Just before dark yesterday, we had an unexpected visitor: a juvenile cassowary emerged from the the forest, near our veranda. It has probably walked along the creek in search of fallen fruits, mushrooms and, if it is lucky, the occasional frog.
It is about 2/3 adult size, with clearly visible brown juvenile feathers on the thighs and tail, a bright blue neck and short, pink wattles, making it 1-2 years old.
Wattles and casque still have a lot of growing to do.
It might be a young male, as the tail feathers seem longer than on a female.
The colouration along the neck is already quite vivid.
He was back this morning, pecking at some mushrooms, before wandering down to the creek and into the forest.
Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos (Dendrolagus lumholtzi), one of the two Australian species (the other one, Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo, only occurs further north), are rare in the Kuranda area. Their stronghold are the Atherton Tablelands, and we are privileged to have them on our large forest property near Mount Hypipamee National Park, south of Atherton.
Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos, despite their size (like a small koala), are difficult to spot in the rainforest.
On our property, where the forest is more open, the resident male can sometimes be seen making his way along the creek -either on the ground or amongst the trees.
Recently, we spotted him in a tree near our cabin while we were having lunch on the veranda.
Initially, when he noticed us, he was a bit nervous, as indicated by his tail-swishing, but he soon relaxed.
After more than an hour he went on his way again.
Tree-kangaroos are not strictly nocturnal, they can often be observed during the day, too.