A day in the life of a Bridal Veil Fungus

Every summer a few of these fruiting bodies of the Bridal Veil Fungus mushroom .

They look beautiful and delicate, but smell of rotting meat (to attract flies).

This species is very quick: I discovered this in the morning,

in the afternoon the beautiful crocheted ‘veil’ had already collapsed
and by the evening the stalk had gone limp.
No wonder its scientific name is Phallus indusiatus.

And here is the beginning of tomorrows mushroom:


Noisy Pittas and Cassowaries

Every summer a few Noisy Pittas migrate to our forest from the lowlands to breed here (and possibly eat many leeches).

This juvenile was foraging, when it was chased away by an adult bird.

The adult Pitta then settled down in a sunny spot to sunbathe for a few minutes. The Pittas here are very shy, so I didn’t try to get closer for a decent photograph. What is interesting is the bright blue band on the rump. It is not easily visible when a Pitta flies past, and the bird books I consulted show the band much narrower and nearer the tip of the tail.

Cassowary Dad made a surprise visit, accompanied by one 10 month-old juvenile.

It might be a female, as she is quite large already, with very robust legs and big feet.

Today, a few days later, Dad and Wattle showed up here together, already very comfortable with each other.

More little cassowaries in the making soon…

A rare two-headed cassowary

Wet Season 2023/24

After an early wet start in December (cyclone Jasper’s aftermath brought us more than 550mm of rain) and then 2 dry weeks, the monsoon is on its way.

The frogs had their first outing:

Green-eyed Treefrog in the rain gauge
Green-eyed Treefrogs -How did he get so lucky?

swarming termites attracted a Boyd’s Forest Dragon:

Lots of beetles are out and about:

A number of Christmas Beetles also came to our moth light.

And many moths:

The moth sheet was the best it has been for a long time. Maybe the mild winter helped?

It was also a big season for the Red Roarer cicadas -they had an unexpected (i.e. not in sync with their supposedly 7 year cycle)

bumper population. Thankfully it didn’t last very long, 5 weeks of their ‘singing’ at about 85 decibels is quite enough for us.

Another big and noisy cicada is the Double Drummer (Thopha saccata). It was interesting to watch one hatching:

Double Drummer
Double Drummer

WA interlude

This winter we spent a few weeks in southern Western Australia to indulge in the feast of wildflowers, and we were, of course,  also looking for birds, Southern Right Whales, Honey Possums and Numbats.

WA has over 13,000 plant species, including about 400 species of orchids in the south.

Here is a very small selection to give you an idea of the immense variety.

We can highly recommend to spend at least a couple of weeks in the south-west.

The best months for wildflowers are September and October.

Pademelons fighting

Pademelons live in loose groups with an established dominance hierarchy. Usually there is very little aggression between them, as individuals know to keep their distance from each other, especially from the dominant male, and a short grunt is all that’s necessary. That changes when a male becomes as big as “the boss” and challenges him.

At the moment, our second in command, “Niko” is having repeated fights with “Nr 3”, who is the dominant male. As they are both of fairly equal strength and size, those fights are sometimes lasting 20 minutes, and are quite fierce. Both males try to grab the other’s ears, scratch his face and kick him in the belly. Nr 3’s left eye was swollen for a few days and Niko  ended up with a bloody belly in his last fight.

These are portraits from last year. “Nr 3”, now has a new slit in his ear

and “Niko” also has new damage to his left ear

Even Nr 3 in the hierarchy, “Scruffy” had a go, after which he was so exhausted that he lay down on his side for a while.