March 3rd 2011
Unexpected outcome from Yasi
Magnetic Islanders have witnessed a lot of changes since Cyclone Yasi but one less obvious phenomenon has been observed by Magnetic Island History and Craft Centre member Vandhana and it may lead to a very beautiful result.
I was wanting to tell you about an unexpected phenomenon occurring in Picnic Bay and, I hear, in other parts of the Island. One week after Cyclone Yasi, there was a profusion of butterflies in Picnic Bay and in Arcadia, where I live. All varieties, from Cairns Birdwing to Ulysses and Grass Yellows, (even a pair of Blue Tigers!). How they survived the Cyclone amazes me. Two weeks after that, they are a lot less in number, but, just as our devestated eucalypts, other natives and garden plants were coming into new green growth, a massive number of caterpillars has appeared, voraciously devouring all green leaves within their reach. Birds are having an unexpected field day, grabbing as much of the wriggling protein as they can.
A figbird eats a caterpillar
On the History Centre land in Picnic Bay, around the School and Butler Hut buildings, we have to duck and weave constantly, to avoid hundreds of small wriggling caterpillars which suddenly drop on silken threads from the trees and comically move, as only caterpillars can, along the ground to find the next source of green munchies. Every plant, Bloodwood, Frangipani, Cocky apple, Cudgeree, Tamarind, Burdekin Plum are being stripped bare!
All I can think is that this is a natural event, which the trees will survive and we will benefit from in the form of a profusion of beautiful butterflies around the Island in a month or two. Has anyone else noticed?
Letter and photos: Vandhana
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