MALANDA FALLS VISITOR CENTRE Six things to look out for in

Six things to look out for in March
The forest laurels are producing some large seeded fruit at the
moment. These were some of the key food sources for rainforest
aboriginal people. Pictured is one of the favourites, Yellow Walnut
(Ngajan = ganggi), which is one of the seeds needing least processing.
Hairy walnut (very thick flesh) and Black walnut (apricot inner flesh)
are also falling.
With the summer rain and wind, there has been massive leaf fall. The
leaves will soon be converted to soil by fungi and other organisms. As
well, there is lots of new plant growth. Look out for the red new leaves
quite common in rainforest. New leaves are not ready to
photosynthesise yet and many reflect the red light normally used for
that process.
One of the birds that will make use of all the fallen leaves is the orangefooted scrub fowl. It is more shy than the common brush turkey that
inhabits the forest, but it also incubates it’s young with the assistance
of a compost heap. Eggs are laid in a large pile of leaves made into a
heap (to 4.5m high and 9m across), often against a tree.
Of course, watch out for our amazing Lumholtz Tree Kangaroos. Young
individuals have been sighted near the road edge recently. Originally
thought to be nocturnal, it is now known they are cathemeral - active
intermittently throughout the 24 hour period. Tree kangaroos are often
sighted by tourists at the park, both resting and active.
The park is home to several snake species, mostly not considered
dangerous (like the carpet python pictured). All the same, please stay on
the paths and be aware. If you are lucky enough to see a snake, just keep
your distance and stay calm. (In the recent flooding, a large snake was
seen swimming across the river).
While snakes are more likely to be seen when the sun comes out after
rain … wet conditions favour leeches. The bite won’t hurt (due to an
anaesthetic in the leech saliva) but bites get very itchy a day or two
later. Due to the anti-coagulant in the saliva, the small bites do look