Wondecla Woodland in Autumn

Driving only 10 minutes west from our property in tall eucalypt forest takes you into a completely different habitat: open woodland, which is much more open, the trees are smaller (and, of course, different species) and the undergrowth is sparse, as it is much drier here.

gumbark_1

There were many mistletoes in flower, attracting different species of honeyeaters, like this Yellow-faced Honeyeater.

yellow-faced honeyeater_1

Also rich in nectar are Grevilleas

grevillea_1

and Melaleucas (Paperbarks)

paperbark_1

One of my favourite flowers was in bloom, too: a Fringed Lily

fringed lily_1

Insects were still numerous, making the best of the sunny and warm autumn days.

These sawfly larvae are not caterpillars, but a type of primitive wasp. They were crossing the road, huddled together in the shape of a leaf. They frequently stopped, and started moving again as soon as the frontrunners started tapping their “tails’:

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under wildlife

Atherton Tablelands Birdwatchers’ Cabin

We are still busy,  moving to our new property south of Atherton, but here is a first impression of our birdlife there.  Erica and Mike, keen birders from the US, stayed with us in December, and took this footage:

It was very dry then, but since the beginning of the year, we’ve had more than 600mm of long-awaited rain. It brought out many frogs, including these Orange-thighed Treefrogs (Litoria xanthomera):

one male calling:

one-frog-calling1

and it didn’t take long at all:

success!

success-1g

3 Comments

Filed under wildlife

more about Muskies

We do enjoy  watching the Musky Rat-kangaroos in our garden, and sometimes we tease them with a very tempting morsel:

Musky Rat-kangaroos are mainly fruit-eaters (although they were quite keen on a dead White-tailed Rat, and one musky actually managed to drag the cadaver off into the forest), and they absolutely love avocado.

The seed is big and slippery, of course, so they cannot grab it with their teeth. No matter, from which side it tries to grab the seed, it just cannot get a hold of it:

 

Leave a comment

Filed under wildlife

Rainforest Babies

Here in Kuranda, this latest addition to our mob of Red-legged Pademelons has left its mother’s pouch for the first time (and the dominant male, quite possibly its dad, was there for the occasion, too).
baby-pademelon
img_4500_1
The little Red-legged Pademelon is hardly bigger than our smallest kangaroos, the Musky Rat-kangaroo.
 Most of the Musky Rat-kangaroo females have full pouches at this time of the year.
full-load_1
heavy-load
They normally have twins, and as you can see, it is getting crowded in the pouch.  I managed to get a few glimpses of babies shortly before mum left them behind in the nest, which she built from leaves on the ground in the forest.
fist-fights-in-the-pouch_1
whats-that-in-the-pouch_1

 

Cassowary update:

Dad and Socks are still mating (4 months now!), and leaving skid marks on the lawn:
mating-skid-marks
A few days ago, she made inviting moves towards him, he took the next opportunity to sit down behind a big rock , as if he wanted to hide from her. She certainly looked perplexed to me as she stood there on the lawn, waiting, for about 5 minutes! No mating  this time.
where-did-he-go_1

Leave a comment

Filed under wildlife

Cassowaries mating, July 2016

Today Dad spent half an hour feeding, preening and relaxing in our garden.

When he started to make himself really tall and strutted towards the cabin, I knew that Socks, his new mate for the last three weeks, must be within sight.

As you can see, he is not afraid of her anymore! Indeed, the first of their matings happened the day after I wrote the last blog.

She sat on the ground afterwards for a while, looking slightly dishevelled:

IMG_3692_1

This close-up (doesn’t she have great “eye-brows”!), shows what looks like a new tip of her beak:

sock's beak_1

From a greater distance (she’s on the left), her beak looks perfectly normal:

IMG_3701_1

Leave a comment

Filed under wildlife

ANOTHER BIRDWATCHERS’ CABIN!

