Watching a sunbird frolicking in the rain. Although I try to avoid anthropomorphism, it was hard to not feel that this little bird was having a great deal of fun.
birds of Cape York
Our baby sunbirds left the nest today. I’m assuming both of them left as I only actually saw one go. Both parents were hovering close by the nest, twittering away. The baby cautiously crawled out of the nest, holding on with it’s claws until it’s beak was pointing vertically towards the floor. Then with much twittering from parents, he let go, almost tumbled but then started flying. Incredible to watch. I didn’t have time to video it and only got two photos. I watched him outside for a little while – both parent birds keeping an eye on him. Couldn’t see the other baby, so I suppose it was flying around somewhere.
We’ve had a couple of sunbirds nesting in our verandah at Portland Roads Beach Shack. They build a nest hanging off a piece of string in about 2 weeks, then have the babies.
We have been watching them and noticed that they seem to take the babies shit (neatly wrapped in a little white bundle) out of the nest, fly away with it drop it off somewhere.
A Blue-winged Kookaburra flew past me while I was driving from Lockhart River to Portland Roads. Apparently they are common on the cape and Southern New Guinea. I had never seen a Blue kookaburra before, it was a very quick glimpse but quite striking. There seem to be lots of bright blue creatures here, birds, butterflies. Down south Kookaburras are coloured to blend in to their environment. Just another amazing site on our regular trip to Lockhart River to pick up mail and groceries.
Spotted March 13, 2011.
Photo by Jon Clark. Used with permission. See Jon Clark’s Gallery on Flickr
We were just talking about how much wildlife we have – we see some amazing creature most days.
It was dark, Boomer started barking and wagging his tail wildly. I was about to tell him off; he usually barks at squeaky branches other weird noises. Then we spotted this guy in the dark, sitting on our clothesline.
He is a [wiki]Papuan Frogmout[/wiki] (click to read more in a popup from wikipedia) He is huge, he just sat there watching us curiously while we took heaps of photos, posing this way and that .
He does indeed have red eyes; they glowed red with the flash.
I just wish we could have taken a better photo though, we were trying to use our new Nikon but it just would not focus as he was in the dark, we tried shining a torch on him but then he had an orange glow, we haven’t had the camera for long so have heaps to learn. This was taken with my old Kodak which did better. Later I realised we should have put it on manual. Hopefully he will visit us again. He has flown by quickly so hopefully he will visit us again.
Jun (the guide) found a cuscus in one of our mango trees just up the road; came running back to tell us – of course we were all terribly excited and very thankful that he’d made the effort to let us know.
We watched it eat a couple of mangos for about 30 minutes. Thanks Jun!
He also sent us the following photos.
I’ve just put the last 2 days of birds nests.
Plus below that the original nest.
They often build their nests under verandahs – it’s thought that they consider humans less dangerous than other animals, so do build under eaves and verandahs.
And often build a new nest next to the old one, then use some of the old nest in the new.
Click any image to see larger version.
The Palm Cockatoo also has a distinctive red cheek patch that changes colour when the bird is alarmed or excited.
It has a unique display where the bird (typically the male) drums a large branch against a dead bough or tree, creating a loud noise that can be heard up to 100 m away. It is possible that females can assess the durability of the nesting hollow by the resonance of this drumming display.
Palm Cockatoos only lay one egg and have one of the lowest breeding success rate reported for any species of parrot. Off-setting this is their very long life-span. A male commenced breeding at age 29 in Taronga Zoo in Sydney, and another was 40 when she laid he first egg at London Zoo in 1966. There is anecdotal evidence of a Palm Cockatoo reaching 80 or 90 years of age in an Australian zoo,although the oldest confirmed individual was aged 56 in London Zoo in 2000. Breeding takes place inside tree hollows, which are typically like standing pipes. Fires play an important role in the destruction and creation of nest hollows. Fires allow the colonisation of microorganisms and termites which enter the tree and start hollowing out the inside. Cyclones are important in the final stage of nest hollow development.
This is an Excerpt used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. You may use this article as long as it is attributed in this way.
Read the full article at Wikipedia – Palm Cockatoo
The latest guests (Sharna and co from Weipa) left today, so it was washing, cleaning and bedmaking work for the morning. Sharna had washed the dishes which was great and Boomer helped me wash the deck. I hosed the deck down then gave it a scrubbing with a stiff broom – Boomer thought this was a fantastic game – he reduced me to tears of helpless laughter several times with his frenzies of absolute joy.
I have been watching, for a couple of mornings, some little sunbirds build a nest on the clothes line just outside the toilet.
Alan has said it is sunbird’s nest but I’m not sure which brand of sunbird. The two little birds do not look like Yellow-bellied Sunbirds which are gloriously yellow and quite common in the garden. I took a photo today and intend taking one each morning til they have finished. It is fascinating to watch how quickly they build this nest.
They also will land on the clothesline, then swing backwards, upside down and open their wings and flutter them briefly – most amusing to watch.
I’ll probably do a slideshow when the nest is finished.
Mid afternoon I drove into Lockhart to get some fresh vegies – on the way home a huge smoky grey palm cockatoo swooped down ahead of me and almost level with the height of the top of the OKA. I watched for a short time then screeched to a halt, jumped out of the vehicle to try and see more of him; but he had disappeared. He was huge (they grow to between 55–60 cm in length)
The batteries were a bit low so after dinner I went up to the top generator to charge the batteries.
I was nearly at the gen shed when I gave a very ladylike yelp and levitated for a few seconds. I nearly trod on an extremely beautiful carpet python (Morelia spilota I think). It was only about 40 cms long and not much thicker than my middle finger. I sternly sent Boomer back to the house (he of course wanted to see what I wasn’t letting him see), then I followed him back to get the camera and get a photo. It was very pretty and just ambling along (the snake not the camera). Anyway I got back with the camera, turned my torch off and took several photos. None of them came out well.