Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Mouth almighty

Glossamia aprion at the Cairns Aquarium
Mouth almighties (or is that mouths almighty?) are a native species of which I had never heard when I moved up to Cairns. At no more than 15cm they're too small to be of much interest to anglers while perhaps too large and not colourful enough to be aquarium favourites.

As the name suggests, the species has a large mouth with which they suck up smaller fish passing by (such as the Lake Eacham rainbowfish of which they are thought to have played a role in the local extinction). But the mouth is used for another reason that interests me: they're mouth-brooding fish like my cichlids, although in the mouth almighty it's the male that carries the young. I'm thinking about giving them a try some day.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Common tree snake

Dendrelaphis punctulata at the Cairns Aquarium
The common tree snake is very common in the Cairns area where it seems to be called the green tree snake, probably as that's its most common colour. They're highly variable with colours varying through various combinations of yellow, green, brown, blue and black. 

They're utterly harmless to people, and seriously cute.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Australian Institute of Marine Science

AIMS's lovely main display tank with corals healthy enough to have introduced corallivore filefish
Another of my reasons for recently heading down to Townsville was to go to the Australian Institute of Marine Science's tour that runs each Friday at their Cape Cleveland facility. It included a wander through the SeaSim, a large research lab where the Institute runs some of its experiments including looking at how coral might cope with rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels. One of their hopes is to develop heat resistant corals which can then be transplanted onto the reef in the hope the genes responsible may spread.

While AIMS do have a couple of traditional style aquariums, with one particularly stunning display tank and couple of smaller ones, it is a research facility and most of the tanks are rather industrial. If you want to see fish, head to Reef HQ or the Cairns Aquarium. AIMS has large numbers of smaller tanks for growing coral frags in various conditions (such as sediment levels, carbon dioxide level, temperature etc). Most of the tanks are no more than a foot or two deep.

The tour bypassed the filter room, which I would have quite liked to see. Aquarium plumbing excites me. I'm sure nobody else on the tour minded that we gave it a miss.

Unfortunately my camera's battery ran out shortly after stepping into the SeaSim, and my phone's camera really didn't produce great results, but below the fold are some of the photos.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

A confusing message from the NAB

This afternoon I peeked at the messages on my mobile phone and noticed a one from a private number yesterday. I opened it and was rather surprised. The fact it was for Brian wasn't surprising. A wrong number isn't surprising. That it was from the National Australia Bank (NAB) is also unsurprising. No, it's what the NAB was calling Brian about:

The norovirus antigen? Has there been a norovirus outbreak at the NAB? Is it an extremely thorough credit check? Germ warfare as a strategy against their competitors?

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Wildlife in the water hazard

Townsville Golf Club

One of the reasons for my recent trip down to Townsville was to play at Townsville Golf Club. I assumed that Thursdays would be an easy day to get on, but it turned out to be a competition day and I was stuck behind that so I ended up only playing nine holes. Behind the comp it took just over two hours for the nine holes, while I have done 18 holes in two and a quarter before. It was very slow.

The course seemed in pretty good condition. Recent rains, which took the Ross River Dam from 15% to 85% in a day, had greened all of Townsville up and the golf course was no exception. There are some very nice holes, in particular the 2nd, 5th and 9th. I think the bunkers were particularly appealing to me, although I didn't get to play out of any of them.

I intended to head back to play the back nine on the Friday, but ended up deciding to spend more time running around aquarium shops, in part due to the threat of rain - which didn't come. I'll head back again some time and maybe take in Rowes Bay on the same trip.

Some very nice green-side bunkers on the second hole. I almost wish I had gone into them.

The 3rd is a par five built from an old four and a three. Why did they fill in that green-side bunker?

The 4th green where a crow pinched a ball I had broken from its box on the tee

The par three fifth was my favourite of the nine. My tee shot ended up short left.

The seventh is a very short par four for competitions, but a par three from another tee for social play.

My drive on the 8th ended up under the rain tree on the corner of the dogleg.

The ninth is another short par four with a pond to the right and more nice bunkers.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Noisy miners

A couple of years after I moved to Cairns I made a trip down to Townsville with work and, with time to spare before the flight home, I went to a driving range near the airport. On the walk I heard a swoosh very close to my head, and it was then that I realised we don't have magpies in Cairns.

A trip to Townsville this week brought a meeting with another regular bird in Canberra that we don't have in Cairns- the noisy miner. They are, apparently, found up on the Tablelands although I've never seen them there. It felt a little odd realising I hadn't seen the species for 18 years when they were so common down south.

A discarded banana peel (not mine) on the golf course seemed enough of a prize that these two didn't mind me being fairly close.

I can't help but anthropomorphise: "Do you mind not photographing while we eat?"

Friday, 23 March 2018

Right of reply

Along many of the highways around Cairns you will find white signs with red text making various references to Christianity - "Jesus died for your sins", "The Lord's return is near", etc. They're always the same typeface so I'm guessing it's one evangelical church group that put them up. Some seem to have been there for quite a while, others are newer.

I've sometimes thought it would be amusing to add a reply underneath one of the signs, and it seems I'm not the only one:

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Alas B3... A work fridge update

Someone threw B3 and L1 into the trash.

More interesting is B2, which someone decided should be moved to a different shelf rather than being lobbed in the bin I don't know if it was the owner thinking it can be salvaged, someone obeying the law not to throw someone else's stuff out, or someone else experimenting with it.

Friday, 9 March 2018

B1 has seen better days

I can't quite remember when I first noticed B1. It was some months ago. Certainly at least in October, maybe earlier. It was in the fridge at work, starting to turn brown. I should have thrown it out, but it wasn't mine. I left it there. Manners demanded it. You don't throw out other people's stuff.

The days passed, and I decided to see how long it would be until the owner, or someone else, threw it out. I waited. It stayed there. I told a couple of colleagues about it. It stayed there. It became an observational study of sorts.

By December it was looking pretty awful. Surely it would be thrown out eventually. Is everybody else in the office doing an observational study too?