This and That

Superb Fruit-dove, male

 

This wet season left us about 500mm short of our average rainfall, but a low near the coast right now might be just making up for it.

Many birds have been molting, like this Satin Bowerbird, wondering what happened to his tail:

Satin Bowerbird

Some Victoria’s Riflebirds started displaying again a few weeks ago, but it should only be a short practice period before the proper season begins in winter.

We’ve had another pademelon baby

Red-legged Pademelons

just out of the pouch:

baby Red-legged Pademelon
and our inkling, that we have 2 tree-kangaroo females, was finally confirmed, when the other one showed up with a much younger joey. (sorry, no photo, they were near our veranda when it was almost dark).

 

In summer, the Grey-headed Robins stray further from the creek and are often seen and heard in and around our small clearing between house and cabin.

Grey-headed Robin

Many other smaller birds are also easier to see:

Black-faced Monarch
Black-faced Monarch
Pied Monarch
Pied Monarch

 

This season’s immature Grey Goshawk is on the lookout for King Parrots and even had a go at the cassowary chicks (Dad was not amused and hissed at the swooping raptor).

immature Grey Goshawk

Whereas the leeches are on the lookout for our blood!

leech on the lookout

One of the King Parrot males seems to be a teenage dad, he still hasn’t acquired his full adult plumage:

young King Parrot male feeding chick

Late summer is also a good time for insects:

moth

Agrotera pictalis

Anisozyga insperata, female
Eucyclodes insperata, female

 

Black Jezebel

Black Jezebel, and its chrysalis:

Black Jezebel chrysalis

“Goldfinger”s chicks have grown well and  lost their stripes:

male cassowary and 2 chicks

The Rose Gums have begun to flower, attracting many honeyeaters and lorikeets. One tree next to the cabin had about 20 Little Lorikeets feeding in it for days.

Some of the vines and shrubs are getting ripe berries now and the fruit-eaters should be arriving soon from the nearby rainforest (we’ve seen the first Spotted Catbird last week and the cassowaries are coming by more often).

Fishing Finches

Red-browed Finch fishing

Red-browed Finches (Neochmia temporalis), like all native Australian finches, belong to the family of Grass-finches (Estrilidiae) and feed mainly on seeds.

They do like animal protein, though, and  sometimes gorge themselves on swarming termites.

When we get enough summer rain to saturate the forest grounds, Orange-thighed Treefrogs and Dainty Green Treefrogs lay their eggs in temporary shallow pools and rivulets, a fact that does not escape the finches.

They can be observed hunting like miniature herons for tadpoles and small invertebrates:

 

Busy Frogs and Lazy Reptiles

The wet season started in late December, and the frogs are making the best of it.

Tiny (less than 30mm) Southern Ornate Nursery Frogs (Cophixalus australis) are calling from low vantage points, usually within half a metre off the ground, everywhere in the forest.

This is a typical position:

That male is one of the rarer colour morphs, with an orange stripe on the back. Usually they are a mottled grey:

Northern Barred Frogs (Mixophyes schevilli) are calling from a few areas along the creek. They are large, handsome frogs with a deep ‘wark, wark’ call.

Orange-thighed Tree-frogs (Litoria xanthomera) have descended from their hide-outs high up in the trees and are gathering along small temporary pools and creeks.

This male got lucky very early in the evening:

It is fun watching them “inhaling’ and ‘exhaling’:

While the frogs are very busy, this Pink-tongued Skink

Pink-tongued Skink

and the Carpet Python

Carpet Python

spent all day lazing in the sun.

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)!