Australia’s Eastern Water Dragon

Still about the smallest continent, Australia’s eastern water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii), an endemic species, is truly a memorable sight. Reaching up to 90 centimetres, this large lizard from the Agamidae family is very shy when living in the wild, but readily accepts human presence in suburban parks and gardens. As the name suggests, the water dragon is a semi-aquatic animal that can be found near creeks, rivers and lakes, although it is also an excellent climber of trees. It is often observed basking on branches that hang over a body of water; that way it can easily… Continue reading

Cairns Council vs Flying Foxes

During my three-week stay in Cairns last year, I was delighted to discover a populous colony of Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) roosting on the trees right in the middle of the city. These enormous fruit-eating bats, reportedly numbering between 10 and 20 thousand individuals, had made their homes on several large mango trees that grow between the city’s public library and the nearby Novotel resort. Although generally quiet during the day, they become very active at dusk, turning the Cairns central business district into an incredibly noisy area where thousands of crying animals would fly over the… Continue reading

Blue-winged Kookaburra

The Kookaburra is a stunning kingfisher found in northern and eastern Australia, the island of New Guinea and on Aru Islands in eastern Indonesia. Not only they look unusual with their comparatively large heads and contrasting feather colours, their call genuinly resembles loud human laughter. In fact, one of the four known species is commonly referred to as Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae). There are also Rufous-bellied Kookaburra (Dacelo gaudichaud) and Spangled Kookaburra (Dacelo tyro). They are carnivorous birds that feed on mice and other similar-sized mammals, lizards and larger insects. And apparently they are… Continue reading

Flame of the Forest

Delonix regia has a number of common names, including Flamboyant Tree, Flame of the Forest or Royal Poinciana. It seems to originate from Madagascar, but because of its striking red flowers, it has been planted in many tropical regions around the world. On top of its ornamental value, it is an excellent tree to provide shade on hot days as its branches tend to spread to the sides (it has a hemispherical crown) and its foliage is also quite dense. It’s a deciduous tree that flowers once a year. There are several cultivated variaties with the colour of the flowers… Continue reading