 

From 2017, we shall have a new cabin near Atherton: “ATHERTON TABLELANDS BIRDWATCHER’S CABIN”.

The cabin has already been completed and has been approved by the local “building inspector” (a young female cassowary made an unexpected appearance):

building inspector

May in May2016 2

cabin bcard

It is situated on our 35 acres (14 hectares) of forest, close to Mount Hypipamee National Park (“The Crater”), bordering onto Herberton Range National Park (in the Wet tropics World Heritage area), 25 minutes south of Atherton.

Our property shares a 250m boundary with the national park, and is the perfect place to enjoy peace and tranquillity.

The 1000m elevation makes it cooler and less humid than Kuranda.

The vegetation consists of tall open forest (‘Wet Sclerophyll Forest’) with the dominant trees being 30-40m high Rose Gums (Eucalyptus grandis), Red Mahogany (E. resinifera) and Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera). The diverse understorey contains many rainforest species, which also grow along the creeks.

forest 4

The transition zone (ecotone) between rainforest and tall eucalyptus forest supports an equally rich fauna:

There are more possum and glider species here than anywhere else in the world (10 identified on our property, including the northern subspecies of the Yellow-bellied Glider(YBG)), Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos, a number of ground-dwelling marsupials and more than 10 species of frogs. Leaf-tailed Geckos, Water Dragons and Boyd’s Forest Dragons are numerous.

The Rose Gums readily form hollows (perfect homes for all those tree-dwellers), Red Mahoganies are the favourite food trees for the YBG, which make incisions into the bark with their teeth to then feed on the exuding sap –and they are often joined by Sugar Gliders and Feathertail Gliders.

The gullies and creeks are corridors for rainforest plants and animals.

forest 5-our creek

Birds of the rainforest, like Victoria’s Riflebird and Superb Fruit-doves, can be seen as well as those at home in the drier forests, like Crimson Rosellas, Crested Shrike-tits, lorikeets, many flycatchers and honeyeaters.

The cabin’s veranda, orientated towards our small creek, is an ideal spot for watching wildlife. You may even be so lucky as to see a tree-kangaroo!

cabin 6

Tree-roo in distance

A bird list of the about 100 species, which occur on our property, will be on the “birds and birding” page of our soon to be established website.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Atherton Tablelands, far north Queensland, Australia, Australian birds, cassowary, tall eucalyptus forest, Tree-kangaroo, wildlife

Cassowary Relationships

Recently a new female cassowary moved in, and she seems to have filled the vacancy left by “Missy”.

Socks May2016

Her wattles have a distinctive shape, and we decided to call her “Socks”.

Socks
She still has a few brown tail feathers, but is already bigger than the resident male, “Dad”. Our guess is, that she is about 3-4 years old, and this might well be her first mating season.
He is definitely interested in her: initially, he frequently made soft contact calls (similar to a chimpanzee’s or gorilla’s grunting), while standing several meters away from her. She pretended not to be interested, having her back turned to him. As soon as she started to slowly approach him, he got scared and took off like a chased Brush Turkey, protesting loudly.

You can identify the male by his longer tail feathers. ‘Dad’s’ casque tilts to the right, whereas ‘Sock’s’ is straight and unblemished. You can also make out a dash of brown on her backside.

In this short movie, the female is strutting towards the male, who can be seen in the background:

(Unfortunately, my camera does not pick up his vocalizations well,the frequency is very low, just audible to humans.)

Nevertheless, he can’t stay away from her, and the whole scenario kept happening again and again. For a while, you had to be careful in the garden, as Dad might come crashing through the forest or across the lawn at high speed!
Now, after several weeks of travelling together (but at a safe distance from each other), she readily follows him, but he still gets spooked when she gets too close.

Here, she is feeding, and Dad is making his way past her , before they walk away together:


Probably hormone levels have to rise for mating behaviour to start.
Hopefully, we’ll have a new generation of cassowaries visiting later in the year!

Leave a comment

Filed under wildlife