Readers’ wildlife photos

Today’s photos come from reader Chris Taylor, and show a panoply of Australian wildlife. His notes and IDs are indented.

Yourka is a Bush Heritage Australia reserve in the Einasleigh Uplands bioregion in Far North Queensland, not far from Cairns. Its 43,500 Ha covers the region from the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Site in the east down to the Herbert River valley in the west, and protects a range of habitats.  There are a number of endangered species on the reserve, including a population of Mareeba Rock Wallaby.
Last year I spent six weeks working on the reserve doing a number of jobs, including fence maintenance.  These are some of the photos I took at the time.

Looking out across Yourka from the Lookout.  The little hill on the horizon is Tiger Hill, about 20km distant.  Everything in between is the reserve, and at the time that  I took this photo, I was almost certainly the only person in that 400 square kilometers.

Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) flying above the Lookout.

The accommodation is in the middle of the reserve, and is very often visited by wildlife moving between – and through – the buildings.  After work it was good to sit on the verandah and watch.  These are a few of the animals.

A Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) silhouetted against the sunset:

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) in the grounds of the station at sunset.

There are a number of diverse habitats across Yourka.  Grass trees are found across the reserve, but in the areas near the head of Sunday Creek, there are very many, and there they form grass tree “forests”. Grass trees grow very slowly, and the tallest of these trees, at around two metres may be as much as 100 years old.

Grass tree (Xanthorrhoea sp. possibly johnsoni).

The billabong below the station.  This is in the dry season, in the wet, all of this area will be flooded with up to six metres of water.  It is a great place to spot wildlife, the next photos are from around the area.

Straw-necked ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis).

A Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) feeding in a Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta).  One of the most common of Australia’s honeyeaters.

Restless Flycatcher. (Myiagra inquieta).

Squatter Pigeon (Geophaps scripta).

Yourka includes almost the whole course of Sunday Creek from its headwaters up in the north east, until it joins the Herbert River on the south west of the reserve.  The creek flows through a number of different ecosystems, including the wet sclerophyll, a small gorge, and the Paperbark and Bluegum forest.  Great for cooling off after a day spent fencing!

The evening light in the Paperbarks (Melaleuca quinquenervia) along Sunday Creek.

Back at the station, a Blue-winged Kookaburra perched on the power lines.  Less widespread than Laughing Kookaburra, this has more blue in its plumage, and a white eye ring.

9 Comments

  1. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Lovely. Did not know about grass trees or squatter pigeons.

    • revelator60
      Posted October 3, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Much prettier than the standard pigeons ubiquitous to city streets!

    • Kelcey Burman
      Posted October 3, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      I believe squatter pigeons were almost made extinct as the early settlers ate them as apparently they were delicious. Early on (maybe 50 years ago) it became illegal to kill them and I think the population have now well recovered so that is some good news indeed.

      Grass trees used to be called black boys as there trunks are black from numerous bushfires but I don’t know why they attached a gender to them. It is illegal to harvest them from the wild but you can buy them from registered farmers for your garden.

  2. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    That looks like a wonderful place Chris! Lovely set of photos.

  3. Posted October 3, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing! 👍

  4. rickflick
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Nice tour. The birds seem to fill every niche and these correspond, I would think, to similar niches and species on every continent (except Antarctica).

  5. revelator60
    Posted October 3, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Much prettier than the standard pigeons ubiquitous to city streets!

    • revelator60
      Posted October 3, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Apologies for the duplicate response, WordPress is being silly again. And thank you Mr. Taylor for the smashing photos!

  6. Mark R.
    Posted October 4, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely place, thanks for sharing some of its beauty.


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