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

Wildlife Cameras

Cameras, which are motion triggered, might not provide the best of images (unless you spend a lot of money), but they are useful for monitoring wildlife. The images are usually good enough to identify the species.

We have a few scattered on our 52 acre property and the ones near the creeks are especially productive.

Saw-shelled Turtle                                                                                                                                                             juvenile cassowary

 

Who would have thought that the fruit-dove or the  Grey Goshawk comes regularly for a drink?

Superb Fruit-dove                                                                                                                                              Grey Goshawk

or the Rufous Owl for a drink and sometimes bath in the very early morning.

And we caught a pair of water rats in flagranti!

Water rats, mating and Rufous Owl

The Black Bittern fished this section of the creek for several weeks.

Black Bittern and cassowaries

Swamp Wallaby and 2 cassowaries

Echidnas are frequently seen -alas, only by the cameras!

Echidna and Dingo
Yellow-bellied Glider and Striped Possum

 

Tree-kangaroos come to the ground more often than you might think!

Swamp Wallaby and Tree-kangaroo

Sometimes an animal takes an interest in the camera 🙂

cassowary

“Birdwatching isn’t supposed to be that easy”,

to quote one of our guests.

I am sitting in a reclining chair on the veranda with a glass of wine and my binoculars. Not that I really need the latter much, the birds are only 5-10 metres away.

The Lilly-pillies along our creek (Syzygium smithii) are fruiting, and I can see several species of birds feeding in close proximity: about a dozen Satin Bowerbirds, a handful of Spotted Catbirds, 2 Toothbilled Bowerbirds and a Golden Bowerbird. The Catbird and Golden BB often jump up from the larger branch, on which they are sitting, and hover like a very clumsy flycatcher to pick a fruit from the end of a thin branch. After eating 10-15 they sit for a digestive rest before starting to feed again.

Golden Bowerbird
Golden Bowerbird
Spotted Catbird
Golden Bowerbird and Spotted Catbird

Almost got the Tooth-billed Bowerbird in the same frame…

Did I mention the flock of King Parrots, also tucking into the Lilly-pillies? They, of course, are after the seeds.

male King Parrot
female King Parrot

Also in the picture are a few Victoria’s Riflebirds, rustling around in strips of Rose Gum bark, a pair of Crimson Rosellas are tinkling away to my left, and a pair of Eastern Whipbirds are calling from the other side of the creek.

male Crimson Rosella

 

All this activity makes me almost ignore the the smaller birds around me: Mountain Thornbills slowly travelling through the Lophostemon trees, a pair of Yellow-throated Scrubwrens darting around on the ground and several honeyeaters visiting the birdfeeder.

If this isn’t good enough: Dad cassowary and his 2 chicks appear along the walking track next to the creek, picking up Lilly-pilly fruit dropped by the bowerbirds!

Now all that’s missing is the young male Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo, which we’ve spotted recently, and maybe the Koala, observed last week in the Tumoulin forest, is making its way a bit further east 🙂

It is easy to forget all the world’s problems in a place like this!

 

4 Bowerbird species feeding together

The Lilly-pillies along our creek (Syzygium smithii) are fruiting now, and they attract many birds. Not only were there flocks of King Parrots and Satin Bowerbirds feeding just metres from our house today, but in the same tree we also spotted a Tooth-billed Bowerbird, a juvenile Golden Bowerbird and 2 Spotted Catbirds. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Tooth-billed Bowerbird:

:

Spot the Spotted Catbird:

Catbird, hiding

 

Having a siesta:

Emerald Dove

Likewise, in a sunny spot:

Peaceful Doves

 

On the other side of the creek we could hear the dominant female cassowary walking around, calling occasionally. She has been around quite often recently, not so much interested in the Lilly-Pilly fruits (she prefers the fruits of Jungle Vine and native Ginger), but on the lookout for a mate.

Here she is following Dad and the chicks

but he isn’t interested, (yet) and actually chased her away (usually the male is wary of the larger female).

The chicks can benefit from his guidance for a bit longer…

 

 

 

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.