Skyrail Nature Diary


The Butterfly Tree

The Pink Evodia (Melicope elleryana) is a medium sized tree with a wide-spreading dark green crown and fragrant pink flowers. It is also known as “Corkwood”, “Pink-flowered Doughwood” or “Butterfly Tree” due to its butterfly attracting properties. The Pink Evodia attracts... read more


Rainforest Pines

The Latin name "Podocarpus Grayae" translates as "foot fruit", and is so called because of its oddly shaped cone that looks similar to a foot. The seeds of the Weeping Brown Pine are poisonous but it has an edible "hat" on top, which turns red when it is ripe. When the... read more


Brush-turkey: The Rainforest Rake

Further showcasing their affinity with all things meteorological, Brush-turkeys can predict storms long before the weather man, and subsequently build a conical cover atop the nest to keep their eggs dry. Eggs often fall prey to burrowing animals such as goannas, but the... read more


Opulent Orchids

September equals springtime in Australia’s Tropical Rainforests, which heralds the arrival of the warmer weather and a colourful array of dazzling blooms. Of all the flowers in the world, orchids would have to be some of the most beautiful, elaborate and delicate. Varying in... read more


Epiphytic ferns of the forest

Last, but certainly not least, we look at the Common Tassel Fern (Huperzia phlegmaria). This is the most primitive fern in the forest and belongs to the ‘club moss’ family, which first appeared more than 300 million years ago and grew as large as trees. Although the Common... read more


I Smell a (Musky) Rat...

Do you smell a rat? If you’re in the rainforest during July and you detect a musky odour, there may be a Musky Rat-kangaroo (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus) nearby. Deriving its common name from the odour it emits during the mating season, the Musky Rat-kangaroo is thought to be... read more


The Golden Penda: Cairns’ official floral emblem

The Golden Penda can grow up to 40 metres in height and yields a hard, durable timber, but if pruned annually it can also be contained to shrub size. In the rainforest this tree grows tall and straight, but is also found along river banks, such as the Mulgrave River, growing... read more


Forest Frogs

One of the most commonly sighted frogs is the White-lipped Treefrog (Litoria infrarenata), which reaches over 130mm in length and is easily identified with its green body, white bottom lip and almost glowing white underbelly. Found throughout North Queensland and Papua New... read more


Kangaroos in trees?!

Whilst it might be hard to believe, there are actually two types of kangaroos living in the tree tops of Australia’s Tropical Rainforests. The Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus) and Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) are both fairly evasive... read more


Rainforest Umbrella

Umbrella Trees are particularly easy to spot throughout the region at this time of year, with their bounty of raspberry-like red fruits. These fruits are a favourite with the colourful rainbow lorikeets, who get ‘drunk’ on the nectar. The fruits grow out of the top of the... read more