Sunday, 15 November 2015

Pied spied

When we lived in Sydney one bird that we saw almost daily, was the Pied Currawaong, Strepera graculina a handsome black bird with a bright golden eye. Their numbers have grown, to become a bit of a problem in the urban and suburban areas. The environment created by people planting exotic plants that have lots of berries, many becoming weeds and putting out feed is the basic cause of the population explosion.
They are omnivorous, so small birds, eggs, lizards and insects are all part of their diet and the growth in numbers is seen as one of the causes of the decline in small birds in the city areas.
I expected that we would see lots of Currawongs here but they are very infrequent visitors, however over the past week we have been visited by a pair, who announce their arrival with their two note call followed by a whistle. Getting a photo has been difficult as they prefer the tree tops where a silhouette against the sky is all that is available. 
Today I was in luck as they flew to one of the spotted gums adjacent to our deck and were only in the mid section of the tree.

 Their range is right down the east and south east coast and ranges and in the southern areas they overlap with the Grey Currawong.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Another pigeon pair

Yesterday morning a scrabbling noise on the roof had me wondering what was making the racket but anticipating a crow as it is quite common to have them clomping around.
However found a pair of White-headed pigeons Columba leucomela and one then flew to the powerline whilst the other stayed on the gutter.


 They range along the coastal regions from North Queensland to the Illawarra region south of Sydney. The habitat favoured is rainforest and open forest, feeding on fruits and seeds.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Too young for a golden crown

The large python and the lace monitors still putting in appearances today but the best find was when I was digging out soil from the compost bin and uncovered a small snake. It was one I hadn't seen here previously but as it was only about 250mm long I thought it could be a juvenile of one of the snakes that I see as adults.
It was quite feisty and anxious to get away however I manage to get it into a bucket so I could get a photo. A white bowl turned out to be the best container, as I could get the camera close and the side of the bowl was too slippery for the little critter to slither out.

Looked up my snake reference book and looking still uncertain, went to my snake web reference 
Quickly found it to be a juvenile Golden-crowned Snake Cacophis squamulosus that range coastal areas from central Queensland to southern NSW. The adults are a dark brown with the distinctive golden stripe around the head but as shown in the photo not joining at the nape.
A nocturnal egg laying species and not seen often during the day when they are under rocks or in deep crevices. Venomous growing to about 700mm they prey upon small lizards, lizard eggs, blind snakes and small frogs but not regarded as harmful to humans.


Monday, 19 October 2015

Spring is in the air for Lace Monitors

The Pythons were back in the lily bowl today but there is something about spring and October as far as reptiles are concerned. A pair of Lace Monitors have been around our hen house looking for an opportunity to get to the eggs, which they managed earlier this week. However  I closed all the ways for them to get in and as they couldn't get to the eggs decided to make some of their own.


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Time of the year

October is the month when reptiles are out and about as the weather warms up and it is time to go looking for a mate. The two Diamond Pythons that we have living in the vicinity of the house are combining a dip in the waterlily bowl with mating activity.
When I first saw a Python in the waterlily bowl two weeks ago I thought it was after the goldfish, but no, on a closer look saw that there were actually two snakes in the bowl, although one was  submerged and eating a fish was not the aim.

They were quite active moving around in the bowl, intertwining in knots and after some time in the bowl came to the rim to spent time in the sun.


In the afternoon they left the bowl and curled up under a bush in the garden then next morning have a repeat performance.
This took place for a week and then they left and I didn't see them again until today when they were back in the bowl.

 This afternoon they left the bowl and coiled alongside each other on the pavers and I will be interested to see if they continue their aquatic activity tomorrow.
 The largest is around 2m with the smaller being about 1.5m but I don't know which is the male or female. (the larger is the one that captured the young wallaby two years ago)