Green world

Some rainforests are so totally green that you’d swear there’s been a Photoshop filter applied. This one near Mount Tamborine was no different. Green moss, green light under the covering tree canopy.

Whether tree roots and buttresses or accompanying boulders, all were mossed green.

Some roots went underground and reappeared as shy knees and thighs, modestly mossed.

In some places tree roots embraced boulders as closely as if netted.

Vines as thick as my arms were doing a lot of embracing too, hitching a lift up to the light. This one was unusual in that several birds’ nest ferns, perhaps mistaking them for trees, had settled on them.

Other vines, as thick as many of the trees, astonished me with their girth and height… and likely age.

As the track was muddy, my eyes were carefully cast down, so the canopy was not much observed. Just as well, or I might have missed these fungi, bravely breaking the green dominance with their fluted and flared cinnamon rays.

Beyond bark

The day was wild and windy, the foliage being whipped about, so would not stand still for photos, but their sturdy trunks did.

And, focusing my eyes like that, the variety of patterns and textures was stunning.

Old, grey and knobbly; a bit like how I feel these days…

Or the same tree when young, looking like popcorn overly dusted with salt… or mistakenly, with icing sugar.

The higher, drier parts of this forest are full of fallen and dead ti-tree types, as well as leaning live ones, their shaggy grey bark almost an invitation to fire.

Others just as fibrous twist in less vertical paths to the sky, bearing memorial scars of lost limbs.

The more patchily shaggy paperbarks are often in damper areas, so do not invoke bushfire images as much.

The smoother barked trees sport subtle shades of lichen, pink and grey and cream and soft green…

Their more daring cousins add dramatic black highlights.

Other trees play it straight and go for flecks, but allow the adornment of twining wines for interest.

When texture fails to catch the eye, shape does. Why, when not apparently wind-formed?

Tangled limbs, whole meandering branches, clinging to cliffside meagre soil.

What’s not to wonder at with trees, wherever and however they grow?

Luminous lake

Queens Lake is large, and to walk around its shores is an ever-changing feast for the eyes. On this day the return walk was late, and the setting sun threw an especially vivid display of fiery gold across the water.

A little further on, and a hazard reduction burn far off across the lake punctuated the oyster leases with its plume of dark smoke.

Then the smoke became a cloud of its own, joining the mackerel sky in the water.

So many swift and ephemeral visual treats; fit for a Queen indeed!

Freshwater fans

I love the patterns moving water makes, on the surface below and on itself, and in its reflections.

At this beach, usually my eye is taken by those made the receding tide. But today this little stream of fresh water is coming from the land above, and it is one of many, although not all so vividly coloured. Croissants topped with apricot jam, anyone?

Kattang Nature Reserve rises above this beach, and today joins it with water.

As it makes its way to the salt sea, its ripples remind me of the cooling ‘skin’ when you test your homemade toffee or jam for setting.

I can hear water trickling further along from my amber stream, and see that there is is a steady veil of droplets from the bank onto the rocks.

This becomes a most beautiful series of convoluted fans of pebbles and sand and rutile, like layers of drapery, some creamily sheer, some bejewelled.

In other places, where no pebbles can contribute to the richness, the sand simply swirls with fine black traceries, fanning out to be lost on the smooth wet beach.

I feel so lucky to have seen these further examples of the extraordinary complexity of design and colour in nature., especially as they may not be there when next I visit this beach.

A forest for birds

Before entering this forest of the Henry Kendall Reserve I am bemused by the sparkles of sunshine beside opposing calm, the mysteriously varying ways of water movements.

The forest itself is equally varied, with many large and imposing spreading trees.

Others rise tall and straight limbed.  By the busy chatter of birds, darting tantalisingly close and away, too swift to photograph, the forest is a rich residence for wildlife.

It’s the sort of forest walk where you more often than not find yourself craning upwards to see what’s going on up there. A lot, from the noise!

But lower and nearer details occasionally catch my eye, like this textured casuarina bark…

Or this mossy hidey-hole, a dark refuge into which I do not intrude. Thankfully, this whole forest has life of its own, from birds to whatever lives here!

Forest gifts

After all the wet weather the swamps are still holding water… and reflections. Part of the coast walk here runs beside such swamps.

Large paperbarks make sinuous shapes as they stretch across the water.

Smaller ones stand straight and double up so seamlessly in the swamp below that the eye is deceived.

But there are many tree species in this forest, and some of the eucalypts are very large… and also sinuous. They must be in flower way up high, as the forest was alive with the chirping and chittering of multiple unseen happy honeyeaters.

It is winter so only a few blossoms are to be seen, like this wattle, but the flannel flowers are getting ready, beautifully backlit in a small clearing.

The territory in between tree tops and ground is well used, like this webbed hammock.

Some plants make use of the whole tree, securely latched on, climbing from ground to canopy.

This young fig tree grew upwards, but also chooses to send down roots to anchor itself to the ground. A bet both ways, to take advantage of all this forest can offer.

It certainly offers me more gifts than my eye can take in.

Sea changes

I am looking down on the same rocks where my ‘Wild edge’ images were taken. But oh, what a difference in the sea at that edge today!

Gently lapping, not crashing; small frills of white instead of furious frothing breakers.  Even a few surfers paddling.

