Nature and Wildlife Photography with marysejansenart
Exploring the natural wonders of the Lamington Rainforest
Exploring a rainforest guarantees to evoke a sense of awe as there are so many natural wonders waiting to be discovered. Each walk will bring a different experience. I like to go in with an open mind and no specific expectations and just open my senses to the wonders of the rainforest! Let me take you along!
Table of Contents
1. Queensland Brush Box – Rainforest Giants
As I walk through the rainforest, I marvel at the great variety of plants and trees. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiniest mosses to the massive trees dubbed as ‘Rainforest Giants’. Several species would qualify to be in this category, such as the Strangler Fig, but this part of the forest is dominated by the Queensland Brush Box.
Some of these trees in the area are dated up to 1500 years old! The lower part of their trunk has a rough brown bark, and the upper part a smooth pink bark. They have large green leaves, but these are so high up in the canopy that I can’t see them very well. To be able to ‘hug’ the tree you would need a number of people to be able to close the circle around it, the trunk is that massive! The Box Tree is definitely one of the wonders of the rainforest!
2. Magnificent views
As I walk on, on the gradually ascending trail, the environment suddenly changes. I have reached such an altitude that I am now emerging from the rainforest, and the vegetation opens up into magnificent views! Mountains and cliffs, covered in rainforest as far as the eye can see! It is absolutely stunning! I love this different perspective on the forest: from above, where the tree tops sit next to each other like little broccoli heads. A Peregrine Falcon soars over the canopy with a shrill call, in search of prey. The perfect place for a picnic!
3. Dancing water
It hasn’t rained as much recently as the last time I was in the Lamington National Park, but from the top of the rocks I detect a hint of a waterfall. It’s not much more then a little trickle, but the wind turns it into a dancing spray. It is quite fascinating to watch it continually shifting and swirling and the way the light plays with it too. To see it and some other wonders of the rainforest, watch the new episode of ‘Come for a walk in the Australian Bush’ at the bottom of this article.
4. Forest Lobelias
I continue on and descend into the forest again. While the rainforest consists mainly of green and brown tones, occasionally there is a bright speck of colour. It may belong to fungi, a bird, an insect or a wildflower. At the moment I’m coming across many patches of pretty little blue-purplish flowers. These are Forest Lobelias.
This herbacious plant creeps over the forest floor. It flowers during summer and autumn and produces upright flower spikes with 3-6 flowers. Each flower has five petals, the two upper ones are curled up which gives the flower an interesting shape. The throat of the flower is white, and this colour extends into the centre part of the blue-purple petals. It likes to grow in wet forests in Queensland and New South Wales.
5. A mysterious creature
A bright orange-red dot attracts my attention. A small critter, about 1-2cm big, wanders around on a twig on the forest floor. It looks amazing, unlike anything I’ve ever seen – even on photos! It kind of looks like a walking sea anemone! Fascinating! I count the legs on my photos – it has eight, so it must be a spider or at least some type of arachnid. All the guidebooks, apps and internet pages I visit afterwards give me nothing that is remotely close to this creature!
I post it as a Nature-bite on LinkedIn and ask if anyone knows what it is. One of my connections suggests ‘A Red Velvet Mite species (Family Trombidiidae)’. I had considered mites in my search but discarded the idea as I’d read they are no bigger then the size of a pinhead. I do another search on this more specific suggestion and then land on ‘Giant Red Velvet Mites’ (Genus Dinothrombium), which can be up to 1.2cm – some of which indeed look a bit similar to the creature in my image.
But I am not quite satisfied as these don’t look quite so ‘hairy’ like mine. So I keep on searching and eventually find the Genus Mesothrombium. This one really does look a lot like the creature in my image! Despite the fact that there are at least 55 000 named species of mites (which is estimated to only be 10% of those in existence!), it looks to me like the mystery has been solved to my satisfaction. We are definitely looking at a type of Red Velvet Mite!
6. Rainforest damselflies
The rainforest also harbours its own set of species of damselflies which add their bit of colour to the environment. Near a creek I spot the bright orange and black of the Flame Flatwing and the iridescent blue of the Whitewater Rockmaster. Unfortunately the spectacular looking Rockmaster escapes from my camera, but I do get some footage of the amzing Flame Flatwing. Then I notice a pair of Springs Flatwings in the mating position. Their mating wheel looks just like a love heart! Isn’t that a little wonder?!
This medium-sized damselfly inhabits streams near their springs. They can be found in north-east New South Wales and south-east Queensland. The insects are metallic black with pale yellow to orange markings and they have an interesting blue shine on the bottom half of their black eyes which you can see when you catch them in the right light conditions.
Like other Flatwings, they rest with their wings spread. The sunlight seeping through the dark canopy of the rainforest creates quite harsh contrasts but it has a beautiful effect reflecting all colours of the rainbow on the wings! I take some photos and begin to film as they are just finishing their mating act and untangle from the mating wheel! Amazing footage! Check it out in the video below!
The creek leads me to a waterfall in a very dark corner of the rainforest. These are the Nagarigoon Falls. It is a beautiful spot and a couple of sun rays break through the dense vegetation overhead to create a magical effect of light pillars shining on the rock pool and through the waterfall! You can see it in the featured image.
Bring your own sense of wonder when you join me on my walk and watch the new episode of ‘Come for a walk in the Australian Bush’ to see more wonders of the rainforest:
If you are interested in purchasing ‘Nagarigoon Falls’ or would like to see what the image looks like on the various products, please head to my shop. Also check out my Rainforest Gallery for the other images in this post and more here.