Saturday, 17 November 2012

In the Wild...amazing nature.

I've just spent an amazing two weeks in far north Queensland.....Cape Tribulation, Atherton Tablelands, The Daintree. It's such a beautiful part of the world....rainforests, beaches, clear blue oceans, waterfalls, and amazing plants and wildlife unique to that area. In their natural habitats we were fortunate enough to see Cassowaries, Platypus, Ulysses and Cairns Birdwing butterflies, Paradise Kingfishers, and saltwater crocodiles.  Stangler figs and Kauri Pines that were hundreds of years old amazes us.
It made me so aware that no matter how "powerful" or "superior" we humans may think we are.....we can't even come close to what occurs over and over in nature. I found it very humbling.
Just for example...the iridescent blue on the wings of the Ulysses butterfly, the red and blue colouration on the head of the Cassowarry, and the glossy shiny blackness of his feathers and likewise the feathers of the satin flycatcher bird. Or the saphire blue on the back of the Paradise kingfisher, in contrast to the brilliant orange breast and claws. These colours flawlessly repeated in every generation.
We were thrilled to see some platypus, at dusk, in a little creek in Youngaburra. There were babies and adults. We were able to watch the water droplets roll off their completely wateproof fur as they dived for small crustaceans and water insects then returned to the surface for air before diving again. So perfectly adapted to their homes in the creek bank.
Then there were the crocodiles we saw sunning on the banks of the Daitree River and they just command respect (and fear!) but are so perfectly suited to their place in the environment that they are unchanged since prehistory times. Another species that you have to respect for it's ability to adapt are the mangroves in the wetlands areas...the leaves  and roots have the ability to tolerate sudden changes in salt, and oxygen in the water they grow in. We can't do that! And nothing is wasted in the wetlands, or the rainforest. Perfect recycling of one lifeform dies it becomes nutrient source for some other lifeform. The extensive above ground root systems of the Strangler Figs "house" a community of creatures that drink the water that pools and feed on the compost that builds in their enormous convoluted roots. And then feeds the tree....Genius! And then the tree, and all the others in the extensive rainforests, remove the carbon dioxide in the air and create the oxygen we breathe. No waste. My daughter refers to the Strangler Figs as the "Kings of the forest"- a well earned, though perhaps not grand enough, title I think.
And the power of the waterfalls generating electricity through hydro-electic schemes in many areas on the Tablelands. Likewise a windfarm at "Windy Hill" near Ravenshoe that converts kinetic into electrical energy and generates enough electricity for 3500 homes in the area. No mess, no mining, and both completely renewable and constantly available forms of energy! Such power.
Don't take me wrong, humans can do amazing things, but I think sometimes we forget what great examples nature provides for us- and I was really grateful to have had the chance to spend the time noticing it.

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