I have walked to the Charles Hamey Lookout in Kattang Nature Reserve and it does offer a view beyond my sea edge, a view of this amazing coastal complex of waterways, right up to brooding North Brother Mountain and beyond.

It is the combination of mountain and sea that appeals to me here so strongly.

But any tourist postcard can show scenic views; I am more attracted by details, often ephemeral.

If I look the other way from here, today it is the sea itself that takes my eye.

Peacefully rippling all the way to the horizon; not a whale in sight, but endless permutations of colour.

In the shallower waters near the land edge it is crystal clear and green. I have never been to the Mediterranean, but now I wonder how it could better this.

Then it deepens to blue-green, secretive of the ocean world beneath, and then to blue watered silk moiré, growing paler as it recedes to the sky edge.

As I retrace my steps I have to admire this rugged coast and its changeable neighbour, today deceptively gentle in its blues and greens beneath the equally unpredictable sky.

But if I look further north, the sea has turned silver, sparkling in sunshine.

What a visual treat it is to be witness to such free shows on offer from Nature!

Wild edge

This wintry weather comes with warnings of dangerous surf conditions — not that I’m likely to be trying! But I did want to look at such a sea.

And it was impressive. An awesomely powerful and persistent pounding.

The waves seemed to be doing their best to demolish the coastal rocks, rising like leviathans and crashing down in a lather of white and stormy brown.

On the horizon a chorus line of clouds meekly kept its distance from all this fury.

Each rock formation offered different resistance, allowing waterfalls of varying shapes to be created by the smashed waves. There was always another coming…

The rocks always won, directing the white flows to follow their lead, with no more choice than bridal trains.

It is a testament to the hardness of these edging rocks that they are not worn down but also an explanation of how the channels in between have been created.

Reacquainting

While I’ve been away, there has been a great deal of rain, and the swamp that this dirt road aims to bisect is reasserting itself.

Of course the swollen swamp needs to flow across the road, and has succeeded in closing that road while the water follows its natural course.

The road leads to the beach, so my feet are wet before I get there, but what a lovely set of early morning reflections!

The sun is already up when I reach the sandhills… and a 4WD has already despoiled the night’s tide marks on the sand.

This beach rarely has shells washed up, and it is only in a small stretch that today I see them scattered like tiny treasures for me to find.

Walking home, wading through the reasserted swamp, I see two trees are newly flowering since I was away. This small wattle (Acacia suaveolens) has blossoms of a pretty creamy white, not the yellow we are used to. It is one of the earliest flowering wattles.

Equally sparkling white are the flowers of this Broad-leaved Paperbark tree, Melaleuca quinquinervia, common on this stretch. Being a swamp dweller, it does not mind wet feet.

Bizarre birds

In Central Queensland, emus are not an uncommon sight. But no matter how many I see, or how often, they always strike me as most bizarre.

Stately, yes. Self-contained, yes. And bizarre.

I’d stopped as this one high-stepped it across the road, not looking at me or my large white van.

Then it turned and unhurriedly retraced its steps back across the road, tail feather bustle bouncing, chest feathers extension flopping like a sporran, head on that gawky long neck rigidly ignoring me.

Bizarre!

Back on the coast, amongst rainforest instead of Desert Uplands, the camp had no emus, but plenty of Brush Turkeys strutting about.

Yet this one kept lying on its side as if shot down, one wing up, breast feathers exposed. It did it in a few places, and after each would get up and wander off to repeat the performance. Playing dead? Asking to have its tummy rubbed? Or just letting the sun warm that chest?

In between those two places I passed this tree in a bare paddock, full of galahs decorating it like coconut ice queens.

Not bizarre, but very pretty.

Earthmovers

Most of us are familiar with the ramparts built by ants to protect their underground homes from inundation. As I am waiting for tracks to dry out after rain, so I can get out, I am hoping they don’t mean these ants are expecting more rain.

But these tiny (and very bitey) little insects are moving soft sandy soil.

Unlike their fellow earthmovers, the termites, who, despite being called white ants, are more closely related to cockroaches than to ants.

Termites create cities of hard-packed mounds, towers and pinnacles from their own bodies.

They excrete the wood that they eat and use it to make the ‘mud’ of their fantastic constructions. And it’s estimated that they’ve been doing it for 150 million years.

So hard-packed is the material that it has often been chosen to use for earth floors. It would seem a shame to destroy such an artistic creation as the multi-turreted one above.  But how do they decide the intention of shape and direction? Or is it random?

Do the workers ever rebel and follow their own design bent? Like this questing Leunig curl?

As the termite king and queen remain in their chambers, they never get to see the handiwork of their workers, so whims could be perhaps be indulged…

Beauties of Bimblebox

By moonlight or daylight or the in-between twilight, Bimblebox reveals a myriad of natural treasures.

Especially striking amongst the many varieties that form this woodland are
the Rusty Jackets (Corymbia leichhardtii).

But the actual Bimblebox (Eucalyptus populnea) trees are striking in a different way; not the bark, but the leaves, shimmering in the breezes like silver dollars. This baby Bimblebox shows off the distinctive
almost heart-shaped leaves.

They were the inspiration for the Bimblebox logo.

The properties over the boundary fence do have some trees… if you look hard and far enough…