Skyrail Nature Diary


Seed Dispersal

December is the official start of summer with rain often turning up around Christmas. There should also be more fruiting during the month as the last gasps of flowering go through their motions. This could, of course, be turned completely on its head should El Nino appear over... read more


Flowering in the Rainforest

November is the time of the year when we usually start noticing the heat, although the heat sometimes turns up as early as late September. The flowering in the rainforest is on the ebb, the trees are getting ready to put out fruits for the onset of the rainy season. Black Bean... read more


The Build-up to the Wet Season

As quickly as it started, the winter is over again with the first warm spells from the north having arrived. We are now going into what some people refer to as the "Build-up". It’s getting hotter and hotter and the humidity will also rise but for now, it is the most stressful... read more


Flowering, fruiting and monocots

September is normally the start of the main flowering event of the year as it's quite near to the end of the dry season. The plants are attempting to have their fruits ready by the time the rain turns up. If the weatherman is right and we will be experiencing a new cycle of El... read more


Trees in the Rainforest

This month we will be looking at the various primitive trees that produce seeds without the use of flowers. Queensland Kauri (Agathis robusta: Araucariaceae) is the most obvious tree at Red Peak station. It can grow up to 50 metres on decent soil, whilst 30 metres on the... read more


Mimicry in the Rainforests of the Wet Tropics

This month we will be looking at the phenomenon of mimicry in the rainforests of the Wet Tropics. Mimicry is the art of looking like another species for a variety of reasons which can be either defensive or aggressive. Defensive mimicry is for the purpose of avoiding becoming... read more


Out of Season Flowering and Fruiting

May has been an unusually wet month for Cairns this year which has resulted in some trees flowering a little "out of season". The most obvious are the beautiful Alexandra Palms which have been covered in flowers on both sides of Red Peak station alongside creeks in the... read more


Decomposition in the Rainforest

April this year seems to have followed the "rules" regarding weather. The temperatures were slightly down and the rain has ceased. This means that there will be fewer flowers than we have had so far in the rainforest. Even fruits are less common on the trees. There are some... read more


Flowers and Fruits on the Cableway

This year, March has turned out to be rather wet after two surprisingly dry months when we would usually expect more rain. Along the front line at Skyrail, the Dodder Laurel (Cassytha filiformis: Lauraceae) is flowering inconspicuously. The Dodder Laurel is a parasite which... read more


Butterflies of the Rainforest

This month we’ll be looking at the butterflies of Barron Gorge. There are quite a few of these beautiful critters fluttering about at the moment. Almost everybody knows what a butterfly looks like but it’s still worth having a closer look at what exactly constitutes a... read more


Vines in Barron Gorge

This month we will be looking at vines in Barron Gorge. Vines are particularly adaptated to reaching the light at the top of the canopy. The forest floor is generally very dark and little apart from some ferns and saplings grow there. Trees make their own way to the light.... read more


Wet Season

The wet season was a time when life was easier for the Tjapukai aboriginal people who lived in the rainforest as the trees when flowering and fruiting, would attract many animals which the hunters and gatherers knew well. January is also a time of sudden downpours and the... read more