Skyrail Nature Diary


Defence Mechanisms in Plants

This month we will be looking at the various methods plants use to defend themselves against the environment, there are certainly more than enough things a plant has to be wary of. There are animals that eat their flowers, leaves, sap and bark as well as some that make their... read more


Monocots

This month we will be looking at Monocots which are a common type of flowering plant. Well known examples include palms, pandans, lilies, irises, orchids, grasses and sedges. Despite their appearances, none of these are real trees. Why? Because no monocots have thickness... read more


Primitive Plants at Skyrail

This month we will be looking at primitive plants in Barron Gorge. For our purposes, this will refer to land plants which produce spores not seeds. So what is the difference between a seed and a spore? A spore is simply a single cell containing all the essentials for making a... read more


Monotremes - what exactly are they?!

This month we will be looking at monotremes and small marsupials in Barron Gorge National Park. So what exactly are monotremes....? Well put simply, they are the most primitive of all mammals and lay eggs like reptiles and birds. Unlike reptiles and birds, monotremes have fur... read more


Macropods at Skyrail

The Musky Rat Kangaroo is the smallest and most primitive of all the macropods. The feet are very ‘possum like’ and have the original five toes. Instead of hopping on two legs, these cute little fellows bound through the rainforest on all fours most of the time. These... read more


Weeds!

This month we will be looking at weeds occurring along the cableway. This may sound like a strange topic but let’s face it, weeds make up a significant amount of the vegetation and total eradication seems to be impossible. Of course, we do our best to control the weeds in... read more


Flowering on the Cableway

Although there normally aren’t masses of flowers out in June, there seems to be widespread flowering of Red Tulip Oak along both sides of Red Peak. A close relative, Brown Tulip Oak is also flowering on the lower slopes of the front line at Skyrail. The trifoliate leaves... read more


Gondwanaland

Scientists have shown that Australia was once part of a large landmass they called Gondwanaland, after an area in Africa. Africa, South America, India, Australia (including New Guinea), Antarctica, New Caledonia and New Zealand made up what used to be one supercontinent. Most... read more


Beetles!

This month we'll be looking at the beetles of the Wet Tropics. Beetles are the largest group of animals on the planet with an estimated 300,000 species identified so far. The majority are amazingly less than half a millimetre long. In Barron Gorge quite a few live in the... read more


Rainforest Succession: The pioneers

This month we will be taking a closer look at the ecology of rainforests. As anyone who has visited Skyrail will know, the main message of our boardwalk tour is the constant 'fight for the light' in rainforests. The canopy is extremely dense and does not allow much sunlight to... read more


Symbiosis in the Rainforest

This month we’ll be looking at symbiosis in the rainforest. Symbiosis is the phenomenon of two or more unrelated organisms living together in cooperation. Many people associate symbiosis with animals living together. The clown fish and the sea anemone is a well known example.... read more


Late rains brings on new life

Last month was a surprising one. For a while it looked like we were going to have El Nino but toward the end of the month the monsoon and Cyclone Oswald turned up, drenching us. February may very well turn out wet as well. The stress of the late wet season triggered a few big... read more


Hemi-Epiphytes

This month we’ll be looking at the life of the unusual plants known as hemi-epiphytes. These interesting plants have a most unusual life cycle. Most plants stick to one lifestyle throughout their lives whilst hemi-epiphytes go through two. One of the lives is always spent as... read more