At this time of year, it’s hot and sticky in Quinkan country near Laura in Cape York. Collecting in the wet season has really paid off, as the trying conditions mean that few have attempted to collect during this time of lush growth and abundant water.
The sandstone plateau, basalt peaks and often waterfall-fed gullies are alive with species impossible to find in the dry season. Many plants that are brown lifeless stems during the dry have shot up and burst into bloom – and with them have arisen thousands of invertebrates to eat the fresh leaves, and collect nectar and pollen from the flowers.
Our chopper pilots Magoo and Mitch take the teams to survey sites inaccessible by vehicle due to flooded creeks and boggy tracks. The aerial view from the chopper also allows us to spot possible routes into hidden springs tucked into the spectacular gullies and cliff-lines.
Swept with tropical afternoon showers, the choppers weave between downpours that often leave the teams refreshingly soaked to the bone – a welcome relief after a day’s collecting in the heat.