Cassowaries and Tree-kangaroos

Cassowary chicks often hatch in September (rainforest fruits usually are most bountiful in spring and summer). As there is not much food for them in the wet sclerophyll forest at that time, we normally get to see the family in June/July, when the chicks are much bigger, have lost their stripes and are almost ready for life on their own.

Yesterday, though, 5 year old “Goldfinger” came by very late in the day with two small striped chicks. They are probably about 2 months old and his first offspring. He mated with “Wattle”, the alpha female in the area, in June 2019 (once even just outside our kitchen window!), but didn’t have any chicks that year.

Notice his wet feet: they had a drink from the creek not far down the track.

5 year old cassowary and 2 month old chick

Tree-kangaroo joeys normally leave the pouch around September, and this season our female Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo has 2 joeys on foot: last year’s daughter and the new baby.

 

Tree-kangaroo mum and big daughter

 

 

Waiting for rain

 

No sign, yet, of the wet season here.  These Green-eyed Tree-frogs are patiently waiting for rain.

Green-eyed Tree-frogs

I am surprised that the female is tolerating the male. They’ve been hanging out like this on top of the cabin’s window sill for the last few days!

Our creek has almost dried up, so the bird baths are in high demand.

Here are a few of the visitors:

Scaly-breasted Lorikeets at birdbath

Scaly-breasted Lorikeets.

Many are here now that the Red Mahoganies (Eucalyptus resinifera) are flowering.

Rainbow and Little Lorikeets are part of that flock, too, and in the evenings Little Red Flying Foxes take over the canopy..

White-browed Scrubwren
White-browed Scrubwren

 

Fuscous Honeyeater
Fuscous Honeyeater (“Herberton Honeyeater”)

 

Red-browed Finch
Red-browed Finch, nicely showing the red rump

 

adult and immature male Scarlet Honeyeaters
adult and immature male Scarlet Honeyeaters

 

male White-throated Treecreeper
male White-throated Treecreeper

Treecreepers always walk into the water backwards!

White-cheeked & White-throated Honeyeaters
White-cheeked & White-throated Honeyeaters

 

White-naped Honeyeater
White-naped Honeyeater

 

High above the bird bath, a young male Victoria’s Riflebird is trying to attract attention:

young male Victoria's Riflebird

Adult male:

:

If you thought a male Victoria’s Riflebird is a black bird with a few patches of metallic blue, have a closer look at the ‘black’ parts:

Victoria's Riflebird plumage close-up

 

Just about all the smaller birds are breeding now, with many hungry mouths waiting to be fed:

Macleay's Honeyeaters
Macleay’s Honeyeaters

 

A young Tooth-billed Bowerbird came to the birdfeeder:

Tooth-billed Bowerbird

What a wonderful forest, where you can see Tooth-billed Bowerbirds (a rainforest species) together with Little Lorikeets (a species of open woodlands)!

Victoria’s Riflebirds

immature Victoria's Riflebird

 

The riflebirds’ main breeding season is nearing its end, but it is peak time for the immature males to hone their dancing skills.

They display not only from the main perch near the cabin,

immature Victoria's Riflebird

but on just about any suitable branch or post. This one is on a stump less than 2 metres from our computer, just outside the window:

that one on the other side of the house:

immature Victoria's Riflebird

immature Victoria's Riflebird

They are quite enthusiastic and energetic:

Sometimes more than 2 males display to each other:

The young males are quite impressive, but nothing beats the elegance of a mature male:

adult & immature male riflebirds
adult & immature male riflebirds

adult male Victoria's Riflebird

adult male Victoria's Riflebird

adult male Victoria's Riflebird

Cassowary Central

It is this time of the year again, when fruit in the rainforest becomes scarcer, but the wet sclerophyll forest produces many smaller berries, like  Cissus grapes and Lilly Pillies, Mackinlaya and Acrotriche drupes.

Cassowaries frequent our forest almost daily in search of food and mates. May is usually the beginning of the mating season, and “Wattle”, the big female, has been hanging around lately, sometimes right outside our bedroom window, a disinterested bystander…

A few days ago, “Goldfinger”, the young male, with whom she mated last June, turned up at the same time, and ventured within 2 metres of her before becoming scared and running away.

Dad presented his 2 new chicks a couple of weeks ago. They are about 7 months old (he mated with Wattle in July) and are looking healthy and well-fed.

It is still difficult to tell them apart:

Their droppings look like a delicious dessert or off-colour pizza (to some). Brush-turkeys and pademelons like to pick through them.

 

Our male Victoria’s Riflebirds have been displaying daily (it is not really their breeding season, yet!). Another strange, and out of season observation: a female Scarlet Honeyeater collected nesting material.

Spring is here

Tree-roo baby close-up

The Turpentine trees have begun to flower, attracting honeyeaters and lorikeets during the day and Little Red Flying Foxes at night. The smaller Symplocos trees are in full bloom and some of our large Rainforest Rock Orchids have just finished flowering.

Symplocos flowers

 

Rainforest Rock Orchid

Several small flocks of Scaly-breasted Lorikeets are coming down from the canopy for a drink at the bird baths and pond.

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

 

Many Scarlet Honeyeaters are setting up territories and building nests.

Scarlet Honeyeater, female gathering nesting material

White-throated Treecreepers, Rainbow Lorikeets , Macleay’s Honeyeaters, Golden and Rufous Whistlers are among the many other species also breeding now. Spangled Drongos arrived yesterday. Sacred Kingfishers are calling often.

Sacred Kingfisher, fluffed up

Everyone is very busy and it is difficult to decide where to sit and watch all that activity. Well, I happened to pick a good spot: while others are working hard,

David Parer filming riflebirds
David Parer filming riflebirds at the cabin

I am sitting on our veranda to write this. A female Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo is sitting about 5 metres away from me in a small Acacia, resting and feeding occasionally.

Tree-roo female

When she eventually turns around, I can see the joey, too .

Tree-roo mum with baby in pouch

Tree-roo baby in pouch

Tree-roo baby close-up

 

It is still very small and I am looking forward to see it leave the pouch!