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.



snapshots of the life of a young cassowary

Zero is back! A few days ago, a juvenile cassowary walked up from the creek towards our house, behaving as if it was familiar with its surrounds (and us). As it doesn’t have any wattles, we are sure that it is Zero, Dad’s chick from early 2021. Having put on quite some weight, wearing a short skirt and having BIG feet, makes us assume that Zero is a female.

After they are being chased away by their father at around 9 months of age, young cassowaries have to avoid encounters with adult birds and find their own territory.

We rarely see any cassowaries at that stage. Juveniles/ sub-adults passing through have always been about 2 years old, mostly with black feathers, except for some brown ones around the tail, blue and red colours developing on the neck and with a small casque.

Zero was a very lucky bird, being together with Dad for more than a year.

She was about 2 months old when Dad first came by with her in early May 2021.

June 2021: young cassowaries have blue eyes:

The stripes are fading, August 2021:

October 2021:

January 2022: a big chick!

Starting to go blue in the face, February 2022:

May 2022: more colour developing down the neck:

August 2022: (2 images by Lorraine Harris)

The casque is starting to grow.

When she was about 1 1/2 years old, she disappeared, showing up once on our wildlife camera in January 2023.

June 2023: Now almost 2 1/2 years old, she has returned.

Image by Marcus Odgaard:

Lemon Aspen trees in the rainforest seem to be the attraction: their fruits are prominent in the cassowaries’ droppings.

Summer Sightings-Reptiles

Summer is, of course, also a good time to observe reptiles, as they are much more active then.

This goanna ambled past me on the veranda and only noticed me when he turned around before climbing over a log.

Lace Monitor

We do not see Northern Dwarf Crowned Snakes very often. This one was fully grown at almost half a meter. It hunted among leaf litter and completely ignored us.

Cacophis churchilli

More alert to our presence was this Carpet Python, which has (again) climbed into the birdfeeder.

It did catch a small dove that day, and a King Parrot a few hours later.

Male skinks are very colourful in the breeding season:

Rainbow Skink

It is now mid- April, and warmer than normally at this time of the year, around 25 degrees Celsius maximum. Geckos and snakes are still quite active.

Tree-kangaroo activities

We have had many tree-kangaroo sightings lately. The older female, in particular, has been around the cabin and house for  many hours, preventing me from attending to entropy-fighting indoor chores 🙂

How is one to concentrate on cleaning the cabin, when she is bending a shrub to the ground near the birdbath, trying to balance on small branches, while reaching out for the fresh shoots at the tips?

Here she is just outside our office, while a visiting friend is editing her photographs taken the previous day:

She gave us ample opportunities to watch her feeding in very low shrubs just meters away. Not sure, whether she noticed us and chose to ignore us (she should be used to us by now, after sharing her territory with us for many years), or whether she is not the brightest of forest dwellers.

She has been feeding constantly for many hours, even forgoing her usual siesta. Our assumption is, that she is eating for two now, as we observed her cleaning her pouch in December, and an older male tree-roo was here, too.

The honey-eaters were quite acrobatic, too, on their wildly swinging feeder!

As if that wasn’t enough entertainment, an immature Victoria’s Riflebird started displaying above the tree-roo:

The riflebirds have been making themselves scarce lately, probably knowing that they are not looking their best while they are moulting. Nevertheless, one adult male briefly hopped onto the display perch near the cabin:

While the female tree-kangaroo was happily feeding almost at ground level, two weeks ago the male climbed to dizzying heights in a big Rose Gum, feasting for hours on a Silkpod Vine, which probably has never encountered a tree-kangaroo in its life before.