Cairns after the cyclone

Subject: Cairns after the cyclone
From: Una Stephenson <>
Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2000 22:07:08 +1000
Interested to hear from Townsville so soon after the cyclone; after Steve
visited us, the leafy and informal suburb where I live suffered considerable
tree damage - especially the old figs and other native fruiting trees
nearby.  For weeks afterwards there was a distressing lack of bird activity
around my home - no noisy morning chorus of Friarbirds Orioles Figbirds
Kookaburras, Doves - even the Peewees, Willies and the ineffable Mynahs
appeared to have gone. A solitary lonely Cockatoo squawked past again and
again, and the Drongos hung around. The PIPs went just before or during the
cyclone; sadly their favourite tree though still standing has been
drastically thinned. Tree loss has been much worsened by persons going
berserk with chainsaws in the last few weeks. 

However I saw a few unusual visitors in the first week or two; a Pallid
Cuckoo made his/her annual appearance, a Horsfield's's  Bronze-Cuckoo sat
bemusedly by the washing line, a Bush Stone Curlew stood 'waiting for a bus
'one evening right in the middle of the village - though I hope he/she won't
stay as there are too many stray dogs,- and a few days ago at first light
the cawings and ravings of  an enraged Black Butcherbird alerted me to the
presence of a Papuan Frogmouth trying rather hopelessly to pass himself off
as an extension to  a broken branch right out in the open.

If I never saw a Frigate Bird or other visitor from the sea this time
it was probably because like most of my neighbours I was too busy looking
down to pick up the debris.....

I'm always surprised however to notice the butterflies come out before the
birds reappear; the wind and rain eases just a little - and there are the

Life is returning; the glorious Golden Pendas are in flower and a few red
berries remain on the Alexandra palms, and the lorikeets are back, and the
bee-eaters; a family of noisy Yellow Honey-eaters and a solitary friarbird
perform morning and evening [ and maybe all day long but I'm at work....]
The Willies and Peewees are around too ....and of course the cane toads but
so much fewer than in recent years.

Machan's Beach.

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