Reading and listening to many personal accounts of life during 2020 constantly reminded us of how lucky we are to live in our relatively isolated tropical paradise. While we continue to abide by any recommended Coronovirus safety procedures we have been able to enjoy many wonderful experiences with close friends in our local area. A morning with our friend Murray on one his Daintree Boatman tours is always a delight, especially when the tides are suitable for him to navigate Barratt Creek. He always gives us plenty of time to admire these magnificent Water Gums – Tristaniopsis exiliflora which grow next to the outflow from our wetlands. I don’t know their age but I have loved these trees since I first saw them in 1985.
We have been fortunate in that we had already planned for a year at home in 2020, long before the current global pandemic took hold. Last year we caught up with several building maintenance issues in addition to giving our house garden and orchard some much needed tender loving care. Allowing ourselves time to simply enjoy being here, in addition to the satisfaction we have in our achievement has given us both a renewed love for Wild Wings & Swampy Things. It is a wonderful feeling to admire trees that we have grown from seed which are now providing food and shelter for our local wildlife.
One of the major regular tasks is grass mowing which, although considerably reduced in recent years, remains an energy consuming activity. Earlier this year I had my first experience of walking through a ‘food forest’ harvesting fruit from a variety of trees as we went. Although I knew of the concept I hadn’t experienced the sheer delight and I was inspired to rethink our house garden as well as the orchard. After collecting seed from fruit gifted to me during the abundant tropical summer harvesting period I have grown a collection of several exotic tropical fruit trees to add to the diversity in our orchard as well as creating a more productive garden near the house.
Just looking at that photo of the Marang takes me back to our hot and humid summer days spent sharing a wonderful variety of fruits and making new friends. From exotic fruit to native rainforest – such is the diversity of our lives. We continue our voluntary work with Rainforest Rescue identifying properties which may be suitable for purchase and subsequent protection. We make a thorough assessment of the property’s vegetation on site which gives us the opportunity to explore some interesting forest. It also exercises our memories or in my case, tests my identification skills as I’m not as methodical as Allen! This is followed by a check through a criteria list that Allen has developed, taking in to account the property’s connectivity to National Park, World Heritage or other protected land, it’s likelihood of being settled, the extent of weed incursions etc.
Allen is also spending time collecting seed for the Rainforest Rescue nursery, as production is increasing to meet the demand for trees. We are pleased that there are now a number of large regeneration projects happening in the area – wonderfully positive news!
There is so much to observe in the rainforest, so much beauty on the forest floor, the trunks of the trees and the everchanging shapes and hues of the foliage as light filters through.
We have always known that a walk in the forest is good for our souls – I believe the term is now ‘forest bathing’? Whatever it might be called we hope that residents and visitors to the area will still be able to experience a quiet walk through tropical rainforest in the years ahead.
What a beautiful day – the warmth of the sun, beautiful trees and the blue sky in the background which we appreciated all the more after the damp, gloomy weather we have recently experienced. After checking out a couple of properties for possible acquisition by Rainforest Rescue we went for a walk along the boardwalk at Jindalba. It is a short stroll through some lovely forest that we have visited many times because we enjoy it and it is the first National Park boardwalk along the Cape Tribulation road, only about 20 minutes north of the ferry crossing. I must admit to hoping we would see a Cassowary there as there have been many recent sightings.
Allen found this Cassowary dropping just as he got out of the car, it must have come from quite a young bird as it is only a small pile of seed – we didn’t notice many fruiting trees yesterday and this poo is mostly full of palm seed from Alexandra Palms (Archontophoenix alexandrae). The owner of this little pile was not visible to us and we didn’t see any adults.
Our travels took us a little further north into the Cow Bay subdivision where a number of blocks have been purchased for conservation, by Rainforest Rescue as well as through the Daintree Rescue Program which was jointly funded by the Federal and Queensland State governments. “Save the Cassowary” gives some background on the Daintree Buy-back for those who are not familiar with the history of the area.
One of the most significant conservation efforts is The Baralba Corridor Nature Refuge. The original purchases were made by Daintree Rainforest Foundation – a small group of dedicated conservationists who raised money by holding raffles and selling tickets to tourists as they waited in line for the car ferry. DRF merged with Rainforest Rescue in 2004 and additional blocks have since been added to the corridor which provides a valuable link from the heights of Alexandra in the south to the Bailey’s Creek wetlands. While we were driving along one of the roads on the edge of the corridor we saw a cassowary cross the road quite a distance ahead of us. By the time we arrived at the point where she had walked into the forest Allen managed one quick shot. Although the photo is poor quality there is enough detail of the head, with the distinctive casque, for us to keep the photo on the Daintree Region Cassowary Group data base as a useful identification tool. This particular female cassowary has been known to regularly use the Baralba Corridor for many years, the size of her casque is indicative of a great age. This is a typical view of a cassowary, walking into the forest and disappearing from view rapidly but we were delighted to have this glimpse.
While there are still blocks of land with the potential to be developed which need to be bought and conserved, it is wonderful to see what has already been achieved through buy-back and through revegetation of previously degraded areas.
Now that our major restoration projects are complete we are taking more time to simply enjoy the privilege of living in such a beautiful, peaceful and endlessly interesting area.
While there are always a few maintenance tasks the work is not onerous and we can take time out to enjoy our walking tracks as well as to sit and simply look around.
It is immensely rewarding to observe the growth in the vegetation, watch trees mature and to delight in the variety and number of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects both residing on and visiting the property.