This morning we were awakened at 05:38 a.m. by a dawn concert of sugar gliders and birds, all singing their hearts out next to the lodge in port Douglas. What a fantastic experience – nature at its best! We were even able to observe a mother and baby (see photo). Since we were now all awake, we went to the beach to observe mud skippers in a mangrove biotope flowing into the sea.
At 8:00 a.m., after breakfast, we drove for two hours from Port Douglas towards Lake Eacham/ Lake Barrine. Paul met us on the way. He has got a pet shop in Cairns and knows the area well. He is going to accompany the team for the next two days to show us some interesting biotopes. On the way there we visited a local breeder who has been operating an open marine water installation in his garden with the minimum of equipment. He told us a few things about his hobby.
For lunch we stopped at a small shopping mile. Australian burgers are really delicious. Also some of our group made the most of our last shopping opportunity before the rainforest. And if you’d expect them to be buying fruit or something healthy, you’d be wrong. They selected chocolates, crisps and other comfort food to guarantee their “survival” in the outback. One participant found they still had a pear in their luggage and laughed: “What’s this?” At least the group wouldn’t starve if war broke out now. We had purchased more than enough of everything and it was a sight for sore eyes.
On the next stage of our journey we stopped off at the Emerald Creek Falls. It is a wonderful biotope with watercourses. Inside there were a lot of rainbow fish, including Melanotaenia eachamensis and perch-like fish. At the bottom and on the embankment there were also many small but colourless shrimps to be found. The water samples on-site showed that the pH was only 7.0. Which is quite strange because then the entire CO2 must have been expelled from the water. KH and G were identical with 2°. We carried out the same sort of tests and observations at Lake Eachem. The analyses were taken both ashore and under water.
While driving past we saw a sign at Lake Barrine, situated near Lake Eachem in the Crater Lake National Park, referring to the tilapia (African cichlid), which is found there as invasive species. It’s shocking that this problem is a result of our carelessness. But we’ll be able to say more about this tomorrow.
It’s a very dry region, with a humidity of only 44%. Paul explained that the biotopes with free-living / wild kangaroos are getting smaller and smaller because of the many houses which have been built nearby in the last years. The kangaroos are increasingly likely to stray on to the streets and get run over.
In the evening we found accommodation in the Chambers Wildlife Rainforest lodges at the edge of the national park. On the way to dinner we noticed an approximately 3 m long carpet python lying on the street. The group stopped and saved the animal from being run over. It has a very beautiful marking and allowed us to help it. Before we went to bed, we drove to a place made ready for our night observation. The light shone upwards into the treetops so that we were able to observe what the sugar gliders were up to.