Skyrail Nature Diary

Late Flowering on the Cableway

The Flame Tree is flowering sparsely on the cableway. These beautiful trees have greenish trunks with chlorophyll and maple-like leaves. During flowering, the Flame Tree sheds all it’s leaves and is covered in numerous tiny red bell shaped flowers. The fruits are woody boat... read more

Red Leaves

We are just coming out of our winter so it’s getting hotter as we come into what we could call our spring. Some trees are still covered in red leaves whilst others have become deciduous after their leaves turned red such as the Damsons. Other trees are completely red... read more

Bush Stone Curlew

With a milder than usual winter behind us, we are now moving into spring and have been excited to note that some of the migratory birds are beginning to arrive. The main two observed at Skyrail so far have been the Pied Imperial Pigeon and the Metallic Starling. Here at the... read more

The Spectacled Flying Fox

If you look to the skies after dusk at this time of year you are quite likely to see flocks of the distinctive Spectacled Flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus), heading out for a night of feeding and socialising. Like most mammals in Australia's Tropical Rainforests, the... read more

Layers of the Rainforest

This month we will be looking at the structure of a typical rainforest. Depending on the type of forest, there are normally three vertical layers, but occasionally there can be more. Unlike temperate forests, most activity in tropical rainforests takes place in the... read more

Little workers: Beetles of the Wet Tropics

The life cycles of beetles involves what is known as complete metamorphosis. This means that both young and adult beetles are totally different from each other, interspersed by a pupa stage where the young, known as larvae, change into the adult, known as an imago. The... read more

Ferns of the rainforest

Basket Ferns (Drynaria rigidula: Polypodiaceae) are the most common fern spotted in the Barron Gorge National Park. They are epiphytic and grow on top of trees, just below leafy branches. The falling leaves become compost and nest in the basket shaped structure of the fern.... read more

Spectacular geology: The Barron Gorge and beyond

Geologists believe that just behind Barron Falls, Barron River was joined by the Mitchell and Clohesy Rivers. This created a more powerful flow in front of the point where they joined and therefore gouged out more of the gorge at that location, rather than behind it. There... read more

In the gloom of the rainforest: Plant survival

In an undisturbed rainforest, the amount of light that reaches the forest floor can often be as little as 1%. Very few plants can survive let alone grow under such conditions. Most plants survive on a chemical process called photosyntheses (a process that converts carbon... read more

Lizards of the rainforest

Australia has the world's highest diversity of lizards, many of which can be found in the Wet Tropics Rainforests of Tropical North Queensland. Lizards are intriguing creatures and are closely related to snakes. Some species are elongated with reduced or lacking limbs. The... read more

The great timber trees of the Wet Tropics

Relatives of the citrus trees from the genus Flindersia have long been popular timber trees. Several have strong smelling timber, one of which includes Hickory Ash's (Flindersia ifflaiana: Rutaceae) timber which smells of curry - see image 4. The flowers of these magnificent... read more

Spectacular spiders of the Wet Tropics

Spiders are spectacular creatures with many unique qualities. Although the thought of a spider may make you quiver, they are often misunderstood and provide much value to rainforest ecosystems. All spiders have the following characteristics: four pairs of legs; two body parts... read more