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.
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.
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.
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.
Several small flocks of Scaly-breasted Lorikeets are coming down from the canopy for a drink at the bird baths and pond.
Many Scarlet Honeyeaters are setting up territories and building nests.
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.
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,
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.
When she eventually turns around, I can see the joey, too .
It is still very small and I am looking forward to see it leave the pouch!