Day Five: Hike around the Island, Lookouts

Monday June 14, 2010

[From the trip Brampton Island June 2010]

Today was one of the best days on the island.  Today we got to hike around the whole island, and up to the lookouts at the top!  I took the morning off from bird surveys, though Tim still went and managed to add Brown Cuckoo-Dove to the list for the island.  We left around mid morning, heading east around the walking trails and then down onto some of the beaches.  It was amazing seeing these beautiful, sheltered tropical beaches, but at the same time it was very sad to see all the rubbish washed up on the beaches here.  Because these bays are difficult to get to, it's quite unusual for people to manage to get in there to clear rubbish.  On this particular trip we didn't clear rubbish from here, but on many of the Wild Mob Brampton trips they do.  Bill also told us how recently on this side of the island (the exact location is a secret) the local rangers discovered a population of endangered Coastal Sheathtail Bats.

A bit further along the island and we came across another huge pocket of Blue Tiger butterflies, with a whole bunch of Purple Crows and Bordered Rustics flying around with them.  Again, this is really one of the highlights of Brampton Island, it is hard to truly do justice with words or images to the spectacle of hundreds or even thousands of bright blue butterflies fluttering around your head and hanging from every available tree in the area.

We skirted the resort, keeping an eye out for the resident Kangaroos, which we couldn't find on this trip, and for any lizards that might be around.  Up the hill at the lookout the damage done by Cyclone Ilui because quite apparent.  Even two months on many of the trees haven't recovered, and the canopy is so thin its hard to imaging many of the shyer birds and animals being able to survive.  Still, the lower areas of the island are thriving, and this is hardly the first cyclone to pass through the area, so the resilience of the animals and habitats is clearly up to the task.

The view from the two lookouts at the top of the island is magical.  From the northern lookout you can see the Whitsunday Islands stretching into the distance, with Hamilton Island a distant shadow on the horizon.  From the western lookout you can see back to the mainland, but also down onto the bay where Wild Cat sits on the sand, and to our camp.  You can also see the full extent of the endangered Coastal Scrub habitat we are working to save from weeds - a great visual reminder of the goals of our trips to Brampton.

The clouds were closing in so we decided not to stay for sunset on this trip - on other trips when the weather is good we stay at the lookouts to watch the spectacular tropical sunsets from the best vantage point on the island.  On this particular day we headed back to the camp in daylight instead.  We finished the best day on the island with a celebration of what was to be our final night of the trip.

Location

Wildlife

Butterflies 17 species
Varied Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina) 1
Large Citrus Butterfly, Orchard Butterfly, Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus) 1
Northern Jezabel, Scarlet Jezebel (Delias argenthona) 1
Marsh Tiger (Danaus affinis) 1
Common Grass-blue (Zizina labradus) 1
Meadow Argus (Junonia villida) 1
Bordered Rustic (Cupha prosope) 1
Small Dusky-blue (Candalides erinus) 1
Common Grass-yellow, Large Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe) 1
Caper Gull (Cepora perimale) 1
Yellow Albatross (Appias paulina) 1
Bright Oak-blue (Arhopala madytus) 1
Dingy Bush-brown (Mycalesis perseus) 1
Blue Tiger (Tirumala hamata) 1
Greasy Swallowtail (Cressida cressida) 1
Purple Crow (Euploea tulliolus) 1
Common Evening-brown (Melanitis leda) 1
Land Birds 30 species
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) 20
Leaden Flycatcher (Myiagra rubecula) 15
Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina) 15
Spectacled Monarch (Symposiachrus trivirgatus) 10
Dusky Myzomela (Myzomela obscura) 10
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) 10
White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) 9
Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus) 6
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) 4
White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) 4
Orange-footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt) 4
Torresian Crow (Corvus orru) 4
Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris) 4
Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) 3
Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) 3
Tree Martin (Petrochelidon nigricans) 3
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) 2
Bar-shouldered Dove (Geopelia humeralis) 2
Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) 2
Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus) 2
Pacific Reef Heron (Egretta sacra) 2
Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor) 2
Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) 1 Heard only
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) 1 Heard only
Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) 1
Varied Triller (Lalage leucomela) 1 Heard only
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) 1
Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius) 1 Heard only
Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia amboinensis) 1
Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) 1 Heard only
Seabirds 1 species
Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) 7
Dragonflies 1 species
Orthetrum sabina 1

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Written by

Chris