Friday, 25 September 2015

What I did in the holidays: part 2

So I headed south...

Click to embiggen

Through Cardwell, which was battered by Tropical Cyclone Yasi in 2011. 

One of the best beach views in Queensland

Foreshore replanted with Calophyllum and Crinum

Past the Hinchinbrook Channel

Full of crocodiles

I went into Bowen to take photographs of the murals, which document some of the recent history of the place. (Next time, I'll photograph all of them.)

Goat cart

Primary industry

Close up of above

WWII Catalinas

To Gladstone, where the refinery looks disturbingly like something out of Lord of the Rings. You might remember the National Australia Bank from Return of the King.

And into New South Wales.

The Warrumbungles are coming back from the 2013 bushfires.

Down to Varuna, the Writers' House, at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

Where I spent a week with four terrific writers and almost froze to death when I went to take some photos of the scenery.

It's an okay view

Yes, I'm being arty

Then I returned to the Atherton Tablelands, where I am unlikely to freeze to death while taking photos.

Although I might get lost in the fog

And now I have a rather long list of things to do.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

What I did in the holidays: part 1

Forgive me, friends, for I have slacked off. It's been seven months since I last wrote a post.

But I haven't been entirely idle. First I bought a new car and went to Kingfisher Park at Julatten. While there, I popped out to Abattoir Swamp, as one does. I hadn't been there for seven years.


Truth in labelling: Yellow honeyeater

Then I wandered up to Lakeland, west of Cooktown, via Maryfarms. I hadn't been to Lakeland since the road was sealed.

Maryfarms: the rainbow bee-eaters love this place

Looking east to the Kuranda Range


The road to the Cape

After which, I drove to Chillagoe.



Chillagoe smelters

To the Metal Hills

And then I was about to head south on a big road trip — a road trip I had been looking forward to for a freakin' year — the windscreen on my 12 day old car was badly damaged by a loose stone and I had to go to Cairns to get it replaced.

I stayed overnight.

And then — finally — I got on the highway and headed south on my road trip. More of that tomoz.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Jottings from the Tropics: 18 February 2015

I thought I heard red-tailed black cockatoos today, but by the time I'd put on my outdoor shoes and headed into the garden the birds had gone. RTBC's have a distinctive call. It's like a sulphur-crested cockatoo playing a bugle. Or what I imagine that would sound like, if only they could manage the embouchure. 

— o O o 

We're between cyclones and it's stopped raining. When I say between cyclones, I mean it in the geographical, not temporal sense. As I write this, Severe Tropical Cyclone Lam is in the Gulf of Carpentaria, heading SW towards Groote Eylandt and Arnhem Land, and the low that will probably be Tropical Cyclone Marcia is in the Coral Sea, on its way to drop rain on the SE Queensland coast. And when I say it's stopped raining, I mean that it is still raining, but not as much as it was. I'm glad I've cleared that up.

— o O o 

I opened a new notebook yesterday and wrote down all the places I wanted to visit before I get too decrepit to travel. I hope someone invents a time machine soon.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Wet Season makes a splash

We've all been complaining about the dreadful heat and lack of rain, so when it started raining at the end of last week, we thought 'send 'er down, Huey'.

By Sunday morning, we were all a little less enthusiastic. So much rain had fallen* in the catchment of the North Johnstone River that the river broke its banks. It cut the Malanda Atherton Road at Malanda Falls and swamped houses and farmland in and around town.

I moved house in the last week of January. I said goodbye to Basil the brush turkey, the belligerent scrubwrens and gerygones, the mob of bush stone-curlews and the agile wallaby that had wandered into the garden one day and settled in, and I shifted to a place on the other side of town. On Sunday the creek, which forms one boundary of the old place, and the North Johnstone River, which runs along the back of the blocks on the other side, both flooded.

There are plenty of photos and videos of the floods, but my limited bandwidth and abysmally low 'broadband' speeds don't allow me to go looking for them. I'll nip into the library later this week and see if I can add some links then.

(We're expecting a bit more rain this weekend.)

* About 300 mm.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Jottings from the Tropics: 31 January 2015

It's election day here in Queensland. Normally, I'd be following it all on the internet, but since I'm now stuck with what the telcos laughingly call mobile 'broadband', my download speed is measured in bytes per second. Occasionally the speed soars into kilobytes/sec and even approaches dial up rates, but that rarely lasts long. I'd like to mention all this on the feedback form that the telco keeps nudging me to complete. Unfortunately, I can't get access to it because of the dire download rates and the form's size. Still, I'm not sure that they really want the sort of feedback I'd provide. 'Renationalize Telstra now' is beyond the scope of the help desk. And to send that sans swears is beyond the scope of this author.

In non-telecommunications news, I have moved most (but not all) of my stuff from the other house. I am taking the day off and will get back into packing, shifting and cleaning tomorrow. That will end, as will this ridiculously hot weather. But at the moment, both seem as if they'll go on forever. 

I hope your day is better than mine!

...And as I try to send this, I find that my mobile broadband won't even connect. But Telstra has sent me with this handy little SMS. With no link. Not that it'd do much good, because no connection. But if I did have a connection, I wouldn't be able to find out how to track usage because no link.

The good-to-go blue light on the USB flickers on just long enough for me to switch to the connect screen, but turns ha-ha-sucker-this-is-Telstra red before I can click the button.

Right. Let's see if this works. 

Friday, 30 January 2015

A Chequered Present

Chequered swallowtail (Papilio demoleus)

Chequered swallowtail
leaves the lush interior
for the arid coast


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

It's raining moths

The evening storms are most welcome, even though they are often accompanied by power outages. Monday's storm brought almost 60 mm of rain and a three hour blackout. The lack of electricity* is not a big problem. But it does create a small problem — the combination of unscreened windows + torches** = your own private cloud of insects.

This trio of moths were among my personal insect menagerie. They are all large, but not as large as the Hercules moth that flew into my head torch in the rainforest at Paluma. It might not have been a Hercules moth. It might have been a Hercules aeroplane.There's a remote chance I said something intemperate at the time, as one is inclined to do when a turboprop-powered saturnid smacks into one's head. These three moths were more polite and fluttered around a bit.

The usual caveat about moth IDs apply. I don't know my moths, so if any/all of these IDs are wrong, please let me know.

Speiredonia spectans (Noctuidae)

Spirama recessa (Noctuidae)

Donuca ?rubropicta (Noctuidae)

* Apart from the lightning

** Flashlights, not flaming brands or welding tools