Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hot Humid Westerlies

It has been blowing a consistent 10-20 knots
from the west for five days now.
The mozzies have been restless,
kayaking can only be done
in places sheltering from the westerlies
and very little rain has fallen to relieve the 80% humidity.

These must be the winds that the Makassan traders
used when they sailed from Indonesia to start the Trepang hunting.

Still, the flowering and fruiting has been nothing short of extraordinary. I have been able to snack and walk every day this week.

I started eating the Green Plums Buchanania obovata
when they were a bit bitter,
but I used to like to eat green unripe apples as a kid.

Now that they are soft and ripe they are very sweet
and almost taste like a ripe banana,
but the green ants Oecophylla sp. guard them
so part of the harvest is removing unwanted guests
from entering your mouth.

The Peanut Tree Sterculia quadrifida
has been my next stop.
When the pods are brown the black seed contains
a soft paste that tastes a bit like a peanut.

One of the most striking flowers is the
Wild Orange Capparis umbonata
while its fruit is nothing like an orange.

The Wild Orange fruit is almost like a walnut inside
and very unpalatable so far.

The Jacob's Bloodwood Eucalyptus jacobsiana
is in full bloom on the cliffs
behind the coastal vine forest.
Birds were the first on the scene,
but now the insects are in on the feast.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What A Week For Flowers

FFThe Swamp Bloodwood Eucalyptus ptychocarpa was a surprise package and I must get back to capture its scarlet flowers.

The Mistletoe Amyema sanguineum var pulchrum is in full bloom and adding an exciting red to gum trees it prefers as hosts.

Quite a strange flowering plant was the Helicteres isora which was only flowering for a short period of time on one single day. Too bad if you were a bee and the wind was blowing the wrong direction.


The Green Plum Buchanania obovata is fruiting and I am determined to beat the Imperial Pigeons to taste this delight.

On our last walk into the grey soil district we discovered the rain had brought on the Freshwater Mangrove Barringtonia acutangula. We will definitely get back soon to see the splendid flowers in bloom.

We found our first herb growing in the middle of an old 4-wheel track. It smelled of spearmint and we think it might be Cleome viscosa which was used by the indigenous Aboriginals as a decongestant among other uses.


Now that I know what the Billy Goat Plum Terminalia ferdinandiana looks like they are everywhere. Its hard to believe the fruit is one of the best sources of Vitamin C to be found.

The Apple Gum Eucalyptus polysciada is flowering in some locations but not others. The bark is peeling away and makes this a very attractive gum tree, small but very creative.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Wolf Herring Move In

On Sunday I caught and released several of these Wolf Herring. They have large canine teeth and are full of bones. It appeears there are still a few bait fish around although I could not examine the gut of the fish I caught. Low neap tide was around 10:00.

Dorab wolf-herring Chirocentrus dorab, a species of wolf herring (family Chirocentridae). Drawing by former FishBase artist Robbie Cada.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Waiting For More Rain

The bait fish have all but disappeared from the reef. I was told they were schools of Australian Herring. This morning I was lucky enough to catch lunch. I saw several mackeral shopping for lunch as well so I was lucky they left these Giant Trevally Caranx ignobilis for me.

There is plenty of fruit around the tropical vine forests so it in not surprising to finally see a pair of Sphecotheres viridis Figbirds. They were very melodical and entertained me for several minutes with their songs.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Not So Smooth

Although I have to wait a year to see the beautiful orange flowers,
the bark of the Scarlet Gum Eucalyptus phoenicea changes my perspective about gum trees always having smooth silky bark.
The elongated seeds help to identify this plant that loves the rocky granite hills where I often ride my mountain bike.