Archive for the ‘Life in the Daintree’ Category
This giant green white-lipped tree frog (Litoria infrafrenata), is just one of a number of wildlife movements that we noted in April and the beginning of May. During the warmer summer months, our tree frogs return to the rainforest, but during the cooler months, they have their favourite resting places in our house. This one is sometimes called ‘The speaker of the House’ because he often sleeps on our television speakers. Other times he is the clock frog or the kitchen frog or the soup ladle frog, but he never becomes an ingredient in our soup.
Daintree Rainforest is the jewel in Australia’s tropical rainforest crown. Its rich array of rare and endemic flora demonstrates the origin, evolution and dispersal of flowering plants (angiosperms). Many of the endemic species and genera are narrowly restricted within the three valleys protected off the eastern flank of Australia’s wettest point – Thornton Peak. Nowhere is the contribution of rare and endemic species to the composition of the forest more notable than in the Cooper Valley.
6.39am Wednesday 14 November 2012 A Total Eclipse of the Sun from Cockatoo Hill Retreat, looking eastwards to Cow Bay and the Coral Sea.
We couldn’t have chosen a better place to view this rare phenomenon. The weather was fine, but cloudy and a small cloud, drifting northwards obscured most of the sun when we arrived at about 6.00am. Even so, the intensity of the sunlight evident through the gaps in the clouds, reminded us that we should not be viewing the eclipse with the naked eye. We still had time to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding rainforest and spectacular landscape from the hill.
The long term answer is easy. When Australia broke away from the already fragmenting continent of Gondwana, about 50 million years ago, leaving Antarctica, Australia drifted for about 35 million years in what we like to call “splendid isolation”, not making contact with any other land mass. Thus Australia remained purely Gondwanan, providing for future insight into the nature of our continent’s flora and fauna. During this period of drifting, the landscape changed as conditions became colder and drier. Rainforests contracted and became drier forests that evolved with the domination of the eucalypts. Today, less than 5% of the continent contains Australia’s World Heritage Wet Tropical Rainforests with a wealth of biodiversity and ancient plants and animals. Read the rest of this entry »
Dr Richard Smith, producer, director and presenter takes us on a journey of discovery across the continent of Australia. Using brilliant technology and great sound effects, Richard invites us to join him on a “rollicking adventure” that describes evolutionary processes and explains some research that has contributed to humankind’s understanding of this extraordinarily diverse landscape.