19 November, 2008

McIvor Crossing Excursion

Work took me to Cooktown last week so I took the chance to go birding with some friends to McIvor River. This area is north of Cooktown and we passed through an area where Joseph Banks made significant collections back in 1770.
We did not have time to spend retracing his steps or collections and besides I had done that 22 years ago. We did however stop for breakfast at Isabella Falls and I thought of the intrepid explorers dressed in breeches working their way up river from Cooktown to this beautiful spot. Now despoiled with litter,while we were there a beer bottle washed over the falls and broke in the hole below.
Syzygium angophoroides, Yarabah Satinash, was in fruit above the falls.
At McIvor River crossing the fruiting Cluster Figs, Ficus racemosa, made quite an impression with me but were not attracting the frugivores that would be at them if further south or north.
In the litter hunted the wonderful large skink, Carlia longipes. And then a flash of orange, grey and black. Our target bird! A Black-winged Monarch. (originally posted as Black-faced Monarch)
He was a very handsome bird which is not given justice by these pictures but they are a record. It was an Australian first for the three of us so we will be celebrating when we meet again this weekend for the Pied Imperial Pigeon count at Mission Beach.
One of the most common trees along the stream is the River Gum, Tristaniopsis exiliflora. 'River Gum' as a common name applies to at least three trees of different genera so that is why I include the scientific binomial in my posts.
The trunks can be twisted and fluted into beautiful shapes so I could not resist shooting a few pictures and now wish I had spent some more time with them. They became wonderful subjects to play with. It used to take me two weekends in the darkroom to produce a poster print and now I can do the same sort of thing,with less control admittedly,with three clicks of the mouse.
Another good subject for such play and a more satisfactory result was the flower ball of Nauclea orientalis, Leichhardt Tree. The beautiful yellow wood of this tree warps a great deal making it not suitable for most applications. The trees have a layered, oriental appearance.


Anonymous said...

Black-winged monarch?

Alan Gillanders said...

Yes You're right. A black-winged Monarch indeed!