Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Cuckoo calling

You know summer is not far away when you hear the strident repeated call of a Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae as it arrives from the winter home in the north of tropical Australia or New Guinea and Indonesia.
This morning one went screeching by being pursued by a couple of magpies that were trying to drive it out of their territory. It perched for a short time allowing a photo before heading off to look for a suitable nest.
As the world largest cuckoo it generally picks on large birds like magpies, ravens, crows and currawongs as having the most suitable nests in which the female can deposit her eggs.
The young cuckoos don't bother pushing the host nestlings out they just dominate the food supply so most often the hosts young don't survive.

The photo below is of a pair of young from last seasons hatching, in a nearby location. The mottled brown variation in the plumage colouring is typical of the young. This pair (about 50% bigger that their host parents) were incessantly demanding food from a pair over very overworked magpies.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Feed and weed

Wild tobacco bush  Solanum mauritianum a native plant from  South America is a prevalent weed in many parts of Australia and common in our district. One of the spreaders of the plant is the native Brown Cuckoo-dove  or Brown pigeon Macropygia amboinen, which is very partial to the fruit that is produced in large bunches on the bush or small tree.

The seeds are deposited with their own supply of fertiliser in the rainforest margins and wet forest areas that are their preferred habitat and are very quick growing. Fortunately they are easy to remove when small, but it is a continuing task for bush regenerators.

These photos show the bird on the Wild tobacco with the flowers and fruit that is swallowed whole ripe or unripe.

They are very hansome Birds and reduction of their natural habitat and their normal feed source has made the opportunistic feeders on this weed.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Warming up

More warm days and more are coming out to spend time in the sun and the Eastern Blue-tongue Lizard that we found among the rocks last season came out for the first time this season from the same hole so it was obviously a good spot to spend winter.

Then in the afternoon I found a Lace Monitor climbing a tree to get to a branch where it could stretch out in the sun.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Crimsons visit.

A perfect spring morning and I was surprised to hear the calls of Crimson Rosellas Platycerus elegans as it has been quite sometime since we had a visit . They are much more common further inland near the ranges where as it is the Eastern Rosellas that frequent our district.
When I went to check I found a family group in the trees just outside the house which enabled a few photos, although the first was a bit far away and not good light on the nearest ones.

They were attracted to the mistletoe that is in flower and spent a few minutes nibbling on the flowers. The following photo is of a young bird with the typical juvenile plumage, feeding on the flowers.


Monday, 8 September 2014

Venturing out

With the weather warming up our reptiles are starting to venture out from their winter retreats and today was my first sighting of a Yellow-faced Whip Snake this season.
 Our rock garden is one of their favourite spots with lots of crevices to enable a quick retreat if danger is perceived. Although poisonous, they are quite small and generally not likely to be harmful to humans.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Not hovering on wattle

The east coast low is moving further away and we have another day of sunshine to bring out the birds and insects. 
Although the wet weather has spoilt much or the wattle flowers we still have many that are covered in blossom and they are a magnet for the bees, beetles and flies. I found a Common Hover Fly Ischiodon scutellaris busy feeding on the blossom of our dwarf Acacia fimbriata, just moving from one pollen laden ball to the next .

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Into the wind

The gale force SW winds eased this morning and we had blue sky making a change from the cold wet conditions we have been experiencing. Perfect for having our morning coffee on the verandah and notice we had a visit from some White-breasted Wood-swallows Artamus leucorhynchus. They were busy swooping around the tree tops then coming to land on the roof ridge and then I notice a few decided that the weather vane was an ideal spot to take a break.

They stayed around for awhile, on the wing catching insects before the forecast rain and strong winds returned in the late afternoon.

They like the other wood-swallows are migrants to our area whilst in Australia's north they are sedentary.


Monday, 1 September 2014

Eyes front

No rain during the past two days and today was a perfect start to September, clear blue sky and the temperature quite warm. Just the weather to have insects on the move so the hunters were also out and about keen to get a meal.

Yellow Robins are one of the best at getting a feed whether on the wing or  diving onto a hapless insect on the ground. This one was very focused on the ground from its perch on a Banksia branch.