Animals, Australia, Gardening
Comments 9

Stalking Dragons: A Water Dragon Trilogy #1

Hey, so, it’s my blog and one of the biggest kicks it gives me is coming up with the post titles. I’m aware that “dragon” and “trilogy” are encroaching on fantasy novel territory, but there’s more than a touch of fantasy in this post (and the two follow-ups).

(Plus I’m kinda hoping the post titles will turn up in occasional Google searches by fans of fantasy literature: folks feeding their love of all things Dragonslayer, Dragonlord, Dragon Hunter, Dragonpanties et al…)

But the post itself: I’ve been so overwhelmed lately with a) general living and all its uncertainties and b) keeping my head above the constantly rising floodwaters of photos and post ideas (I have a dozen or more in mind at any point) that sometimes un- or partially edited pictures and post material get left behind and one day I come across stuff that’s relatively old, swamped by weeks of other stuff, forgotten.

The other day I discovered photos from three excursions to Brisbane’s Roma Street Parkland: January 10, August 8 and August 28 this year. The park, which adjoins one of the major city train stations, is, along with the old botanic gardens, my favourite place to wander in the city.

I’ve seen it evolve from a stretch of dusty wasteland and railway goods yard below hillside Albert Park — I’d slump, or trudge, or skulk (depending on the day) through it sometimes, on my way to high school way back in the faded-polaroid 70s — to the vibrant haven of horticulturally superb subtropical gardens, lawns and water features it is today.

I dig wasting a few hours there, wandering, checking out the plants, taking my shoes off in the shade but especially hanging with the water dragons. These big, beautiful lizards, a single species divided into two subspecies, of which the eastern water dragon is the local variety, are gasp-inducing for those humans enjoying first-time encounters, and still cool even when you’re used to them.

Well, you never really get used to them. They blow my mind anew each time, actually, and just when I’m starting to take them for granted I’ll see a tourist shriek and jump a metre or two backwards in fright, and I feel again that special glow of affinity tinged with antipodean pride.

These dragons are suburban saurians of convenient size, bristling with undeniable personality, and they thrive at Roma Street, no doubt in large part because they’re safe there and there’s no shortage of water — says noted authority Professor Wikipedia, they are able to swim totally submerged, and rest on the bottom of shallow creeks or lakes for up to 90 minutes, to avoid detection.

I talked about the Roma Street dragons a few years back if you’re interested. This time I’ve put together a little trilogy, pretentious though that might sound, built not so much around the dates but the themes that emerged. I’ll keep ’em heavy on pictures, light on words.

There’s a bit of horticulture, but the stars of the series are obvious.

Here Be Eastern Water Dragons…


How true. A colourful spot in the flower gardens.


Adult males can reach a metre long or more.


My barrel runneth over.


As a tourist toy-train rattles past, my reptilian friend & I turn our heads in distaste at their vulgarity.


A brief break in my herpetological studies for some religious observance.


I love the juxtaposition of mini-dinosaurs & flowers.


Blanket flowers — we have them in the garden in Saratoga Springs.


Those spikes on the head comprise a nuchal crest, the others a vertebral crest.


Bombax ceiba, or red cotton tree. Not the Queensland cotton tree but an Asian native. That building is Brisbane’s tallest, Infinity.


Water dragon eyes are a study in paranoia as the dragon stalker edges closer.


Palms & bromeliads. In case you didn’t know, the common pineapple is a bromeliad. If you did know, sorry for wasting your time.


A handsome devil indeed.


Palm trunks & bromeliads.


Contemplating a quick dip.


It’s hard to escape Infinity. Everywhere you look, there it is.


Dragon in the Undergrowth.


The Stairway to Knowledge is guarded by the Bird of Death.


“None shall pass.”


Free for park guests.


Dragon Cascades.


Rainforest Shadows. This is a beautiful section, and prime dragon habitat.


You have to admire that tail. I find something intriguingly feline about these basking reptiles.


Blue-Faced Honey-Eater.


Enjoying the radiant heat from a convenient wall.


Fiery succulence.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote



  1. Hey, loved this post as I’m a bit of a fan of waterdragons myself. I sometimes take my laptop to to the Japanese Gardens at Ipswich to work and there are often a few really big specimens there. I have to laugh too when people don’t notice them and suddenly get a bit of a fright. They are quite entertaining creatures and I love the fantasy element. Lots of great pictures here. I hope life becomes less overwhelming soon. I also have the “problem” of having multiple blog posts buzzing around my head. Try not to drown in photos. 🙂

    • Thanks, Jane, I’ve cut out early-morning walks for a while, in part to let me catch up on what I have on the hard drive — and how many photos of rippling sand in blue light do I need?

      I am pretty fond of sitting with the laptop in a park. No dragons in my local one though, just enough squawking birds to keep things jungle-like.

  2. Hi Ian, love RSP as my longtime volunteer workplace..that spiky tree is just a few years old. Its called Bombax Ceiba.. or silk floss or Cotton tree from SE Asia and blooms are spectacularly pink. The prickles are said to deter climbing creatures(monkeys?, water dragons?) when trees are young.

  3. This is so strange. As I was perusing the internet for a new pair of dragon panties, I came upon this post! What luck! Beautiful photos, water dragons galore and so well written. It’s a good day. 🙂

    • You know, you could have just asked and I would have lent you a pair of mine.

      More dragons (and a few other critters) due in tomorrow’s post (my time)!

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