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!
Last March a new juvenile cassowary appeared in our forest. Judging by the size of his casque and wattles and the fact that there were still some brown feathers visible on the back, we tentatively assumed it was a 3 year old male. He had unusually long, light-coloured “fingernails”: the quills sticking out from the rudimentary wings.
Distinguishing features of cassowaries are mainly the casque, which might be straight, leaning to one side or the other, big or small (although in a young bird it would most likely keep growing for a few years), and the wattles, which can be short, long, one longer than the other, or oddly shaped.
He came past our house and the cabin quite regularly, and when we noticed, that he didn’t have his long, golden quills anymore, but shorter, black ones, we assumed that he lost them while moulting.
To our surprise, he recently showed up with his quills as long and golden as before! Shortly thereafter, they were black and short again! TWO birds! Same size, very similar casques and wattles, but very different quills!
So, when trying to identify individual cassowaries, have a close look at their fingernail as well!
The resident cassowary with his 2 three months old chicks is visiting almost daily to feed on the many native fruits which are available at the moment. They particularly like the fruits of the native Black Palm (Normanby normanbia) , native Ginger (Alpinia coerulea) and the exotic Queen Palm (Syagrum romanzoffia).
This season’s chicks seem feistier than usual, they are already chasing the red-legged pademelons and our male brush-turkey, who has his mound just behind our pond.
The brush-turkey always acts very nervously when the cassowaries are here, torn between fight and flight.
I do not think that the cassowaries pose a threat to the brush-turkey’s brood, but the turkey has every reason to discourage the lace monitors (Varanus varius) from coming too close – they would dig out and eat the eggs.
He vehemently defends the area around his mound, chasing the goannas across the garden into the forest, throwing dirt and mulch at them and the lizards mostly end up clinging to a tree out of the turkey’s reach.
This one lost the tip of its tail in an earlier incident: