01 September, 2009

Spring Time in the Mountains

Mt Bartle Frere hovers above the Tablelands. Taken two weeks ago this paddock now looks brown.
Today, September 1st, the first day of spring for those who follow the three month cycle of seasons. Actually we are beginning our fry season [accidental typo but I'll keep it] and it is dry already. The countryside is brown, unlike last year when we received enough rain throughout the year to keep the grass green and the creeks and springs flowing. Water levels are dropping quickly in the creeks and with the over extraction form our aquifers they will drop a lot further before the rains come. Still there is plenty of beauty around. The Red Cedars have now almost completed gaining their new leaves. The setting sun was still striking the colourful new growth of this tree near Malanda.
Fruit is becoming more available in the forest. From this little Thorny Yellow-wood which is eaten by honeyeaters to the large Water Gum which is eaten by Musky Rat-Kangaroos, This is the time for the northern migrants to return. The birds from the shorelines which fly to above the Arctic Circle to breed and those Cuckoos which just go to Indonesia and New Guinea for a holiday are returning. Some local birds breed at this time of year and other are displaying in hope of a mate later.Victoria's Riflebirds are beginning to display. A Bar-tailed Godwit has returned from the north and is feeding on the Cairns Esplanade with this Beach Stone-curlew. Metallic Starlings have just returned to the Tablelands but are already nest building on the coast.
Pheasant Coucals will turn almost black before they breed. This bird was photographed in our garden. Barred Cuckoo-shrikes have white eyes when not breeding but they are now turning a sexy yellow.

I got a little fright this morning while running around the yard to do a few jobs while creating this blog. I almost ran onto this handsome fellow. A Red-bellied Snake should be treated with caution but while they are bad news for dogs, humans should have little to fear from their venom. Lots of snakes are beginning to move out of their winter quarters and become active. A Yellow-faced Whipsnake was run over outside our house yesterday which is rather sad. Carpet Snakes, above, and Amethystine Pythons do not have to sun themselves for as long these warmer mornings and are soon on the move.


Richard King said...

Great photos Alan. I love the Python shots. I'm hoping to find one myself and get some good photos and video!

Paul said...

Firstly, great blog, but I'm not 100% sure where you're getting your snake facts from, ~ take my word for a it, a bite from a large elapid [any elapid, including red bellied blacks] should be treated with the utmost care, and urgent medical attention should be sought for any suspected bites.

Although, I suppose that this is mute point because the moment someone is envenomated, pain will compel them to seek treatment. [RBB bites are notoriously painful]

Ah well, anyway - thanks for the time and effort you've taken on your blog - great stuff.

Alan Gillanders said...

Paul, I know of only one death from a RBB. I guess it would have been good to advise people to take immediate first aid if bitten but as you imply they are likely to want to do that anyway. Fear and panic are threatening processes not only to the snakes but to the people they encounter.