The earth’s numerous rainforests vary widely depending on rainfall, climate, proximity to equator and many more factors. Here’s a look at the Daintree Rainforest, the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent.
Approximately 460 square miles (1,200 sq. km.) in size, it is nestled in the northeastern part of the continent on Cape York Peninsula.
One of the world’s rarest and most unique birds, the southern Cassowary lives in this rainforest. It is listed as Endangered, with 1,500-2,500 individuals left in Australia.
Standing six feet tall with bright red and blue features, Casuarius casuarius is elusive. A flightless bird and second heaviest in the world, other features include: a keratin helmet atop the head; and one toe with a blade-like claw used for kicking, capable of killing dogs and humans.
One day our guide took us birding deep into this rainforest. We were quietly elated when a male cassowary came upon us. But soon we noticed he was very agitated with us, in spite of our respectful distance and quietness. As he became more agitated, we did our best to flee without disturbing him, and fortunately we did get away.
You can read more about it in a previously-written post (Bowerbird Bowers).
During our two weeks in the Daintree Rainforest, I asked all the Daintree people we met if they had ever seen a cassowary. Only one person had.
It’s a quirky part of the world, that’s what I love about it. The Village has a population of 78. We were the only guests in the only hotel.
We lodged in Daintree to take the Daintree River early morning river cruise–a marvelous adventure. Although we saw many beautiful birds on this cruise (a few photographed here), our favorite was the Papuan Frogmouth. (Study the photo carefully, he is camouflaged, in the center.)
Our first night in Daintree Village, we ate dinner at their only evening restaurant. There was a shrine of Queen Elizabeth II next to the cash register, and we listened several times to Johnny Cash singing “Ring of Fire.”
After dinner we walked the short distance (100 yards) back to the hotel, and in that brief nighttime walk we came across six large cane toads, and two-inch cicadas swarming our heads; and watched as a grass snake tried desperately to get into the room next door.
Stalking killer birds, persistent reptiles, and a place where the only busy nightlife is wildlife. Ah, that’s my kind of place.
All photos taken by Athena Alexander.
A mystery novel I wrote, with Australian bird and wildlife scenes.
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