Monday, December 31, 2012

The Wet begins

As predicted, the delightful low-humidity days have finished after we received 80 ml of rain on Christmas Eve. Steamy days and warm nights for a while now.
The pond in full again and the frogs have abandoned the house in favour of their mating grounds. The pond is a favourite place, plus the swimming pool and any water features around the garden. Their persistent calling at night can be quite bothersome to the uninitiated. To us it is the soothing sounds of the Wet Season.

Litoria Leseuri
Birding is still good in Daintree at present. The Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher are at their nesting mounds,and while they are quieter, you can usually find a bird perched high up, not far from the nest. There appears to be at least three pairs along the first section of Stewart Creek Rd.
Papuan Frogmouth chicks seem to have all fledged, making them more difficult to see, but sightings of Little Kingfisher are happening and Black Bittern, Great-billed Heron and most of the other Daintree River specialities have been seen on early morning boat trips.
Latham's Snipe are feeding on the riverbanks and fields, plenty of Little Egret, Royal Spoonbill, ibis, cormorants and Magpie Geese along the banks of the Daintree River.

Royal Spoonbill
Double-eyed Fig-Parrots are excavataing nests in the garden at Red Mill House and our favourite pair of Yellow Oriole are feeding just  one chick on a nest very close to the front verandah.
A quick camping trip over Christmas to Malanda Falls was a lovely break with visits to favourite places like Mt Hypipamee, Curtain Fig, Lake Barrine. Great highland birds and very good views of Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo near the falls.

Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo.
Eye level, sitting quietly for ages and in daylight. An absolute treat!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Last of the "Dry Season"

An unusual December in tropical Daintree with humid and warm weather but without the build-up of storms to date. Conditions are dry, leaves are falling, wetlands are shrinking and birds are seeking what water they can find. Even muddy, cow-filled ponds are attractive to some.

Glossy Ibis and Royal Spoonbill Daintree Dec 12
Large numbers of Magpie Goose are feeding in the fields on the banks of the Daintree River and passing overhead the village each morning and night as they roost along Barratt Creek. Their presence is not going un-noticed by at least one of the local Crocodiles!

Magpie Geese Daintree River Dec 12
Great bird sightings in Daintree including a nesting Papuan Frogmouth with chick on Stewart Creek Rd, Cicadabird, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Oriental Cuckoo, Great-billed Heron, Azure Kingfisher and many more.
In the gardens at Red Mill House a large Terminalia is fruiting, proving very popular with Australasian Figbird, Eastern Koel and Pied Imperial-Pigeon.

Pied Imperial Pigeon Red Mill House Dec 12
A fabulous time of year for frogs, and therefore snakes. Guests shared the swimming pool with this delightful Common Green Tree-Snake last week, who just missed his frog.

Common Green Tree-Snake Red Mill House Dec 12

Also looking for a feed has been this beautiful Amethystine Python - an absolute favourite with guests

Amethystine Python Red Mill House Dec 12
The rains will come soon enough - for now we are enjoying the wildlife treats that we have.