This week in the Rainforest
We are very grateful this week to Hans Van Veluwen for this, his first wildlife contribution. Hans will be a regular contributor from now on and we look forward to getting all the latest news, developments and fantastic photographs from his treks and expeditions in and around the far north . (Ed Note: His impressive credentials are set out below).
One of the more colourful trees in flower at the moment is the Corkwood Tree ( Melicope elleryana ). With its clusters of showy pink flowers tucked along its branches this medium to large sized tree is in flower now and can be seen throughout the region in the rainforest's as well as in a lot of gardens as this tree makes a great landscaping specimen.
The Corkwood Tree has light coloured flaky bark that does have the same qualities as cork when the tree matures. This tree is the host tree for the Ulysses butterfly and also a very important tree to a myriad variety of other butterflies and nectar feeding birds as the flowers are very nectar rich. Making this tree an desirable addition to any garden if you wish to attract both birds and butterflies.
The life giving rains of the yearly Monsoons are upon us once again when cloud bursts give life to this fantastic part of Australia. Traditionally a quiet time as far as visitors to the region are concerned because of our failure to promote the region as a wet season destination. Surely two weeks or more of hot, wet and humid has got to beat a freezing cold winter in Europe and the Northern parts of the USA...a welcome respite from their winter blues (Ed Note: Hear, hear !).
A time when all of life comes to a crescendo in our World Heritage listed Tropical Environment. All the rivers are running and the waterfalls are spectacular as once again we witness the greening of Gondwana. For those wishing to see spectacular waterfalls the Barron River Falls are worth a visit as they are in full flow and easily accessible by boardwalks constructed through the rainforest's of Kuranda. They can also be seen from the Skyrail and various tour companies conduct tours from Port Douglas to take in these wonderful falls and more.
Editors Comments: I agree with Hans completely, visitors who are put off by travel companies who don't understand that European visitors would thrill at seeing our awesome part of the world if only it were promoted in the right places. By the time the visitors get here in May thru' Sept so much of the activity in the rainforest is over. Perhaps with these excellent weekly reports from Hans, we can change all that and encourage our European visitors to book a little earlier !
About Hans Van Veluwen
Hans Van Veluwen is a Wilderness Guide who has been conducting trekking expeditions and Guided Tours/ Safaris in Far North Queensland for 31 years. A horticulturist who found out 30 years ago that it was a lot easier talking about plants for a living than physically growing them. He is Queensland's leading Stereophotographer, who has published 3D books about this wonderful part of the world.
Nowadays freelancing for various respectable tour companies as well as offering private guiding services to those people that want to know all about the ecology and history of the area, presented in a way people can understand and appreciate. He specialises in Rainforest Ecology Interpretation tours and also conducts photography tours for those people that want more than a normal scheduled trip. For more details visit www.C3D.net.au