Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Double-eyed Fig-Parrots

They are Australia's smallest parrot: are green, have a short tail, are about the size of a leaf, look like a leaf, and unless you see them land, are extremely difficult to see well. Most times it is 'chit, chit, chit' as a stubby, green flash flies overhead. A 'flying green potato' is a good description.

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot usually excavates it's own nest in the dead extremities of  trees, and as the top breaks off, it will move it's way further down the tree until the usefulness of the tree is finished. Often a tree will be used for several years. You can see some shallow excavations in this photo of the male.

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot  (Keith Fisher - Kingfisher Park)
One such tree along Stewart Creek Rd came down in a storm last week and it was fascinating to see what a large cavity it creates for it's nest. The bird is only 13 cm in length, and the entrance is tiny, but the cavity is much bigger and beautifully formed.

This year seems to have been a particularly good breeding season for these birds.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Wet Season

While rain has been intermittent, it certainly feels like the wet season in Daintree.
Warm, humid and with the ever-present feeling of 'it's going to rain soon'. 380mm in January, so a gentle start to the year. We have just returned from Western Australia where it was 42 degrees every day (dry, dry heat), so it's nice to be home.
A real treat in the garden at Red Mill House yesterday while pruning - a beautiful, huge Northern Barred Frog  (Mixophyes schevilli). Note the barring on the legs and the fully webbed toes. It is an adult man's hand that it is sitting on, so - rather large!
Northern Barred Frog
 Another treat for the week is the continued presence of the Spotted Whistling Ducks ( a Philippines/PNG species) of which a group of 11 or so have been frequenting local ponds and dams and waterways over the past few months. Every time you think they have gone, they re-appear.
A terrible photo I know, but at least I know I have seen them!
Spotted Whistling Duck
Pied Monarch in the garden today, and Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher still busy along Stewart Creek Rd. Lots of Channel-billed Cuckoos and Double-eyed Fig-Parrots this year.