Dancing among the weeds

I had dismissed the butterfly as a Cabbage White (Pieris rapae, Pieridae), native to Europe but now the Nemesis of brassica-growers in many parts of the world. The Cabbage White arrived in Melbourne in 1929, and by the 1970s it was all over the place, including Far North Queensland. …

And goodbye to all that

I had been planning to compile a retrospective, but can’t bring myself to revisit the past year. 2021 has left the building and I have changed the locks.

So what’s in store for 2022?

Writing, mostly. With travel curtailed — state borders are open, but I can’t afford to go…

A gift from Nature

It is summer in Australia. In the south, that means hot dry days, in the north, hot humid days. Here in the Queensland Wet Tropics, the monsoon has arrived, ushering storms towards the coast. Next week, the tropical low that formed in the Arafura Sea will sweep through, propelled by…

A secretive bird out in the open

The call of the Pacific or Eastern Koel is the earworm of summer.

Two of these ruby-eyed cuckoos have set up house in the garden. From the dense foliage of a Lilly pilly tree, the female makes sorties to other birds’ nests, returning to leafy cover before the nest owners…

An insect’s fate

Last night, a beetle saw a welcome in the light that shone through the rippled glass of my kitchen window. In its fascination or delight, the beetle did not notice the threads that spread across the pane. They were translucent, fine as hair and as strong as wire. …

Peace by the water’s edge

On a hot day — and most of the days in Cairns are hot, especially at this time of the year — it is pleasant to be by water. At Centenary Lakes, you have a choice of mangrove thicket along a tidal channel or a lily-covered lagoon. …

But watch out for your sandwiches

Australian Pelicans sometimes beg for food around city piers and fishing harbours. It does not take much for their begging to become a mugging. I was once confronted by a pelican on a narrow footpath. It had bailed up a group of tourists. Every time someone tried to walk past…

Morning on the wing

Photographing birds in flight requires a steady hand and a fast shutter speed. Also a camera and a flying bird, but I’m assuming you know that already. But I don’t have a steady hand, so I rely on luck and shutter speed. All the photos here were taken at 1/2000…

Getting in over your head

In mid-November, Anne Bonfert posed a challenge to tilt your head and look up. I am late to respond; I hope this prompt doesn’t have a use by date. (Watch me publish a Yuletide post in time for the next equinox.)

A few days ago I wrote that December was…

Palms and gingers and orchids, oh my!

The first time I saw Fan Palms (Licuala ramsayi, Arecaceae) in their natural habitat was at Tam O’Shanter State Forest (now Djiru National Park), Far North Queensland. I was on a night walk, hoping to photograph insects, frogs and other nocturnal animals. Although it was the dry season, the ground…

Bronwen Scott

Zoologist, writer, artist, museum fan, enjoying life in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland. She/her.

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