douglas early last month, another croc stalking people in Port Douglas, and a couple of crocs spotted off the northern end of the Cairns Esplanade.

Australasian grebe

An Australasian grebe takes offence at my presence and heads elsewhere at Tyto Wetlands

Saturday, 4 November 2017

The views from Mt Stuart

On my way out to Charters Towers I drove past the Mt Stuart turn last time I went to Townsville. This time the 9km road up to the peak was on my list of things to do. It was a bit hazy, particularly out over the city, but the views were rather nice. It's a very different landscape to Cairns's rainforest surrounds.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Reef HQ

Cleaner wrasses get to work on a malabar grouper
 A trip to Townsville isn't complete for me without dropping in to the Reef HQ aquarium, and last weekend I made a trip down. Reef HQ features far more in the way of live coral than the Cairns Aquarium, and the bright sunlit main tanks are gorgeous. My camera battery ran out shortly after I arrived, but I got a couple of shots out of it before trying my phone's camera.

The Yongala wreck recreation is on one side of an underwater tunnel. The live reef tank is on the other

Live reef

Bigfin reef squid (camera phone)

Taken with my phone, here's a photo of an alpheid shrimp working on its burrow while its goby stands watch
Here's the same goby, but the photo is from my camera rather than the phone

A small reef tank

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Neolamprologus caudopunctatus

A new addition to my aquariums, the shell-dwelling Neolamprologus caudopunctatus from Lake Tanganyika

Tyto wetlands - the manicured and the natural

From the Bruce Highway the Tyto Wetlands presents as fairly well manicured garden around a couple of ponds with a boardwalk and an interpretative centre. At the end of the boardwalk was a restaurant which has a deck overlooking one of the ponds. It was closed when I was there, but would be a nice setting for dinner.

The real Tyto Wetlands lie further back from the highway. Some grassy paths are maintained but most of the area now grows wild. It's very flat and very wet, as one would expect for wetlands. For most of my walk a step off the path would have resulted in wet feet.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Crimson finches

I dropped by the Tyto Wetlands in Ingham for the first time on Friday after driving by many times and thinking about stopping. It wasn't the best time of day - I think early morning or late afternoon might be better than lunchtime. It was a pleasant stroll around the grassy paths around the swamps and ponds, though I didn't have much luck with photos.

Scarlet finches were numerous but rather blurry in most photos. A red-backed wren made a brief appearance, but didn't allow a photo despite me playing recordings of its calls from my tablet. The egrets took flight as I tried to get close enough for a photo. Various waterbirds heard me coming and disappeared into the reeds or flew away. Maybe next time I'll allow more time and stake out a spot for a while.

A couple more finch photos are below the fold.