Atherton Tablelands Birdwatchers' Cabin

tall sclerophyll forest

Rainforest Rock Orchid

Small Eyelash Orchid

Blepharochilum macphersonii

Smilax australis

Buttercup Orchid, Trachyrhizum agrostophyllum  

 all photos taken on our property


The vegetation type on our property is called ‘ tall open forest’ or ‘wet sclerophyll forest’,  with the dominant trees being smooth-barked Rose Gums (Eucalyptus grandis) along the creeks and gullies, Red Mahogany (E. resinifera) and Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), interspersed with Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus)and Casuarinas (Allocasuarina torulosa) .

The understorey  consists mainly of sclerophyll (hard-leaved) shrubs and numerous rainforest pioneers, usually easily recognized by their softer, larger leaves.

The ground layer is made up of grasses, native ginger and ground orchids. Many (tasty, from a tree-kangaroo’s perspective) vines often reach up into the canopy and represent a significant amount of foliage. We regularily find traces of possum or tree-roo feeding activities: many leaves scattered on the ground (often sprinkled with droppings) across a small area. Remarkably, often only the leaf stalkes have been eaten, maybe they are more nutrious than the rest of the leaf?

Along the walking tracks, we labelled the dominant plants and some rarities, more to be added over time.

We are in a transition zone (ecotone) between rainforest and sclerophyll forest, which results in a very diverse plant community. Rainforest species, many of them pioneers, are spreading from the nearby rainforest (about 400m to the east) along the creeks and the larger gully, but seedlings are also sprouting throughout the drier parts of the forest, probably from bird droppings. Some of these rainforest species also occur in wet sclerophyll forest. 

The sclerophyll forest is more open than rainforest, making it easier to observe birds (although they can be fairly high up in the canopy).

There are many species of orchids in our forest, several still undescribed (like the large Greenhood Orchid near our driveway). Most species of Australian orchids are terrestrial, becoming only conspicuous when they are in flower. Epiphytes are numerous.


A fungus enthusiast will find many interesting forms, often brightly coloured.



Giant Boat-lip Orchid, Cymbidium madidum 

Blue Lilly Pilly
Syzygium oleosum

Red Mahogany, Eucalyptus resinifera